When giving a presentation, merchant level salespeople (MLSs) want their time and effort to lead to gaining the prospect's business. The likelihood of achieving that result is vastly improved with proper planning before a rep even walks through a merchant's door. Part of that is determining what decisions a merchant must make and weaving those into the presentation in a logical way.
"Prior to converting a prospect to a customer, four decisions must be made in your favor, culminating in the decision to buy," Paul H. Green wrote in Good Selling!SM: The Basics. "If you build your presentation to lead the prospect through this decision making process, you will close more sales and make more money."
According to Green, those four decisions are:
Now I'll explain the rationale for each.
The first step in any sales process is to enable the prospect to perceive a need for your product. "In the financial services marketplace, you can often accomplish this by showing merchants how your product will increase their sales," Green wrote.
The industry is undergoing tremendous change, but merchants' need to boost their bottom lines remains the same. The increasing range of offerings now in the MLS toolbox enhance the likelihood that agents can showcase products and services that will convince merchants they need what they have to offer.
"With many sales professionals vying for your sale, how do you set yourself apart from the crowd?" Green wrote. The secret is to find a way to set yourself apart, and this will vary from merchant to merchant. Set yourself apart by "offering more, better, faster," Green added. Among his suggestions were to offer a faster approval process, 24-hour customer service, or enhance your language skills by brushing up on your high school Spanish or learning to speak techno-ese.
Seasoned payment pros do not recommend making price the centerpiece of your sales efforts, but at some point, the prospect must agree the price is right. Green affirmed that in a commodity marketplace, this can be the biggest challenge. If the merchant has already decided yes on the first two steps, however, this will smooth the way for a positive determination on price. "Unbundling your products and services can enable you to do this and at the same time make you more money," Green suggested. "As an independent sales professional, you can fill your black bag with the best programs available."
Assuming the merchant has already decided your offerings will help boost his or her business, it's simple to show merchants that time equals money. "Signing now will lead to more sales now," he wrote. And the sooner you can get the merchant's new system set up, the better.
Are you effectively leading prospects through these four decisions? If not, find the weak spots and remedy them. You'll be on your way to hearing more merchants say, "I need you right now."
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