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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 11, 2021 • Issue 21:01:01

Street SmartsSM

Is it time to expand your offering?

By Marc Beauchamp
Bankcard Life

I've been discussing strategic planning over the last few articles. Part of the strategic planning process is evaluating your current product lineup and ensuring you have the right programs and products that add real value to your merchant base.

As the industry evolves and changes, so does the role of a merchant-focused salesperson. The days of solely offering merchant services are over; sales consultants now need to be current on a whole host of programs and products such as POS systems, online ordering and ecommerce implementation, mobile and QR code payment acceptance, gift/loyalty and chargeback programs, compliance solutions, working capital, API integrations and much more.

What I want to discuss in this article is how new products or services can help create new revenue opportunities for your organization. As I interact with ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) daily, I'm seeing more and more of them embracing new products or services to help them reduce attrition, open new markets, increase their bottom line or give them a competitive edge.

Traditional product lines such as cash discounting, debit, check and gift card processing are the mainstays for most MLS offices. If you're stuck in a one-size-fits-all product offering, the industry is going to leave you in the dust. As the business continues to evolve, a wealth of new product options will come to market.

Here are several examples that I'm seeing out in the marketplace:

  • POS financing (consumer finance)
  • Buy now pay later embedded financing
  • Online store builders/shopping carts
  • Omnichannel solutions
  • Self-serve kiosk solutions
  • Cloud-based POS systems
  • Takeout/delivery/online ordering
  • Custom mobile applications development
  • Numerous payment gateway solutions
  • NFC/contactless solutions
  • Payfac implementation
  • Fundraising/tithing solutions
  • Wireless vending/parking solutions
  • B2B L2/L3 payment processing
  • SMS payments and mobile marketing
  • Social media products
  • Digital signage
  • Compliance solutions
  • Chargeback fraud reduction software
  • HR/payroll processing
  • Working capital (MCA, asset-based lending)
  • Commercial equipment finance
  • Invoice factoring/floor planning
  • video surveillance

With all these options it can get confusing, but rest assured merchants are looking for value-added solutions from trusted suppliers that can help them improve their bottom line.

If you are not providing the solutions clients need and want, guess what? Someone else will. I'm certainly not advocating adding several new products at once, but this may be a good time to investigate what's out there and determine if there are any synergistic fits with your existing business model.

Done correctly, adding a hit new product can make a major impact to your bottom line and reinvigorate your sales staff. Done incorrectly, a failed new product launch can be a disaster to profit margins, reputation and staff motivation.

Factors to consider

Before adding a new product or services consider these factors: profit potential, market opportunity, competitive environment, product implementation and ongoing service commitment. Following is a discussion of each:

  • Profit potential: One of the most important components of any new product launch is the potential to impact bottom line revenue. A product that opens new doors and creates significant ongoing revenue is a winner every time. Ask some commonsense questions: What is the potential revenue this new product will create? Is it a one-time commission, residual based or both? Will it create new opportunities to sell additional products and services? Will this product help retain existing customers? Will it help recruit agents?
  • Market opportunity: You can have the best product in the world but if the potential market size is too small, you won't gain traction. Ask yourself the basics: Who will buy or needs this product or service? Where can I locate this type of customer? What is the market potential and size? What does my prospect want from this product? What will it solve? What pain will it remove? Why should they buy from me? Why am I unique? How do I penetrate this market? When do I begin launching this product?

    It's essential to think through the entire process to make sure all the bases are covered. There must be a large enough market and a real need for a successful launch.

  • Competitive environment: It is always important to know what the competitive climate is around any new business opportunity. At this time, I can't see any new product being as competitive as the market we are in right now. Do your homework. Who are the major competitors? What are their pricing strategies? How much of the market do they have in your area? What is unique about their offering? Why do you think you can compete with them?
  • Product implementation: Another key factor is implementation. How difficult is this product to install, set up or activate? Will it require additional staff to support the implementation? Many products like POS systems require cabling, routers, menu setup, hardware configuration, staff training and a high level of support. Are the benefits of selling this product worth the implementation work required?
  • Ongoing service commitment: Ongoing service is always a consideration for any size company. Ideal products should require little or no ongoing service by staff. If you're adding a new product that requires heavy service and support, make sure the upfront and ongoing revenue streams justify the additional service work.

There is pent up demand and great opportunity ahead of us in 2021. Business owners want to leverage technology, improve productivity and trim costs. Now is the perfect time to take a look at new and exciting products that can provide a clear competitive edge in your market area. Be committed to being a solution provider and to adding value to your clients and you can't help but have a fabulous year. Good luck! end of article

Marc Beauchamp is author of Survive and Thrive in the Merchant Services Industry and founder of Bankcard Life, a community for payments professionals. He is offering a free copy of his book to all payments professionals at www.bankcardlife.com/greensheet. Marc welcomes your comments and feedback at marcb@surviveandthrive.biz.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

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

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