By Aaron Nasseh
When I started my career in the payments space over a decade ago, I started as an agent/ISO recruiter. Within a few years, my colleagues and I were procuring 4,000 new applications per month from our recruiting efforts. Although my responsibilities have changed since that time, I am still very much involved in the recruiting efforts for my own company today. In this article, I will share tips that may help you with your efforts in recruiting qualified merchant level salespeople (MLSs).
There are many ways to recruit experienced agents; your methods will partly depend on your budget. Common methods include online marketing, social media engagement, placing ads in respected trade magazine such as The Green Sheet, attending tradeshows, and conducting email campaigns.
However, having consulted with a number of ISOs, I've noticed that many ISOs run pricing-focused marketing when seeking new MLS relationships. Sure, pricing is critical to potential agent partners, but the reality is that I can pick up the phone and call five ISOs and receive just about the same proposal from most, if not all of them. To successfully recruit experienced MLSs, you must offer more than just competitive pricing.
I've found that the top three determining factors for an agent seeking a new relationship are pricing, service and technology.
While recruiting experienced MLSs is far more competitive than ever before, it can be a very profitable part of your business if done correctly. Considering that the first impression an agent forms about your organization is based on the initial phone call, it's imperative that you have experienced recruiters handling those calls. Many recruiters focus so much on pricing that they fail to ask the most basic question of potential agents, which is: Why are you seeking a new relationship? The answer will often provide everything you need to successfully address the concerns of the agent and form a new relationship.
A good recruiter knows that not all agents have the same needs. I can't tell you how many times I have signed up agents at less favorable pricing than they previously had simply because my company was able to address their servicing needs. Those MLSs valued quality of service more so than a few extra bucks. A good recruiter helps agents assess the overall value of the partnership, not just the numbers on the paper.
If you take only one thing away from this article, let it be to listen, understand and address the needs of potential agents, and you will sign up more partnerships than you ever could by discussing pricing.
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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