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A Thing

Don't just give it away

By Tom Della Badia

Most articles written for this section of The Green Sheet are meant to inform or educate. Yet sometimes it helps to reinforce a sales message or something you think you already know.

Nothing in this article is new. This is simply a reminder that we are in sales; we all need to earn a good living; and we want to produce as much as possible. In other words, stop giving your services away.

When I work with newer sales offices, I am often asked, How low can I go on the rate? What seems like a simple question really isn't so simple.

When evaluating merchants' needs, look beyond rates. Ask merchants whether they are happy with their current sales office's service. Tell them how quickly you can respond to issues that may arise. Find out if their credit/debit rates are bundled, and let merchants know you can separate the rates. Using these approaches, you can often close a deal without lowering the credit card discount.

What about rewards cards? Many processors downgrade these to nonqualified transactions. Some downgrade them to mid- or partial-qualified.

A few even allow rewards cards to be broken out at a qualified rate. If you're able to write rewards cards as qualified, you can save merchants money without changing the discount rates. If you don't have that ability, find a secondary source that will allow this.

Also, explain the benefits of gift-card programs and how you can help merchants implement them. And ask merchants if they have problems with bounced checks. If the answer is yes, explain how you can help them overcome this. These value-added services are proven and effective. But they are underutilized by many sales professionals.

Here's more advice you may have heard before: Don't lead with a low-rate offer or a free-terminal offer. You're in this to make money. Merchants won't consider leasing or purchasing terminals if you've already put "free" in their minds.

Think about when you were a child, and you were afraid to ask your parents for something. They probably said, Just ask; the worst we can do is say no. The same holds true with merchants. Ask for the sale, ask for the lease, ask for your rate and ask for their business.

Lastly, sell yourself. Merchants want to trust and believe in you. Deliver on your promises and don't disappoint.

Believe in yourself and the value of your services. Accomplish this, and merchants will readily refer you to their peers. You're in this for the long haul, and you want your merchants along for the entire ride. You'll be much happier on the journey if you don't give the golden goose away.

Tom Della Badia is Vice President of Sales at IRN Payment Systems. IRN has provided electronic payment processing solutions through its PartnerAmerica program to businesses nationwide for over 18 years. Services include credit card and check/debit processing for merchants, retailers, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers of all sizes, from individual facilities to multiple and chain operations. For more information, call Della Badia at 800-366-1388, ext. 210, or visit

Article published in issue number 060702

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