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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Visa and Mastercard at 50: Evolving in evolving market

Patti Murphy


Industry Update

Major Visa, MasterCard settlement voided: Now what?

PCI SSC unveils new tools for small, midsize merchants

Denmark's Nets, BOKIS piloting digital wallet

UK joins backlash against interchange


GS Advisory Board:
The state of mobile today - Part 1

The art of shopping cart conversion

Cliff Teston

Payment technology timeline


Merging lanes on the POS road map

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

Fraud in the payment system: What - me worry?

Brandes Elitch
CrossCheck Inc.

Deaf to new product introductions?

Steven Feldshuh
Merchants' Choice Payment Solutions East


Street SmartsSM:
Time to treat MLSs right

John Tucker
1st Capital Loans LLC

Contract management in the paperless age

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

How and why to pursue ISVs

Kelly Cullum
SUR Technology Holdings LLC

Company Profile

New Products

Web-based statement analysis, CRM platform

Clientvine LLC

Flexible, EMV-ready mobile payment solution

Castles Technology Co. Ltd.


Are achievers born or made?


Letter from the editors

Readers Speak

Resource Guide


A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

July 24, 2016  •  Issue 16:07:02

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Street SmartsSM

Time to treat MLSs right

By John Tucker

Our discussion on rebranding the merchant level salesperson (MLS) over the last couple of months has spotlighted the realities of today's increasingly complex marketplace for MLSs. The new challenges merchants face require in-depth analysis and higher levels of technical competence than ever before.

To address said challenges, MLSs must be able to design, prescribe, negotiate, implement and support highly complex solutions. On top of this, MLSs must do business in a more demanding arena, where marketing costs are skyrocketing and regulations are more burdensome.

That said, it seems strange to me that the majority of ISOs and merchant services providers (MSPs) in the country are not discussing these marketplace changes with their MLSs. In addition, many ISOs employ dull operating practices that further hinder the probability of success for their MLSs.

So for this article, please allow me a moment to step away from the rebranding discussion to speak to ISOs directly, with rants that I believe are much needed (and long overdue).

Help me help you

ISOs and MSPs, please help me help you. We all know that MLSs comprise what I call your mom-and-pop networks. For this discussion, a mom-and-pop network is a group of MLSs you recruit to resell for you for free (we cover our own expenses and pay for our own health insurance, for example). Your goal is to sign hundreds to thousands of us to collectively produce hundreds of millions in annual bankcard processing volume for your organizations.

However, some of the things you do make it difficult for us to help you profit off of our activities. This, in turn, hinders us from building our bankcard portfolio residual streams, which is, after all, the reason we work with you. So allow me to list some pet peeves that I hope you can fix going forward.

Incompetent risk management team

Following are scenarios exemplifying risk management concerns:

Drastic, arbitrary account changes

The following scenarios point to major concerns about actions taken with no explanation or warning:

Unprincipled residual practices

Following are scenarios exemplifying issues pertaining to residuals:

Incompetent customer service, terminal deployment

Here are scenarios pertaining to lack of good service:

Poor sales training, marketing support

I've discussed this in prior articles, but I'm covering it again because it is vital to the survival of our industry's feet on the street.

It's time to stop encouraging untrained reps to use robotic sales scripts and cold call in person or by phone. Instead, equip your MLSs with the resources that will allow them to succeed in today's complex market. These include information on complex issues, innovative solutions, market segmentation, market research, innovative marketing, strategic networks and creative financing for their own offices.

MLSs also need instruction on how to sit down and conduct a diagnostic, consultative conversation with a merchant by asking a series of pertinent questions. Without any real instruction or discussion about available tools and resources, your so-called sales training sessions are a waste of time. Even worse, anybody following your methods stands no chance of enjoying career longevity.

The final word

So, ISOs and MSPs, please help me help you. Along with other MLSs, I'm pretty much alone in terms of navigating our complex market. I'm on my own in trying to understand my merchants' challenges, customizing or innovating the best solutions, and marketing to merchants using methods that are more complex than methods of a prior era.

So, give us the systems, support and training we need. It will boost the production of your mom-and-pop networks. And that's in your best interests.

John Tucker is Managing Member of 1st Capital Loans LLC, as well as an M.B.A. graduate and holder of three bachelor's degrees in accounting, business management and journalism. Tucker also has over nine years of professional experience in commercial finance and business development. You can contact him by email at or by telephone at 586-480-2140.

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

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