By Tom Waters and Ben Abel
Bank Associates Merchant Services
When we first got into sales, we were very young and eager to earn big money. We would compare our bonuses, always taking notice of how well top sales agents performed and we wanted what they had. Fancy cars, big houses and lavish vacations are what comprised our pinnacle of success. We wanted to be the best and reap the financial rewards that came along with it. We would sit and joke about how rich we would one day be.
"I'm going to be so successful my butler is going to have his own butler."
"Well, the pool in my house is going to be so big it's going to need both lifeguards and coast guards."
I think it's safe to say most people in sales start at a place like this, looking to earn and earn well, otherwise they likely would have aimed at a different career. But as we grow within our positions and our companies, our values change. We must adapt to other measures of success. We realize it's not all about the money; there's more to it.
We turned to GS Online's MLS Forum to find out how our merchant level salespeople (MLSs) peers measure success in this industry. If it's not just about the money, what else are we cultivating to grow our careers?
User ber said, "Net Annual Residual Growth is a measure I use as a guideline. But there are too many factors to make it as cut and dry as, 'I only added $3,500 to my monthly residuals this year, where my goal was $6,000.' There is also the consideration that during that same time period I had more quality time with my family, sold more POS, grew my sales office, added staff, developed new referral relationships for myself and my sales partners, earned goodwill from the referrals I provided out to my referral partners, and actually went fishing more than once."
Work-life balance was a major theme conveyed in user responses. The Green Sheet community of readers seems to appreciate that higher revenues are a side effect of pursuing success. Building the admiration and respect of your peers or your family helps to drive the motivation for larger ambitions.
Our 2013 Street SmartsSM columnist, user DSLaszig, also pointed toward the idea of moving away from a solely financial measurement and finding the intrinsic value of the experience itself. "I measure success differently today than I did maybe 10 years ago," she wrote. "Back then, it was more about the money.
"Today it's more about level of engagement and relationships. Last night I attended an after-hours meeting in NYC with a few payments friends. It was an informal event with a speaker, breakout sessions and networking. As I looked around the room at everyone having a good time, exchanging business cards, taking pictures, I felt comfortable, happy and engaged. For me, that's the real deal."
To improve oneself is to improve one's capacity for success. Seeking success through means of personal education, community contribution and family values will increase personal satisfaction. Personal satisfaction increases confidence in one's capabilities. Driving those matters is to reach a crescendo of gratification, leaving your work to be an item of joy and finding better appreciation for your work.
In the same vein as most others commenting in the forum, mbruno spoke to the varied scales he uses to determine the extent of his success. "For me, it's a couple of things – no order: friends/family/relaxation time … If I've had a good amount of time to enjoy time with my family and friends, and had time for personal relaxation, that's a success. Respect … Having people both tell and show me they respect my opinions/knowledge is a success. Ongoing education … If I know more about relevant topics now than before, that's a success. Money/assets … Pretty straightforward metric. Am I in a better financial position now than before? If so, that's a success."
Forum member, clearent, made a comment that truly resonated with us. He wrote, "I have always measured my success by the success of others who work with me." When BAMS was just an idea, our company president Dimitri Akhrin would often say to us, "There is no doubt I will be successful. My goal is to make sure that everyone around me is successful too."
As those young guns with a lead list and a cell phone, we never took too much stock of those words. It sounded like a canned line one uses to artificially motivate folks during a cheesy pyramid scheme. Over time, we understood that the culture of collaboration and support of our company has grown from that very sentiment.
However you choose to measure your success, it is important to recognize that if you are helping only your bank account, you are probably doing it wrong.
Tom Waters has been dedicated to the merchant service sales profession since 2001. Currently, he is responsible for cultivating relationships with entrepreneurs in information technology, accounting, sales and marketing in his role as Sales Director of Bank Associates Merchant Services (www.bams.com). Using fresh and matter-of-fact training methods, Tom has contributed to the success of thousands of agents, affiliates and clients. He can be reached via email through firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 347-651-1065.
Ben Abel is Regional Director at Bank Associates Merchant Services. Since joining the team in 2006, he has risen through company ranks with a paradigm that his success was measured by the success of those around him. Ben is a dedicated, pioneering trainer whose methods of merchant services consultation have helped many agents expand their portfolios in terms of processing volume, deal count and profitability. He can be contacted at 347-866-9571 or email@example.com.
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