The Green Sheet Online Edition
August 28, 2017 • Issue 17:08:02
Never sell a merchant account again
Editor's Note: Unexpected developments have made it impossible for Finical Chief Executive Officer Aaron Nasseh to complete a full year as Street SmartsSM author. Thus, this is his last article in that capacity. We are sorry for his departure and will miss the calm, concise advice he has offered ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) to enhance their knowledge and effectiveness in the payments business. Stepping in on short notice will be Steven Feldshuh, President of Merchants' Choice Payment Solutions East, whom many of you will recognize from the refreshing, informative articles he has written for our Education and Views sections. He will take over the column as of our Sept. 11, 2017, issue.
As I write my final article for Street SmartsSM, I can't help but be excited about the opportunities available in our ever-changing industry. While some believe this industry has long passed its best days and that the race to zero is all but over, I respectfully disagree. Countless opportunities still exist within our industry. In fact, I would argue that with some of the newer pricing programs available today, the industry has turned the profitability margins back a good 15-plus years.
Top of mind: increase sales
During the months I have been writing for The Green Sheet, a number of you have been kind enough to contact me and show your appreciation for the articles. It seemed like the universal theme in the discussions was related to tips on how to increase sales. So, for the purposes of this article I'm going to focus on the smaller MLSs who are hitting the streets daily, and doing the hard work to sign up new accounts. I found that most of these good people were not lacking in effort, they simply did not know how to multiply their efforts.
I would like to share tips on how you can go from a one-person shop to a high-producing sales office – without you signing up a single merchant account. Sounds too good to be true? It's not. That's the beauty of our industry.
The secret is in building teams. However, this is no simple task. To build a solid team you must first be a good leader, you must be a good coach, and it goes without saying that you must have reasonable experience with merchant services sales.
Five steps for team building
Here are some key steps to start building your team:
- Identify your target recruits: Your target recruits for this program should be individuals with very little to no merchant services sales experience. When you are starting this program, I suggest you limit it to this group.
- Find the best possible program: You must find an ISO partner that is willing to offer you a very aggressive program, while handling most of the servicing of your customers, because your time is best spent on recruiting and training. Your program must be aggressive enough so that you are able to offer your agents a worthwhile compensation plan. Don't get greedy. Treat your agents well and the good ones will stay and continue to produce for you. If you don't treat them well, they will end up calling someone who will.
- Create training material: Since you are going to recruit inexperienced agents, you must put together a good training program and create some marketing material for their presentations. This isn't as complicated as it sounds. You are not trying to make your MLSs experts in the industry; your training should be more of an ongoing coaching approach. However, you certainly need to teach them enough so that they can confidently approach merchants and present your offering. Your training program should also be made available online for agents who are not in your local market.
- Recruit new agents: Now that you have the basics in place, step up your recruiting efforts. The success of this program depends on your ability to recruit. You may start with your local market by placing job postings; however, do not limit this to your local market. I strongly encourage you to expand it as much as possible.
- Coach them to sell: The success of your sales team is dependent on their selling skills, so instead of training them to be customer service reps, teach them the art of selling. Skilled salespeople always thrive in merchant services because, in reality, merchant services sales is not a tough sale, compared with many other services. I'm not suggesting there is no competition in the merchant services industry. I'm very aware of the competitive nature of it, but most of the people you are competing with in our industry are not particularly skilled sales professionals. They're trained to go out and collect statements, not make sales. By my definition, if you have to collect a statement and go back on a second appointment, you're not a very skilled salesperson.
Simple, but not easy
This may appear too simple to some of you, but the truth is that it is literally this simple – but not that easy to execute. However, if you diligently follow these five simple steps – and never take your foot off the accelerator when it comes to recruiting – before you know it, you'll have dozens of MLSs working under your office and producing accounts.
It does take time to build up your sales team, but when you do, it will be well worth your efforts. There you have it. You now have a sales team working under you and producing accounts, without you having to sign up a single merchant. Additionally, building a successful sales engine will directly have a positive influence on the valuation of your business.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank The Green Sheet for asking me to write for Street SmartsSM. It has indeed been an honor to be a part of it, and a very gratifying experience to be able to share with you some of the lessons I have learned throughout my career. I hope you enjoyed reading my articles as much as I enjoyed writing them. I wish each and every one of you lots of success and happiness.
Aaron Nasseh is the founder and Chief Executive Officer at Finical Inc. His extensive sales and management experience includes having previously served as the General Manager of CardPayment Solutions and Vice President of Sales at iPayment Inc. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 818-330-4055.
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