By Steven Feldshuh
Merchants' Choice Payment Solutions East
As the person who runs the sales at my company, I sometimes become frustrated with my own sales agents. I ask myself, Why don't our sales agents adapt to the terrific new product offerings from our processor? I know most of these offerings have been well thought out and blessed by upper management to help us earn more per merchant. We all know credit card margins continue to shrink; getting our merchants to adapt to new products is a must.
When I've introduced what I perceive as brilliant products from the processor, I've been continually let down by the response from the agents in the field. They are intelligent, hardworking and absolutely want to earn more income. They recognize margins are getting slimmer. So I wondered why they don't just grasp that they have to sell more products to their merchants.
It finally dawned on me that the products and services introduced to us by our processor should be examined and field tested first ‒ by the person in charge of sales: me! I am comfortable teaching sales agents how to sell credit card processing and have a good understanding of most facets of our industry. But how can I expect my sales reps to adopt a product or service I have only learned about from an online webinar but have never sold?
Over the past year, I've introduced an online gift card program similar to Amazon.com's. No one paid attention. We introduced a business insight and analytic program that gives merchants an array of wonderful tools. Why wouldn't a merchant want to know what the competition is doing, or know how his or her reputation fares online? I'm still waiting for our first merchant signup. We introduced a new EMV mobile phone product, and the response has been very low. So what is up with that?
As the leader of our sales organization, I cannot tell my people without uncertainty that the products are good or work as well as the companies behind them say they do, because I have not worked directly with any of the products myself. Our reps need to hear directly from me that the products work, that I am behind them and they aren't just more clutter in their busy lives.
I must become the tester, the information gatherer, and get the comfort level and believability factor needed to motivate our representatives, just like I do with credit card processing. So my mission in this coming year is to test "the best of the best" products that are introduced to the market. Hopefully then, my stamp of approval will mean something.
Steven Feldshuh, President of Merchants' Choice Payment Solutions East, has 18 years' experience in sales and ISO development. Directly prior to joining MCPSE in 2012, he was President of Payment Partners. In his current position, Steven devotes the bulk of his time to assisting agents in building their portfolios. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 212-392-9202.
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