The Credit Card Processing industry has several core issues which I believe generate a lot of extra problems for sales agents and merchants. Below I have listed the major issues and their effects on customers and agents, as well as what I believe should be done about these issues.
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1. Independent agent model with no ongoing sales training. Our industry uses a model that gives complete freedom to the sales agent in the area of pricing and services offered. With proper training this allows agents to build their own business and provide the best solution to each individual client. Without training and a detailed explanation of the pricing and services (which is the norm), it leads to poor retention of honest sales people who feel confused. This model also leads to an easy avenue for dishonest sales people to rip off unsuspecting business owners.
2. Lack of appreciation for and focus on the sales agent. Too many processors treat their independent agents as if they are a step down from an employee. The processor wrongfully assumes there is such a high turn-over rate among new agents that to invest time in the agent is not worthwhile. Actually it is the other way around. The processor’s new agents have a high turn-over rate because there is not enough time invested in them. Even with all the agents I have out selling every day, I still personally respond to emails and phone calls from all my agents. I do this because I value each agent. I know the difficulties when starting out in this business; I know to keep going is hard. I know the frustration of trying to get an answer from a support person who has never been in the field or had to live from one sale to the next. My goal is to create a company which serves sales agents and provides the resources needed to generate new accounts. Then, also, to provide amazing service to their client base.
3. Agents who lack knowledge and basic business skills. If you are an agent reading this article, how much do you really know about this industry? How do you switch processors for a gas station? What are the new interchange rates from the Durbin Amendment for check cards? How do you install a check reader and pin pad without causing inconvenience to the merchant? What type of terminal do you recommend for a restaurant and why? etc., etc. Agents who get into this industry for the up front money and are looking to profit and run, are ruining the reputation of the entire industry. If you are really serious about building a credit card processing business, do your homework; learn the industry; and watch your sales, customer satisfaction and residual grow exponentially. I can tell you without hesitation that any agent has no excuse for a lack of knowledge. We have blogs, podcasts, training videos, webinars, as well as email and phone support. Anyone who feels confused, should start looking around on this site. I guarantee whatever your question might be, I already answered it in a video or blog post. If I haven’t, email me; I will post a new one!
4. Merchants who do not understand basic merchant services or their statement. This is changing very, very quickly. Our company is at the forefront of this revolution through our merchant blog, video resources, and much more. Here are a few simple questions for which a merchant should know the answer: What is your monthly processing volume? What is your effective rate? (Your total fees divided by your total processing volume.) What is your transaction fee? Are you on Tier or Interchange Plus pricing? If you do not know the answers to these and other basic questions, please speak with a knowledgeable sales professional trained by our company. Put a comment below, and I will connect you with someone who actually has knowledge of his or her subject. I can’t wait for business owners to be able to look at a proposal from a dishonest rep and say, “I don’t understand everything on this analysis, but I know it is not right because I saw a video or read a blog that told me…” That is my dream!!!
5. Lack of post sale flexibility in pricing and service. Most processors give an agent amazing complete flexibility when setting up an account. But once the merchant is active the processor has every procedure and work flow mapped out exactly; they never vary! If your customer support staff doesn’t have at least the same flexibility to save a customer as your sales agents have to make the sale in the first place, you are in trouble. Most merchant accounts provide a monthly profit for the processor of $20.00 to $50.00 per month. Without even blinking, the customer support person would logically be able to process a credit for two or three months worth of service to save an account. But, sadly, most of the customer support people do not have this flexibility; they must go through layers of red tape to make this happen. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts! I love this industry; I feel it has excellent opportunities for those who are not afraid to learn and work hard! If I can be of service to you as an agent or as a merchant, post a comment below. Let’s start a conversation. Or send me an email, and I will personally respond.
James Shepherd firstname.lastname@example.org
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