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The Green Sheet Online Edition

March 13, 2023 • Issue 23:03:01

Street SmartsSM

What makes a vendor your favorite?

By Natasa Cvijanovic
Tesla Payments

Many people are winter-weary when March arrives, particularly if it comes in "like a lion," as the old saying goes. "Lion" seems to fit this year as regions across the Northern Hemisphere recover from extended bouts of harsh weather. But you can do more than hope March goes out "like a lamb." You can revitalize by focusing on yourself and strengthening your relationships with family and friends, merchants, business partners, vendors, and so on.

Throughout this writing journey, I have emphasized the importance of developing strong and loyal relationships with your merchants and partners. And in this issue, I'd like to discuss relationships with our vendors and equipment manufacturers and how and why we choose them.

I'm sure you have a list of your favorite products, vendors, solutions, and so on, but what makes them your favorites?

An essential relationship

The relationship between a merchant and its merchant services provider is probably the most important relationship a business will have. All businesses must process payments, and a good merchant services provider will offer a wide range of products and services that a business can use. Running a successful merchant services company requires a lot of work. In addition to the rising expectations of both merchants and cardholders, the already saturated market is another challenge merchant service providers face. However, innovative products and services offered by your vendors and equipment manufacturers can contribute to the longevity of your business.

A good product will elevate you to a valuable consultant for your merchants. But how do you select products and vendors to work with?

The selection process

Other than deciding on a processor or an ISO to partner with, one of the most challenging tasks for an aspiring merchant services business owner is determining which products to sell and build the business around. How can merchant service providers attract merchants and generate a profit if they do not have the appropriate offering?

I've given some thought to a list of my favorite products and vendors that our company uses, and rather than simply listing them, I'll explain why our team likes, if not loves our product offering. All you need is love, according to The Beatles, and while that may be true for a hopeless romantic, as much as I love this industry and what I do, that hardly qualifies me as a hopeless romantic. In this case, we will require more than love.

Business building tools

The decision to market and sell a product or service is based on whether or not it will help potential and existing merchants solve a problem. So, when I think about smart credit card terminals, software, POS systems, gateways, and other products and services our company sells, I know they'll help us be advocates for our customers and help them grow their businesses because they meet the above criteria.

We also look for ways to cut our costs and the costs of the merchants we work with without sacrificing the quality of the service we offer. Aside from that, we ensure that the product allows us to effectively serve and assist our customers.

Selecting your next vendor, product or service can be challenging. The process of choosing vendors and their products has become more complex due to the evolution of the industry, merchants' and cardholders' ever-changing needs, and the supply chain.

It is no longer appropriate to choose vendors solely based on price. It is now critical to find a partner who adds value, is trustworthy, has the expertise, shares your company's core values, does not compete with you, and much more.

High stakes

As vendor relationships become more important, there is more at stake if you choose the wrong partner. Prepare a list of criteria that, if met, will make a specific vendor a strong potential partner.

Check the facts to ensure that the vendor's representations are accurate. In this industry, we frequently see vendors advertise products and services and their features, only to discover that they are "in beta" or won't be available until the first quarter of some arbitrary year. Call your industry colleagues who may be using those vendors and their products to confirm the vendors' critical capabilities and that their product advertisement and features are functional and being used by merchants.

Frequently, when selecting a vendor and their product, there is only one opportunity to get it right. Choosing the best partner and ensuring your contract with them encourages a strong, mutually beneficial partnership is crucial. Before making a commitment, thorough and diligent research can help you evaluate your vendor options and lower the risk of relationship problems after contracts are signed, paving the way for mutual success.

Choosing the wrong vendor can cost your business a lot of time and money and harm your reputation. If you sell and deliver an unreliable product to your merchants, they will be upset with you, not the vendor. It is your responsibility to conduct research, partner with vendors who can provide the most cutting-edge technology, and perform flawlessly if you are lucky.

Dependability, honesty, integrity

Okay, that may be asking too much, and we all know that no one is perfect, but it is reasonable to expect dependability and honesty. Things go wrong but hopefully not too often. We expect our partners to stand by their products, be forthright about any issues or downtime, and do their best to resolve any problems and get their products and merchants back online.

The integrity of your business is determined by the integrity of your products and services. Learn as much as possible about your vendors and how important it is for them to stay true to high ethical standards. end of article

Natasa Cvijanovic, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Payments and member of the SEAA advisory committee, 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 natasa@teslapayments.com.

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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