Now that summer is in full swing, people in many locales are spending more time outdoors. They're hiking, boating, camping, beach combing, fly fishing or snorkeling—you name it. They're enjoying more hot-weather treats, too, like ice cream cones and hot fudge sundaes savored on patios shaded by great big umbrellas. They're also stopping in at gas stations to gas up before heading for the open road.
That means merchants who cater to all things having to do with summer, from boutiques selling bathing suits and sunglasses to RV dealers, are enjoying a seasonal boost.
And that means it's a good time to check in with merchants in your portfolio who are extra busy at this time just to ask if there's anything you can do to make their processing go better. It could be they were well prepared for a busy period and don't need your help. Even so, they'll appreciate that you called and may be less inclined to make a switch next time a competitor tries to tempt them away.
And if, say, you call when a retailer is experiencing some difficulty at the POS, you can help troubleshoot by phone or in person. You might be able to help fix what's broken and suggest a change that ultimately takes the business to a new level.
Of course, any time is a good time to check in with your merchant base. It's just that if you demonstrate you've been paying attention by telling them you know they're extra busy right now, and are ready to help if needed, that will help build rapport and through that, trust. Nobody likes to be contacted only when you're trying to upsell them or convince them a new fee is really worth the extra expense. But if you reach out at other times and say things that are appropriate to the current time and season, you'll be received more warmly when you do have an exciting new product or service to offer.
Every season offers new opportunities and challenges for your merchants. Thinking about what those are likely to be and then touching base as we transition from one season to another is just one way to be of service and begin new conversations.
As always, it's important to research and prepare ahead of time, but once you are interacting with a merchant, listening is the most important thing you can do. Perhaps you'll connect with the owner of a canoe rental company. You might expect that on a sunny day in June business would be booming. But a toxic spill might have brought the business to a halt. In this case, you'll have an entirely different conversation than you'd expected. But if you listen well and convey your sincere concern about the situation, the person you speak with will remember you might not be able to do anything about the immediate problem, but being there in a real, human way often leads to mutually beneficial relationships that last.
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