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Street SmartsSM: It's Time to Say "Thank You" to Paul Green

By Ed Freedman

On July 29, 2004 in Chicago, the Midwest Acquirers' Association presented Paul Green with a Lifetime Achievement Award. I had the privilege of witnessing this event and hearing his terrific acceptance speech.

When I read his speech again in The Green Sheet ("More Than 26 Years in Payment Processing and a Lifetime of Achievement," Aug. 9, 2004, issue 04:08:01), I realized what a big debt of gratitude we all owe Paul.

Not only is he the founder of our industry, but he has also been the leading advocate for merchant levelsalespeople (MLSs) everywhere for more than 20 years.

As the host of "Street Smarts," I felt it was my duty to give all the hardworking MLSs an opportunity to express their appreciation for this extraordinary man. On the GS Online MLS Forum, I asked sales professionals throughout the industry to share with Paul how much his many years of service and support has meant to them. The response was unprecedented.

Here's just a sampling of the accolades posted: "I remember when The Green Sheet was first produced and the concern that many ISOs had about the 'confidential' information (profit streams) going out to the agents. The information was much needed and has helped to weed out those companies that were hurting this industry. Paul, thank you for all you have done!" - All the BEST, Don Harrington

"Paul has been an inspiration to many in the industry. While he certainly could take it easy, he instead dedicates himself and The Green Sheet to furthering the success of those in the industry and those to come. Congratulations, Paul, on your well deserved recognition!" - Best regards, Mary Dees

"I was an agent of an agent of an ... well, you all know the story. I stumbled across The Green Sheet about six months in. I am thankful everyday for the information and fellowship here. Indispensable! Thank you, Paul." - Kathy Harper, BPS

"Mr. Paul Green set the precedent for the word 'communication.' Before most of what we know today existed, he provided a path on which many have trodden and many more will walk to find their success. From a newsletter to a publication, to the Internet, it is equaled by none.

"When it came time to 'putting in' on new issues, you were at the front of the line. Because of your time and devotion in helping everyone succeed, so many have gone beyond their expectations. You are a person of genuine character, and by this you earn the highest respect from all in this industry." - Q

"I, too, want to thank Paul Green for all he has done for the industry, and for me. His company, his vision and his services have opened the door to so many opportunities over the past 6 years.

"Paul's valuable services have provided the key to open the door to so many companies doing business together within this industry, along with thousands of contracts being negotiated and signed over the years. These business relationships were probably linked in some way to the services The Green Sheet provides.

"Here is the one thing that everyone has failed to mention: With all that our industry has gone through in the last 10 years, the scandals, the lawsuits, no representation for the sales reps on the streets, The Green Sheet has definitely proved to provide real value as it has given us a portal with which to clean up our industry and keep the ISOs, vendors and reps honest and quick to do the right thing.

"I would say that our industry would have a bad reputation and would have gotten worse over the years if The Green Sheet did not exist today. I believe The Green Sheet has also contributed to fewer law suits over the years in this industry as companies are willing to do what is right just to save their company's reputation in The Green Sheet and in the bankcard community.

"If something bad happens or if someone has been wronged, we hear about it within hours on the MLS Forum. It has certainly kept me honest. The Green Sheet is a big plus in our industry. Thank you, Paul!" - rhendrix76

"Although still very 'green' in the industry (less than four years as an MLS, 15 years a consumer of bankcard services thanks, first, to Peachtree) I am grateful to you, Paul, and what you have provided for the industry. This business became much less of a struggle for me after I found The Green Sheet." - bankcardrep1

"Thanks, Paul, for the MLS Forum. It is the microphone of this industry. When you can't shout loud enough to be heard, you need a microphone; same [with the Forum].

"You anonymously get your messages through. Let me tell you, for the good and the bad, this Forum has good ears. Thanks again for the free publication and the Forum. Let us see another 20 years. Let us hope it remains free." - maketelinc

"The Green Sheet magazine and GS Online are fantastic. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge about the industry and creating an opportunity for us to communicate with each other. I also personally appreciated both of your books.

"For those of you that have not read 'Good Selling!' and 'Good Selling! 2,' you are missing out. Continuing education is vital in an ever-evolving industry.

"What's great about Paul is through all the years he has stayed on the cutting edge not fearing change. 'Wisdom is best used and most valuable when given away.' Thanks for all you do!" - SalesAMS

"Thank you, Paul! I have learned more from The Green Sheet than any other person, publication and even my own ISO. Merchant transaction fee: 25 cents; merchant statement fee: $10; member of The Green Sheet: priceless!" - johnmckee

"I have had the distinct honor of working with Paul Green. He is everything that you have read about and more. I have yet to work with someone, who, when you leave his office, not only are you laughing, you have learned something.

