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The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 10, 2007 • Issue 07:12:01

Street SmartsSM

Sale away, team

By Dee Karawadra
Impact PaySystem

While on Thanksgiving holiday, I strategized about increasing Impact PaySystem's production. I bought several sales books to guide me while mapping out a plan. I am not a sales guru, and I'm not afraid to turn to the experts when it comes to growing my business.

So, I turned the pages in books written by those who are qualified to teach the core essentials of sales. I took those key points and tried to apply them to the payments industry.

Our industry has so many factors to determine if a sale will happen. Merchant level salespeople (MLSs) walk door to door, wearing out the soles of their shoes, determined to finalize sales.

Once a customer agrees to sign an application, most MLSs cross their fingers and hope the rest of the process will go well.

While evaluating our business at Impact PaySystem, I tried to define exactly what a sale is: A sale should not be called such unless a new merchant customer has processed for a minimum of two weeks, and things are going smoothly.

It takes an army

A true sale involves a team of people, not just one person. This team includes data entry, underwriting, deployment, profile building, entitlements, customer service, technical support, account management and many other functions that help MLSs make sales.

Great benefits come from having an arsenal of team members who help make sales. The team is what this side of the business is all about. What can the team do for MLSs?

The team is involved in every aspect of the sales process. It ensures that the merchant is taken care of after the application has been signed. How the team performs makes a huge difference in an MLS's ability to sell.

Formerly an MLS, I know how important it is to find the right team that understands they are part of the selling cycle. Often, that is the most difficult part of the process.

It is crucial for each team member, whether the individuals are in technical support or data entry, to communicate about each merchant that is processed. This is how problems can be prevented.

How does an MLS find the right team? Start by making a list of what will achieve more sales. It may include value added products, fast and friendly customer service and tech support, a reprogramming team, an agent bank, deployment team, and dedicated account manager.

To be successful, ISOs and MLSs should view one another as partners. MLSs are integral to an ISO's team; the deals MLSs submit are what enable ISOs to grow.

From start to finish

We all know what happens when an account is set up incorrectly or in an untimely manner. The merchant gets frustrated and places the blame on the person who sold the service. It can hinder any possibility of upgrading the merchant if the initial sale goes sour.

It also puts a strain on developing a relationship beyond the early stages.

Some consider a sale a signed contract, but I recognize it as one only after the merchant account is processing. My goal is to acquire the merchant's processing business. If all I do is get an application signed and forget about the rest of the steps, I will never reach my goal.

I put an emphasis on the process that takes place after the contract is signed - I urge MLSs to do the same. MLSs familiar with the entire procedure can make sure their partners are fulfilling their responsibilities in this process.

As an MLS, you want to be confident in the product or service. If you sell a service but have difficulty with the initial setup, you will surely lose the respect of the merchant and ruin your chances of any future referrals.

Checks and balances

The biggest obstacle for ISOs and MLSs is there are many factors we don't always count on. Within the electronic world, we have different levels of control, making it impossible for any ISO or MLS to get it right every time.

Often the processor, or another vendor, is involved; this is where most of us lose control. In general, the MLS expects the ISO team to get the resolution. The ISOs must depend at times on the processor or vendors to get issues resolved.

Often the hierarchy is broken when one of these levels does not get the response needed in a timely manner. However, we can take a proactive approach as a team and work collectively to get the job done right.

Take the time to read some sales technique books that may be collecting dust on your bookshelf. Take a few minutes to apply key sales principles to your business goals.

This can only contribute to your knowledge and help you stay on the right track.

Please feel free to contact me. I would love to share with you some of the books I find helpful. I hope everyone has a great holiday season and enjoys time with their families.

Safari Njema. Safe journey. end of article

Dee Karawadra is the founder, Chief Executive Officer and President of Impact PaySystem, based in Memphis, Tenn. He and his team have a wealth of knowledge on the merchant services industry, with a niche in the petroleum market. Dee's experience on the street as an agent has guided him in laying a foundation for an agent program that is both straightforward and lucrative for his agents. Contact him at 877-251-0778 or dee@impactpaysystem.com.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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