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Table of Contents

Lead Story

The power to pay it forward

News

Industry Update

FTC agrees to settle with TJX

UIGEA - punt or pass?

Welcome to Bank of AmEx

Splitsville for First Data, JPMC

A taxing situation

TJX cyber thieves get slammed

Features

Gather 'round for a tale of business savvy and doom

Prepaid en fuego in Latin America

The golden rule of payments

The long road to payments

Views

Visa's 'campaign' promise

Ken Musante
Humboldt Merchant Services

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Ask and ye shall sell

Jason Felts
Advanced Merchant Services

Preparing to sell a micro deal

Lane Gordon
MerchantPortfolios.com

A clean exit

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

Get time on your side

Vicki M. Daughdrill
Small Business Resources LLC

Want to be trusted? Earn it

Nancy Drexler
SignaPay Ltd.

Company Profile

CSH Consulting Inc.

New Products

Processing on the edge

TransNet
Precidia Technologies Inc.

True end-to-end encryption

Hypersafe Secure
Hypercom Corp.

Inspiration

The magic of gratitude

Miscellaneous

POScprit

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

Skyscraper Ad

The Green Sheet Online Edition

November 24, 2008  •  Issue 08:11:02

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Street SmartsSM

Ask and ye shall sell

By Jason Felts

Maybes are the death of salespeople. But you'll make millions if you can get business owners to say yes or no. It doesn't matter whether they decide for or against you - as long as they decide.

Business owners need help in deciding, whether they acknowledge it or not. If you can get past their objections, consternation, procrastination and equivocating, and bring to light the real reasons they won't make decisions, you will have done them and yourself a great service. And it will lead you to a thriving sales career.

True sales

If you just take orders from customers, you're not a salesperson. Selling is both an art and a science. It is creative and analytical. Develop the qualities of the scientist and the artist as you work through the steps of selling. And remember, build quality relationships with your prospects and customers - relationships that provide mutual benefit to both seller and buyer.

Keeping that in mind, here are the keys to unlocking sales and closing deals:

The culmination

The final step in the sales process is the close. This step should be easy and quick. It is the cumulative effect of all your preceding hard work. If there is no sale at this point, something was missed in your qualifying or presentation stages. Customers should know you plan to ask for the sale after the presentation. In fact, they should be surprised if you don't ask for it.

Most salespeople never ask for a potential customer's business. At the appropriate time, it is imperative to ask for the sale. This is best done with trial closes and honest discussions. Be careful. Attempting to close too early can put clients on the defensive and jeopardize sales. For this reason, it is important to recognize where you are in the selling process. Do not jump ahead.

Three's the charm

Assuming you've done the necessary groundwork, here are three closing techniques to use right after your presentation:

Mastery

What your potential customers say will always determine the appropriate closing technique to use. Most often, the reason someone cannot make a decision is that there is a missing element (a missing partner or spouse, for instance). If a partner is absent, can the parties who are present call the individual? Is the person at home?

Often, closing occurs after a salesperson has made multiple trips to a prospect's place of business. I've always thought it would be easier to get the first four noes or stall tactics out of the way on the first visit so you can just leave with the deal on that visit. To facilitate this you should know eight to 10 closes, minimum, off the top of your head.

Following are examples of effective closes. The idea is to keep asking.

What would it take?

Ask the following: Mr./Ms.________, Just so I can be certain I have done my job properly, what would it take to earn your business today?

Let your prospects answer and hope the answer is a request you are able to fulfill.

The assumptive close

This close is very useful after a presentation. It assumes the merchant wants whatever you're offering. After a thorough presentation, you simply ask the following: What's your full legal business name?

While writing the answer in your paperwork, you can also ask, Are you a corporation or a sole proprietor? Keep asking questions, and as long as merchants are answering, take them through the paperwork process.

Feel, felt, found

This close is highly effective because it demonstrates your empathy. It also works with virtually any objection, regardless of whether a merchant is currently processing.

Using this method, respond to an objection with the following: I understand exactly how you feel. I have had several other merchants tell me they felt the very same way. But after changing to (or establishing) our services, what they found was ... (tell your prospects a success story or two from merchants who are happy with your services: a merchant who found business increased by 30 to 40 percent, or a retailer who realized there is really no hassle at all getting started, for example).

Again, this works with all manner of objections.

The narrative

For this, you relate a story about someone (very likely a prospect) and how the individual bought your product or service and how satisfied and pleased he or she is. Emphasize how a problem was solved and the various benefits that resulted.

Prospects will identify with the hero of the story and realize that if they buy, they will enjoy similar benefits.

Here's an example of a story: I knew a guy who owned a hobby shop. He didn't feel credit cards would help his business because for 13 years he'd never accepted them. He reluctantly agreed to a test run.

Today, four years later, he's one of my happiest merchants, doing over $10,000 in credit and debit card sales alone each month.

Helping to corroborate the story should be satisfied customer reference letters or names of customers who will give you glowing references when prospects call.

The impending event

A technique that can be useful in obtaining an immediate decision is the impending event. As the name implies, something is about to happen in the very near future that makes it sensible for the prospect to buy now rather than wait. For example:

Ask for the order

There are many stories about sales staff who have done everything perfectly and been asked to make a quote. The quote given is complex, and its presentation is thorough and comprehensive. The proposal is completely justified, and the customer will definitely go ahead with whatever the project is.

After duly delivering and presenting the quote, the salesperson asks the potential customer when a decision will be made. The prospect asks the agent to call back in two weeks. Two weeks later to the day, the agent calls, and the conversation goes like this:

Learning to close is an art, a skill to master, a game to win. It's real white-knuckle, churning your guts stuff. Only the strong, persevering, tough sales professionals stick it out. You must want success.

I can't teach or coach desire; it must come from within. But I can tell you this: Ask for the order.

Jason A. Felts is the founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Florida-based Advanced Merchant Services Inc., a registered ISO/MSP with HSBC Bank. From its onset, AMS has placed top priority on supporting and servicing its sales partners. The company launched ISOPro Motion, its private-label training program, to provide state-of-the-art sales tools and actively promote the success and long-term development of its partners. For more information, visit www.amspartner.com, call 888-355-VISA (8472), ext. 211, or e-mail Felts at jasonf@gotoams.com.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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