How to Excel in Selling Merchant Services in 6 Detailed StepsAgent & ISOs

How to Excel in Selling Merchant Services in 6 Detailed Steps


Merchant services is a competitive and dynamic market. To achieve success, even the most seasoned agents can need to refine and update their sales strategies. While experience is invaluable, staying ahead in this field requires continuous improvement and adaptation.

Whether you’re looking to boost your portfolio with high-value merchants or simply sharpen your existing skills, these six steps can help elevate your selling game. Dive in and discover how to transform your approach, close more deals, and ultimately, become an indispensable asset to your clients.

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1. Present Yourself as an Expert

The difference between a villain and a super villain is very similar to the difference between success and failure in sales. It’s all about presentation.

You’ve got to talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk. This means positioning yourself as an expert in your field and appropriately demonstrating your knowledge and skills.

Building trust with your potential clients involves not only sharing your expertise but also delivering on your promises and showing genuine commitment to their success. Here’s some tips on how to do that:

  • Continuous Learning — Keep up with the latest trends and innovations in the industry. This not only bolsters your expertise but also ensures your solutions are utilize the latest technology.
  • Client-Centric Approach — Listen more than you speak. Prioritize understanding them over being understood. This will not only show respect for your client’s unique situation, but also showcase your interest in their specific needs rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Tailored Solutions — Use your understanding of each client’s unique needs to tailor your services. Customized solutions are often more appealing because they address specific pain points effectively.
  • Self-Reflection — Regularly assess your approach and be open to feedback. This practice helps in maintaining the balance between being confidently assertive and humbly receptive to others’ perspectives.
  • Respectful Communication — Always communicate with respect and professionalism, especially if clients are unsure or hesitant about your services. This helps you come across as confident and competent rather than arrogant and aggressive.

Being confident in your industry knowledge, experience, and sales ability is extremely helpful, especially if you are positioning yourself as an expert. But there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance.

True experts strive to find the right mix of confidence and humility. By continuously refining your skills and actively listening to clients’ needs, you can strike the perfect balance and establish yourself as a trusted expert in the merchant services industry.

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2. Deep Dive into Industry Knowledge

The most successful merchant services agents are dedicated to constantly learning and getting better. This is a complex industry, that is constantly evolving. There is always something new to learn.

Start by understanding your own products and services you provide inside and out. Don’t just memorize features and benefits, but understand they solve specific problems for your clients.

For example, if you’re offering a new payment processing solution, be prepared to explain how it reduces processing time or how it enhances security compared to traditional methods.

Don’t forget to keep a finger on the pulse of the industry at large. This can seem like a herculean task, but here’s some tips to make it more manageable:

  • Read Industry Specific Publications — Regularly read industry publications such as the Nilson Report, PYMNTS.com, or PaymentsJournal. These can provide valuable insights and help you stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in merchant services.
  • Know Your Audience — Spending time where your audience is will help you understand them. Participate in webinars, attend conferences, or join professional groups on LinkedIn to stay connected to your audience’s needs, challenges, and desires.
  • Competitor Analysis Know your competition as well as you know yourself. This includes understanding their offerings, pricing models, and unique selling propositions. Tools like Crunchbase can offer insights into emerging companies and their innovations, while Owler can be used to track competitors’ business moves and performance.
  • Client Feedback Loop — Establish a systematic approach to gathering and analyzing client feedback. This can include regular surveys, feedback forms post-interaction, or even direct conversations about how your service is fitting their needs. Utilize platforms like “SurveyMonkey” for scalable feedback collection or “Zendesk” for managing customer interactions and gathering insights from those engagements.
  • Continuous Education — Enroll in relevant courses and certifications that can enhance your understanding and skills. Many online platforms like “Coursera” or “Udemy” offer courses specifically tailored to sales professionals in the tech and service sectors. Look for courses on sales strategies, customer relationship management (CRM) software training, or even broader topics like data analysis to better understand market trends.

