By Aaron Nasseh
At some point, we have all wondered if our sales model is the right one or whether we should try a different model, especially if we observe another ISO having success with a new model. I am sure we can all agree that sales is the lifeblood of any successful ISO. However, to maximize your sales efforts, it is critical to know which sales model is most suitable for both your organization and your management style. This may seem like an obvious principle, but I am amazed at how many newly established ISOs are overlooking this simple concept.
In this article, I'll briefly review five of the most widely used sales models in our industry.
This model has been around for a long time, and depending on the size of your ISO, it may or not may not be the best option for your organization. If you are targeting experienced agents, then your organization must be set up to accommodate the needs of experienced agents, and often, their team.
To start, you must have an aggressive recruiting plan and great recruiters. You definitely need to have an experienced team of relationship managers to assist your agents on a daily basis, and you must have the ability to offer competitive compensation plans.
Keep in mind that this is a very competitive model, as you will be competing with most of the larger ISOs in our industry. So it is important to be able to offer something that differentiates your company from your competitors. However, it is also the quickest way to build a large sales engine if it is executed properly.
This model has also been around for quite some time, and it is a highly profitable model if managed correctly, since by bringing new agents into the industry you are able to offer less favorable terms than experienced agents command, which results in your company retaining a higher percentage of the revenue.
In exchange for the lower compensation, you would provide top-notch training for the agents, and since they are new to the industry, you wouldn't have to worry about them having learned bad habits. This program also requires a great support team that will offer daily coaching for your agents and lots of hand holding. While it is more labor intensive than recruiting experienced agents, it could be very rewarding.
This model often appears to be very easy, and thus it is the first choice of many agents. However, it quickly proves to be the most challenging, because to succeed, it requires excellent sales team training and management.
Merchants receive multiple calls throughout the week from other agents, all of whom are offering them money-saving opportunities So unless you or someone working with you has extensive knowledge on managing and training a telesales team, I strongly encourage you to think twice before making a large investment in this model. The cost of telemarketers, phone lines and overall management of this model could be prohibitive. It may be a simple model, but it's definitely not easy.
The appointment setting model is a hybrid of telesales and a feet-on-the-street program. In this model, either a team of appointment setters, or the sales team itself calls upon the merchants in advance to schedule in-person appointments. I have seen many agents and ISOs have great success with this model. Nevertheless, to succeed, this also requires excellent management and training of your team.
One word of caution: the success of this model has also led to the start of many unscrupulous third-party companies that charge for scheduling appointments on your behalf. Unfortunately, most of them are only there to separate you from your hard-earned money. So, if you're going to do this model I suggest keeping your appointment setting in-house.
On its surface, online marketing appears to be the simplest of all models. I mean, who doesn't love the idea of sitting back while the search engines do all of the work for you, and leads come pouring in through emails or phone calls. However, this requires a very special set of skills to be effective.
You or one of your employees must be an expert in managing online marketing campaigns, otherwise it is all too easy to throw away your money competing against larger ISOs that are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per month on online marketing – and have experts managing it.
Now that I've briefly reviewed some of the models widely used in our industry, the question still remains, which model is the right model? My answer has always been the same: I truly believe that all models are the right model, but not all of them are right for you and your organization. Or to quote Dustin Niglio from Payment Logistics, who is a member of GS Online's MLS Forum, "The model is not nearly as important as your unique value proposition." I could not agree more.
Next, it is important for you to honestly evaluate your set of skills and expertise, and determine your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you have never done online marketing or telesales, you probably want to stay away from those models until you are able to hire experts to manage them for you.
Having worked with thousands of agents, I have learned that your chances for growth and continued success are much greater if you stick with what you know. You can always introduce new sales initiatives down the line, but first establish a strong sales engine under the model that you are most familiar with.
Aaron Nasseh is the founder and Chief Executive Officer at Finical Inc. His extensive sales and management experience includes having previously served as the General Manager of CardPayment Solutions and Vice President of Sales at iPayment Inc. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 818-330-4055.
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