While it is true that merchant level salespeople (MLSs) who provide payment processing and value-added services to merchants can enjoy residual income from those accounts for years after the initial sale, this doesn't mean they can rely on work done in the past for their present and future security. It takes time and effort to build a solid income-generating portfolio, merchants require service after they are signed, a certain percentage of merchants will switch processors when their contracts end if they think a better deal has come along, and some processors will not pay residuals to ISOs and MLSs if they do not continue to bring in a certain amount of new accounts each month.
Thus, it is a given that MLSs must spend a significant amount of time on sales efforts each day. And a certain percentage of those efforts must lead to boarding new accounts. But what if you're putting in the time, but not closing deals?
Sometimes this can merely be a little slump. If you just keep on track, you'll get through it, and your numbers will improve. Sometimes, however, you and your presentation need a tune-up. February can be the perfect time to revitalize your sales approach. The enthusiasm for a new year has waned, winter is wearing on, and those factors can contribute to lackluster sales presentations.
If you've been in sales for a while, you may feel like you have perfected your presentation skills and don't need to review how you come across. Often, however, presentations grow stale or sloppy over time if they aren't examined, tweaked and practiced regularly. Paul H. Green suggested in Good Selling! The Basics that even making small changes to a presentation's wording can make a big difference in your results.
"Next time you practice your presentation, record yourself on either audio or video," he wrote. "When you are finished, review the tape and note every time you say 'I' or 'we.' Wherever possible, replace those instances with 'you.'"
Green followed with examples. "Instead of saying, 'We offer a variety of premium services,' replace it with, 'You can benefit from premium approval, Visa/MasterCard acceptance and the new 'Widget' POS terminal. Which would you like to hear about first?' Or instead of, 'We've been in the business for 15 years and we know what companies like yours need,' try, 'You're a competent business professional; tell me what a business such as yours needs to succeed.' Rather than saying, 'We are the only company in this industry to offer programs customized for each merchant,' how about saying, 'If you could pick and choose only the coverage you need would you?'"
Green added that the secret is to take the emphasis off yourself and "focus your presentation on the merchant and how your offering will work for him or her."
You can also make sure you provide up-to-date information when responding to a merchant who has revealed a major issue of concern to him or her. You can benefit from examining your posture, facial expressions and tone of voice, too. And having a colleague to review your tape can provide invaluable tips on how to be an even better sales rep than you already are.
After your tune-up, step out with confidence, listen carefully to what your merchant prospects say, respond accordingly, and be flexible. Then watch your residuals rise.
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