In my final post for this week, I want to share some tips that I have learned over the years that will help you close those big deals that, if handled correctly can keep your merchant services business growing and profitable. During my first 6 months in this business I really struggled to make a good income up front, this was partly due to the credit card processor I was selling for but, also because I was targeting only small, single location businesses that didn’t produce much up front compensation or residual. After 6 months in the business, I finally closed my first multi-location deal and that was quickly followed by two more. These three multi-location accounts, which all still process with me today, brought in the income I needed to keep moving forward.
First of all, let’s understand the opportunity with multi-location and why they are so profitable. On the merchant services side, you make an up front bonus on every location, just like it was a unique sale. So, at our company, we pay a $400 bonus up front on every deal processing over $5,000 per month in volume. This means if you sell a 5 location deal, you will get $2,000 up front, just from this one deal. As far as residual goes, most of these multi-location deals are larger than the average stand alone business. I would guess that my multi-location deals pay out an average of $60.00 per month, per location, so a 5 location deal pays out $300 per month in residual from one account. In other words, you are 10 multi-location deals away from having a very nice residual income of around $3,000 per month.
So how do you sell credit card processing to these large / multi-location deals? Here are some tips:
#1 – The first one is always the hardest one.
When you walk into a business and start making conversation, always ask them if they are a one location, mid-sized regional business or national corporate business. Too many sales people simply walk out on multi-location deals without even trying to give them an estimate. You walk in and the person at the counter says, “You would have to talk to our corporate office about that” and you just walk out. Many times, even a 3 or 4 location business will have one corporate office in one of the other locations, so while this may sound like a huge business, it really isn’t. Figure out what you are dealing with before you give up.
#2 – Track down the decision maker at any cost in time or money.
This type of account scares many sales people because of the complexity but one thing you need to understand is that for these deals with 2 to 10 locations, the decision making process is actually very similar to a small deal. There is one person who is making the decision. You certainly may need buy in from the various location managers or deal with concerns from other stake holders but, it usually just comes down to one person and if you get a chance to meet them, drive 2 hours, change your schedule or do whatever you have to do in order to meet this person. Even if it goes no where, it is well worth your investment and it usually gives you some leverage if you casually bring up where you came from, “My name is James Shepherd and I was just speaking with Susan at your XYZ location a couple hours from here, she told me this would be a good time to connect with you at this location so I decided to make the drive up here, so how long have you all been in business?” Start some small talk and then move right into your pitch.
#3 – These deals are about numbers, referrals and favors.
If you want to close big deals, you need to start with the numbers. Let them know you would like to come back and show them some numbers about what you can do for them. In order to get them to provide you with a statement or really any information at all, you need some references. For your first deal, you will need to get several references from single location deals or if you have some professional references from bankers or business people in the area you have networked with, even better. After you get your first multi-location deal, position yourself as specializing in multi-location deals and get a letter of reference from any multi-location owners you have sold. In the end, you will want to be able to offer them something as a favor. One thing you could do is offer a website for free if you sell for John Doe Design by waving the set up fee.
#4 – Don’t let the deals take over your schedule until the paperwork is signed.
There is certainly a longer cycle time with these deals but, that doesn’t mean they need to take a lot more time overall for the sale, it just means there is more time in between the various stages. The best way to kill a big deal is to seem desperate, so don’t start seeing dollar signs and don’t ever, ever, ever count on a big deals as part of your monthly income. Just when you think the deal is all set, they call in their lawyer or CPA to have a final look and if you seem like this bothers you, you will lose the deal. Just relax and recognize that some of these deals will close and some of them will not. Just keep focused on the next action step and try to make some progress with the deal each week.
#5 – Learn the language of the big deal.
On big deals, you will be talking about the “bidding” process. Don’t ask a big prospect if you can bring them a cost analysis. Instead, ask them how you can get involved in the bidding process. It is unlikely that a big account will switch to you without checking the pricing of other providers. That being said, you need to emphasize that you will provide local service and drive to any of their locations to do the installation in person and help with any technical issues that can’t be cared for over the phone. Emphasize how your service will reduce their down time. I actually offer my multi-location deals a free VX510 at each location that is pre-programmed as a spare terminal. This saves me a lot of time by allowing me to drive to their location the next day.
#6 – Get ready to put your life on hold once the deal is signed.
One 11 location deal I did about 4 years ago took me around 3 months to close and I was stupid enough to sign the deal 2 weeks before a planned family vacation. I hustled to get all the terminals installed before vacation and then, we left for our vacation which is a house on a lake 2 hours away. 3 times that week, I had to drive 2 hours back to fix issues. These deals are so large and so profitable that you just can’t afford not to provide great service so prepare to put everything else on hold to ensure that their first 30 days are a great experience.
I hope these tips will help you sell more multi-location deals!
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