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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Ups, downs, ins and outs of vertical market tradeshows

News

Industry Update

Facebook payments on back burner

Faster fleet fueling

Discover streamlines compliance

Mobile payments coming of age

Processors gobble up mobile

Features

AgenTalkSM:
Jerry Sellers

Sunshine state shines on payments

ACH pros recognized nationally

Selling Prepaid

Companies vault into prepaid 2009

Companies vault into prepaid 2009

Prepaid in brief

nFinanSe ups ante with low-cost cards

A revolution in consumer health

Snapshot of the European prepaid market

Views

Change, the economy's enduring fuel

Patti Murphy
The Takoma Group

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Return to the hunt

Jason Felts
Advanced Merchant Services Inc.

Your merchant is calling

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

Wireless, fit for furniture

Tim McWeeney
ExaDigm Inc.

Bankrupt banks and credit card acquiring

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

What's in a name?

Nancy Drexler
SignaPay Ltd.

2009: Challenges and opportunities

Lane Gordon
MerchantPortfolios.com

Company Profile

Processing Solutions

Card Group

New Products

Countertop terminals, magnifique

ICT 220 and ICT 250
Ingenico

Future proof that POS

Product: Vx510 Ethernet terminal
Company: VeriFone

Inspiration

Catch and release office tension

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

Skyscraper Ad

The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 21, 2009  •  Issue 09:01:02

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Street SmartsSM

Return to the hunt

By Jason Felts

Assuming you've been selling within the payments industry for a number of years, more than likely you've advanced from hunter to farmer status. You're probably quite comfortable with hoe in hand, turning the fertile soil of your merchant database, getting the occasional referral, reaping from the network you've built over the years. Life is good.

Maybe you're not a top producer, but you've reached a point of security and comfort that provides a predictable residual income, as well as five to seven referral sales per month.

You believe your days of trudging the open plains, shotgun in hand, seeking any viable prospect that wanders within sight are over. You leave hunting to the youngsters in the business.

It's been a long time since you left your office in the morning and wondered where your next meal would come from. No need to beat the street anymore, right?

Well, you may be in for a shock this year. The verdant fields you've been plowing may not be quite so fertile. You may discover that no matter how hard you work, you can't keep up with the weeds that grow like, well, weeds in what used to be highly productive fields.

This year the soil may be rocky, the irrigation insufficient and the sunlight too scarce to generate the crop you have become comfortable with. Why? Record-breaking business closures coupled with a vast increase in competition.

Your most solid merchant accounts will likely stay in your fold, but some will surely become enticed by hunters on the prowl.

You might have to put on your hunting boots, take up your gun and hit the trail once more. And it might be the best thing that could happen to you.

Hunter versus farmer

Hunters get their sales energy from actively pursuing new customers. They are often consultative salespeople who innately find and assess opportunities (even when there doesn't appear to be one) each prospect might offer. And they find solutions within their offerings that meet specific needs.

Hunters are networkers; they are independent; they generate buzz and excitement. Typically, they are strong one-call closers and solid producers. However, they often do not excel at follow-through, follow-up and focus.

Farmers build and cultivate relationships and opportunities, typically within existing accounts. Farmers are the salespeople who turn customers from good to great by the nature of their relationships and the loyalty they gain from their ongoing efforts.

Farmers nurture; they collaborate; they are team players. They are experts at securing referrals from existing accounts. However, they are not always proficient at prospecting, and they typically close over a period of time, not necessarily on the spot.

Sure, farmers get new business when their merchant clients request new products or services, open new locations or refer friends or colleagues to them.

Some more ambitious farmers have also secured and nurtured relationships through referral partnerships. And this can produce a significant stream of warm leads.

New salespeople do not have the luxury of remaining comfortable in their offices waiting for the phone to ring with a hot referral. If they want to eat, they have to go out and find their food. To this end they must spend the majority of their time hunting for sales.

They hit the phones and wear out several pairs of shoes per year cold calling. They attend every networking event possible. They stick their business cards on bulletin boards in cafes.

They desperately e-mail any contact they have; they fax fliers all over creation; they do anything else they can think of that might produce a prospect on a thin budget. They are hunters by necessity, not necessarily by choice. They'll take business wherever and whenever they can find it.

Farmers, on the other hand, have chosen to slow down and enjoy a little comfort and ease. Farmers are comfortable in their routine. Sure, farmers work hard at tilling their fields.

However, farmers have reached the point at which they work with those they want to work with and pass on those they don't. They knowingly and willingly pass on some business because they don't want to engage in certain activities to generate new business.

Farmer-hunter hybrid

But in economic environments such as we faced last year and will continue to face in the upcoming year or two, farmers who don't also hunt run a very real risk of having no alternatives when they discover their fertile soil has been depleted by the current economic dust bowl, leaving their fields insufficient to generate a full crop.

Here are some thoughts about hunters and farmers from members of GS Online's MLS Forum:

Options before us

Those who stick to farming alone have two choices in today's economy:

Although the idea of becoming a hunter once more may, at first, be unappealing, we can realize a number of benefits by hitting the hunting trail once again:

Indeed, this year will be tough. Fewer businesses will open, and many will fail. I'm seeing some businesses in my county open and close in 90 to 180 days. Unbelievable. Many of your merchants will close their doors as well. It's the very sad but true reality.

The next year or two will challenge even the most well-established salespeople. If we want to thrive instead of just survive, we'll have to get out of the office; we'll have to become "real" salespeople once again.

Please don't misunderstand. Farming is very important; you must nurture and take care of the relationships you already have. You must learn to work your base for more referrals and network within your realm of influence. Find the best attributes of both the hunter and the farmer, and incorporate them into your own unique style.

Don't wait for something to happen - get out there and make it happen. If you do not like your current situation, create new circumstances and opportunities for yourself. The wise understand and accept the things we cannot change (such as economic downturns) and determine to succeed in spite of what happens around us.

Hunt and then farm your crop to ensure greater success.

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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