By adopting these practices, agents can significantly enhance their effectiveness, distinguishing themselves in a competitive field and ultimately fostering successful sales relationships. Networking within professional circles, leveraging social media for learning, and subscribing to leading industry blogs are also excellent ways to stay informed and ahead in the game.

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3. Dedicate Yourself to Daily Client Outreach

Building a successful sales career requires a solid base of daily client outreach. We recommend spending 2-4 hours each day to locate and engage with prospective clients. This process includes several crucial steps:

  1. Research — Begin by researching potential clients to understand their needs and how your product or service can meet those needs. Use social media, company websites, and industry news to gather information.
  2. Outreach — With your research in hand, reach out to potential clients through emails, phone calls, or social media messages. Personalize your communication based on your research to make a strong first impression.
  3. Follow-Up Persistence is key. Follow up with prospects who haven’t responded. Sometimes, it’s the second or third message that captures their attention.
  4. Networking — Make use of online networking platforms and industry events to expand your list of prospects. Personal connections can lead to warm introductions.

Regularly experiment with different engagement strategies, like varying your opening lines or storytelling methods. Adjust your techniques based on the feedback you receive, focusing on what resonates most with prospects.

The aim is to initiate meaningful conversations, not just close sales. By listening and adapting to your prospects’ needs, you’ll make your prospecting efforts more successful.

For a strong sales pipeline, organization and a systematic approach are crucial. Use CRM systems to track interactions and follow up appropriately. Daily prospecting, along with strategic follow-ups, advances prospects through your pipeline efficiently.

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4. Eliminate the Ambiguity of “Maybe”

Often in sales, you’ll encounter noncommittal responses such as “I need to think about it” or “I’ll talk to my business partner about it”. These maybes can clog your pipeline, hindering your progress.

To ensure a clean and efficient sales pipeline, it’s crucial to aim for a clear “yes” or “no” from each prospect. This approach helps in focusing efforts on leads that show real potential. Here’s how to achieve definitive responses through various strategies:

  • Assumptive Close — This technique involves acting under the belief that unless the prospect has further questions, they are ready to proceed. For example, after presenting your product or service, instead of asking if they would like to proceed you could say, “Let’s get you started on the path to success. Should we begin with the standard package, or would the premium option better meet your needs?” This method nudges the prospect towards making a decision, assuming the sale is already made unless stated otherwise.
  • Personal Touch — Demonstrating genuine commitment to a prospect’s business success can significantly sway their decision. This involves personalizing your communication to show that you understand their needs and challenges. For instance, sending a customized proposal that addresses specific pain points discussed during your conversation, or following up with an email that includes a case study of a similar business you’ve helped, can create a connection and show that you’re invested in their success. Asking for an opportunity to earn their trust places the decision in their hands, making them feel valued.
  • Risk Elimination — Offering incentives like fee waivers for the first month helps minimize the financial risk for the prospect, making it easier for them to decide. Such offers allow them to experience your payment processing service without committing financially, which can be a significant barrier to decision-making.

By implementing these strategies, you can more effectively turn “maybe” into a definitive response, thereby maintaining a pipeline focused only on leads with genuine potential. This approach not only streamlines your sales process but also enhances the efficiency and productivity of all sales.

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5. Identify and Focus on Your Niche

With experience in the field, you’ll begin to realize that certain types of businesses are more open and responsive to your sales pitch. This critical observation lays the groundwork for specializing in a particular niche. By focusing your efforts on a specific sector, you become more than just a generalist; you become a sought-after expert. This specialization allows you to:

  • Tailor your value proposition to address the precise needs of your target clients.
  • Develop targeted marketing strategies that resonate with your niche market.
  • Create customized solutions that significantly benefit your clients, making your services indispensable.

