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Selling on value isn’t just about understanding technology and integrated payments. It is about “SELLING!” In this edition of the merchant sales insight, I share specific and practical sales techniques to help you generate interest, overcome objections and close deals, all while focusing on value over price.

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Introduction 

In the last Merchant Sales Insight sponsored by Valor Paytech, I wrote about how sales reps who focus on pitching full-featured integrated POS systems or standalone terminals exclusively could be leaving money on the table because this approach ignores the fact that a lot of small businesses are looking for something in the middle.  They like their standalone terminal, but they need omnichannel functionality as well, in order to take payments online, in mobile settings, etc. 

I explained how many of these merchants would jump at the chance to add easy-to-use functionality that drives more sales and/or helps them run their businesses more efficiently if they didn’t have to embrace complex systems.  

In this Merchant Sales Insight, I want present a strategy for selling on value. 

We pay a lot of lip service in this industry to selling on value. But the truth is that selling on price is the dominant paradigm. This is also a leading contributor to attrition. Because, frankly, if you sell a merchant on lower pricing, alone, you leave yourself open to losing that merchant to another rep who comes along with a slightly lower price.  

On the other hand, if you can offer an omnichannel solution that’s fully integrated, with customer engagement tools like automated text messaging, you will raise the bar. And if you can demonstrate that these tools drive significant revenue increases, competitors will be hard pressed to convince them to leave. 

As Eric Bernstein, Chief Operating Officer at Valor Paytech recently told me, “We have ISOs and sales reps with merchants using our omnichannel solution set fully integrated with engage my customer tools like text marketing.  These partners tell us that merchants are able to generate what amounts to a 13th month of revenue in a year with these tools.” 

Selling on value is a 3-step process. 

Step 1: Generating interest

Step 2: Overcoming objections

Step 3: Closing the sale

Let’s examine each of these.

 

Generating Interest

It’s important to understand that every business is unique, even within the same vertical. A merchant sales professional does themselves, and their merchants, a disservice when they assume otherwise. 

By taking a consultative approach to selling merchant services you can understand and play to these differences by offering a solution set that truly addresses each merchant’s unique requirements.  

The first step is asking the right questions to identify pain points or needs. Here are a few questions that can get the process started:

  • How are you processing payments?
  • Are you just using a standalone terminal?
  • Have you ever considered online ordering/mobile swiper/e-invoicing?
  • Is there any functionality in particular that you don’t have now that you wish you had access to? 

Once you have identified a need, explain a specific feature that you believe is a good fit. 

For example:

  •  Mobile card acceptance for merchants with on-the-go sales
  • Virtual terminals
  • e-invoicing 
  • text to pay

The final step to generating interest is to confirm value to the merchant.  You might ask:

  • If I could offer a service that allowed you to collect email addresses or mobile numbers at checkout and automate direct marketing to individual customers, do you believe this would increase your revenue?
  • If you had a mobile payment device with you at your events, do you believe you would collect more payments and provide a better customer experience?
  • If you got instant feedback from customers about their order and were able to respond to that feedback, would this be valuable to you?

One of the reasons I asked Valor PayTech to sponsor this Merchant Sales Insight is because Valor has an omnichannel solution that integrates seamlessly with customer engagement tools and also supports cash discounting. 

Using Valor PayTech’s engage my customer tools, merchants can identify customers based on customizable filters, like number of visits and shopping patterns, and send special offers to encourage repeat visits. They can easily add promotional messages and images to receipts. And they can get instant feedback from customers through an easy-to-use rating system incorporated into electronic receipts. This is a feature set that can make a merchant take notice, because it’s easy to use and a sure-fire way to boost revenues.

Repeat this 3 step process of questioning to identify needs, explaining relevant features and confirming value to the merchant.  Once they have confirmed that your solution would be valuable, you are ready to move forward.  However, we all know that objections are coming!  We explore how to overcome these in the next segment.

Side Note:  If you are selling cash discounting, you are likely leading off with some version of, “I can eliminate your processing fees!”  There is nothing wrong with this, but don’t stop there.  Many of your competitors can do the same.  If you want to build a solid cash discounting portfolio that will stand the test of time, use the 3 step value sales process above, after you grab their attention with cash discounting, or even after you do the installation.  

Even though you got a “Yes” doesn’t mean you got a lifelong client.  Protect yourself from attrition by discussion what your solution can do for the merchant above and beyond eliminating their processing fees.

