The Green Sheet Online Edition
May 09, 2011 • Issue 11:05:01
Facts and figures from the feet on the street
By Jeffrey Shavitz
Charge Card Systems Inc.
In 2010, I published a questionnaire for merchant level salespeople (MLSs) so I could quantify and better understand the feelings, work habits and daily routines of salespeople in the payments industry.
This article provides factual data as reported by the respondents. I'm sharing this here because I believe The Green Sheet is an ideal vehicle for exchanging information with fellow MLSs who share the goal of making each of us more professional and educated within our industry.
What the MLSs say
Here are some of my findings based on open-ended questions:
- MLSs are writing more interchange-plus deals and are often shocked when they see a prospective merchant who processes $5,000 per month at interchange + 10 basis points.
- More than two-thirds of respondents (68 percent) are intimidated by technology and haven't embraced it or taken time to learn about new developments, even though deep down they know technology is integral to our industry's future.
- A whopping 85 percent of respondents admitted they do not have a strategic plan in writing to set forth how they are going to accomplish their payment business goals. Of those, many said they have a mental plan but have not put pen to paper in order to quantify their goals.
- Even though 50 percent of respondents indicated they try to sell on value, they have found that price is the overriding factor in gaining a merchant as a customer.
- Thirty-eight percent of respondents believe they need to become more educated in the areas of interchange, the roles of acquiring and issuing banks, and exactly how credit cards are processed.
Yea or nay
These findings are based on questions that were answered with either yes or no.
- More than 50 percent of respondents:
- Consider the payments industry to be commoditized
- Are carefully searching for ancillary and synergistic services to offer merchants, including gift cards, other prepaid cards, cash advance, and mobile payment technologies
- Fewer than 50 percent of the respondents:
- Prospect to a specific vertical market niche
- Attend an industry tradeshow once per year
- Speak to their merchants at least once per quarter
- Have a formal merchant attrition program
I hope this information will provide you a benchmark for assessing your place within our industry. If you would like information on additional topics, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will include your questions in follow-up questionnaires.
Jeffrey Shavitz is one of the founders of Charge Card Systems Inc. He is also an active member of The Green Sheet Advisory Board and the First Data ISO Advisory Board. He can be reached at email@example.com or 800-878-4100. For additional information on CCS, please visit www.chargecardsystems.com/gsadvisoryboard or the company's corporate website at www.chargecardsystems.com.
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