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The Green Sheet Online Edition

April 28, 2008 • Issue 08:04:02

POS hardware: Lemon or dream machine?

By Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

POS terminals aren't getting much respect these days. In an increasingly commoditized climate of equipment clearance sales and free terminals, even merchants will tell you the terminal is not a magical device. It's just a box. They got that idea from us: ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs).

Would we talk about our cars that way? If we shopped for cars the way we do for terminals, we'd find ourselves on a back lot somewhere, looking at economy or "previously owned" models. They would be clean, presentable and some might even come with a warranty. But something would be missing.

Older vehicles are not fully loaded. They are not equipped with DVD players, navigation systems, Bluetooth, satellite radio or other innovative accessories that have become the norm.

Trying to retrofit new technology into older model cars can sometimes work, but the overall effect is less than elegant. DVD players and chrome rims look out of place on a 1972 AMC Gremlin.

It's not easy to retrofit an older credit card terminal with new technology, either. Why hang new peripherals and cables on an old piece of hardware? Those machines are your merchants' rides - for as long as they process with you. Aren't they entitled to a trade-in?


A live demo of high performance hardware will be more effective in your sales presentation than a picture in a brochure in the same way that taking a test drive is more compelling than merely looking through a car window in the showroom.

Here are the top 10 ways equipment demos will help you win new business. The most important reason is listed as number one:

10. You will gain credibility with merchants. Your ease and enthusiasm while pointing out the features and benefits of hardware and software will convince them that you know your product. A live demo will make your meeting stand out compared to the other bankcard representatives making pitches straight from the books.

9. It will create bonding time. You and prospective clients will be focused on a tangible, interactive device which can be a real ice-breaker for a business relationship. Merchants will feel less pressure during the sales process.

8. You can easily assess merchants. You'll be able to observe what merchants like and dislike in the equipment, which will help close sales. Similar to the car market, showing top of the line hardware will help qualify customers' needs and can make the lighter and mid-range equipment look more desirable or affordable.

7. It can help educate merchants. A well-scripted demo will educate potential clients on a broad range of topics, from the movement of transactions to the simplicity of supporting every kind of card type. This will also position you as a specialist in your field, leading to additional sales and referrals.

6. It will help sell value added solutions. A demo terminal that's fully loaded is a simple, unobtrusive way to introduce the concept of value added programs. A screen menu that includes gift card and check guarantee might lead to add-ons in your sales process.

5. It will bring revenue proposition. The best way to convince merchants who want to save money on equipment is to factor in the amount of generated revenue from that same piece of hardware. Merchants who sell stored value, prepaid cards and bill paying services earn money from these programs while building customer loyalty. Rewards, loyalty programs and coupons on credit card receipts will keep customers coming back.

4. A problem will get resolved. Merchants who have been processing for a while miss opportunities. Perhaps they lack a portable processing device they could take to tradeshows. They may be paying for a secondary phone line for their terminal instead of switching to an Internet protocol- (IP-) enabled credit card machine.

These types of situations and resolutions are easier to illustrate when you are showing equipment, instead of talking without the benefit of props.

3. You could avoid reprogramming older models. Let merchants experience the ease and effortlessness of a newer terminal, and they will be less likely to ask you to refurbish their old junk.

This would also be a prime time to reveal to merchants some of the pitfalls of reprogramming old equipment: expired warranties, insufficient memory to support value added programs and our industry's rigorous new security standards.

2. It will eliminate the need for peripherals. Merchants have become accustomed to processing on an all-in-one model and many of the older internal PIN pads no longer meet industry regulations. Your merchants could be subject to fines if they continue using these machines for PIN-based debit.

Why would merchants want to add an external PIN pad to an older machine when, for a few more bucks, they could upgrade to a newer, fully equipped model? If they are seeing an increase in contactless cards in their store, make them aware of terminals that have built-in contactless readers, eliminating the need for a peripheral contactless reader device.

1. It will close the sale. The step from hardware demo to paperwork signing is a logical one in the sales process. You've had more time with these merchants than any of your competitors, and in the process you've earned their respect and their business.

Business driven

It's notable that some of the most successful MLSs in our industry have come out of the car business. They do well when transitioning because they already know it's not about selling a commodity - they're selling experience. They know their sales volume will increase in direct proportion to the number of demos they do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

When you place high performance hardware on a countertop during a sales presentation, you're giving prospective customers the experience of ownership. So, take your merchants on a test drive, so to speak. You'll both enjoy the ride. end of article

Dale S. Laszig has a varied background in sales for First Data, Hypercom and VeriFone. Her dedication to technology, writing and graphic design led to the formation of DSL Direct, LLC: a marketing services company geared toward payment professionals. She can be reached at 973-930-0331 or Dale@DSLDirectllc.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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