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The Green Sheet Online Edition

September 28, 2009 • Issue 09:09:02


Just ask

As ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs), you know you can't get the sale if you don't ask for it. Indeed, the goal of a sales presentation is to reach the point at which you can ask for a merchant's business and land the account.

You understand that merchants will not always answer yes when you ask for their processing business, but you are unperturbed. You recognize that getting a no is not a defeat. Asking that all-important question is a victory in itself.

And when you hear no? Not a problem. You will probe - and either overcome the merchant's objections or bid your prospect farewell (for the moment) and move on to your next lead. It's just part of the sales process.

But did you know that you can effectively "ask for the sale" and address noes in other areas of your life, to great effect?

Fear not

For whatever reason, human beings are often reluctant to ask for even the simplest things, both at home and at work.

It is a curious phenomenon that an MLS who closes deal after deal may be apprehensive about, say, approaching a potential romantic partner for a dinner date or asking a colleague for help in preparing a complex proposal for a multilane retailer.

Why? Because most people fear rejection.

Yes, though you've been trained to thicken your skin when it comes to countering merchants' objections, it's harder to not take noes in other contexts personally.

And yet, looked at from the prism of the sales process, landing a desirable date is a numbers game. If you ask enough people, eventually someone will answer you in the affirmative.

However, you must first be willing to face rejection. If you are told no, ask yourself why, what you could have done differently and how you can improve your approach.

Remember, when a good sales rep asks for a merchant's business and is told no, the rep doesn't give up. Instead, the MLS will ask, Why not? Then he or she will attempt to answer the objections raised by the merchant before asking for the sale again.

This process can be repeated without the MLS being pushy or overly aggressive.

The point is to not give up. With persistence, obtaining a phone number and a lunch date or receiving tips from knowledgeable colleagues are only a matter of time.

Help is for the asking

If you are filled with dread at the mere thought of asking for help, it's important to force yourself to ask for assistance anyway - even if you fear it will make you appear stupid or ill-prepared.

Sometimes you will be surprised at the camaraderie you will find. For example, if you are new to the payments industry, asking a payment veteran to explain how interchange works will likely elicit knowing laughter, because the complexities of merchant pricing can confound even long-time industry professionals.

Simply asking such questions can generate informative discussions about our complex industry. It will also indicate to colleagues that you are interested in mastering your career. By overcoming the fear of asking, you:

  • Gain the respect of superiors who appreciate employees who ask for help when they need it
  • Demonstrate to co-workers and management your desire to learn and improve
  • Help overcome the "inner critic," which often tells you that you may look insecure or be seen as someone who can't lead if you ask questions
  • Learn what is - and what isn't - expected of you in a work environment

Remember your audience

Now that you're convinced fear of rejection or humiliation shouldn't stop you, remember to be thoughtful in seeking what you need from others. There are many ways to ask for help.

How and what you ask depends on whom you are asking. Is your relationship with a particular individual personal, professional, intimate or merely civil?

For some payment professionals, comfort levels with merchants are often higher than with their own company's management and staff.

No one likes to be criticized by peers, but it is vital to remember to be confident in the face of negative feedback, knowing it is more productive to hear criticism as constructive assistance and not as a personal attack.

Like any other life skill, asking for what you want takes practice. And with repeated application, doing so can become as simple as tying your shoes - a fitting analogy for the feet on the street. end of article

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

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

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