By Adam Moss
It is 7:30 p.m. on a Sunday night. Your favorite football team just spent three hours on the grid iron battling it out with a fierce competitor. At the same time, your team is in the locker room all fired up about the game and the victory. The head coach congratulates all of the players and hands out game balls to reward some of his players for outstanding play. The players shower and head home to their families to enjoy the victory. All the hard work and planning paid off.
Fast forward to 8:30 p.m. Everyone except the coaches has left the building. While today's victory will go a long way toward making the playoffs, there's no time to sit back and enjoy today's success. Next week is another game for which to prepare, just as was done the week before. The routine is the same: the film needs to be reviewed first by the coaches and then with the team, the offensive and defensive coaches need to formulate game plans for next week's opponent, and those game plans need to be installed with the team and worked on all week. Game time is 1 p.m. next Sunday.
As the head coach of your business, what is your game plan? In football, teams play 16 games with the sole purpose of being one of 12 teams to make the playoffs and try to reach the Super Bowl. What is your Super Bowl or your end game? More importantly, what is your plan to reach your end game?
I have learned one reason why some merchant level salespeople (MLSs) are not successful is that they do not spend enough time planning or putting together a game plan for their businesses and then implementing that plan. Or they spend too much time on planning but no time on implementing the plan. Rather, they spend most of their time getting caught up in the same day-to-day activities. Imagine if an NFL coach fell into the same pattern and did not plan and implement. It would result in failure for both the coach and the team.
As we enter into 2015, now is the time to work on your business and outline your game plan for the coming year. Reflect on what went well and what did not go so well last year. Ask yourself how you are going to conduct your business moving forward. What markets are you going to prospect? Are you partnered with the right ISO? Do you have the necessary products to bring to market to create success? Do you have the tools needed to run your business effectively? More importantly, once you have asked and answered these questions, the next step will be to act upon them – probably the most important step in the process.
I'm sure you have heard Albert Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Do you find yourself waking up each morning and conducting business in the same way as you did the day before or the day before that or even last year? Have you seen your business grow? Do you see your business growing in 2015 and beyond?
The industry as we know it today looks nothing like it did three to five years ago. Merchants are getting smarter; the government has dipped its toe into the industry; the EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) standard is coming to the United States; margins are dropping; and technology is constantly changing. To be a successful MLS, it is incumbent upon you to know what is out there and how you can change the conversation with merchants and reverse the trend of margin compression by offering added-value products.
Earlier I asked what your end game is. Ultimately, we are all in this business to earn a living and support ourselves and our families. I have been in merchant services for 12 years and have spoken with countless MLSs. I've heard the good, the bad and the ugly.
However, too often what I've heard is how MLSs keep going about their business the same way day in, day out. And while they are having success they are not maximizing their opportunity. I have also spoken with many who are frustrated at the current state of the market. They ask, what happened to the good old days?
As the head coach of your business, spend time learning about new products and how they can change the way you sell and make you more productive and profitable. It is time to change the daily dynamic and take your business to the next level. Start working on your business and not in your business. Put in a game plan, work the plan and don't be afraid to change direction if something is not working. Remember, you are the head coach.
Adam Moss, prior Chief Operating Officer of Charge Card Systems, is currently Director of ISO Sales for CardConnect, a leader in the payment space that bought CCS a few years back. Adam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 561-338-4446. For additional information on CardConnect, please visit www.cardconnect.com.
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