How to Become a Successful Sales Agent in the Payments Industry

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Starting a Successful Career as Merchant Services Sales Agent

There are a number of misleading stereotypes associated with sales and credit card processing agents and the companies that support them. Most merchants who have been accepting credit cards for any length of time have felt deceived, misled and even lied to by sales agents. They report having been promised incredible savings, only to find that these savings never materialized. As a dedicated payments partner, it is our job to prove these stereotypes wrong. In order to be a successful agent, consider following these helpful and effective recommendations.

How To Be A Successful Sales Agent In The Payments Industry

Any agent who has been in the credit card processing industry long enough understands that the key to building long-term success and wealth is to sign merchants and keep the ones you sign. You get compensated every month based on the volume and transactions your merchants process, therefore the more merchants you have processing, the better.

Those who succeed, get paid generously for their efforts. It’s not easy, but the most successful agents can earn $30,000 - $40,000 and more per month in recurring income. It takes hard work, determination, sales expertise and even a little bit of luck in order to increase your likelihood of success.

1. Know Your Business

The pricing structure of credit card processing can be complicated. Few merchants are able to make sense of their monthly merchant statement. Perhaps more surprisingly, many industry-experienced sales agents can be rusty on the details as well. There are two glaring concerns with that:

First, if you don’t understand the economics of a merchant deal, you will have a hard time explaining the cost-saving opportunity you’re offering that merchant. And you certainly won’t be able to answer in-depth questions they may have.

Second, without an understanding of merchant services pricing, you will not be able to assess the value of a deal. The best agents in the industry can tell you within a few pennies how much profit is built into a merchant account after reviewing a recent statement. That knowledge is power. It can help you determine where you can make concessions—like giving away a new point-of-sale terminal— and when it is best to walk away from a deal.

Success Tip:

Leverage training resources from your payments partner, analyze numerous merchant statements from different processors and compare your findings with someone who has a wealth of experience. Knowing the ins and outs of the industry will make you a better merchant advocate and will help earn you their trust and their business.

2. Be Transparent and Educate Merchants

Merchants dislike credit card processing by default—they view it as a 3% tax on their business. However, what’s most frustrating for a merchant is the unclear nature of the pricing and long lists of incomprehensible fees. When you know your business (see above), you can regularly review your merchants’ statements alongside them. You can spot any processing inefficiencies that are driving up their costs, educate them about what they’re paying for and why and you might even be able to spot a billing error before they do, which you can remedy proactively. Your merchants will forget a lot of what you teach them, but as long as they know you upfront and honest and are available to answer any questions they have, they will be more inclined to maintain their relationship with you. And if you do this right, you should expect merchants to refer you to their friends, family and business contacts.

Success Tip:

Take time to schedule an annual review with your merchants. Think of these visits not as chores, but as business development opportunities. At the end of these visits, don’t be shy to ask your merchants for introductions to anyone they think might benefit from your services.

3. Have a Plan

If you surveyed the most successful sales agents in the credit card processing industry about how they go about their business and drive up their monthly income, you would find an almost infinite number of answers. But just about every one of them would be able to articulate a clear plan that works for them. Some target a certain industry vertical. Others leverage their personal networks for referrals. Others prefer door to door cold calling. And some do combinations of all of the above.

Success Tip:

Simply put, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to credit card sales, but you should always have a plan. You could modify it if you’re tired of it, or if you suddenly find success down a different path, but have a plan and execute it!

4. Search for Referral Sources—and Pay Them

Since there is no required license to sell merchant services, anyone can say they’re a salesperson and do the job. In this day and age, people still prefer to do business with people they know, or with people who are vouched for by people they know. The best agents increase sales by increasing the number of statements they receive. They do that by increasing the numbers of referral sources they have. And the smartest ones incentivize their referral partners by paying them a cut of their monthly residuals for referred merchants who sign a contract.

Success Tip:

Anyone can be a referral partner - not all of them care to be paid but it sure can’t hurt to offer. Your success will grow as you increase the number of merchants you’re introduced to. Try and find referral partners to introduce you to more of them. And offer to pay them 20%-25% of the profit on the account. Watch your sales soar!

5. Choose Your Payments Partner Carefully

The credit card processing industry can sometimes be chaotic. There is very little governmental regulation and, as already discussed above, pricing structures can be slightly confusing. Therefore, merchant services providers sometimes take advantage of these facts by misleading, deceiving and lying to their sales agents (like many sales agents do to their merchants). Many providers boast impossible perks in an attempt to lure sales agents—free terminal programs, 90% percentage splits, etc. that come with limits and stipulations Like they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Success Tip:

Make sure you see the provider’s “buy rate” or “Schedule A” on which they’re basing their split you. Ask about the levels of agent support staff they have internally. Find out about commission payout timing and your right to audit commissions. Ask if they require your approval before increasing merchant rates. And find out what happens to your portfolio if ownership decides to sell their portfolio. You should be looking for the most straight-forward, transparent, well-staffed provider you can find. Don’t just move to the one you came across first.

At CardConnect, we get it - finding a dedicated payment processing partner who aligns with your business goals can be stressful. We also understand that every sales partner is different, and don’t expect one single Schedule A to accommodate everyone.

We'll work with you to draft a partner program that fits your specific business model.

Learn More!