For example, if you find that niche markets like local organic produce vendors are receptive to your pitch, specializing could involve:

  • Staying updated on trends and challenges within the niche involves regularly researching the latest developments, attending industry events, and engaging with key thought leaders. This ensures that strategies remain relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Developing custom marketing or operational strategies for these unique businesses requires a deep understanding of their specific needs, goals, and challenges. Tailoring strategies to fit these parameters can significantly enhance efficiency and effectiveness, leading to better outcomes and a stronger market position.
  • Building a network within the community for collaborations and partnerships involves actively reaching out to peers, joining professional associations, and participating in community events. Establishing strong relationships can open up opportunities for mutual benefit, such as co-marketing initiatives or joint ventures, fostering growth and innovation.

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6. Dominate Your Market through Value-Driven Content

Shifting your sales strategy from primarily relying on cold calling to one that focuses on generating inbound leads is a transformative move. This shift involves the creation and distribution of valuable content specifically designed to attract your target audience’s interest.

It’s about being proactive in your approach, looking beyond the immediate horizon to what the landscape might look like two years down the line. Many salespeople in merchant services are so focused on immediate gains that they overlook the sustainable growth potential inbound leads offer.

Expanding on the Value of Inbound Leads

Generating your own inbound leads is invaluable for several reasons. First, it positions you as an authority in your field. When potential clients find your content and reach out to you, they’re already partially sold on your expertise. This flips the traditional sales dynamic, making your interactions more about consultation than persuasion.

Second, it creates a pipeline of clients who are more likely to be interested in what you offer, as they’ve already shown interest by engaging with your content. This leads to higher conversion rates compared to the more disruptive approach of cold calling.

Lastly, focusing on inbound leads allows you to forecast and plan for the future more effectively. By building a content strategy that attracts clients today, you’re also setting the groundwork for continued business growth.

Dedication to Quality and Strategy

Developing a successful content strategy requires dedication to producing high-quality materials that resonate with your target audience. You must commit to understanding their needs, challenges, and interests, tailoring your content to meet those needs. Whether it’s through informative blog posts, engaging videos, insightful webinars, or compelling case studies, your content should aim to educate, inform, and convince your audience of your value proposition.

Stay consistent in your efforts. Quality content creation is not a one-and-done activity but a continual process of engaging with your audience and refining your approach based on feedback and results. Over time, your dedication will bear fruit in the form of increased lead generation and stronger customer relationships.

Building a Foundation for Success

Success in selling merchant services hinges not on uncovering a secret shortcut but on a foundation of deep industry knowledge, a commitment to daily prospecting, fostering meaningful relationships, and consistently delivering value to your clients. By focusing on generating inbound leads through a detailed content strategy, you’re not just selling services; you’re positioning yourself as an indispensable advisor to your clients.

To develop this content strategy, start by identifying the key platforms where your target audience spends their time. This could be specific social media networks, industry forums, or email. Then, create content that addresses their most pressing questions and challenges related to merchant services. For example, if your target audience is small business owners, you might create a guide on choosing the right payment processing solution, or a video series on the latest trends in digital payments.

Remember, the goal is to add value. By doing so, you not only attract potential clients to your business but also build a reputation as a trusted resource in the merchant services industry. This approach takes time and effort, but the long-term benefits of generating your own inbound leads far outweigh the initial investment.

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Final Thoughts

To successfully expand your merchant services business, it’s crucial to adopt a strategic approach that emphasizes understanding your niche, offering scalable solutions, and deepening market penetration. This strategy not only attracts larger partners but also opens new growth avenues. Building strategic partnerships and shifting your sales strategy towards generating inbound leads can significantly transform your business’s outreach and service offerings.

Enhancing your market position involves producing high-quality, tailored content that establishes your authority and engages your target audience effectively. Consistency in content creation and active engagement on key platforms are essential for long-term success. By adding value and building trust, you position yourself as a trusted advisor in the industry, which is instrumental in laying the groundwork for a sustainable and dynamic business future.

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