Today’s merchants have been through a lot, especially in the past year and a half. Many business owners had to make the tough decision to lay off employees, cut back hours, or even shut their doors completely. It is important to take this knowledge of what small business CEOs have endured and factor it into your merchant services sales pitch. In this post, we’ll share some tips to help you evolve your pitch for the 2021 merchant.
TIP ONE: Put the Merchant First
You might not know how a merchant’s business is faring before reaching out to them. If you’re going to have a chance at making the sale, it’s important to lead with empathy and try to solve for the merchant’s specific needs.
Keep in mind that empathy is not pity. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Most merchants don’t want your pity, but they will appreciate your understanding. Maybe now’s really not the time to sell to them, and that’s okay. Don’t push it, or you might damage the relationship before you have the chance to truly nurture it.
If the merchant really isn’t interested in hearing your pitch right now, try to leave them with some information about the solutions you offer that may help them out in the future. Here’s an example of how the conversation might go:
MERCHANT: I’m sorry, I just really can’t commit to anything right now. My budget is super tight.
YOU: I completely understand that now is not a good time. Can I leave a few materials here with you? They include information on the latest payment technology we can offer that may be helpful for your business in the future.
MERCHANT: That’s fine.
YOU: Great, thank you. Feel free to call or email me if you have any questions about that information. I’ll also make a note to follow up with you in a few months or so to see how you’re doing.
TIP TWO: Focus on Offering Great Service
Support is very important to business owners right now. If they’re going to commit to your solution, they will want to know you’ll be there to help when they need it. Be ready to make that commitment and truly mean it!
Focus on building trust with merchants and begin building lasting relationships. Maybe they won’t pay off right away, but if you continue to nurture and support the relationships you make, you never know what will happen. The merchant might finally sign with you and bring a partner business along because they’re impressed with the rapport you’ve developed. You never know what will happen when you go above and beyond.
TIP THREE: Ask Intentional Questions and Listen Closely
When it comes to selling merchant services, the key is to ask a lot of questions. Following a simple “20 Questions” model won’t help you out, however. Your need to ask intentional, thought-provoking conversation starters. Here are five guidelines to help you start crafting a list:
1. Avoid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions.
Asking a definitive question that solicits a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is a great way to stop a conversation before it even starts. Of course, this is the opposite of what you need. Therefore, we advise against asking those types of questions especially at the beginning of your pitch or first meeting.
For example, instead of asking, “Are you happy with your credit card processor?”, ask “What is the biggest issue you have with your merchant services provider?” This way you gain an important nugget of information you wouldn’t have uncovered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question.
2. The rule of three (questions).
Your goal in being inquisitive is to gather as much information about the merchant and their business as possible in a short amount of time. That means you can’t possibly stop at one question, unless the merchant clairvoyantly provides every tiny detail you need before you even ask. In the likely event this isn’t the case, we recommend following a simple rule of three.
For example, let’s say the merchant mentioned lack of support is an issue with their current provider. To find out more, follow up this statement with three qualifying questions like, “When do you most often need support?”, “What issues have come up that you needed help with?”, and “About how many times would you say did not receive support from your provider when you needed it?” When you learn more about the merchant’s problem, you’ll put yourself in a better position to solve it.
3. Try to generate specific answers.
To develop an impressive sales pitch, you first need to gather as many qualifying details from the merchant as you can. Do your best to develop specific questions to have the best shot at specific answers.
For example, instead of asking “Are you unhappy with your merchant services provider?”, try something like, “What is the single biggest issue you have with your current merchant services provider?” Then, solve for that issue in your sales pitch.
4. Listen closely.
Don’t get so caught up planning your next question that you miss the answer to the first. Pay close attention to what the merchant is saying and turn your questioning into a conversation.
For example, let’s say the merchant explains the biggest issue they have is their credit card terminal. You’ll definitely want to get to the bottom of that issue before delivering your sales pitch. Continue talking with them about the terminal – is it too slow? Does it break down often? Is it too outdated for modern EMV chip cards and contactless options? Once you’ve figured out where their current terminal fails, craft your sales pitch around a new terminal that excels.
5. Ask for the story of a merchant services struggle.
Everyone loves a good story. To break the ice, try asking the merchant to share the story of a time when their merchant services solution failed them. Perhaps they’ll recall a time when their point of sale system broke down in the middle of a big rush, or the day their online shopping cart glitched and lost a bunch of new orders.
Keep this story in the back of your mind, and reference it in your sales pitch. For example, “Earlier you told me the story of that point of sale breakdown in the middle of the busiest time of the day. I can prevent that from happening again by offering a hybrid cloud and server-based point of sale system that keeps running, no matter what.”
As with any craft, practice makes perfect! If you sometimes struggle to come up with questions like these on the spot, try sitting down at your desk and making a list of as many as you can. Study this list and add to it as time goes on! Soon, thought-provoking questions will become second nature to your sales strategy.
Grow Your Business with Our Agent Program
We hope the tips and guidelines included in this post will help you improve your merchant services sales pitch for the 2021 business world. If you’re interested in growing your own business this year, consider becoming an ISO Agent with Electronic Merchant Systems!