Are you thinking of becoming a merchant services agent? Whether you’re already in the business or you know you’re good at sales and have heard how lucrative the business can be, there’s an opportunity for everyone.
Before you set up your business, use the following tips to help you be successful.
Understand the Business
It’s not enough to be good at sales, you have to understand the merchant services business. You earn commission on the sales each merchant processes. If you can’t deliver great customer service to them, their sales may fall, which means your commissions drop too.
Understanding the business helps you be the best merchant services agent possible. Your merchants likely don’t understand the ins and outs of the process because it’s confusing. They want someone they can turn to with questions and get answers immediately.
Knowing the business, charges, and how to read statements helps you be the most powerful person in the merchant’s business life. If you can spot problems before they happen, or know how to resolve them quickly, helping merchants to understand the true cost of doing business, both you and the merchant benefit.
Create a Plan
Any good salesperson needs a plan. Even if you know merchant processing inside and out, you need a business plan. How will you engage your current customers? How will you follow-up with them?
What is your plan to find new customers? Referrals are great, but you may have to rely on cold calling or finding leads too. The better the reputation you can establish for yourself, the higher your chances of getting more sales – sales that just roll in rather than you going out and blindly knocking on doors.
The key is creating a plan, sticking to it, and making changes as you go if things aren’t going as planned.
Show your Expertise
If there’s one thing that overwhelms merchants, it’s credit card processing. Sure, they can set up the equipment and accept payments, but beyond that, they often don’t understand much else.
If you show our expertise in the industry, you’ll become a leader. We don’t mean showing your expertise just to current customers either. Create a brand for yourself. Show merchants (including potential merchants) the value you provide.
Get on social media and be vocal. Have your own posts on your page, but also contribute to other pages and groups. Don’t push sales, but just promote value and your knowledge and the sales will naturally come in.
Stay on Top of the Latest Changes
Technology and regulations are always changing. If you aren’t ‘in the know,’ you could end up without the answers your clients or potential clients need.
Stay as educated as possible understanding the changes and how they affect your merchants. You can also use this as a sales point for new customers. When you try to get them to see why they need a new merchant service provider, you can point out what their provider isn’t offering, especially as it relates to the most recent changes. But you can only do this if you know and understand them.
Have an Open Door Policy
Remember, merchants are always going to be asking questions. They are not going to understand every aspect of the merchant services process. If you have an open door policy, letting them ask you questions at any time, you’ll increase your sales.
Want to truly stand out to your clients? Take the time to go over their statements with them, especially for the first few months. Help them get comfortable with the information, what to look for, and even how to address issues they find.
What you want is for your merchants to look up to you – to trust you no matter what they don’t understand. They can feel vulnerable throughout the process. They know they have to accept credit cards, but they don’t have to understand the fees. If you’re there to walk them through, they can rely on you.
Stick to a Schedule
No matter how big your pipeline gets, don’t get comfortable. There will always be merchants coming and going. The more clients you keep coming in, the more fluid your sales will be. You earn commissions on the sales your merchants make. If you have seasonal merchants or merchants that drop out, close, or just stop accepting credit cards, it affects your bottom line.
Create a schedule that revolves around maintaining your current clients as well as bringing in new clients. Set a schedule for the month and stick to it. You can always make changes as you go, but with a consistent plan, you’re more likely to bring in more sales.
Most importantly, provide as much value as you can to your merchants. They look up to you and honestly rely on you if they’ve chosen you as their representative. They want you to tell them how it all works, what they should expect, and to answer their questions when they have them.
Setting up a merchant services agent business is hard work, but it’s one that pays off tenfold when you do it right. It’s not going to be a success overnight, it requires you to work hard and stay as educated as possible. Your merchants need you to be their voice – the person that helps them understand the codes and fees and how they can minimize them.
Be the person that your merchants can call night or day – especially if they process online orders. Let them know they can rely on you to help them through their questions and issues so they can provide the best customer service possible to their clients too.
Lou Honick is the CEO of Host Merchant Services. Prior to founding Host Merchant Services in 2010, Lou was the founder of HostMySite.com and received numerous awards including SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Inc Magazine 30 under 30, and multiple listings on the Inc 500. As a serial entrepreneur, all of his companies have operated on a singular devotion to outstanding customer service and support. Lou is a respected expert on the topics of customer service, payments and fintech, Internet technology, and entrepreneurship.