By Tom Waters and Ben Abel
Bank Associates Merchant Services
Each of us has a unique style and personality. Our temperament and our actions define who we are and guide our decisions throughout our lives. It is impossible to predict a person's career path by simply assessing their qualities. However, those qualities are often the driving factors that attract someone to a particular profession. A person with a strong attention to detail, for example, may be attracted to an accounting position. Someone who loves to build things may end up in construction.
Business-to-business sales careers vary widely with each industry vertical. An office supply salesperson has an entirely different day than a telecom agent. A business banker does not use the same approach as a freelance controller. We hit The Green Sheet forums to see what aspects of merchant services attracted our readers to the field. We were also curious about what field they may have migrated from.
The biggest trends we noticed via GS Online's MLS Forum contributors involved strong influences of entrepreneurial spirit. The merchant service industry lays the groundwork to empower agents who have ambitions to be their own boss. Those who may not have the resources to invest in a startup or lease a storefront can pave their own paths through the opportunities presented in the world of payments.
The door into these opportunities can be opened right from the start. Entry level training and lead generation support can kick-start the merchant level salesperson's (MLS's) career. Processing companies are often flexible enough to allow an agent to grow into more advanced entrepreneurial responsibilities such as technical support or customer service.
Work schedule flexibility allows hard-working agents to spend time to attend to personal emergencies, be with family or pursue side projects. Forum member crouellette said one of the most attractive features of payment processing is "being able to set my own schedule." It's important to be aware that work schedule flexibility does not mean easy work. Crouellette also noted that it is important to not be "afraid to work hard because it is very hard work." Slackers and shufflers need not apply.
Opportunities in the payments industry often allow for dedicated professionals to be their own boss and call their own shots. A unique feature of controlling your own schedule is that it allows you to determine the scope and direction of your business life on many other levels.
Attaining and retaining clients that produce long-term revenue are the end goals. If you can reach those goals with honesty and integrity, it doesn't matter which particular steps or route you take to attain them. Flexibility is key.
That type of freedom to pursue and attain personal and professional goals of your choosing is what attracted MLS Forum member M1chael, who said, "I'm … not one who wants to be micromanaged."
Dee Malik also shared the sentiment of attraction to the freedom our industry affords. He wrote that the biggest driving force that led him to merchant services is, "Freedom, an ability to help a business become better and of course the financial benefits." He also derives satisfaction from helping communities by bettering the local commercial sector. Dee also noted that it takes a proper amount of drive to make it work, stating, "[Y]ou should have passion in anything you do."
As managers responsible for recruiting new agents, we see various resumes offering very different backgrounds and skill sets. We have seen successful agents come from hospitality, food service, accounting, education and lots more. Naturally, the largest percentage of successful agents typically have some sort of sales background.
Forum contributor and ex-Street SmartsSM columnist DSLaszig posted that "good places from which to recruit – advertising due to its emphasis on customer experience and industrial sales due to its focus on customer longevity and up-selling."
Whichever industry you are from, the word is out: merchant services offers freedom to pursue entrepreneurial ambitions while offering an established framework and eliminating the upfront expenses typically associated with starting up a business. Like any entrepreneurial pursuit, the work is challenging but very rewarding. It does not matter where you have been or what you have done before. If you are diligent, organized, persuasive and ambitious, there is room for you in merchant services.
Tom Waters has been dedicated to the merchant service sales profession since 2001. Currently, he is responsible for cultivating relationships with entrepreneurs in information technology, accounting, sales and marketing in his role as Sales Director of Bank Associates Merchant Services (www.bams.com). Using fresh and matter-of-fact training methods, Tom has contributed to the success of thousands of agents, affiliates and clients. He can be reached via email through email@example.com or via phone at 347-651-1065.
Ben Abel is Regional Director at Bank Associates Merchant Services. Since joining the team in 2006, he has risen through company ranks with a paradigm that his success was measured by the success of those around him. Ben is a dedicated, pioneering trainer whose methods of merchant services consultation have helped many agents expand their portfolios in terms of processing volume, deal count and profitability. He can be contacted at 347-866-9571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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