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The Green Sheet Online Edition

August 11, 2014 • Issue 14:08:01

Understanding the POS customer

By Sean Berg

As a POS reseller, it is important to understand your potential customers. Merchants have a wide range of goals when selecting a POS system. However, one of the key goals that all merchants have is that they want to eliminate pain points. These pain points are commonly associated with the technology limitations that impact how they currently operate their businesses.

The most common misconception among ISOs and merchant level salespeople is the assumption that potential customers even know they need a POS system. It's the responsibility of a POS reseller to bring that need to light by explaining the benefits of POS systems and how they address specific pain points.

Converting 'old school' businesses

Business owners who are operating cash registers, calculators or writing tickets by hand have a great deal of inherent inefficiencies. However, these business owners are often unaware that a POS system will make their lives easier. Instead, they assume a POS system will add another pain point. These merchants tend to be easy to approach but easier to scare away if you start talking about too many complex elements, for example, adding items to the menu or reporting.

Instead, simply ask these merchants about their businesses. Ask them how they are operating and what areas they find frustrating. Throughout the conversation, highlight a few key points that are costing them time or money, which you can later point out, are eliminated by the POS system.

These include:

  • Math errors
  • Line/kitchen mistakes
  • Labor costs
  • errors between server and kitchen
  • Potential for theft
  • Any situations that require extra steps or time
  • Poor customer service due to confusion or customers being placed on hold

Merchants will quickly acknowledge their need for a more effective solution. It's important that you allow merchants to realize that handwritten tickets are an aggressive devourer of profits. They have probably known this all along but didn't know how to solve the problem. By this point, merchants are hoping you can offer the answer.

You can now begin to explain why so many other businesses invest in POS systems. For a merchant with handwritten tickets, this should not include a detailed demonstration. Instead, emphasize how the system will correct the pain points the prospect discussed. Step the merchant through each pain point and explain how a POS system can address it. Concentrate on explaining how much a POS system will streamline the business operations.

Once merchants understand the amount of time the system will save both themselves and staff, tie these elements into reduced costs and increased profitability. Allow them to visualize the savings and then begin to highlight a few functions that will greatly improve their business operations (focusing on how simple they are). A common example is accessing sales reports from a remote location. Discussing reports in detail may seem complex, but knowing they can be accessed from home will emphasize convenience and simplicity.

Starting a business

New business owners often save the POS purchasing decision until right before opening and then expect a turnkey product with a quick turnaround time. When approaching business owners who are preparing to open, it's important to emphasize the benefits of planning ahead to make sure they have a system customized specifically for their business needs.

Because these merchants may have limited experience in discussing pain points, they will commonly focus on comparing products on price and ease of setup. This often leads new business owners to select stripped down tablet-based or entry-level systems with limited functionality or back-end support.

It's important to emphasize all of the benefits that a full-featured POS system can provide. Explain all of the features available on a more advanced system and highlight the benefits that each of these features offers to the merchant. These merchants tend to appreciate a comprehensive demonstration, reviewing detailed reporting, remote back-office management, integration with mobile payments and online ordering, as well as detailed labor tracking and loss prevention.

It's the salesperson's responsibility to help business owners understand why they cannot live without full-featured POS systems. Since they may not be aware of all the features available on a modern POS system, highlight the many benefits offered by these systems so they can make a more educated decision when selecting a POS solution.

Switching from an existing POS system

Half the sales agents I speak with view merchants who are switching from an existing POS as the easiest type of sale; the other half view them as the most difficult. The majority of the items we focused on for the merchant types I just discussed will not interest these merchants, because they already understand the benefits of a full-featured POS system but are not happy with the POS system that they have today.

The goal is to learn the pain points that business owners are experiencing with their existing systems. By discussing basic time or money saving features, you run the risk of insulting merchants since they demonstrated this knowledge by making their first POS purchase. Instead, ask a lot of questions and allow merchants to paint a picture of the issues they have experienced.

Empathize with merchants and reassure them that their first purchase may have benefited them at the time. Do not criticize another POS system, as it will raise doubts about your own offering. Ensure merchants that while their decisions may have made sense at the time, businesses do sometimes outgrow older systems.

At that point, use the pain points merchant have divulged and demonstrate the sections of the POS system that address their concerns (either through a demonstration or marketing literature). Lead merchants to the solution for each pain point, but allow them to experience it themselves. Do not show them how to accomplish a function; instead allow them to experience how simple the function is to perform and learn.

Once merchants are comfortable, they will begin to mention aspects of your POS system that they like. At this point, begin to emphasize a few key points such as how easy it is to add an item or functionality, for example, remote management, mobile payments, and online ordering to reinforce the sale.

Knowing your customer

By knowing the type of POS customer you are dealing with, you can quickly customize your approach to meet each prospect's needs and address the individuals unique concerns. A business owner does not purchase and use a POS system based on price alone. It's important to address the reasons merchants are in the market for a POS system. end of article

Sean Berg is Director of POS Training at Harbortouch, a leading national provider of touchscreen POS systems and payment processing services. The company offers an unprecedented "free" POS program that allows its sales partners to offer a full-featured POS system with no upfront costs. As National Sales Trainer, Sean trains the company's ISO/MLS partners on all aspects of POS systems, from hardware to software to sales strategies. Prior to becoming National Sales Trainer, Sean was an IT industry consultant and was a manager in Harbortouch's POS division. For more information, please email Sean at sberg@harbortouch.com or visit www.isoprogram.com.

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