The day was hot, at least 90 degrees, and I was driving in my old Toyota Corolla. The previous day, my air conditioning had gone out. I really didn’t have the money to fix it. There I was driving down a rural road in Pennsylvania headed to my first appointment scheduled lead at a […]
The day was hot, at least 90 degrees, and I was driving in my old Toyota Corolla. The previous day, my air conditioning had gone out. I really didn’t have the money to fix it. There I was driving down a rural road in Pennsylvania headed to my first appointment scheduled lead at a barber shop.
At that time, merchant services seemed like nothing more than a commodity to me. Obviously, everyone should accept cards. But I really wasn’t sure what I was selling or why I was selling it. When I walked in the door, the barber was sitting in a chair and looked up. I introduced myself. He immediately said, “I don’t take cards; I told that lady not to send you.” My first thought was, “Way to go telemarketer!” And my next thought was, “This guy is crazy not to accept cards!” After a ten minute back and forth conversation, I walked out without a sale and with the profound feeling that I had found a new challenge.
This experience started a journey for me to understand the merchant services industry. Why do people use cards instead of cash? Why do merchants accept these forms of payment and agree to pay for the privilege? And most of all, how do I get my cut of the enormous profits flowing through this seemingly mundane industry. Eight years and one million YouTube views later, after helping thousands of sales reps and ISO’s grow their own merchant services businesses, I am still on this quest as the payments industry continues to evolve.
One question I get asked a lot these days from sales reps and “would-be” ISO’s looking at our industry is, “Will the payments industry still be a good opportunity in five years?” In other words, is it time to look for new opportunities? Is it time to shift focus to technology and offer payments as either a loss leader or tack it on as an afterthought when possible? I believe an ISO or merchant level sales professional can still win in the market place with a central focus on payment processing. Here are some things you need to remember as you plan for your next five years in the payment processing industry.
#1 – Our industry is always changing. Remember that the only thing more expensive than change is choosing not to. Be open to new ideas, new business models, new technology, and news ways of accomplishing your daily tasks. The number of ISO’s to whom I’ve spoken who are still uncomfortable giving up their incomprehensible spreadsheet proposals for a new, sleek web version like our instant quote tool is unfortunate. Just because something worked last year doesn’t mean you can’t improve and grow.
#2 – Businesses are changing the way they accept payments. A larger chunk of payments each year are processed either online or through point of sale systems. What are these ISV’s (Independent Software Vendors) looking for? A bigger and better sales channel to sell their software! You are in a position of power if you know how to sell merchant services. Don’t be afraid to approach providers of software you think your merchants need. Offer to sell the software as long as they work with you to integrate your payment services.
What about eCommerce merchants? I am shocked at the way our segment of the industry has virtually given up on this extremely profitable segment. I don’t think I have ever seen a decent, independent rep program that specifically targets small to medium online merchants. Make sure you notice the course I just completed on how to sell eCommerce merchants. It will really help explain the unique challenges of this market.
#3 – The banks and brands will not allow the U.S. Payments industry to sink to commodity prices, but merchants are starting to fight back. If you are still not offering cash discounting or surcharging on principle, let me challenge you to come up with a way to address this new reality. Passing the cost of processing on to the consumer is gaining traction. No one can deny that. Why is this happening? Merchants are starting to weary of spending more on payment processing than on rent. There is plenty of room for more creative solutions to this issue. However, understand that the desire of merchants to eliminate this massive cost to their business is strong and increasing every month; don’t get left behind.
I still believe in the payments industry! There is still potential money to be made and merchants to service. Let’s get excited about the future again. Let’s talk about how to leverage our strengths as merchant services sales professionals and ISO’s to embrace the changes coming our way and to dominate in this new payment landscape.