In my way too many years in the merchant services market, I’ve slowly become aware of what I like to call the “July Doldrums.” I bet many of you already know where I’m headed with this. I’d be willing to wager that for a large percentage of you, July is a time when new production slows or, in some cases, come to a screeching halt.
I blame the 4th of July. No, it’s not that I dislike this holiday. It’s just that many people consider the week of July 4th to be an ideal time for a vacation. They justify their decision by saying, “Merchants aren’t going to change who they use for credit card processing services around the 4th of July. If I go on vacation now, I’ll really only lose a couple of days.”
As a result, all the momentum they built during June – which is known for being one of the better months – dissipates. Instead those hot referrals from their newly signed merchants have grown cold. Some even find they have to go back to the way they signed merchants in May to help make July a good month.
Don’t let this July pass you by.
Here are three tips for how you can jump-start your July sales for credit card processing services and maintain your momentum.
1. Be intentional in your marketing efforts this month.
There is no greater priority. In fact, treat this month as if you were just starting out in the merchant services market. Remember how important it was to sell when you had no merchants?
2. Remember what worked well in May and replicate those actions only.
Commit yourself to doing what worked well, and avoid anything that didn’t work as you expected. Now is not the time to consider trying new ideas. Stick to the basics and handle sales objections like a pro.
3. Sell during selling time.
Don’t do non-sales related activities during the time you have set aside for selling. Whatever else you need to do can wait. If a merchant calls and it’s an emergency, handle their call but don’t forget to ask for a referral. Time is the only ingredient in sales you can’t recoup. Don’t waste one minute. (By the way, I hope you’re reading this outside of your sales time. If not, it might be a good idea to refocus and come back to my post later.)
Taking these steps will help you get going faster, but be aware of these common excuses I’ve heard agents tell themselves about selling in the month of July:
- “It’s too hot.” Yes, it’s hot. It’s also cold in January and February. Just dress appropriately and drink plenty of water. It’s also hot for your merchants, so if they’re working, you should be too.
- “Merchants don’t change processors in the summer. It’s their prime season.” This is a myth I’ve heard far too often, and it’s not true. Merchants may not change who they use for credit card processing services on July 3rd or 4th, but they’re just as likely to change on July 5th as they would be on June 12th.
- “I have to spend time making sure my merchants are happy/taken care of/running well.” Yes, merchant retention and service is important. But it doesn’t require 100% of your time. Budget your sales time and leave some time to support your merchant retention efforts. (Just make sure it’s not more than 20%.) Don’t let this myth – or excuse – be the reason your new sales drop.
This year and in years to come, consider scheduling your vacation in late July rather than during the first week of July. You may find that you’re the only person talking to merchants that week, and after all, isn’t that your ultimate dream scenario?
I originally published this post in 2011. My tips and advice are just as applicable today as they were back then. I made a few edits to the post to make it even more relevant for payments consultants to use this summer.