GS Logo
The Green Sheet, Inc

Please Log in

A Thing

Go wide, go deep with value-added products

By Martha Richardson

Almost anyone in sales will hit a plateau at some point. As an ISO or merchant level salesperson, when you hit a wall in selling greater volumes of credit/debit POS solutions year after year, it's time to get creative and broaden your focus beyond the retail merchant countertop.

Here's the secret to moving beyond this plateau: Widen your reach into new vertical markets, and go deeper into prospective merchants so you're not cut off at the countertop.

For example, if you have focused on selling to convenience stores, move those skills to the related but very different supermarket segment. Or, investigate the high-growth medical industry. Doctors and dentists have pressing needs for credit, debit and check acceptance and for determining insurance eligibility.

A relatively unexplored area is property management; only 10% of tenant management offices currently accept debit and credit cards for payment. Or, look at child care operations. They not only need to accept payment, but they also could use a time-and-attendance application for a check-in/check-out time stamp for children and a background check application when hiring caregivers.

A key to success in any market, whether existing or exploratory, is to move beyond the concept of a POS system's simply providing credit and debit acceptance. Today's POS device uses 32-bit microprocessors that are vastly more powerful than minicomputers that handled major corporations' processing needs a decade ago.

If you are already familiar and comfortable with selling gift cards and check verification applications, now you can move deeper into your merchants' operations.

With the ever-increasing need for workplace security, companies are going to new lengths to ensure the safety of their businesses, employees and customers. Criminal and background checks are no longer only for large government agencies; now they are routinely performed as a precursor to hiring at companies of all sizes.

For merchants, security is not just an issue of protecting their cash. These days, employers may be found liable for negligent hiring if they fail to take reasonable steps to determine a job applicant's suitability by checking their references, criminal record or general background.

Automated Verification Systems, a VeriFone partner, provides access to the nationwide GiS databases and supplies instantaneous results on background check inquiries. The system ensures compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Why would merchants use this type of solution in a POS terminal when PCs are inexpensive and the Internet readily available? The answer: There are a number of substantive merchant benefits, including:

  • Reduced cost: Pricing is substantially lower than Internet background checks.
  • Increased speed: Results come in 20 seconds versus days.
  • Convenience: There's an "always on" connection without having to turn on a computer, and information is quickly printed to validate a hire and protect clients from negligent hiring claims.
  • Security: It provides secure background checks without fear of viruses, hacking or spam.
  • Ease of use: Background checks are packaged the way merchants need them: buy what they need now, add more later.

Consider one successful implementation as an illustration of how to turn this type of solution into a creative new sales opportunity. Clarks Markets is a small chain of six grocery stores in ski resort towns in the West that deal with a lot of employee turnover and a large potential pool of foreign-born workers.

Clarks wanted to run background checks from its customer service center, so it implemented VeriFone's HR ToolBox.

The solution includes an Omni 3750 POS terminal, a keyboard for data entry, a real-time background screening application, and a time and attendance application from TimeCentre, so employees can punch in and out on the POS terminal. (Clarks also uses it as a backup for credit, debit and gift card functions.)

The system dials out to TimeCentre to upload all punches and current information, where it is turned into reports readily accessible by merchants' payroll managers. TimeCentre's product interfaces with major payroll companies such as ADP and PayChex.

A multiapplication POS system turns a single POS terminal into an efficient multitasker. Systems can be prepackaged with a group of applications designed for specific vertical markets, including: grocery stores; apartment complexes; general/specialty retail; child care; home services; hospitals; industry/manufacturing; restaurants; schools/universities; utilities; and financial services.

OK, you say, but doesn't this require me to become all things to all people? Won't this slow me down from accomplishing my basic goal of selling credit/debit systems? You don't need to become expert in the applications offered; you just need to know that they are available and how they align with a particular customer's business needs.

In selling value-added applications, you have many partners from which to draw to make the sale. Focus on selling hardware and generating leads that the value-added application provider can close.

You can easily generate spiffs with relatively little effort. At the same time, when merchants rely on multiple applications, it's more difficult for competitors to dislodge you. The value you bring to merchants grows as they feel more beholden to you and the solutions you provided that help them run their businesses.

Martha Richardson is Manager of the Value Added Partner Program, and Senior Director, Strategic Development, with VeriFone. E-mail her at .

Article published in issue number 060301

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.
Back Next Index © 2006, The Green Sheet, Inc.