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What Bankcard reps want is not always what they need.  What they want is the highest possible residual split.  “Competitive Compensation” is very important, but what these reps often need is resources, training, support and a culture that gives them motivation to prospect.  In this week’s edition, I outline what I believe are the 4 things Bankcard reps really need to be successful.  I worked with my good friend, Brian Kamstra of Payroc during the writing of this week’s merchant sales insight. We leverage his 20+ years of successfully building 1099 merchant sales teams to understand the keys to choosing the right processor as well as the building the great team.  

 

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On average, I have forty to fifty conversations each month with individual agents who are looking for the right processor.  I enjoy these conversations.  I even created a public link on the homepage of ccsalespro.com to “Find a Processor.”  There I offer a free 15-minute zoom / call for discussion.

In this edition of the Merchant Sales Insight, my goal is to re-frame the question, “What do Bankcard Reps Want?” to “What do Bankcard Reps Need?”  Or, in other words, what are the attributes of a payment processor that allow an individual rep to reach the maximum level of success, both income and otherwise?

I partnered with my good friend, Brian Kamstra, on this edition because Brian has been working with individual agents for over twenty years.  From my perspective gleaned through travels, I believe that the 1099 sales team at Payroc contains the highest average residual income per rep.  They also have a unique culture that is representative of the attributes I plan to discuss in this edition. 

To get more context on his approach, make sure you watch the recent podcast episode I did with Brian on “Building High Performance Teams.”  You will see some similarities between that interview and this edition.

Let’s dive right in and discuss four attributes of a great processor for 1099 merchant sales representatives.

#1 – Competitive Compensation.  

I almost put this one at the end of the list.  I feel that agents focus too much on the compensation.  However, instead, I recognize that competitive compensation is the most important attribute, but only to the extent that it clears the bar of industry average expectations.

When I talk about “competitive compensation,” I am NOT saying that you should find the processor who offers you the highest residual split or up-front bonus.  This is a huge mistake.  In our industry, 1099 agents do not pay for services like support, reporting software, etc.  These services are provided by the ISO in exchange for a portion of the residual.  I have found over and over again, that you get what you “pay for.” 

Let’s say you are selling a mix of dual pricing, compliant surcharging, and interchange plus.  The total gross profit generated on average per account might be about $200 (depending on the size of merchants you pursue.)

Now, let’s assume you are choosing between two different processors.  

One processor offers a 10% higher residual split but significantly worse tech support, technology solutions, etc.  Thus, you will spend an extra ten hours per week handling your own merchant support, installations, etc. 

The second processor offers a slightly lower residual split, using that extra profit to fund a fantastic agent support and merchant support infrastructure.  That would take those work burdens off your plate. 

The net effect might be that you can sell eight accounts per month at the higher split or twelve accounts per month at the lower split.  Which is the better deal?

The extra 4 accounts x $200 = $800 per month in additional margin that you can split.  Sure, you would lose 10% on the 8 deals, but you would get the entire split on the $800.  Using industry average numbers, I calculated that you would actually grow your residuals by around $300 more per month by partnering with the company that has a 10% lower split.

So, why is “competitive compensation” at the top of the list?  

Because it is still the most important consideration.  Notice in the example above, I did not use a difference of 35%.  You do want to find a processor who has competitive residual splits, up-front bonuses, free equipment options, lifetime residuals, etc.  But, once you find two or three processors who all have competitive compensation, choose the one that you believe will allow you to close the highest number of deals.

Obviously, if you are a small ISO planning to do your own support, installations, etc., you would have a different set of considerations.  “Competitive compensation” might mean you are looking for a higher split.  This is understandable. 

The key is understanding what you need from the processor and willingness to “pay” for these services with your residual split in order to maximize your performance and quality of life.

#2 – Connected Culture.

Wait.  I thought we were talking about 1099 contractors!!!  They are totally independent; they don’t need a connected culture.  Wrong!

I believe the greatest missed opportunity by ISOs in our industry today is a complete lack of connected culture for their 1099 agents.  Those individuals who are committed to selling for your organization full time need a connected culture.

This term can mean many different things.  

  • Practical tactics such as group texts, private team Facebook group, or Slack.  
  • Competitive reporting like a leader board or social media post showing the top representatives to encourage others to improve.  
  • Large gatherings like an annual meeting of all active agents, where everyone gathers in the same location.  
  • Rewards trips that agents can earn.
One reason I asked Payroc to sponsor this particular topic is their good example of connected culture.  They provide all the things I mentioned in the last paragraph, which is unique in the industry.  And, they are providing this culture to a team of 1099, independent agents.

Good sales people are social animals who need recognition, rewards, and interaction with other top performers in order to achieve success, stay motivated, and remain happy with their chosen profession.  Unfortunately, agents never ask me, “Which processor provides me with the best culture?”

Self-awareness is an important element in choosing a processor.  What kind of culture in the past has helped you be most productive?  How did you gain value and productivity from interactions with others in that culture? Make sure you choose a processor who will give you the optimal culture to drive your performance.  

You may negotiate the best compensation and best terms and have the best solutions to offer, but you aren’t receiving proactive communication.  This may result in very little prospecting action and is an indication you’ve chosen the wrong processor.  

#3 – Creative Capital.

Merchant services has become increasingly competitive.  In addition to the competitive nature of the rates and fees, there is also intense competition around hardware and the other up-front costs of implementing payment processing in the new integrated reality we face.

Selling a three-location restaurant that has four point of sale stations and three kitchen printers at each location might require an upfront investment of $20,000+ for even a basic point of sale system.  Convincing the merchant to make that entire investment will not be easy.  In addition, there will be work required to get this system set up correctly. 

When speaking with a prospective processing company, talk to them about how they would handle this type of deal.  

  • Do they offer flexible financing options?  
  • Do they cover the cost of the equipment with a long-term contract that has sufficient profitability?  
  • Do they allow you to leverage your portfolio with a residual loan (once you have built your portfolio up to $5,000+) so that you can purchase or help with the purchase of the hardware in these situations?
Ensuring a company is financially established is vital.  This is important not only to cover up-front costs, but also to ensure that you will receive steady residual payments.

#4 – Confident Closing.

Can you confidently close merchant accounts, or do you need training?  While this point is last on my list, it may need to be first on your list.  Ask yourself this very simple question to determine how high this consideration should be in your order of priority:  “How many merchant accounts have I sold that are actively processing payments?”

If this number is less than twenty, put training at the top of your list.  You still want to ensure you have lifetime vested residuals and good solutions to offer.  However, the most valuable service your future processor will provide to you is one-on-one coaching and training.

Our sponsor this week, Payroc, has new representatives with limited payment processing experience go into the field with a top performer for in-person training.  I am the king of video training, but I freely admit that no amount of videos will offer the training you can receive by watching someone close a deal in person.

Are you reading this publication and have never personally closed a merchant account?  Don’t sell for a processing company who isn’t first going to send you in the field or on a conference call with a top representative.  You need to see the process and the entire on-boarding flow before trying to close your first deal.  

Conclusion

What do merchant sales agents want?  
  • Higher residual splits 
  • Bigger bonuses
  • Free equipment options
 What do merchant sales agents need?  
  • Competitive compensation 
  • Connected culture 
  • Creative capital 
  • Confident closing
I would like to personally recommend Payroc for your consideration.  I choose my sponsors carefully, based on the topic.  While I believe there are many great processing companies in the market today, I do believe Payroc embodies all the points in this publication.

Learn more by visiting https://partners.payroc.com/go 
or Contact Anna Merrick at Anna.Merrick@payroc.com