Three Tips for Selling Merchant Services Over the Holiday & Maximizing Downtime

If selling merchant services over the holiday doesn’t make you feel merry and bright, you’re not alone. Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us. Retail merchants have been busy ramping up for their biggest month of the year. For many, it is the difference between being in the red or the black.

As such, this is the most difficult time to be selling merchant services to these merchants. They aren’t listening to what you have to offer, and likely won’t be until after the New Year. Truth is, they don’t have the time.

Selling merchant services in any month is not easy. When merchants are too busy to listen, it makes it even harder. Then factor in weather issues, family holiday plans, and the simple fact that the year is drawing to a close. This isn’t something new though. It happens every year. It’s expected.

Yet every year around this time, merchant services salespeople start getting a little anxious.

The result is the temptation to ease off on their sales efforts in December. Some even stop altogether with plans to start working again on January 2nd. This temptation is felt by the most experienced agents, and they have likely given in to it at some point in their life. They think, like many have, “There is no point in selling merchant services over the holiday because the opportunity isn’t there.” Or maybe they told themselves, “It’s been a good year. I can start fresh in January.”

But those people learned the hard way in January when the consequences of their actions became apparent. At a minimum, the first two weeks of the month were lost. They didn’t have any sales and received very little positive responses. In addition, since the old maxim “out of sight, out of mind” is true, attrition set in. Their merchants started listening to other’s offers- at their expense. Combined, they realized that instead of having a healthy start to the year, they had to play catch up.

Scary thought. And one that can be avoided by just taking three simple steps.

1.) Continue selling merchant services over the holiday season!

Seems simple enough, but the key is to sell to those who will listen. Don’t call on retail or restaurant merchants. Instead, concentrate on those merchants who are not impacted by the holidays. Examples include medical offices, business-to-business merchants, and leisure (like bowling alleys or golf courses).

They may take longer to sell, but during this period, that is okay. They may end up being the merchants that kick start your new year.

2.) Stay in contact with current merchants.

Just because some of your current merchants are busy doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Make sure that your current merchants have your contact information, your customer support information, and remind them you are there for them during their busy time. It’s simple enough and won’t take a lot of time. You can do it by email, a newsletter, or even just by stopping by and dropping off the information. The key is to be present in some form.

This is also an ideal time to send a newsletter or email on managing risk and fraud in the holiday season. Just remember to get it out now, and follow up with something later in the season.

3.) Do the things you’ve been putting off such as proofing your residuals.

We all have that one item on our to-do list that we just can’t get ourselves to do. For many sales agents I talk to, it’s proofreading their residual reports to make sure they’re getting paid what they ought to. Seems like it would be a worthwhile investment of an agent’s time, but I understand why it rarely gets checked off the to-do list. Residual reports are often extremely confusing! December is a perfect time to dedicate an hour or two to activities like this.

I am not saying you have to work as hard in December as you have all year long. It’s okay to enjoy family time. In fact, I encourage it. Just know that there are those out there already doing these three things. They are the ones who see 2017 starting now.

Shouldn’t you?

About Author

Jeff Fortney

Jeff Fortney

VP, ISO Channel Management

Jeff Fortney has 25 years of experience in payments, with a focus on helping ISOs and agents grow their portfolio. His experience encompasses all forms of payments. He has served on various industry committees and boards and is also an author in various trade publications. He and his wife of 40 years live in Plano, TX.

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