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The Green Sheet Online Edition

July 28, 2008 • Issue 08:07:02


Take new trip in downturn

Amid predictions of imminent recession and gas prices rising higher than mid-summer temperatures at noon, some of you, as ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs), might be having difficulty staying positive.

Goal-setting is important. It helps focus energy and effort to get things accomplished. But it's easy during uncertain times to fixate on unattainable quotas and neglect other aspects of business that need attention, too.

So, consider this: If business is trickling rather than flowing in, the downtime may offer you a chance to take a slower kind of business journey.

Get to know 'em

How often do you contact merchants already in your portfolio? Has it been months since you last talked to your most loyal customers to find out how business is going? If you're experiencing tough times, chances are many of your merchant customers are, too. So this is a great time to give them a call or drop by to see how they're doing. Maybe they need someone to talk to, someone who understands what they're going through.

Remember, the economy won't be in the tank forever. When business picks up again, those merchants will remember that personal touch you gave them, which will give them another reason not to jump ship to another service provider when times are better.

Walk, don't run

Have you ever had to walk home because your car was in the shop, and on the way home - in a place you've lived for years - you notice businesses and parks you never knew existed? Sales prospects can go similarly unnoticed if you are constantly in a hurry to meet the bottom line.

But when you slow down, new opportunities surface. Maybe you see that little business tucked into a strip mall that just happens to need a loyalty program. Or, you see a plumber fumbling with a clipboard on a job site. Could it be that plumber might need a wireless, hand-held POS terminal to take credit cards on site?

You know the old saying, When a door closes, another one opens someplace else. Well, it might be a clich‚, but it's true. Despite the economy, the world is awash in opportunity. Slowing down, taking your time, actually walking the neighborhood where you work or live, may lead you to that next selling opportunity. And, if nothing else, you'll get some fresh air.

Take stock

If you're like many folks, when boredom kicks in, you clean house. When you don't have anything to do on a Saturday afternoon, you vacuum the rug and dust the furniture, or you do the laundry, or you wash the car, or you wash the dog. That same instinct to clean should apply to work as well.

Your desktop on your computer could be neater, couldn't it? Or perhaps your file room needs thinning out. Old boxes of taxes going back 15 years could be shredded. And are you really going to need that employee handbook from the 1990s?

But more important things could use your attention, too, like sifting out old or out-of-business contacts from your database, or deleting files from your hard drive to make your computer run smoother.

But none of these tasks have to be accomplished in a few hours. You can do a little every day, or set a couple of hours aside weekly to get housekeeping tasks accomplished over time.

But keep in mind that time spent cleaning and organizing your office is not wasted. Remember, you are preparing for when business improves; then, when you're back to speeding through your day to get things done, all those housekeeping issues will have been resolved, helping you to maximize sales because you don't have to muddle through the clutter.

Chart a new course

Like life, businesses have cycles, with periods of expansion and contraction. Currently, the U.S. economy is in a contraction phase, and it's impossible to fight it. So don't try. Instead, roll with it.

Take a different approach to work. Focus on aspects of business that may have been overlooked in more hectic times. How you navigate this unsettled path today may well define your future. end of article

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