  

Overcoming Objections

The best way to overcome objections is to confirm the value the merchant can expect from the features and functionality identified in the first step. Then, as they raise objections, bring the conversation back around to those features and functionality you’re offering that they’ve identified as valuable. 

For example, when a merchant says they don’t want to deal with the hassle of switching providers, you might say “I understand Mr. Merchant, but can your current provider support mobile integration/e-invoicing.?” This is something you find valuable right? Or, “I understand Ms. Merchant, but can they support automated text marketing?”  

Cash discounting often brings up its own set of objections. The most obvious is potential customer backlash. Cash discounting is nothing new. ISOs and agents have been selling it for several years now, long enough for there to be a consensus opinion that most customers paying with cards don’t object to paying a little bit more to use those cards. 

There has been a groundswell of consumer support for small businesses, particularly since the onset of the pandemic. 

I recall during the height of the pandemic I discovered a favorite pizza parlor was struggling to keep its doors open and delivery drivers delivering. So, it adopted a minimum order policy for deliveries. I was more than happy to meet the minimum, often ordering more than my family was going to eat, and talking with neighbors I realized I was not alone. Now that the Covid restrictions that kept away dine-in customers for nearly 2 years have been dropped, that pizza parlor is once again a bustling place.

Consumers want to help small businesses stay in business, and the majority of consumers are willing to pay a little bit more to help them stay in business. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you view it) consumers are more aware than ever that it costs merchants money to accept card payments. This makes them more agreeable to paying a little more for the convenience of using their cards. 

For those customers who are not agreeable, or for whatever reason the merchant decides, the merchant should be able to simply waive fees tied to cash discounting.  

Valor PayTech makes this process really simple, with devices and software that support a simple “waive the fee” button or even a dual MID setup. With the simple click of a button on a terminal or in an app, the merchant can designate that a particular transaction be processed under a traditional pricing model, such as interchange-plus. Support for multiple MIDs also holds appeal for larger merchants that want to accommodate special customers, or not.

 

Closing Sales 

I’ve closed hundreds of merchants in my career, and I’ve trained thousands of merchant sales reps on selling and closing deals. What I’ve learned and what I teach is that regardless of the particulars of a sales strategy a closing tactic is only as good as the value that was created before the close. 

That’s why it is so important to inquire about and understand each merchant’s unique needs, from the get go. Only with that intelligence can you offer a solution set that responds to merchant’s needs. A solution set that delivers real, tangible, value to the merchant. 

Never allow the merchant to lose sight of this additional value you’re offering to bring to the relationship – in the form of omnichannel, cash discounting, customer engagement, or any combination of these – and closing should follow naturally.

Be assumptive! Once all the merchant’s objections and questions have been answered, and they understand how the solution set will deliver real value, move directly into the close. Consider saying something like this:

            “Well, Mr. Merchant, I’m glad I can help you with a new solution that supports e-invoicing, text to pay and cash discounting. I’m glad you see that these features are going to have a real impact on your bottom line. Now let me explain how this all works and the timeline. First, I’m going to take some notes, then I will get the ball rolling with my company, and schedule a time to install, test and train you and your staff on the technology. Then, I will follow up with you in 30 days. So, if it’s okay with you, I’m going to take some notes about your business to make sure I have everything right.”

While you are doing this, pull up the merchant application on your pc/tablet, if you haven’t already, and start asking questions that correlate with the application like, “What is the spelling of your last name?”

 

Conclusion       

Closing a sale is the reward that comes from a well-executed sales process. But in an industry with high attrition rates, like merchant services, just closing sales is not enough. You should want to close sales that result in sticky relationships and low attrition rates.

Valor PayTech’s processor-agnostic omnichannel gateway was built to help ISOs and agents acquire and retain more clients. Its cash discounting solution can be coupled with its countertop, mobile and virtual terminals, to create a true omnichannel point of sale solution that actually helps merchants make more sales. Differentiated features include unique merchant portals, real-time monitoring of transactions, easy-to-understand customer analytics and easy-to-use customer engagement tools. Merchants are always updated and secure, customer and transaction data is safely stored in and accessible via the cloud, and merchants enjoy all the benefits offered by increased customer engagement.

To further streamline the sales process, and to help merchants that want to get up and running quickly, Valor has introduced Valor Shield. This feature can be used by ISOs and their underwriting departments to restrict certain types or volumes of transactions above a certain threshold.  Some wholesale ISOs use this feature to conditionally approve a merchant instantly, while only allowing them to process a limited number / amount of transactions, while they complete a more in depth underwriting process.

 

Learn more about Valor:

Eric Bernstein