The Green Sheet Online Edition
March 27, 2017 • Issue 17:03:02
Selling during merchants' slow times
For most businesses, sales fluctuate during the course of a year. Countless merchants experience soaring transaction numbers during the year-end holiday season; some have winter or summer lifts or lulls; others have dramatic swings during long holiday weekends. A fear of scarcity can boost sales, and a glut of goods can grind a business to a halt.
It is true that when times are slow for merchants, the ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) serving them experience a dip in residuals. However, while income may be lowered temporarily, there is an upside for payment pros when a steady steam of customers turns into a trickle at a merchant's store.
In Good Selling!TM: The Basics, Paul H. Green pointed out that whatever the reason for a drop in sales, it presents an excellent opportunity for MLSs. "You'll probably encounter less competition and less interruption," he wrote. "The increased availability will make the merchant more receptive to your proposition and result in good news for both of you. In addition, remember your competitors might actually believe the slow season myth and stay home, leaving the door open for you."
Green also offered the following seven possible responses when you've called on a merchant in person or by phone, and a merchant says that business is slow:
- I'm glad I'm here! We can start fixing that right now!
- I'm sure you're planning to change that. Perhaps my service fits into that plan.
- With this temporary lull, isn't this the perfect time for us to discuss this opportunity with minimal interruption?
- I've met with a lot of merchants in the same situation and fortunately, we were able to work together to fix the situation.
- I have a list of merchants who use the service and their sales have increased as a result. Would you like to see it?
- So you're cutting back on purchases? What are your priorities? If increasing sales or minimizing risk is one, then this is one area you won't want to cut back on.
- I'm sure you don't anticipate business to remain slow. You want to be prepared for the rush when business picks up. I can help so you aren't caught with your guard down.
During merchants' slow times, payment pros have an opportunity to step up and shine as consultants who offer substantially more than transaction processing: integrated marketing tools, real-time data analytics, online reporting, alternative financing options, receivables management, gift and loyalty programs, payroll processing, and more are among the many options.
So prepare yourself to take advantage of slow times your merchants experience no matter what caused the downturn. Consider these questions: What services do you have to offer merchants to help them run their businesses better? What can you provide that will reduce costs and bring them business in new ways? How can you better understand the key challenges your merchants face? Then identify solutions and be prepared to help your merchants grow their businesses – and yours.
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