Did you know there's a fancy word for fear of change? It's called metathesiophobia. It derives from the Greek words meta, which means change, and phobos, for fear. No matter what it's called, fear of change is a widespread malady that affects just about everyone to greater or lesser degrees and frequency.
Given the extent to which people tend to resist change, you, as ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) who have carved out careers in the payments industry, deserve respect for your resilience and flexibility. Change is ever present in our realm. And you keep diving in no matter how much disruption you face in the market.
Like ISOs and MLSs, merchants are entrepreneurial, and they adapt to change and even welcome it. Sometimes, however, they are overextended and feel like one more change, no matter how beneficial it might prove to be in the long run, is just too much to tolerate.
When this occurs during a conversation with a merchant prospect, what is an enterprising sales rep to do? Paul H. Green provided helpful hints for just this circumstance in Good SellingTM:The Basics. He stated you need only do three things to help merchants overcome resistance to change: demystify, clarify and compare.
Demystifying your offerings means anticipating and answering merchants' questions. "For many people, resistance to change stems from a fear of the unknown," Green wrote. "They might wonder: What exactly will happen if I switch to a new terminal? What will this new service do for me? Will my customers see a difference? What benefits will I see? Is there anyone in my area who is using the same piece of equipment or service? What kind of training will I have to invest in?"
It's the rep's job to answer all these questions and more. "Many prospects have questions running through their heads that they never ask," Green noted. "Use specifics, cite details, ask questions. Make sure nothing goes unanswered."
Since the distinct aspects of your products and services are new to the merchant, it is necessary after you've demystified your offerings to go back over the information you presented to clarify, for example, exactly what your equipment does, how it will be set up, whether it can be customized, when the merchant will be up and ready, how the customer's systems and interfaces will be affected, what benefits the merchant will see, what kind of training you'll provide, upgrades that are available, security features included, and more.
Green also suggested that you ask the merchant to clarify his or her needs at this time, too, because you "can't meet those needs if you aren't certain what they are."
After demystification and thorough clarification, Green's final step is to "compare your prospect's current situation to the one they could enjoy if they signed an agreement with you. Once they have the whole picture, they will see that you can offer them a better product – if only they'll make a change."
Now you can add metathesiophobia-busting to your resume as one of your valuable professional skills.
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