By Jerry Cibley
United Bank Card Inc.
Over the past few months, I have written numerous articles regarding the shifting paradigm of the POS sales world. Recent articles contain information about how the traditional POS model is changing and the need to change with it, how controlling the POS can virtually eliminate customer attrition, and how to find the correct fit for the end user.
I have been contacted by many ISOs who have read these articles, and the central theme is focused around a single question: How can an ISO with limited or no POS knowledge compete against the likes of the seasoned POS salespeople?
While the credit card sale and the POS system generally go hand in hand, they each require a distinct skill set and knowledge base for salespeople to succeed. If you work in a restaurant as a bartender, you probably have a pretty good foundation as a server.
If you are a server, odds are you are familiar with the inner workings of the kitchen and how it all goes together on a busy Friday evening. Such is not the case in the POS industry.
Previously, as a POS man, I knew only a tiny bit about the processing side of things. I was getting a residual stream on a monthly basis but was not involved in merchant boarding. I would simply pass on the name of the merchant to the ISO representative, who would sign the merchant and simply send a check to me at the end of the month.
Wow - was I in for a shock when I sold my business to a local ISO and became immersed in credit card processing and first learned to say "interchange" and talk in terms of basis points. The credit card processing business is complex in and of itself, but learning its inner workings allowed me to lift the profitability for my POS deals to new levels.
In my current role, it is my job to teach ISOs how to sell POS systems. But how can you take 25 years of heavy duty POS experience and figure out a way of transferring that knowledge?
Well, I began with a series of webinars. My colleagues at United Bank Card Inc. and I created POS 101, POS 102, POS 103, etc., and focused on the fundamental concepts I learned through making sales presentations to restaurateurs 25 years ago.
I taught the basic lingo to my students and even had a section called "learning to speak restaurant." Words and phrases like "86," "in the weeds," "Expo," and "remote printer" suddenly had meaning to my group of neophyte POS trainees.
Each week we covered a new topic, and despite the fact that we were doing this all remotely, I was seeing something I never expected to see: repeat names on multiple presentations.
There was one man by the name of John who attended practically every webinar I offered. He must have sat through POS 101 at least six times, and he was not the only one. I questioned him, and he said he needed to have a complete understanding of the industry if he was going to be successful.
We, at UBC, agreed. We set up rigorous tests that required a grade of 85 or above to pass. I saw ISOs take these tests multiple times; eventually they all passed. But they still were not ready to go out and demo against seasoned POS veterans
We set up a POS boot camp in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. We brought in 50 POS stations and enrolled nearly 100 ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) in our POS certification course. We brought a team of 10 POS technicians to help with the training and testing and had two and one-half days of intensive training on how to demo the software.
We allowed the attendees to practice and had the POS training room open from 8:00 a.m. until midnight every day. We had ISOs and MLSs who chose not to hang out at a bar and socialize, opting instead to spend the entire evening practicing at the terminals. The following day we tested nearly 100 students.
Although all did not pass at first, we worked with each of the students individually to make sure everyone achieved certification. I am certain that some of my graduates have prevailed in deals against some of the major brand names, and I look forward to our next training class.
If you wish to make the leap to selling POS systems, make certain the training you receive is comprehensive enough to position you against a seasoned POS salesperson.
Jerry Cibley is a 25-year veteran of the POS industry. He has been the founder of three POS dealerships servicing New England during his career. Today, Jerry is the National Sales Trainer for United Bank Card's Harbortouch POS division. As National Sales Trainer, his role with UBC is to train the company's sales partners on the intricacies of the POS business so that they can become POS experts themselves, ensuring their success with the free Harbortouch POS program. Jerry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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