Selling Merchant Services: Beyond The First Impression

Several months back, I started listening to Radio Classics on satellite radio. It’s a channel that plays radio shows from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. I’ve always enjoyed good radio shows, so it’s great to hear some of the all-time greats like Jack Benny and Fibber Magee plying their trade.

When I was listening to the channel recently, I heard the theme song from “Have Gun – Will Travel.” It’s a show that was a TV series before it was brought to radio. And as I listened to the song, images from the TV show came to mind, the foremost of which was the business card of the gunfighter protagonist Wire Paladin. It features a large chess piece-a white knight-and the words “Have Gun Will Travel. Wire Paladin. San Francisco.”

I don’t remember much else about the show, but that business card must have made a strong first impression, because all these years later I still remember it.

Now, selling merchant services obviously isn’t much like gunfighting, but a strong impression is certainly valuable. You can’t win the deal in the first few seconds, but you can certainly lose it.

However, some books on sales techniques and tips make it sound like the first impression is the only thing that matters.

What’s my take on it? I believe that the first impression is important but that the job of the merchant services salesperson doesn’t end there–or even with the sale. Long gone are the days when the sales agent could sign the contract, then consider their work with the merchant to be done. These days, merchants constantly receive tempting offers from other merchant services providers. So to keep their business, you have to go beyond the first impression and build a relationship.

Here are three tips to help you do just that:

The first 30-60 days are the most important

To build a strong relationship with your merchants, you have to start doing it as soon as you sign them. You can develop a solid bond by staying in close contact with your merchants during the first few months after they sign the contract. You’ll learn their needs, and they’ll learn that you’re a reliable person who’s there to help.

Periodic check-ins

After those first few months, it’s okay to decrease the amount of contact with your merchants. However, you still need to check in with them periodically. Sending a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter is a great way to do it. And if you’re in the neighborhood, it doesn’t hurt to stop by in person either.

Buying from them

Nothing will show that you care about your merchants like buying their goods or services. If what they sell isn’t right for you, maybe consider purchasing a gift card that you can give to a friend or give away in a prize or a contest.

Be there when they need you

When they contact you for help, make sure you do everything you can to fix the problem as quickly as you can. There may be some things you can’t help them with, but if you show that you’re listening, it’ll let them know that you care and that you’re doing everything possible to help ensure their satisfaction.

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