In the world of payments, it's impossible to know everything. The dynamics are constantly changing. Innovation poses opportunities and challenges that test us. Admitting we don't know it all can be liberating. It allows you to focus on asking the right questions at the right time. The art of questioning can lead to greatness.
When approaching new merchants for the first time, seek to understand them. Ask questions, listen carefully. Going down this path each and every time is a direct route to building consensus. Being inquisitive and asking questions genuinely helps clarify merchants' needs and eliminates resistance, oftentimes barriers to sales.
Questions can also help keep a discussion on topic. If a conversation veers off track, rephrase what the merchant has said and direct it back as a question. For example, "Let me see if I understand this correctly. You're satisfied with your POS system, but you feel like you're missing out on repeat business from past customers. Is that a core concern?"
Questions can also bridge awkward silences. Fill the void with a question that either adds to your understanding of the merchant's needs or takes the discussion to the next level. You might ask, as a follow-up to the problem of attracting repeat customers, whether the merchant has a loyalty program, and if so, what it entails.
If, after an initial question and answer session, a merchant seems reluctant, it's fair to ask neutral questions that open the door to improving a merchant's situation or to working together to solve current and future issues. In any event, ask questions to convey that you are sincere about making a difference – even if a merchant isn't ready to sign with you.
Also, after boarding merchants, never stop asking questions. When a merchant calls in with a complaint, ask what happened to find out what went wrong and how to correct it. And check in with merchants occasionally to find out how things are going and what can be improved upon.
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