By Dee and Emily Karawadra
We are often asked, "How do you get into the payments industry. I have no experience." So we thought it would be helpful to spotlight the journey of someone outside of the industry who jumped in to become a merchant level salesperson (MLS).
The fear of learning something new and entering an industry full of technology and procedures that you're not familiar with can be intimidating. And we have found, as ISO owners, that sometimes the best talent isn't always in front of you. Finding MLSs that are a good fit for your company is a process. In addition, hundreds of ISOs and processors are competing for the experienced talent. We have found that taking the time to develop someone new to the industry has been far more successful than trying to recruit from the masses of tenured MLSs.
For this article, we asked one of our MLSs to write about her journey into the industry. Lisa Taylor came to us in April of last year. She is just nine months into her payments career and is working part time. She has brought a breath of fresh air and new perspective that has inspired our team. Lisa is a published fiction author and decided to take a chance on the payments industry. We couldn't be more pleased with her journey, which she describes in her own words here:
In the summer of 2018, Jason (my husband) and I took a day trip to a Memphis horse ranch where the names Dee and Emily Karawadra were first introduced to us. Their business, Impact PaySystem was going through big changes. Jason and I were told they were in the middle of an active search for merchant level salespeople. My attention perked. I was clueless about merchant services but had experience in sales from my newspaper and radio days. I called Emily the next day.
Did I say I was clueless about merchant level sales? Well, to cement this fact: I was clueless about merchant level sales. I knew credit and debit cards were swiped for payment on terminals that sometimes worked, sometimes didn't, and funds were quick to come out of my account. But I knew nothing else about the process. And none of that mattered. The people at Impact didn't giggle at my blank stare whenever basis points were mentioned. They didn't laugh when I asked what interchange pass through rates were, nor did they chortle the time I questioned the purpose of a POS. Impact embraced my curiosity and walked me through the steps. Jason and I promptly became – and are proud to be – Impact PaySystem MLSs.
Each of the owners offered their personal cell numbers in case I had questions in the field. Sales coaching has been readily available since day one, the weekly industry training videos are more useful than can be imagined, and the support system from inside the office goes above and beyond to help. This is an amazing aspect for someone with no MLS experience.
Plus, the guidance offered by Impact is crucial when faced with obstacles out of your reach – such as when the gift cards from one of your largest potential clients are tied up in an unbreakable code, and that is the only thing keeping the account from going active and helping the merchant save money.
I love helping people save money. After listening to business after business decline services, it's a rush when a merchant is open to listening. That keeps me going. Well, the rush, and the fact I refuse to fail. And I refuse to let negative notions of a few people detour my purpose. Thankfully, these hurdles are easy to get over. I've been given more positivity and encouragement from the owners, staff and managing partners at Impact than I've received in all my past jobs combined.
While my dream is for every prospect to be engrossed in my presentation and hang on every word as if they were overflowing from a chocolate fountain, alas, reality bites. And I'm left face to face with someone who doesn't like change, or the inevitable potential client who "has been ripped off too many times by dirty credit card companies."
Trust, I believe, after speaking with numerous business owners, is the most important factor when choosing a new provider. Trust also is the main reason I chose to become a Managing Partner with Impact. I trust the people who own and run this company are sincere and follow through on their word with action.
I'm from a small town in Arkansas where "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" seems to be the go-to phrase concerning technology for payment processing. However, a few businesses have begun to update their equipment. I hope this starts a county-wide trend. My husband and I will be there encouraging everyone to participate, since I've recently decided to leave my full-time job to focus on merchant level sales.
This industry will give my family the opportunity to reach each of our life goals. The journey may not be easy, but it will be fun ‒ and definitely worth it. Our son has decided to follow in our footsteps, and I've spoken to several friends about coming along for the ride. I want to give all of them the chance to grasp onto this opportunity.
Your ISO may not be equipped to provide this hands-on approach to training, but why not create something that is replicable and train others to do the same? With all the fluff that we are used to hearing in our industry from agents who jump from ISO to ISO, this gives a fresh breath to recruiting. I hope Lisa's message motivates you to go out and recruit people without industry experience. This could be a friend or family member.
Thanks to Lisa Taylor for sharing her perspective.
Dee Karawadra is president and CEO of Impact PaySystem, and Emily Karawadra is the company's chief financial officer. Since 2001, Impact PaySystem has been a leading provider of payment processing technologies and services to merchants throughout the United States. Through alliances with payments industry leaders such as Chase Paymentech, First Data, Buypass, Sage and more, Impact PaySystem offers tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of each merchant. Dee and Emily will welcome your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.
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