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It takes Guts

 

The Hand That Feeds You

 

D o you know who your best customers are? Do you know which merchants mean the most to you, in terms of revenue and residuals?

     If not, it may be helpful to you to start tracking this information. Itís not difficult. In fact, many organizations have programs that perform the calculations for you. Itís important to identify and keep track of your best merchants because they can be your key to future success.

     Once youíve determined who your best merchants are, it is important to initiate and maintain a dialog with them. The reasons for this are two-fold. First, you want to retain them as customers, right? Therefore, you need to know when they are unhappy, when their needs change, and when they are being approached by the competition. Checking in with them and keeping track every three or six months will allow you to obtain this information. The second reason itís important to keep track of your merchants is to collect information that you can use when selling prospective merchants. Finding out what merchants like about your service can help you sign merchants in the same industry.

After youíve identified your best merchants:

1. Find out how the service is working for them. For instance, is it better or worse than the last time you spoke?

2. Investigate if their needs have changed. Are they entering a new market or offering additional products?

3. Encourage them to contact you before meeting with a competitor. Let them know how important they are to you and that you will do what it takes to keep them a satisfied customer.

     If this sounds like too much work for you or if youíre wondering if this is really worth the effort, take a moment to review the revenue this merchant has already generated. Then, calculate how much this merchant will be worth in residuals over the next year, 5 years, or 10 years. Then you will see that a 5 or 10 minute conversation is worth it.

Some other elements to keep track of:

  •  Lost accounts. Include the name of the company, the contact, and the reason they decided to cease business with you. Look for similarities in lost accounts and ways to prevent future losses.

  • Prospects you were unable to sign. Note the primary objection. Use this to identify and correct trends, but also to go back and resell.

  • New customers. Note why they chose you and if they were considering any of your competitors. Use this data when soliciting future accounts.

     Some ISOs feel that it is too much trouble to keep track of their accounts or that someone else will do it for them. If you learn one thing, let it be that you must look out for yourself-no one else has your best interest at heart as much as you do. Keeping track of your customers can help ensure you cross the finish line a winner every time!


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