By Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC
Imagine seeing a line of track in the dirt and imagining a different use for it. Maybe the track was primarily used for freight trains until someone added a passenger car and soon after, a dining and sleeping car to improve the ride. In much the same way, innovative thinkers are leveraging payment rails to create a deeper, richer customer experience.
Our industry has an uncanny ability to leverage existing infrastructure. In recent interviews, I've heard people compare the limitless potential of APIs and payment platforms to Lego logs that can be combined and formatted in so many ways.
Early POS terminals transmitted rudimentary signals over analog modems and phone lines. Over time, innovators added features and functionality to create faster, sleeker, more complex machines. Gradually, after carpeting the landscape with terminals and integrated POS systems, solution providers introduced mobile, virtual and cloud-based points of sale.
The journey from potential to purpose to possibility is reflected in our sales cycle. We begin discovery in the potential stage, build solutions and relationships in the purpose stage and find ways to leverage what we've built in the possibility stage, which takes us back, full circle, to potential, where we begin discovery anew.
The partnership between Atomic and Bond Technology is a case in point. Atomic, a payroll connectivity provider, and Bond Financial Technologies, an embedded finance company, had been partners for a long time but never stopped exploring their partnership's potential. On June 9, 2022, they unveiled Repay, a solution that enables borrowers to pay with buy now, pay later (BNPL) installments directly from their paychecks.
Jordan Wright, co-founder and CEO of Atomic, said the Repay solution gives consumers more control of their personal finances by enabling them to pay for things they need without the risk of defaulting or incurring late fees.
Roy Ng, CEO and co-founder of Bond, agreed, calling Repay "a seamless, integrated solution to a major problem that often leaves employees confused and employers concerned about their workers' financial well-being."
How can payment professionals be as fluid, responsive and adaptable as the technology they sell without getting stuck in any one stage of the sales cycle? Perhaps it begins by focusing on prospects and their challenges and requirements, as these BNPL providers have done:
By focusing on their prospects' needs, these companies carved out a niche in the BNPL space. They built products without staying stuck in the purpose stage, which enabled them to drive value and mitigate risk. While media outlets are awash in dire predictions about a BNPL bubble and escalating default rates, these providers rose above the fray by viewing BNPL more as a capability than a product.
Merchant level salespeople can borrow a page from these tech leaders' playbooks by focusing on each prospect or partner holistically instead of from a price perspective. Apple is not taking a cut of its BNPL solution; Mastercard is not limiting its BNPL service to Mastercard cardholders. These companies understand the power of commerce enablement, and their contributions help us all rise.
If you're wondering what this has to do with selling merchant services, why not give it a try? Choose a prospect or partner and see where the journey from potential to purpose to possibility takes you.
Dale S. Laszig, senior staff writer at The Green Sheet and managing director at DSL Direct LLC, is a payments industry journalist and content strategist. Connect via email firstname.lastname@example.org, LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/dalelaszig/ and Twitter @DSLdirect.
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