Every day someone asks whether to use phone calls or face-to-face when selling merchant services.  Although I have very specific opinions about this, my answers today are from three different perspectives.

My personal opinion is that face-to-face works best.  From the perspective of time spent, one hour spent face-to-face is more productive than one hour spent on the phone.  An hour of walking into businesses, generally speaking, is going to produce better results.  However, don’t stop reading yet!

From the perspective of effort and motivation, there are variables to consider.  The majority of sales people with whom I’ve spoken are less nervous about phone calling.  Many prefer to call and schedule appointments, and then meet merchants.  Those who are more comfortable calling than going face-to-face are more likely to exert time and effort on phone work.  The challenge is to know yourself.  When the time comes, will you truly open the car door and walk into a business without knowing anyone and begin a conversation?  Face-to-face doesn’t work best if you don’t do it!  In such cases, to spend three hours a day on the phone might be better than one hour a day in the field, even though it’s not three times as profitable.

From the perspective of numbers, there are several observations to consider.  The main focus of this episode today is phone appointments versus face-to-face.  However, I would like to dispel one common myth that selling merchant services on the phone is as easy as face-to-face.  If you have an excellent pitch, you may generate plenty of interest on the phone, especially in cash discounting.  You may even have success in getting a “yes” answer.  But be advised this is a difficult achievement.  The biggest hurdle will be getting prospects to complete the paperwork after you’ve gotten a “yes.”  Expect and understand this if you choose to do the entire sales process on the phone.

Now let’s consider the numbers to be expected from phone appointment versus face-to-face in the field.  The phone appointments referred to here are general purpose appointments.  You might say, “Hey, I just want to stop by and introduce myself. I’m a local business owner just like you and want to leave my business card and say, ‘Hello.’”  If you spend two hours on the phone, you can usually set three to five general purpose appointments for yourself.  (To set appointments for someone else is much more difficult.)   Contemplate the geographical location and driving time when making appointments.

Usually in about two hours of face-to-face prospecting, you can walk into twenty businesses.  Of course, this number depends on the interest level, whether the decision maker is available, how many immediate “no” answers you receive, etc.   From those twenty businesses, you are likely to have four decent conversations (four contacts.)  One of those four will warrant further follow-up.  Thus, you will average one or two really interested prospects per day.  This translates to three to five sales a week.

Walking into sixty businesses a day is quite possible when you first start.  However, then you have follow-up to do after that.  Be careful to set aside two hours a day to continually get those twenty new walk-ins, four contacts, and one or two interested people.

Those are the average numbers to expect from phone appointments and walking into businesses.  Face-to-face definitely works better.  But it also takes more guts, more energy, and a lot more courage.

Closing merchants by phone is a whole different animal.  It requires a ton of work and process implementation to make it smooth.  Closing a deal over the phone is extremely difficult.  Perhaps you found it easy to get the “yes,” but getting the paperwork is much more difficult.

Thanks for reading!

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Getting “Yes” or “Yes,” Cash Discounting or Traditional Processing – Selling Merchant Services