Survive and Thrive

by Marc Beauchamp

   Has this ever happened to you? You make a great presentation, gain rapport with the merchant but can't close the deal on the first visit. When you call the merchant back to follow up you discover they decided to go with someone else.
   After you take a deep breath, you ask the obvious question, why? You're told your price was too high and you find out that your friendly competitor cut your price by a few dollars on the equipment or the discount rate was two or three basis points lower! After you calm down for a second you ask yourself a simple question, why would a merchant with whom I had good rapport chose someone else for a couple of dollars per month? The answer is simple; you didn't add enough value to your sales proposition.
   Yes, we are now in a commodity business but if you're just selling on price you're missing the boat. Realize this; there will always be someone willing to sell at a cheaper rate or price. Unfortunately, most salespeople make price a bigger issue than it really is, and in some cases they inflate it larger than the customer does.
   Is price important? Of course it is, but very few people buy on price alone. If people bought on price alone we would all be watching black and white TV's, driving compact cars, wearing nothing but Timex watches and dressing in second- hand clothes.
   There are dozens of factors that influence a customer's buying decision, price is just one of them. In order to overcome a price issue your customer must believe that the value gained out weighs the price paid.
   In order to tip the scale in your favor, acquire an in-depth knowledge of the value your products and services provide the merchant. The terminal and rates may be the same as the next guy, but your total offer may be completely different. After careful observation, the realization that you have key differences in several areas will appear, point out those distinctions throughout the presentation. It's critical to research and know all your competitors' strong and weak points in their sales offering. Don't you think for a minute they are not researching yours?
   Here's a great exercise that will help you discover key distinctions in your offer. Take a piece of paper and create a column for each category and list the unique features and benefits of your sales offer. (You may have multiple answers for each category)
   For instance you may have the category "Your Company" and one of your unique features is that you provide local customer service and have been in the merchant processing business in this area for over 10 years. Another example would be, if you're working with a large ISO, talk about the pricing advantages due to their large volumes. If you are a small company, stress the advantages of low overhead that is passed on to the merchants. Any situation can be turned into a benefit.
   Here are a couple of categories to help you get started:

 Your Company
   Size (small or large can be a benefit)  
 Credibility Awards
 Locality Time in Business
 Breadth of Products One Stop Shopping
 Special Partners or Alliances References
 Specific Expertise  

 Years in the Business Life Experience
 Testimonials References
 Special Training Credibility
 Specific Expertise in Certain Niche

 Banks or Vendors
 Clients They Service Now Funds Transfer Capabilities
 Custom Programs (tips, car rental etc.)
 Size Credibility
 Awards Locality
 Time in Business Breadth of Products
 Specialize in Certain Types of Customers
 Reporting Capabilities One Stop Shopping
 Online products or services  

 Payment Terms
 Free Trial Period Leasing
 No Money Down Rental Program
 Special Terms (i.e. 3 payments same as cash)
 Accept Credit Cards  

 Special Offers
 Free Loaner Program Free Supplies
 Free Bonus Offering No Down Payment
 No Application Fee Free Consultation
 Referral Fee Free Website
 Free Training  

 Rates and Fee
 Discount Rates Mid & Non-Qualified Rates
 Annual Fees Cancellation Fees
 Minimums Statement Fees
 Chargeback Fees Investigation Fees
 Batch Header Fees Retrieval Fees
 Transaction Fees Application Fees

 Warranty Ease of Use
 Training Delivery Time
 Special Payment Terms Future Capabilities
 Current Capabilities Upgrade Path
 Size of unit Smart Card Ready
 Multi-Merchant Capable Special Reporting Features

 Customer Service
 Hours of Operations Average hold time
 Size of Staff Awards
 Services Offered  

 Certification Type of Training
 Ongoing Training Personal or Phone
 No Charge  

 Time Frame (how quick can they get it)
 Special Features About Installation
 Personal Installation Shipment

   You should now have enough ammunition to create value and uniqueness in your sales offer. Choose three to four major benefits in each category and be ready to use them during the sales presentation.
   Stay merchant-focused and make the necessary changes to be successful in today's fast paced market. Value is king, not price. Create value and you are on the way to a long lasting merchant relationship.