By Steven Feldshuh
Merchants' Choice Payment Solutions East
Editor's Note: With this article, Steven Feldshuh is stepping down as author of the Street SmartsSM column. He graciously assumed the role starting with our Sept. 10, 2017 issue. At that time, unforeseen circumstances had made it untenable for Finical Inc. founder and CEO Aaron Nasseh to complete his year-long commitment to penning two articles per month for a feature that shares insights for and from the hard-working payment professionals in the industry's sales trenches. If anyone knows what it's like to serve merchants while building a vibrant sales team, it is Steven Feldshuh. We appreciate that he carried the column during what turned out to be a time of tremendous transition for his company. We wish him the very best as he continues to develop his team. And we won't leave you hanging. We are delighted to let you know that Steve Norell, Vice President of Business Development at US Merchant Services Inc., will be the new author of Street SmartsSM beginning with our July 27 issue. An industry veteran, Steve is a long-time member of GS Online's MLS Forum who contributes pithy and wise advice to many discussion threads there. Is he worth the wait? You bet. He told us he has ideas for shaking things up, and we can't wait to find out what they are. So stay tuned. Meanwhile, in the next four issues, we will publish excerpts from popular, previously published Street SmartsSM columns. If you recall particularly memorable authors you'd like to see spotlighted, please send a note to email@example.com.
Having lived all my life in the Northeastern region of the United States, I have come to realize that I am not the only bear hibernating. As soon as the holiday season is over, it seems people think January through March is a time to withdraw, have fewer conversations and make the most of the word "excuse."
It is not unreasonable to think that the cold weather, snowy days and ice on the windshield are all reasons to stay at home ‒ where it is nice and toasty. Of course, I am not the only person that thinks this way, since we experience slower boarding of new merchants during the winter months.
But all good things must come to an end, and with warm weather approaching (after quite a delay) it is time to get motivated again. It is also time to reflect on the 2018 New Year's promises you made to yourself and act on them.
I decided to take an unscientific poll on what interests some of my friends and family and what they promised to start doing at the start of this year, all with the idea of spelling out methods proven for waking people up again.
Let's start with what interests you. Being a foodie, I find that the winter is the best. It is much easier to drown myself in carbs, since I am not attempting to put on a bathing suit. Some friends of mine don't leave the couch because of the sports channel. My wife loves to cook and take photos. My sister enjoys reading, and my best buddy can't stop talking about politics. No matter what your thing is, it is important to realize that you need something that captures your interest. The reason is that these things motivate us.
The excitement of cooking a good meal, reading a great novel, having a political battle with someone or taking great photos motivates us and generally satisfies us. So, doing what you love to do is generally a good start each day. Maybe it is going to the gym, doing yoga, or Pilates. Maybe it is taking a hike and photographing your surroundings. It makes no difference what it is; you need to find your thing and work off-of that.
I am a great believer in motivational tapes and CDs. Instead of listening to the latest installment of The West Wing on the way to work (should the reboot of the show, which aired from September 1999 to May 2006, come to pass), wouldn't a Tony Robbins tape be a better idea. The tape may not be as juicy or colorful a story, but it will help you focus on the day ahead. Simply listening to Brian Tracy, Anthony Robbins and even Richard Simmons can have a lasting positive effect on your accomplishments.
If you are over 45, you probably even had some experience with Amway tapes. Yes, Amway is still around. The business model adjusted to the times, but people still do have the ability to build wealth if they don't mind the disappointment, time and effort it takes to get there. Back about 20 years ago, I was an Amway distributor and to this day, I am tremendously grateful for the organization's impact on me. I have incorporated into my being some of the company's techniques, styles and way of treating people. I still can remember the excitement of listening to successful people's stories. The Diamonds, as they were called, had integrity, treated people the way they wanted to be treated, helped others get on their feet, and proved that with hard work, you can accomplish anything. The tapes were for me very instrumental.
So, what else can be a motivator? Well, knowing I have a family to support does get my head off the pillow. Knowing that I am the larger bread winner of the family does cause a level of stress, but it is important that I feel the stress. Stress can act as a motivator ‒ or it can paralyze you ‒ and in my case it does motivate me. So, what motivates you, and how do you challenge yourself each day?
Going back to the enjoyable activities of cooking, photography, political engagement and reading good books, you need time and money. And the residuals you earn in the payments industry do give you both the time and money ‒ if they are plentiful.
To my knowledge, I haven't met anyone who thinks residual income is a bad thing. Actually, like many of you, I wish I'd known about the concept when I was 25, not 45. With all its faults and issues, we are probably in the best business. Having heard from a multitude of successful salespeople through the years, the top ones always swear by the concept of residuals. It's true that residuals on an individual account may not last 10 years, but if you keep adding new accounts each month to the pot, they will last 10 years or more.
Residuals should be the motivator in your chosen career, since being a merchant level salesperson in the payments industry does give you the option for personal days, holidays and vacations when you want them. But if you don't get motivated from residuals alone, focus on other things that do motivate you. Whether you know you have to care for your family or whether you are very much into the material stuff, you need to keep what motivates you on your mind every day.
Another suggestion I have is to compare your life and how you earn your living with friends who are in direct sales. A friend of mine who is in the auto business, sells about 10 cars a month. To maintain the same income as the previous month he must sell 10 cars the next month. Every month in sales, you are starting from the same point: zero. In residual sales, if you set up 10 deals the previous month, you are earning income going forward on those accounts. Yes, it takes time to get to the base salary of the car salesman, but probably within a year in the payments biz, you can surpass that salary and commission structure if you do this business in a consistent manner.
So, what is it going to be? Are you going to get fat sitting on your butt, or are you going to do whatever is necessary to continue to write deals in order to give you a six figure income? It takes motivation to go out and buy CDs and self-help books or download inspirational audio files, but isn't it worth it? Personally, I can see working a four-day week in the near future. Why? Because I can. So, this spring, think of this: if you put in the time now, maybe next winter, you can spend a month in the Caribbean enjoying the warm weather, eating well, taking photos, enjoying long walks, and reading that series of books you always wanted to get into.
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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