The Green Sheet Online Edition
September 25, 2017 • Issue 17:09:02
7 habits of highly ineffective ISO recruiters
If you were a veteran recruiter of both independent agents and direct salespeople, how would you rate your performance: excellent, good, average or poor? If you are underperforming, you probably haven't identified areas in need of improvement. And you likely haven't taken time to figure out why you've lost prospects or long-time producing agents.
Before you blame your subpar closing ratio on factors beyond your control, look in the mirror. Reflect on what you're doing and how you could be doing it better. Following are seven habits of highly ineffective recruiters and why they lose business.
- Habit 1: Be untrustworthy. The payments industry is a small community, and reputations matter. If you think of MLSs as commodities instead and become blinded by dollar signs when trying to sign an ISO, you miss out on developing lasting, meaningful relationships. Trusted recruiters, who are sincerely interested in others, have a competitive advantage over you.
- Habit 2: Be vague. When you don't clearly explain how your differentiator can help MLSs, you can't pique their interest and win them over. Understand your ISO's strategic value, and convey the same reasons and arguments you would provide to senior management about what makes your company exceptional. Strategic values may include increasing revenues, decreasing costs, gaining a competitive advantage and improving efficiencies to reduce risk.
- Habit 3: Be self-centered. Agents feel pressured by self-centered recruiters. Many believe recruiters and senior management are only serving their own agenda. Instead of focusing solely on revenue, concentrate on helping agents accomplish their goals, which vary by individual.
- Habit 4: Use the wrong closing strategy. Overall, hard close techniques such as "This is the last time we'll be able to extend this offer" are highly ineffective. A hard close forces a binary yes or no response. Conversely, softer closing techniques such as, "If you bring another 25 mids per month, you will receive an additional 10 percent higher revenue split," are highly effective. You need to give MLSs latitude to make their own decisions even when you've created the perfect conditions for them to say yes. This approach is empowering and creates a win-win relationship.
- Habit 5: Play hard to get. You've been burned a few times (who hasn't?) and bring your mistrust to each new relationship. You put prospective recruits on the defensive by asking for qualifications, when you're the one who should be doing the proposing. Most lengthy evaluations never close because the recruiters haven't alleviated the risk of buying into their organizations. Tolerance for risk fluctuates. Understand this as you seek to assuage agents' concerns about risk.
- Habit 6: Keep things impersonal. By keeping things on a need-to-know basis, you fail to establish personal connections with MLSs. This can isolate you from others and hamper your efforts to develop meaningful bonds. Recruiters and MLSs frequently learn to respect each other's convictions and persistence and, sometimes, agree to disagree. This is the kind of interpersonal dynamic that enables relationships to grow. Relationships are the most important element in building successful businesses.
- Habit 7: Don't appreciate people. If you are playing favorites, you're forgetting that anything can turn on a dime in this business. Today's startup may be tomorrow's super ISO, and vice versa. Smart recruiters give all MLSs the same respect, whether they're doing one or 100 MIDs a month. These are small business owners and, for many, their residual streams are critical income.
Also, if you remember agents' milestones – birthdays and holidays, for example – be punctual with your delivery. Last year, our business received a Christmas card and a double deck of playing cards from an ISO for being a "Top-3 Producer." While we appreciated the thought, the package was postmarked and delivered four days after Christmas. Such oversights can make agents feel undervalued and tend to be remembered more than many positive things the ISO might have done.
In recruiting and in life, treat everyone you meet the same way you expect to be treated: with courtesy, dignity and respect. If any of these seven habits of highly ineffective recruiters look familiar to you, do yourself a solid and make necessary changes. You'll be glad you did.
Mike Ackerman is President of DigiPay Solutions Inc., which specializes in high-risk, high-volume, card-not-present and business-to-business merchant services. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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