"Paul and all the great folks at The Green Sheet have been extremely helpful to us here at Secure Payment Systems. I can only say that I am fortunate to call him my mentor and my friend. He is indeed a gentleman, a scholar and a true friend to all of us in this business. Congrats, Paul, and thanks!" - Your friend, Steve Eazell

"Paul, thank you for living the philosophy, 'that which you share will multiply, that which you withhold will diminish.' You provide so much to all of us for free. You and your good deeds give all of us someone to respect and look up to and to aspire to." - Chuck Saden, POS Card Processing

"Mr. Paul Green, THE icon of our age, without whom we would be considered blind and mute. We would be legally blind in that we would not know of anything outside our immediate sphere, and without we would not have even a whisper, never a voice. To which we all owe (regardless if in agreement with him) gratitude for giving back to an industry that knows little compassion or caring on a local level, let alone a national level.

"Rarely an 'off the record' kind of guy, but one who will publish what is needed and provide for those whom he owes nothing, out of the kindness few will ever know. A mentor, a father figure, a friend to all." - Gratefully yours, Brett Mansdorf

"I am relatively new to The Green Sheet. However, I started years ago with Peachtree. If I had known of this publication then, I would have never left the business. You have offered a sail conquering the winds of change, providing both steadiness and calmness.

"The greatest compliment that any teacher could be given should come from the students whom he/she has taught well and are committed to spreading his/her lessons.

"You have shown a willingness to be taught by your students. That should be the goal and true definition of teaching. Specifically, it is a sign of your humbleness and respect for the professional MLS. My only hope is that I may someday teach you one letter for the book of knowledge that you have shared and allowed to be shared here.

"You have been committed and focused on your goals. You are the reason I believe there is still hope for the merchant level salesperson's role in this industry. A thousand thanks from student to teacher. Oh yeah, great book, too." - UTRUE

"Is it possible? Take a person with ABSOLUTELY NO KNOWLEDGE of the payments industry and no capital; set them loose on the GS Online MLS Forum for a little more than a year, and with a little ambition and negligible training from outside sources ... and BAM! Create an office with a small telemarketing staff and growing residual income!

"It's possible. That's exactly what happened to me because of Paul Green, The Green Sheet and the GS Online MLS Forum! Cincinnati Merchant Solutions is a direct product of The Green Sheet and its members. Thanks, Paul!" - Tony Millet, Cincinnati Merchant Solutions "Dear Paul, it's a great pleasure to participate in your publication, disseminating much needed information to participants in this exciting industry. Keep up the good work." - Adam Atlas, Attorney at Law

"I have been in this business for the past eight years. When I started, I had the good fortune to start with Superior Bancard under Joe Kaplan. Although I learned a lot there, it was nothing compared to the knowledge that I have received from The Green Sheet throughout the years.

"It is one of the biggest reasons that I am still in the business today. My vote goes to Paul Green as the 'best of the best!' Thank you for all you do and all you have done to help the 'feet on the street.'" - C.B. Schmidt, New Tech

Wow! That's feedback. I am not sure if Paul fully understands the impact he has had on so many of us over the years. Were he unaware, this column will surely provide affirmation, inspiration and motivation for this exceptional individual to continue doing what he has been doing for over two decades.

Paul has had an enormous impact on my career, especially because he inspired me to take a different path. I can honestly say that I would not have achieved anywhere near the amount of professional success without Paul Green and The Green Sheet.

Years ago, I asked Paul why he worked so hard to inform, educate and inspire the industry through The Green Sheet. He responded by saying he wanted to give back to an industry that has given so much to him ... and that I should do the same.

Ever since that conversation, I have been speaking, writing, training and helping others. Paul inspired me to give back to an industry that has afforded me unequaled opportunities. He inspired me to make a difference. My only hope is that we all continue to learn from Paul and strive to follow in his footsteps, united in a common goal to improve the bankcard business.

In the next installment of "Street Smarts," a guest columnist and leader from our industry will provide his or her thoughts on a very timely topic. As always, your feedback is critical to our continued success.

Please send your thoughts and opinions to streetsmarts@totalmerchantservices.com . I also want to thank everyone who took the time to share their praise for a very deserving individual, Paul Green.

"Every time we remember to say 'thank you,' we experience nothing less than heaven on earth." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

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. Freedman 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 the Web site at www.totalmerchantservices.com. To learn more about partnering with Total Merchant Services, visit www.upfrontandresiduals.com or contact Freedman directly at ed@totalmerchantservices.com.

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