Don’t Be Left in the Cold – Five ISO Winter Sales Tips

This morning as I armored up for battle, I heard the weather forecaster use a negative number. Well, it was more of a “minus,” as in it will be minus 21 degrees in the upper Midwest today. It made me think of the song typically played around the holidays, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Like the song, weather like that encourages me to hunker down and stay inside, away from the cold.

I do have a confession, though. I’m not in the upper Midwest and it’s not that cold where I live. But I have many partners who are in that area, and the surrounding areas, as are many of you reading this today. And I know how tough it is to sell credit card processing services in extreme weather, which is why I would like to share some ISO sales tips.

Unless you exclusively sell via telemarketing, sales is a tough profession when it’s extremely cold outside. Merchants are likely closed, and if they are actually open most are all but impossible to reach. And in some cases, depending on the conditions it can be dangerous to even try. As a result, some credit card payment processing companies find their productivity – and their pipeline – start to taper off when they’re on lock down due to the weather.

You see, selling credit card processing services is similar to other sales professions in that if you don’t perform any sales-related activities you won’t sign any new business. And if you don’t sign new business you won’t grow. So, what do you do when the snowdrifts are taller than your house or when the roads are impassable? Let me make a couple of suggestions.

As you read the ISO sales tips below you may be surprised that telemarketing is not one of my suggestions. That’s because telemarketing requires a special skillset, and not everyone who is good at face-to-face sales is good at telemarketing. It also requires a commitment. Unless you don’t see yourself thawing out any time soon, your time may be better spent trying the following ideas.

1. Catch up on your reading.

Our industry is constantly evolving and changing. Credit card payment processing companies try to provide updates throughout the year as these changes occur. Now is a good time to catch up on these changes and review them.

If you are current on these changes, or if you don’t typically receive updates from your credit card processing partner, seek out reading material. If you are reading this you likely spend time seeking out information on the Internet. Consider going to Visa and MasterCard’s websites and looking for information for your merchants, or information on new trends or industry mandates. They may even have free giveaways that will help your merchant base.

2. Take a class.

At Clearent we have monthly training classes for our partners. They are all done via webinar. Check to see if other credit card payment processing companies have classes you can take or if they are aware of classes through other sources that are offered via webinar. Ancillary service companies, like gift and loyalty providers, cash advance companies and more, typically offer similar classes.

3. Study important topics.

Do you have a rudimentary understanding of interchange? Then maybe you should seek out information on the various interchange categories. Many credit card payment processing companies have operating guides that can help.

If they have nothing and you are really house bound (and a bit of an insomniac) download the guides from Visa and MasterCard. Don’t try to learn it all, but at least you can tell your merchants where this key information is located on the payment network’s websites.

4. Call your merchants.

Some may even be open. And I would bet they aren’t very busy. It can be a casual call, meaning one where you’re not trying to sell them anything. Your goal should be to stay in front of your merchants and see if they need anything so you can maintain your relationship.

Trust me, they will be very receptive, and will definitely remember your call. Oh, and don’t forget to ask about their neighboring merchants. It never hurts to get a few leads for when you thaw out.

5. Manage your portfolio.

Many of you likely already do this, but now would be a good time to examine your existing portfolio and analyze it closely. Look for those merchants that are making less than you expected. Look for trends in volume, both up and down. Ask questions about anything that jumps out at you.

There is no better time to crunch numbers than when you have no place else to go.

Remember, time is a nonrenewable asset. Don’t let what would normally be productive sales time go by the wayside because you can’t meet face to face with potential merchants. Take advantage of this time to better yourself and improve your knowledge of the credit card processing industry. It will pay off.

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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