By Michael Gavin
I have been in this industry for over a dozen years now, and I've truly never been more excited about the opportunities that lie ahead in the world of payments. Of course, opportunity also typically reflects a state of change, and, for some, that often leads to trepidation and fear.
There's no denying that the world of payments is changing and evolving, presenting new sales challenges and business growth potential for entrepreneurs and leaders who adapt their businesses and embrace this new world. Looking forward to 2014, I see a few key items that will impact our world within payments, especially as it relates to the day-to-day strategies of growing ISOs, successful merchant level salespeople and resellers.
First and foremost, technology is and will continue to impact offerings as well as the way that sales professionals present new solutions to their vast customer base. Think about it from a consumer perspective - how much has your personal life changed due to technology (think smartphones, tablets, notebook computers, DVRs, etc.) over the past few years? Yeah, it's changed a lot.
Well, those same devices are driving parallel change in your professional world as well. Smartphone usage among customers is yielding new opportunities for merchants to deliver incremental value, seamless integrated loyalty and more via mobile commerce applications and mobile payment acceptance.
In addition, tablets and cloud-based technologies are bringing new solution options. These include affordable, easy-to-use POS systems and even mobile POS options to the merchants you support, adding to your tool kit in terms of what you can deliver as part of your holistic offerings to add value for your merchant relationships and help you grow your business.
Another key evolution we're witnessing, and which will accelerate in 2014, is the move away from the traditional transactional sales approach focused on price and service to secure merchant accounts. For agents and resellers who want to sell today and cultivate long-lasting merchant relationships, now is the time to shift your focus to a consultative sales approach.
Today's discerning merchants demand solutions, not just products. As sales professionals you have an incredible opportunity to capitalize on this need and desire, provided that you augment your traditional approach with one that is focused on identifying prospect needs through focused questions and listening techniques.
And, it's also critical to ensure that you have a full suite of solutions to meet any need - it's not just about credit card processing anymore. Merchants are demanding more. And they're increasingly inclined to rely on trusted advisers to guide them through the process and provide solutions that allow them to eliminate inefficiencies, improve business management, and even attract and retain customers. Today's focus is on value and driving incremental revenue to the merchant's bottom line.
Another major shift I foresee in the coming year is growth. For small, independent agents, this may mean building a sub-agent program. For others, the focus will be on adding new team members to support a broader geographic marketplace or even establishing a new vertical specialty. Merchant needs are beginning to converge with new technologies, and it's going to require more qualified experts, or trusted advisers, to ensure that these merchants implement the most effective and impactful solutions for their respective businesses.
It's often said that fear of change is the top reason for resistance to change, but this is not simply change, it's a whole new world of opportunity that is now being opened to merchant level salespeople and other sales professionals in the payments space. It's the next chapter and, for those who want to succeed and overachieve, the time is now! As Dale Carnegie said, "Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get."
As Merchant Warehouse Senior Vice President, Sales, Michael Gavin is responsible for day-to-day management of the company's direct sales, as well as leadership of all sales activities within the company's agent channel. He has served as a key leader within the organization since joining the company in late 2000. Merchant Warehouse's Genius Customer Engagement Platform is a single, intuitive platform that integrates every transaction technology, loyalty program and more. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the company, visit http://merchantwarehouse.com.
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