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Street SmartsSM: Looking Back and Ahead

When The Green Sheet first asked me to write a column dedicated to the Merchant Level Salesperson, I jumped at the opportunity. From my years on the street, I've gained considerable knowledge and wanted to share it. I thought it would be a breeze. Well, I just finished my initial body of work - a six-part series on the essentials for success - and it was a challenge, but a rewarding one. These articles are a template for any MLS striving to achieve success in the highly competitive bankcard business and are now archived on The Green Sheet Web site under the header "Street SmartsSM."

The feedback I am getting on the column is incredible. I wouldn't be able to effectively write these columns without your input, and I hope you feel as if your voice is being heard. Here's a sampling of the comments I've received:

  • "Nice job on the lead article in the Education section of The Green Sheet. I look forward to reading your articles."

    - Bob Carr, President/CEO, Heartland Payment Systems

  • "I've read your column for the past couple of issues. Again, I want to say, 'Hats off to you for believing in paying people well!' ...You've got the right attitude about building your business and keeping the people who are building it for you happy."

    - Chris Collins

  • "I enjoyed your first column and look forward to reading more in the future. Always nice to have the opportunity to learn from others with more experience and especially from someone as successful in this business as yourself."

    - MLS Forum User "Neil"

  • "I just wanted to say that your bankcard articles in The Green Sheet are great and full of a lot of useful info."

    - Chris West

Before I introduce my next series, let me take a moment to recap what has become required reading for the savvy MLS:

"The Key To Success" The key to success in our business is securing an agreement that protects you from losing residual commission. This column reveals potential bombs hidden in many agreements and discusses critical points to look for when signing on the dotted line. It all starts with the contract.

"Show Me the Money"

Continuing to build your portfolio on a solid foundation, this column showcases and rates the many different types of compensation programs that are available to the MLS. Two agents can write the same number of merchants per year and end up in completely different financial situations simply by how they choose to get compensated. Take the time to understand your options. It will pay dividends for years to come.

"Partnerships For Success, Part 1" We all rely on vendor partners. Because of this, effective vendor selection has never been more important. This column reveals the secret to smart vendor selection - three words: compatibility, service and price. Whether you are selecting equipment providers, leasing companies, gift card and loyalty programs or check services providers, it all centers around how compatible your vendors are with each other, the services they can provide you and your merchant, and the price of those services.

"Partnerships For Success, Part II"

The most important partner relationship is your ISO or merchant account provider. For this article, I put out a Forum post asking Merchant Level Salespeople what the number one factor is in selecting an ISO partner. The answer was not "show me the money." It was refreshing to see that the overwhelming number of sales reps who chose "reputation and experience in the business." I couldn't agree more. This column explores all of the important issues to consider in this key selection.

"Taking the Lead"

OK, you've done your homework. You've got the right agreement. You've selected the right vendor partners. You have product knowledge with terminal equipment, software and bankcard services. But you're still not making a lot of money. The reason: You're not generating leads. Agents who generate solid leads are making the big bucks. They dedicate an ample amount of time to generating those leads. They realize how important lead generation is in this business. In this column we discuss ways to generate quality leads because every Merchant Level Salesperson must develop quality lead sources in order to be a success.

"Coffee is for Closers"

This column is the last of the six-part series covering all the bases that every Merchant Level Salesperson must understand to be successful in this phenomenal business of ours. Closing deals happens to be my favorite topic to write about, speak about and instruct. In my opinion, this is the one area that separates a professional from a hack. The professional salesperson has a game plan for every sales presentation whether it is in person or over the phone. The successful closer controls the process. The successful closer can take a prospect from cold to close in five easy steps. This column reveals the secret of those five steps.

I hope you have enjoyed this first series as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Now it's time to present a new series that is timely, relevant and continues to allow your voice to be heard. It is the many faces of MLS resources.

An MLS who can read is a dangerous thing. Think about all the resources available to the Merchant Level Salesperson. My next series of articles will showcase valuable resources, including acquirer associations, trade publications, educational institutions, conventions and conferences, industry associations and related industry Web sites.

We'll look at which resources are most effective as well as those that may not be worth your time and effort. Watch for my next post on the MLS Forum and/or send your comments on the subject of MLS resources to As always, thank you for your continued support.

"The wisest mind has something yet to learn."

- George Santayana

I'll see you next time where the rubber meets the road.

Ed Freedman is founder and President/CEO of Total Merchant Services, one of the fastest-growing credit card merchant account acquirers in the nation. Ed is the driving force behind all business development activity as well as the execution of Total Merchant Services' marketing plan, including recruiting and training independent sales offices and establishing strategic alliance partnerships with leading vendors, so that Total Merchant Services can provide its customers with the highest quality and most reliable services available.

To learn more about Total Merchant Services, visit To learn more about partnering with Total Merchant Services, visit or contact Ed directly at

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