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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Global digital payments beckon

Patti Murphy

News

Industry Update

Betting on ATMs, PAI sells acquiring arm to Clearent

Petro retailers 'low-hanging fruit' in Verifone intrusion

Mastercard, Oracle expand cross-channel initiative

SEC charges former iPayment execs, ex-CEO under fire

Features

European hoteliers get tech savvy

Mark Dunn

Views

Merchant first, service second

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

Thoughts on the future of payments (and the wine biz)

Brandes Elitch
CrossCheck Inc.

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Keep fighting, keep innovating, keep closing

John Tucker
1st Capital Loans LLC

A legal take on the rise of legitimate aggregation

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

Company Profile

Ingenico Group

New Products

Secure, international B2B receivables

Global B2B receivables
Flywire

Versatile solutions to expand capabilities, reduce PCI scope

Semi-integrated Solutions
ExaDigm Inc.

Inspiration

Selling during merchants' slow times

Departments

Readers Speak

Letter from the editors

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

March 27, 2017  •  Issue 17:03:02

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The very point of sale:
Merchant first, service second

By Dale S. Laszig

Every selling day has pros and cons. Business owners may be more relaxed on Fridays, but they're often also signing checks and trying to make payroll. They may be more business-minded on Mondays, but their thoughts are typically focused on the week ahead. Sales pros have learned to navigate distractions and direct the focus to opportunities.

Merchant level salespeople (MLSs) have a small window to make a big impression. Connected technologies create workplace distractions, making it difficult to get a customer's undivided attention. Merchants rarely ignore calls, texts and tweets while they're in meetings. Their businesses are their lifelines; it's difficult to look away, even for a few minutes. That's why MLSs need to zero in on merchants first, merchant services second.

Charm offensive

Selling is stigmatized. People delay or cancel meetings if they sense a sales pitch coming on. Seasoned MLSs take this in stride, exuding confidence and warmth when a prospect is ready to see them. I remember riding with an MLS on a day of cold calling years ago. When a prospect asked what he was selling, he replied, "Nothing. I'm giving things away today. Let me begin with my cards." Forty minutes later, he signed the account and went on to sign the merchant next door.

He opened new accounts that day with charm, wit and fascination in his prospects. He was knowledgeable about his own offerings, but he put that out of mind when he walked through the door. "I let it all go," he confided. "I purposely erase everything from my mind when I walk into a store so I can absorb as much as I can as quickly as I can."

Retail is changing

These days MLSs still focus on customers, despite how much their jobs have changed. The days of selling pure POS solutions are gone. MLSs and other business development specialists in the payments industry are selling complex, customizable solutions designed to be seamlessly embedded in a merchant's business and brand.

"A long-standing sales axiom is to know your client and know the industry," wrote Paul H. Green in Good Selling!SM: Thirteen Weeks to Personal Success. "This was easy in the old economy, back in the days when shoes, cars and sportswear were the heart of retail, and Internet retailers were not part of the business landscape."

When the book was published in 2004, Green noticed a shift in shopping patterns. The industry veteran and founder of The Green Sheet predicted that multilayered digital technologies would change the way people shop and buy. "You can't look under the hood, and you no longer can depend on an elegant showroom to display your product or service," he wrote. "Instead, you must rely on the look and feel of your product's display on a screen."

More than a decade later, ecommerce and mobile commerce are taking market share from stores and shopping malls. Merchants have outgrown one-size-fits-all credit card terminals. They are working with ISOs, value-added resellers and independent software vendors to create POS systems that reflect their unique identities and brands.

Removing barriers, optimizing checkout

Merchants are also removing barriers between in-store and online commerce to create a continuous shopping experience. They recognize that ecommerce has fundamentally changed the way people shop. Whether they are online, in stores or at kiosks, consumers enjoy browsing more than they enjoy paying. Following are examples of how merchants are addressing this by creating frictionless checkouts:

Customers first

When Verizon Communications Inc. decided to rebrand, it was a wake-up call for all service providers. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal's Ryan Knutson in February 2017, Diego Scotti, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Verizon, said it was time for a change. The company logo "was just looking tired," so Scotti refreshed it by adding a check mark to signify reliability. Then he led development of a new platform called go90 that streamed mobile-first content. The go90 brand doesn't carry the Verizon logo; Scotti wants it to stand on its own.

"What go90 is trying to do is to be a distribution platform for amazing mobile-first content," he said. "And that's something that doesn't really exist in the marketplace." His vision is to appeal to a new generation of always-on, always-connected consumers by showcasing short, bite-sized content that millennials consume on YouTube.

From simple rails to platforms

Verizon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam hired Scotti, whose background in retail marketing has helped the 100-year-old company transform its image from that of a simple communications carrier to an innovative technology platform. McAdam, who wants to create an emotional bond with current and future customers, looked outside the commoditized telco industry for talent who could help make that happen.

Merchant services is also transforming from providing simple payment rails to offering innovative technology platforms. Commoditization will continue, but so will opportunities for salespeople who understand their customers and help them use technology to grow and scale their businesses.

Dale S. Laszig, Staff Writer at The Green Sheet and Managing Director at DSL Direct LLC, is a payments industry journalist and content provider. She can be reached at dale@dsldirectllc.com and on Twitter at @DSLdirect.

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

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Spotlight Innovators:

North American Bancard | USAePay | Humboldt Merchant Services | Impact Paysystems | Electronic Merchant Systems