Although there are still many similarities, the merchant sales process has changed a lot over the last few years. Here are some reasons for these changes.
The industry as a whole has become more competitive, but the competition is different. Sales people are competing against Square, ISVs (software vendors), and point of sale providers. There is much more unique competition facing reps today. So, that plays a big part in changing the sales process.
Another big challenge is that merchants don’t have their statements anymore. They’re not as willing to share the information.
This episode today will be a bit biased. I’m going to talk about the solutions we offer through our instant quote tool. The tool is important as a context to help explain the crucial idea of changing the sales process.
I do a lot of consulting for ISOs, as many of you know. One of my jobs is to help develop a sales process. I might do that for a company that is generating Facebook leads and then giving those to an inside sales team. Or I might do it for a company that has people going into the field selling. I must discover what their sales process looks like. Therefore, I am developing sales processes all the time. I want to explain how to do that for yourself as an individual and for your agents as an ISO.
The number one key is to develop your sales process step-by-step. Make sure each step is well-thought-out and realistic. Be sure if you were in the merchants’ shoes, you would take the action you’re asking them to take. To develop a sales process, don’t think in terms of what YOU as the sales person will do. Rather, design a step-by-step process of action steps you want the MERCHANT to take. This is a key mindset for sales people.
The usual mindset of sales people when I ask about the sales process being used is, “Usually I do this; then I do this; then I do that.” My next question is, “What do the merchants usually do?” The frequent answer is that merchants say they’re not interested. Thus, we surmise there is NOT a very good sales process in place! Sales people must think from the merchants’ perspective.
Step #1. Sales people are interrupting merchants. Whether walking into a merchant location, calling merchants on the phone, or reaching merchants through a Facebook advertising campaign, the sales person is trying to capture merchants’ attention. As the sales person, you must help merchants shift their mindset to think about processing payments. That is a step!
There are many different ways to achieve that step. One is a well-placed video ad on Facebook. Using our new marketing platform offered with the instant quote tool, you can put a custom link to a campaign. Then merchants can get their quote that way. There are other ways such as a video ad or just walking into a business with your opening pitch. However, here is the common mistake. Sales people often think the purpose of the opening pitch is getting merchants interested in what they have to offer. Well, yes and no.
Before catching their interest, you need to get merchants into the “credit card processing needs” mindset! Merchants weren’t thinking about credit card processing when you walked in. They were thinking about…
- the bad meeting they just had with their new employee who they may have to fire.
- their inventory order.
- ordering lunch.
- their kid’s softball or baseball game that they must attend.
Step #2. Ask merchants for the minimum amount of information possible in order for you to provide them with information. Don’t ask them for their statement; that’s a huge mistake. You would be asking for way too much information.
Imagine a stranger walking up to you on the street and saying, “Hey, could you email a copy of your bank statement to me? I’d like to take a look at it.” Your response would be, “Who ARE you!?” Unfortunately, that is a pretty good summary of your sales pitch for many of you. You walk into a business or call for the first time. Or you do a Facebook ad, and they interact with your website for the first time. Then you ask them to send a statement to you. Really? You’re crazy! They’re not going to do that. Maybe one out of a thousand or a hundred would. Why not make a pitch which would get positive response from one out of two or three instead?
Whether you’re an ISO or an individual agent, just ask for merchants’ total volume:“I don’t even need to look at your statement. I just want to give you a general idea what your savings would be with our program. Do you know roughly how much you processed last month in volume – 10, 20, 30 thousand? What was the total processing volume for Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Amex, Pin Debit? What did you do in total volume last month?”Many business owners will answer that question. Enter that number into the instant quote tool and click on “create proposal.” That’s all you need; our algorithm will do the rest. Although this won’t be 100% accurate, it will be fairly close. But you can tell merchants, “The investment if you go with us would only be roughly $536 a month. Now, do you have any idea whether that a little bit more or less than what you paid last month?”
With a very minimal amount of information, one question, you’ve provided merchants with information. You can also say, “Let me email you a link to this proposal, so you can see our pricing break-down.” This launches you into the middle stage of the sales process where you share information back and forth.
Ask more questions; give and receive more information. In response to your question of whether your proposed amount is more or less than was paid last month, the merchant might say, “You know, I’m not sure. Let me grab my statement.” Or, “I don’t know. Let me pull that statement up online and see.” Or, the merchant might just answer the question with a figure. Then you can proceed with, “Okay, let me enter that figure in here. Wow! This shows that we could save you a little over a thousand dollars a year. Now, I still don’t need to see your statement. However, with your permission, I could give you an accurate side-by-side comparison if you wouldn’t mind reading a few numbers from your statement for me to enter. You can see thus far there is only an estimate for Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and Amex. Entering a little bit more information would create a more exact figure for you.”
The thing I love about our tool is it’s going to give you the side-by-side comparison, no matter how much information you have or don’t have. It’s just going to be more and more accurate, more and more detailed, and have more and more line items.
As the merchant gives more information, you continue, “Okay, cool. Here is our side-by-side comparison for you. It looks like your current company is charging you $182 a month as ‘other fees.’ I don’t know what those other fees are. Would you like me to take a look at your statement and show you what those are?” The merchant may say, “Well, sure I would. I don’t know what that $182 is. Here is my statement.”
So, now you have the statement. But you didn’t get it by walking in as a stranger and asking for more information than the merchant wanted to give. Slowly getting more and more information allows you to get the statement without asking for it.
Last week we made an update on the instant quote tool to streamline the process of editing fees. Just click on “edit existing fees” to get a table view. Then boom, boom, boom – add the fees one-by-one from the statement. Cross them off as you go. Every fee you add is always accurate. Rather than saying “other fees,” the tool now itemizes them.
#3. The last phase of the sales process is closing the sale. That is so much easier once you’ve built up to it. Look for “closing the sale” at CCSalesPro on YouTube to find many of my videos about closing. I teach many tactics on that subject.
There is one key I want you to take away from this today. To sell merchant services in today’s climate and environment of the competitive marketplace, you have to go step-by-step. Think about what you want the merchant to do. You must reciprocate information. Merchants give you a little bit of information; you give them information. The information sharing should go back and forth until you have everything you need to confidently close the sale.
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