Stop Selling & Grow Your Credit Card Processing Business

As we begin the New Year, you’re not alone if one of the goals for your credit card processing business is to sign more merchants. This is a common goal, and I’ve heard it from many of your peers in the merchant processing industry. The answer for how you’ll accomplish that goal is also familiar, in that you plan to sell more and sell harder.

I have always been the exception to this rule. My belief is that in order to sign more merchants, you need to do the exact opposite – stop selling.

Many of you are probably scoffing at this point right now and thinking, “Stop selling? Why don’t I just sit at my desk and wait for the phone to ring?” But before you laugh and think I’m off my rocker, read on.

As consumers, there’s no doubt we’ve all been on the receiving end of a sales pitch at one time or another. It may have been a phone call or a salesperson in a store. They ask your name and immediately proceed to recite their script, which includes things like:

  • Why they’re better than the competition
  • What the competition does that is unfair
  • How their product does many wondrous things

They say all of this, even though you haven’t asked for any information. In some cases, they barely breathe in fear you’ll talk before they’re done. Just think, to get all of this attention all you had to do was answer the phone or look at an item in a store.

How did you respond when this happened? Perhaps on a rare occasion they said something that piqued your interest, but in most cases I bet you tuned them out well before they were done with their pitch. As a salesperson, you swear you will never sell merchant processing this way.

Yet day in and day out, people use this approach to sell their credit card processing service to merchants. “I can sell them on signing with me,” is the thought, and their definition of selling. This is why so many people say they will never work in sales, as it’s the only approach they know.

So, if it bothers you when people sell to you like this, how do you think merchants feel when you use this approach on them?

My basic sales philosophy for many years now has been, “If your competition is doing something, stop doing it.” Consider the following:

  • Do you ever tell merchants you will save them money if they show you their statement?
  • Do you “pitch a product” as your lead in?
  • Do you say the same thing – over and over – to each merchant?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you’re selling just like everyone else.

There are several steps you can take to break the “sales” habit. All require discipline and commitment. They may feel strange initially, but I am living proof that they work and will help you grow your credit card processing business.

1. Ask permission.

Request to talk with the merchant, and tell them that if there’s no reason for you to talk at all, you’ll gladly be on your way.

2. Identify the merchant’s needs.

Before sharing information about a product, ask the merchant questions like, “What frustrates you today about your credit card processing service?” and “Are there any areas that are working, but could be better?”

This will keep you from trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. After all, why would you lead with a loyalty and gift card program when the merchant really needs next day funding?

3. Listen attentively.

This will encourage the merchant to keep talking. When they pause, don’t fill the dead air.

4. Don’t be afraid to walk.

Be prepared to walk away, and give them permission to ask you to leave.

If you follow these four steps before discussing your offer for merchant processing, you’ll be surprised at the results. You may also find that you no longer have to lower the merchant’s pricing in order to give them what they really want – and need. You will have more time to sell, as you’ll be spending less time on those who aren’t likely to sign.

Have you tried this approach before? What impact did it have on your credit card processing business? I’m curious to hear your tips on how to stop selling and how to start truly meeting your customers’ needs.

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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