I received a great question from an individual who manages a very large sales team.  This is a question he gets all the time:  “What do we do when merchants seem interested – they say ‘yes’ or even get an application – but won’t move forward in the process?”

Here are several tips that will help you close more deals.

#1.  Realize when a merchant says “yes” but you leave without a signed document, the odds of closing that deal go down significantly.  Don’t get yourself in that situation!

Are you closing three times? 

(I give much greater detail on this subject in my eBook “Selling Merchant Services in Six Steps.”)  

You may be excited that a merchant is interested and think you can make that sale anytime you want.  No! 

You have a certain percentage of selling now if you push that merchant to a decision point.  You have a much lower percentage of making that sale tomorrow.  And an even lower percentage of making it the day after that.

Get the merchant to a decision point today!

FIRST CLOSE:  Ask for the sale initially.  For instance, use the permission close: 

“With your permission, I’d like to get the paperwork started.  Then we can provide these great benefits for you.  How do you spell your last name?”

Take out your tablet or the paperwork and prepare to record the information.

The merchant may push back, “Wait a minute.  I need to think about it.  I have a business partner to consult…I’m leaving on vacation…[or whatever excuse.]”

That’s when most sales agents leave and never get the sale.  But YOU won’t do that, because you’re going to close three times!

SECOND CLOSE:  Make it personal with confidence.

“I totally understand where you’re coming from.  I would never want you to make a decision with which you’re not totally comfortable.  But let me tell you something:  I’m going to work harder for you on this account than anyone you’ve ever seen.  I promise I’ll do everything in my power to make this a smooth and great experience for you.  And I’m totally confident in the results you’re going to receive from this.  With all that in mind, would you at least be willing to give me a shot to win your trust as we go through the process to get this started?  Does that sound good to you?”

The merchant may then say, “Oh, it’s not you.  We actually really like you!  We think this is a good idea; why don’t you leave us an application to see and fill out once we…?”

Don’t leave yet; you haven’t closed three times!

THIRD CLOSE:  Eliminate the risk and try to close once more.

Always agree with the merchant before moving forward:

“Of course, I’ll be glad to leave an application.  But there’s one more thing I just thought of.  Would it be possible (I know you have a partner, too) for me to give you a thirty-day trial?  Let me just throw this out there for you.  If I could offer a free, no-risk thirty-day trial, that might be a good idea.  Then I could come back in thirty days to talk to you and your business partner together while looking at a processing statement.  If it looks good, we could move forward.  If not, there was no risk.  We’re done.  Would that kind of offer sound a little more palatable to you?”

Avoid the Situation

If you follow the rule of closing three times, that will prevent – or at least greatly minimize – the situation of needing a solution to the problem of what to do with merchants who won’t move forward!

#2.  Perhaps you realize you can’t avoid the situation, or you give in to a merchant’s request to have more time.  Then you must pre-sell the follow-up!  Get a commitment.

First Example:

“Okay.  Sure, I’ll come back on Friday to talk to you and your business partner, that’s fine.  Let me ask a couple of quick questions, so I have some notes for my return visit.  [This will depend on the objection, of course.]  Number one on my list before we talk together with your partner is to make sure you are 100% on board.  Are you ready to move forward if your partner agrees?”

Now you’ll get the objections.  Deal with the objection.  There’s no reason for you to follow up to answer the contact person’s objection; answer those right now.

Second Example:

The merchant wants to move forward but doesn’t have time to fill out the application at that moment.

“No problem at all.  Here’s what I’d like to do, with your permission.  How about I swing back by… in an hour…or tomorrow…Or how about we do a zoom session at 2 o’clock tomorrow?  I’ll want to answer your questions as we go through the paperwork.  If I understand you correctly, you’re 100% committed to moving forward.  But we just need to make sure we have time to complete the paperwork, so I can answer your questions.  Is that correct?”

You MUST pre-sell the follow up!  Get a confirmation.

#3.  If you get past all that without the completed paperwork, now you’re dealing with the actual question of today’s episode.  Here is the answer: 

MANUFACURE URGENCY.

The number one mistake of salespeople in this situation is operating from a position of fear instead of power and leverage.  The prevailing mindset is, “I don’t want to tick them off.  They might say ‘no.’”

SPOILER ALERT:  This might be a great surprise to you.  If someone expresses great interest but won’t fill out the paperwork, that person is NOT really interested!

How do I know the prospect is not really interested?  He/she wouldn’t fill out the paperwork!

Now is the time to create a feeling of urgency to bring the merchant to a decision point. 

My preferred method of doing this, especially with a sales team is to have a time – perhaps monthly – to clean out the pipeline.  Make a special offer:

  • A free terminal
  • $500 signing bonus
  • Be creative!

“I just want to reach out to you since I know you’re interested in moving forward.  Part of the deal we discussed was the free terminal.  That was a special promotional program which ends on the ___, which is in five days.  So, I just wanted to check with you to make sure you still want to move forward before that date.  Then I wouldn’t have to update that paperwork for you.”

There’s an example of manufacturing urgency.

#4.  Get a “yes” or “no.”

Is the answer going to be “yes” most of the time?  No.  There’s a reason you’re in this situation. 

  • You didn’t close hard enough in the beginning.
  • The merchant isn’t really interested.
  • The merchant really is too busy to take five minutes to complete the paperwork. That’s very unlikely, but possible.

Whatever the reason, your odds are not great for closing now.  Your odds decrease with every passing day.  In sales, you must close the sale!  You need to get a decision.

“Be honest with me.  Where are you with this deal?  Do you want to move forward or not? [If the answer is “no”…] Okay, let’s have a quick conversation about why not.  Then we can both move on without wasting anymore of your time.”

If it’s a “no,” it’s a no!  Move on to someone else.