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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Improving the MLS 'away game'

Dale S. Laszig


Industry Update

News Briefs


Strong showing for payments on 2017 Inc. 5000

Gamification packs a punch


Legal pot sales: a cardless boom

Patti Murphy
ProScribes Inc.

New CFPB anti-arbitration ruling will hurt consumers

Heather Petersen
National Merchants Association


Street SmartsSM:
Why not talk to Steve?

Steven Feldshuh
Merchants' Choice Payment Solutions East

The race from zero to hero

Stu Rosenbaum
Prodigio LLC

Learning from loss leads to future wins

Jeff Fortney
Clearent LLC

Helping merchants with PCI compliance

Rafael Lourenco

Company Profile

DCS Holdings Group LLC

Rocketpay Group

New Products

Data-driven intelligence for ecommerce protection

ThreatMetrix Dynamic Decision Platform
ThreatMetrix Inc.


The beauty of long pauses


Letter from the editors

Readers Speaks

Resource Guide


A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

September 11, 2017  •  Issue 17:09:01

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Learning from loss leads to future wins

By Jeff Fortney

Early in my payments career, I helped a national salesperson with a proposal for a merchant with $100 million in annual revenue. It had been a long 18 months since I had written the initial request for proposal (RFP), and we were one of two finalists. Finally, we received word the board was making a decision on Tuesday, and we would know by 3 p.m. if we were selected.

The RFP was 108 pages, and there were three formal presentations, including one in front of the merchant's board of directors. Eight people from our company were at the meeting, representing various departments. The time commitment was significant over those 18 months, so we were all anxious to hear the results. This wasn't my deal, but I had an emotional involvement and was sweating the results along with the salesperson and many others.

Finally, Tuesday arrived, but 3 p.m. came and went. There was no call. At 4 p.m., we finally heard they chose our competitor.

A pivotal meeting

The next morning we held a meeting with all departments involved in the sales process. We conducted a post mortem, an autopsy of the sale, so to speak. I sat in the back of the room and expected to hear a long discussion about what we did wrong. Looking at the lead salesperson, though, I did not see the devastation I expected. Before the meeting, I had asked him what he expected. He replied, "You watch." So I did.

The head of sales came in, and his words surprised me. "We did better than I expected and had a shot all the way up to the end. Good job everyone. What did we do right with this opportunity?" This wasn't a dressing down about our failure, but instead a discussion of what was successful about the offering, lessons learned and how to incorporate those lessons in the next offering. He closed with, "So which opportunity is up next on the list?"

I was shocked, then relieved that there was no dressing down. We had not failed. The sales process was a success even though the merchant signed elsewhere. There were lessons learned that would be put in place to help our future efforts.

From this, I realized there are three successful results from any sales effort:

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Positive next step

Post-mortem questions

I learned from this experience that not all lost sales stop there. Many rejections are filled with lessons that may make the next no a yes. Contrary to a common belief that you should move quickly to the next opportunity after a no, you have to pause long enough to find the lessons so you don't ignore or repeat them. That effort should begin immediately after the final no by asking the following questions:

I felt terrible when we lost that large opportunity, but the lessons learned made me more successful. Not all of my subsequent RFPs have met with success, but gaining the ability to apply what I learn, as well as determine the reasons for losses, has been empowering. Don't miss out on your chances to learn. They will lead to more sales, and more money.

Jeff Fortney is Vice President, ISO Channel Management with Clearent LLC. He has more than 17 years' experience in the payments industry. Contact him at or 972-618-7340. To learn about how Clearent can help you grow faster and go further, visit

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

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