Getting off to the right start
After a couple of years of reviewing books, articles and myriad other publications on merchant selling - and being laid off - I've decided to enter the payments arena. I'm not young, having just passed my sixth decade on this earth, and I'm confused as to how to proceed.
I've read where the "street shoes" aren't to be walked in any longer, but when I talk to merchants while using their services, I find they dislike the phone calls and emails that constantly bombard them, along with so many empty promises. They feel behind in their knowledge of the technology they use and are very unreceptive to any salesperson that approaches them. However, I'm still going to proceed, as I see education of merchants as a way to help them adapt to the changes business and society will undergo.
What would be the best way to approach business prospects? The ISO reps I've talked to tell me to forget about reading anything and just go out and get "statements" and fax them to the office. They say, "You'll learn as you go." If I were younger, I would perhaps be willing to do that, but with so much information on this area of selling available, it seems more than ignorance should be used to convince a businessperson to listen to you.
Is vertical selling in one particular area better, or should I just walk down the street and talk to everyone? Any help would be appreciated. I'm very excited to do it, but at this age, I would just like to make a good first impression. I read each new issue of The Green Sheet, and I constantly learn something new every issue. Is that enough?
We asked Jason A. Felts, Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Merchant Services to provide you some guidance. Following is his advice:
My suggestion for any new merchant level salesperson (MLS) is to cover the basics first. Find a good company to represent that offers the following: a solid agreement that protects you for the long haul; a strong compensation plan coupled with a great offer to your prospects; and, ideally, a full-scale training program to really show you firsthand how to succeed in this incredible industry.
I believe training is crucial. At AMS, we developed an entire curriculum. In addition, we often pair new MLSs with experienced agents for in-field training to see deals written live.
Your best bet in calling on merchants is to develop a unique approach that presents them with a clear value proposition. You want the approach to be dynamic, catchy and to capture their attention quickly. I wrote an article entitled "Make low price low priority," The Green Sheet, June 9, 2008, issue 08:06:01. I believe it will shed more light on your questions.
Good luck, and if you would like further assistance, feel free to reach out to me directly at 888-355-8472, ext. 211.
Thank you for relying on The Green Sheet as you embark upon your new MLS career, Mike. And, Jason, thank you for answering Mike's questions in your inimitably encouraging way.
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