By Allen Kopelman
Nationwide Payment Systems
In payments, walking away from opportunities usually means walking away from money. Opportunities that are complicated or don't provide a clear path to short-term gain are still opportunities and deserve to be treated as such. Are you forgetting how complicated payments acceptance can be to someone starting a business?
What is your approach to helping a first-time merchant? Do you keep it simple by showing a plain vanilla system or one or two choices—or do you tailor something to their needs? The same rule applies when looking for channel partners that sell into select industries. The best partnership opportunities are not always readymade; many untapped markets are diamonds in the rough that you can transform into shiny treasures with a bit of grit and polish.
The Green Sheet, now in its fortieth year, has promoted partnerships since the internet's early days. A November 1995 article in Issue 95:09:02, titled, "ISOs can become ISPs," made a case for bundling processing with internet connectivity for end-to-end promotional and financial transaction processing services.
"You have a rapport with the [restaurant] owner, and you have learned that he/she has a booming lunch 'delivery' trade with local businesses in the high-rise office buildings in the area," they wrote, suggesting this would be an opportune time to pitch the restaurateur on a webpage. Whether or not you close the sale, it sets the stage for additional discussions, they added, and demonstrates you have more to offer than just payment card processing.
The article quoted payment veteran Brian Roemmele, who at the time was president of Multiple Media Corp., a web services company that he positioned as a perfect partner for ISOs, MSPs and MLSs. "Our company is offering a turn-key, ground floor sales opportunity to ISO/MSP offices and salespeople," he said. "No experience is necessary with our exclusive, market proven program. It will begin to yield you dollars today."
Fast-forward a few decades, and prospective partners are making the same pitch, albeit with different add-ons. Payment card processing and websites are ubiquitous, but the market is still hungry for seamless, contextual commerce. MLSs who are open minded, client-focused and willing to dispense with old selling habits can help fill that void.
We've all seen enterprise-scale, independent software vendors (ISVs) that embed payment capabilities into products and services using payment facilitation and payfac-as-a-service models. However, plenty of small and midsize merchants prefer to process independently, not as sub-merchants.
Working with these merchants can open adjacent opportunities with industry associations and professional organizations that could provide you with a continuous pipeline of referrals. These opportunities require some initial groundwork. Following are recommendations:
There are numerous ways to promote competitively priced, vertically focused solutions, whether with payment facilitator (payfac) and payfac-as-a-service models or niche offerings structured for particular industries. It's easier to identify and cultivate these opportunities with value-added partnerships and industry specializations. As payment professionals, it's our job to provide systems that fit budgets, solve issues, save money, and help merchants grow and scale.
Allen Kopelman, a serial entrepreneur is co-founder and CEO of Nationwide Payment Systems Inc. and host of B2B Vault: The Payment Technology podcast. Email him at email@example.com and connect on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/allenkopelman/ and Twitter @AllenKopelman.
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