By Natasa Cvijanovic
We are interrupting your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this important message ...When I realized that this issue of The Green Sheet is being published when our industry’s tradeshow season is moving into full swing, the content I had planned to write changed.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do business, I remain a firm believer in the importance of face-to-face meetings in developing successful business relationships.
Relationships between processors, agents and ISOs should start with face-to-face meetings whenever possible, or at the very least, those building and maintaining such relationships should meet in person once a year. Why? The logic is obvious. If you're a merchant level salesperson (MLS) looking for a new processing partner, wouldn't you want to get to know the people you'll be working with?
Relationships are unquestionably the most important factor in achieving long-term business success in any industry, particularly ours. In person meetings are significantly more effective at developing relationships than virtual meetings. I'm not saying we can't use tools like Teams or Zoom; I do so frequently.
However, we should not give up face-to-face communication entirely, particularly during the early, defining stages of relationship building.
In addition to new relationships, consider your existing processing relationships. Is it possible that meeting in person with the people maintaining those relationships would benefit you? I believe most of us would say yes. While this requires additional resources, time and effort, which might act as a deterrent, I think you'll agree that the easy path is rarely the best in the world of the MLS.
And suppose you are like many salespeople in our industry. In that case, you work with multiple processors and/or ISOs, which means meeting them all in person can be costly unless an industry event brings them all together in one location.
It just so happens that we work in an industry that hosts several conferences and tradeshows on a regular basis. While many industries continue to host virtual events as the pandemic enters its third year, most payments industry events have returned to normal, in-person activities.
The payments industry's 2022 events calendar is jam-packed with exciting opportunities that will bring together all of your partners and vendors in one location. This is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and when determining which event to attend, consider your return on investment.
Throughout and following the pandemic, the payments industry innovated at a faster pace to meet the demands of a changing payment environment. Keeping up with and understanding these innovations is not always easy or cheap, but these fantastic industry events can help.
Besides the face time with existing partners, what other benefits can these events provide? Merchants expect a positive experience when doing business with you, which includes finding out about the latest in payment technology and benefiting from the expertise you bring to the table.
As a result, the latest payments innovation must be essential to your sales strategy. And you can catch up on all the latest developments at industry events by viewing presentations and product demos as well as by meeting an array of top company representatives in exhibit halls.
Learning from and collaborating with others in the industry is an excellent way to discover how to build an effective merchant service sales strategy. You're likely to run into merchant service providers who share your interests and vendors and other payments industry experts who can provide valuable insight.
Meeting like-minded payment professionals at industry conferences is another excellent way to expand your professional network. These events provide an ideal setting for networking, lead generation and brainstorming. It is also a perfect opportunity to catch up with colleagues. Whether you attended the Northeast Acquirers Association conference in Philadelphia this April or not, you should consider attending other payments conferences before the end of the year.
The Southeast Acquirers Association (SEAA) is holding its 2022 annual sales conference from June 13 to 15 at the Loews in Atlanta. I have an inside scoop and know that the SEAA exhibit hall and hotel room block sold out much earlier this year than in previous years. What is the significance of this? The excitement surrounding the upcoming SEAA show demonstrates the critical importance of face-to-face interaction in establishing and growing successful business relationships. This goes for the Midwest Acquirers Association show, too, which is coming up July 27 and 28 in Chicago.
For more than two decades, SEAA has provided the payments community with educational and engaging content, compelling speakers and fantastic networking opportunities. You can expect the same this year in Atlanta.
The long-term effects of COVID-19 demonstrate how business has changed for everyone, which will be more evident in the products that will be displayed and the topics that will be covered at the SEAA. Everything from industry regulations to the most recent industry trends will be discussed, including cryptocurrency, BNPL and much more.
If you are looking for a new processing partner, want to learn more about the invaluable payment technology, new payment options or want to meet with existing partners, you should attend.
SEAA and other regional conferences are organized by industry veterans who believe in giving back to the industry and working together to improve it. They want to bring you the most innovative products, exhibitors and speakers who will undoubtedly benefit your growth. Attending a payments conference provides you with an excellent opportunity to meet these individuals.
Months and weeks of preparation go into ensuring that the information presented is meaningful and educational. As someone fortunate to be a part of the SEAA's planning process this year, I can assure you that attending will have a positive impact on your business.
Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your perspective), our industry is constantly evolving, introducing new payment options, rules and regulations, and payment strategies, all of which require you to adapt to changing conditions and demands. Attending industry conferences as an MLS is critical to stay informed about payment trends and assist you in determining the most appropriate products and services to meet your merchants' payment needs to enhance, expand, streamline and protect their businesses. Don't pass up the chance to engage experts in one location, address payment issues, discover new business models and expand your horizons.
Natasa Cvijanovic, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Payments, has a proven track record within the payment industry of cultivating successful relationships with ISOs, MLSs and strategic partners. In developing national sales channels, she provides training and coaching to sales partners to enable them to become better business partners and advocates for their merchants, and to assist them in building portfolios producing steady residual streams. She is also dedicated to consistently delivering high levels of professionalism, integrity, dependability and trustworthiness. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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