After my recent episodes on selling large merchant accounts, (click here)I got this great question from Wendell:

“Sounds like a great idea to go after the big companies.  But how do you get in contact with the decision maker?”

In dealing with big merchants, you won’t need the decision maker right away.  There is a different process in place. 

Communicating with the bigger merchants requires some different verbiage than with smaller merchants.  Here are some tips from the communication point of view.

#1.  Rather than doing a statement analysis, you’ll be giving a bid as a vendor.  Remember that difference – you are a vendor, looking to give a bid.

#2.  Get in contact with the right person, not the decision maker initially.  Your first response when in contact with someone should be:

“My name is ____.  I’m a vendor, doing cost reduction services for companies like yours.  I’d like to put in a bid to do cost reduction on the payment processing side.  Who would I speak to about that?”

Normally, you’ll be talking to a secretary, assistant, or receptionist.  They may direct you to Susan in “purchasing.”  When you talk to Susan, ask,

“The reason I’m calling today is to get an idea where you’re at with your payment processing.  I work with larger companies/corporations.  We do corporate processing services.  I’m not sure where you’re at with your contract; is this a time I could put in a bid?”

In my personal experience, the contact person will usually answer my questions.  I haven’t had trouble getting information. 

Perhaps Susan will tell you their contract isn’t up for another two years.  Then you could pivot to the subscription model which I mentioned in a previous episode.  (click here)

Once you submit bids, you will be referred to the decision maker from there.  At this point, you may be frustrated not to be part of any conversation with the decision maker. 

However, in the case of big businesses, the person in charge of purchasing usually has a good understanding of what’s going on in this arena.  That is unlike a smaller business where neither partner of the business understands payment processing.  Not being involved in their conversation is much more frustrating!

The big businesses don’t care much about the warm and fuzzy feeling of your presence and face-to-face conversation.  They will be more concerned about further documentation, such as

  • Background information on the company with whom you work.
  • Letters of reference from other local people with whom they can check.

The big companies have required processes in place to take on another vendor relationship.  You’ll need to go through some vetting as standard procedure.  Jump in and figure it out!

If they give you serious consideration, they’ll schedule a meeting with the decision maker, the controller, and a few other company people.

#3.  Why would the company enter a subscription model relationship with you?  Why wouldn’t they simply reach out themselves and say they got a lower bid?

The large merchants don’t understand their statement any better than small merchants.  They couldn’t identify a price increase versus change of interchange. 

Credit card processing costs fluctuate constantly.  Large companies might pay $7000 one month, then $6200 next month, then $8100, then $7400.  The statements are too complex for them to break down and isolate the issues.

Thus, if they reach out to their current processor, they know the processor will run circles with language they don’t understand.

You can offer to renegotiate since you know what to say to the processor that will encourage their acceptance.  Everyone else is trying to make money on the processing, so they couldn’t get that low.

In the subscription model, you aren’t making money off the processing.  Your money comes from the subscription service monthly fee.  Therefore, you have different motivations.

If you make this work, the account will be great and profitable.  Hopefully, this information helps you get past the gatekeeper and to the decision maker.  Don’t hesitate to offer the subscription service when it makes sense.