Mark Dunn, founder and President of Field Guide Enterprises LLC, is a payment consultant and popular coach for ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs), who regularly attend his Field Guide Seminar series. In this interview, Dunn talks about what it takes to become a successful salesperson, what the future holds for the payments industry and how raising a family is the accomplishment he's most proud of.
You certainly have to have dedication and passion for what you're doing. That doesn't necessarily express itself by being hyper emotional about it. I am not one of those people who gets pumped up in the morning, puts on the head banging music and sails out the door to the acclaim of the entire world. There is an old expression: some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you. Dedication and commitment involve taking a day when the bear eats you and going right back at it again the next day ‒ and doing it every day time after time.
Let's face it: selling entails a tremendous amount of rejection, especially if you get assigned a job in telephone sales. That's the hardest job on the face of the earth right now. Customers just don't have enough time. If you can be passionate and be committed about getting better at sales, at honing your skills, and learning the job from other people; you have a chance to be successful. The best sales people I have ever met are driven. They have that drive in the belly, that internal fire, and they are not going to stop.
Andre Agassi said in his book the reason why he got really good at tennis was because his dad insisted he hit 2,500 ground strokes a day, every day for 10 years. If you can find something you are passionate about and want to be the best at, it may take 10 years to get it done, but if you have that kind of level of commitment and dedication, it can happen.
I created the seminars for sharing ideas, tips and techniques to develop solid strategies for becoming better as an ISO and MLS. I bring in speakers who have a message about current topics, about how to build the ISO business, and how to up your game and take it to the next level.
Nobody is more loyal than a satisfied customer, and if you're helping and taking care of people, most customers will be a little bit less ready to jump to a competitor if somebody says there is a better price. The only time merchants think about merchant services is when it's broken or not working, and merchant services works really well for the most part in the United States, so we don't even think about it. But you have to have somebody there who is ready to respond if you have a problem or a question. What do you envision in the industry's future?
I think the payments industry is going to be refocused, and the way payments are built into the modern experience is going to change. Payments are becoming increasingly integrated, and people are thinking about the payment function even less now. Certainly, they won't stop tracking the price of things, but there is an attempt now to take down all of the barriers for making payments. In the background, you still have to do the merchant accounting, the risk management and all the other things, but the attempt now is to put all that stuff in the background and just make it effortless.
I think there are two important lessons that every person needs to come to grips with in life. One is knowing yourself, and the second is you have to know what you can do and what you can't do. My parents have given me good guidance on both of those and really enabled me to learn who I am.
It's funny because there was a time in my life where I thought physical accomplishments were pretty cool. I have run a sub three-hour marathon, and there aren't many people even among marathoners who have done that. That took a year and a half of training, but as I've reflected on it, I think that raising a family and having three grown daughters and twin grandsons is even more fun.
Talk to everybody. Keep it under control; you don't want to capitalize on people's time, but you never know who the next person is going to be who can change your life. There is a people element in sales which selling over the Internet doesn't quite capture. I think that person-to-person selling and networking is going to be around forever. It's always going to be there. If you are interested in people, you probably have a good future in sales because there is a personal element that is indispensable. It's funny because I wasn't always that way. I tended to kind of ignore people because I was lost in thought a lot of the time. I was kind of a nerdy kid in high school and college, and it really took a lot to get me out of that mode.
I've always enjoyed reading the articles in The Green Sheet, going all the way back to the days when Paul Green was running the magazine. I feel that The Green Sheet has a really entrepreneurial approach to the industry, and I have just really gotten to know some of the writers and some of the staff there and I've always enjoyed talking with them. The Green Sheet was incredibly supportive of me when I started the Field Guide Seminars and asked for a little help in getting the word out about that. I felt if there was anything that I could do to help The Green Sheet and give back to them, I wanted to do that.
I also think there are a lot of people who are in our industry who read The Green Sheet, who maybe don't have a lot of connections into any of the industry tradeshows or any of the other high-level national aspects about the industry, but they can read The Green Sheet and connect with what's going on. I think The Green Sheet plays an indispensable role in helping thousands of people become informed and learn about the industry.
I have an exceptional family. They really care about me, and I am really fortunate to have them in my life. I am fortunate in that I have always had that; it's been a tremendous advantage just the level of support that I've had throughout my life from my parents and my wife and daughters. It's how they view the world and the caring people that they are that really makes the difference for me to achieve that balance.
My wife and I are going to Israel in June. We have wanted to do that for a number of years. Another thing I would like to do is a pilgrimage from Paris to Spain. It's a long way, and there are a bunch of cathedrals along the way. Some people bike; some people walk. It's called the Santiago de Compostela, named after St. James of Compostela, the town in Spain. It's a long way from Paris to there ‒ something like 1,000 to 1,500 kilometers. It's a long walk; it would take me a long time, probably about two months.
I love to draw and paint. About fifteen years ago, I took several courses at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. I had always liked to draw, and it was a tremendous amount of fun. I found out I could sort of descend into the world of drawing and painting and come out the other side two or three hours later and feel completely refreshed and invigorated.
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