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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 23, 2023 • Issue 23:01:02


Relationship building during times of stress

Building and maintaining fruitful, long-term relationships with business partners and merchant clients during times of stress is a challenging endeavor. Extreme weather events have negatively affected people across the United States and the world. People have faced unprecedented snowfall, extreme temperatures both low and high, bomb cyclones, atmospheric rivers, flooding, ongoing drought, and more. And these have caused damage to personal property, vehicles, commercial buildings and homes. In some communities, the extreme weather has also caused injuries and even loss of life.

In the direct aftermath and recovery period following such an event, people have to address immediate concerns first. This could mean finding temporary housing, negotiating for repairs with insurance representatives and contractors, replacing inventory, applying for loans, visiting healthcare professionals due to injuries sustained, or other activities that are outside of a person's normal routine.

At times like this, entering an establishment all fired up to pitch your company's latest products and services would likely be more of an irritation than a help.

Offer effective help during times of stress

So, what can an honorable, enterprising ISO, merchant level salesperson, or other merchant services provider do to stay in touch and help eliminate rather than contribute to stress and thereby build and strengthen relationships? Here are some ideas:

  1. Show empathy: Acknowledge the difficult situation your clients and partners are facing, and express your concern for their well-being.
  2. Communicate effectively: Keep your clients and partners informed about any changes or disruptions you may be experiencing in your own business, and be responsive to their needs and concerns under altered circumstances.
  3. Offer support and assistance: Look for ways to help your clients and partners navigate new challenges. The payments community stepped up en masse during the worst of the pandemic, offering ideas, support and the requisite technology (waiving certain fees, or providing contactless payment capabilities, for example) that enabled businesses to continue to operate amid unprecedented restrictions.
  4. Going forward, continue to provide the high-quality products and services your clients need, and follow through on commitments.
  5. Leave counseling to the professionals

    It is also important to keep in mind that as a business consultant and salesperson, your primary role is not to provide major emotional support or counseling. While it's appropriate to express concern, as well as assist with questions or issues your clients may have related to your products or services, it is not appropriate to get enmeshed in trying to remediate personal difficulties for them, no matter how much you care.

    If an associate, partner or client appears to be in need of emotional support or professional counseling, maintain boundaries. Don't offer unsolicited personal advice. Don't push them to talk about their feelings. In some cases, it may be appropriate to suggest that someone seek support from a mental health counselor or crisis hotline, but tread carefully.

    When help is given with concern and true professionalism, business relationships can often come out stronger after an extremely stressful experience. end of article

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

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