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Eliot Management Group

ISO contact:

Ron Dichter, CEO and National Sales Director
Phone: 801-933-5581, ext. 3123
Fax: 801-994-6100

Company address:

3216 S. Highland Drive, Third Floor
Salt Lake City, Utah 84106
Phone: 800-933-9856
Fax: 801-994-6100
Web site:

ISO benefits:

  • Monthly commission for each account signed
  • Signing bonus for accounts converted from competitors
  • Commissions on hardware and software sales
  • 401(k) program with employer match
  • Health insurance and health club membership
  • Continuing education and training; tuition reimbursement

Home sweet home

Many readers of The Green Sheet are independent agents, and that suits them well. Others have no desire to fly solo.

They prefer a steady paycheck, health benefits (especially if they have families) and the camaraderie of an office outside the home that is staffed with their peers. If you fall into the latter group, working as an employee might be just right for you.

Eliot Management Group is a nationwide service provider offering credit and debit card processing, equipment sales and repair, check services and loyalty and gift card solutions.

EMG does not sell products through the independent sales channel. Rather, sales agents are direct employees of the company, and they receive full benefits including medical coverage and 401(k) plans.

EMG Chief Executive Officer and National Sales Director Ron Dichter said employing direct sales representatives allows EMG to control the quality of its delivered product.

"This is a permanent home to build a career, not a stepping stone until an agent finds something better," he said.

A gainful group

In 1997, Dichter, Welby Evangelista and John Howe founded Eliot & Associates in Salt Lake City, Utah. They renamed the company Eliot Management Group in 2000.

"Our name says it all," Dichter said. "We are a group, not a company, not a banking firm, not a finance organization and most certainly not the brainchild of the CEO.

"We are a group of very talented and like-minded people with a common mission and understanding of how to accomplish that mission."

The group has enjoyed much success, and its achievements have been recognized.

For example, EMG was selected as First American Payment Systems' Office of the Year for three consecutive years, as well as both Secur-Chex's and Merimac Capital Corp.'s Office of the Year.

EMG has 20 sales and service centers in 12 states, and it plans to open five more locations next year.

As a provider of services to merchants of all sizes and types, EMG is on course to process 30 million transactions with over 20,000 merchants.

This represents an estimated $3 billion in Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard Worldwide transactions this year.

A gold-medal philosophy

EMG employs 220 corporate, operations and sales personnel. The direct employee relationship is built into the corporate culture of the company.

"Eliot Management Group started with the goal to be a dynamic organization focused on providing merchants one-on-one support while offering employees an unparalleled opportunity to earn what they are worth, not what someone else deems their worth to be," Dichter said.

EMG strives for a collegial atmosphere and emphasizes honesty and caring. "We treat our employees like family," Dichter said. "Our goal from day one was to stay the course and focus on treating our employees like gold."

Dichter believes that to grow, employers must be honest and treat employees with respect and fairness. "At the end of the day, if you are honest and stand up, you are going to be successful in any venture," he said.

"Honesty, fair-play and integrity are not rhetorical concepts at EMG; they're enforced ways of doing business.

"We cater to a guideline of trekking on the higher road and will sacrifice production, if we have to, in order to maintain this business philosophy."

That said, the executives at EMG are not na_ve. "Our industry is rife with negativity, and we believe in injecting optimism and being a positive player in everything that we do to neutralize some of these elements," Dichter said.

EMG is not the least expensive solutions provider, nor does it try to be. Its products and services are priced competitively to earn a profit while also delivering valuable, long-term care "because servicing accounts year-in and year-out isn't free," Dichter said.

Community consciousness

EMG's "on-market" service approach, begun in 1999, has a local focus. The program's goal is to secure office space in all EMG markets so that EMG personnel can provide in-person, comprehensive sales and service to existing and future clients right where they live.

This approach tells customers and employees that EMG, a nationwide company, is committed to developing a long-term presence in the area. It also allows EMG to connect with nearby business organizations and chambers of commerce to actively participate in that community.

EMG's service is unique because it offers local representatives who physically work in the communities they serve. Further, each office averages 11 employees, so if a sales representative is out of the office, the merchant will still receive support from a local agent.

"As a representative, it's one thing to live in a market and be local, but it's another to know that you have an office with a full team of people with the same goal: providing quality, reliable service," Dichter said.

EMG's community focus and desire to be competitive go hand in hand. "By having local support in our on-market model, we believe that we have a huge advantage over our competition," Dichter said.

"There is always going to be a better rate, but in the end, if a basis point here or a penny-per-click there makes a merchant leave us, down the road that tiny savings they gained will come back to bite them, and they will return to EMG. We take care of our clients."

EMG's on-market approach also makes it easier for MLSs to sign new business.

"By having the local support office in place, it makes the task of converting and signing new banks to our program much easier," Dichter said.

"The rewards for the bank are not just received in monetary compensation, but also in the satisfaction of knowing customers are being treated well."

Refreshing recruitment policies

EMG is always looking for dedicated sales and operations people. "Initially, we plan on opening 90 offices in 50 states to give us a good market penetration throughout the nation," Dichter said.

"Then we will go back and fill in the holes to really solidify our local presence in all U.S. markets."

It may surprise some that EMG is not necessarily looking for the most successful sales agents; it is open to hiring people with no direct experience in the financial services industry. Dichter said the most important criteria are an open mind and a willingness to learn the EMG way of business.

When EMG opens offices in new markets, it is making a long-term commitment. "It takes 24 months to recover the investment we put into it, so we want to make sure we have the right candidate," Dichter said.

"It's not always the best salesperson that we want. We want a good fit."

Family-style support

Dichter has found that reps often don't get the training or support they need. Therefore, EMG focuses on providing ongoing training and support.

While its offices are countrywide, the company's processes unite employees and foster the family atmosphere EMG has worked so hard to build.

"Our people receive comprehensive training and education about our business, the industry and the products and services we sell," Dichter said. "They are given a road map showing how to build a magnificent residual portfolio."

All new employees receive face-to-face training with a manager in either a two-to-one or one-to-one ratio. The training focuses on understanding the industry (if the employee is new to the industry) and what makes EMG different from the competition.

Continual industry, product and service education is very important to EMG. Twice a week the company offers workshops; once a year it hosts a managers' retreat.

Also, once a year every employee is flown to Salt Lake City for training and a holiday party. "It's a chance to meet face to face with the people you work with on the phone all year," Dichter said.

EMG also uses communication tools wisely. It has a 10-page monthly newsletter, which includes information about training, sales contests and promotions. And every Monday it has a conference call with 200 participants. These efforts are paying off: The company boasts low attrition rates; some reps have worked for EMG almost 10 years.

A road to success

Employees who want to earn revenue from hardware sales can do so by selling EMG's proprietary line of POS terminals. "We do not employ the free terminal philosophy," Dichter said.

In January 2006, EMG launched its first terminal, the Eliot 1000. The terminal's software features enhanced security functions, automated self-diagnostics and multiproduct processing ability.

The Eliot 2000 is scheduled to debut later this year and will feature high-speed transmission control protocol/Internet protocol communications abilities and more memory. EMG is a sales-focused company. Its on-market approach, training and education are designed to help MLSs get started and succeed.

"EMG has invested a tremendous amount of resources, and continues to do so, in helping our people grab success that was before beyond their reach," Dichter said. "At EMG, sales representatives don't have to go at it alone."

Article published in issue number 060902

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