|Photo by Nina Hale/CC BY 2.0|
What is the toughest thing for a sales person to do? I think its walking away from a deal. I have a caveat though, when new to an industry I think the value of the experience of writing deals outweighs’ the margins and hassles of a deal. After you have a portfolio built up and you know your numbers, you need to be a CEO and run your business. For the purposes of this conversation I’m going to assume that you have a growing portfolio. The question at this point is when do you walk away from a deal?
I think it starts from knowing your numbers. How much do you need to make? What is your income goal? then figure how many deals a month you need to write and how much you need to earn from each deal. Think like a CEO. I think you walk away from a deal when that deal potentially compresses your margins. Know the logistics. When you know how much you need to earn from each deal, you can build a customer profile. You can begin to target merchants that have volume range and an average ticket that fit your profile, From there you can begin to determine the profit parameters you need to stay in and add that parameter to your customer profile. This sounds counter intuitive, turning away deals. I propose that doing business in this manner changes the tone of the conversation. Instead of you begging for everydeal, now you’re choosing which deals to take on.You are more confident. Remember the tail does not wag the dog. You’re giving them the opportunity to be part of your exclusive portfolio, to get the professional level of service that you provide. At that point you are thinking like a CEO.
So now that you have a customer profile, what is the next step in finding customers that fit your profile? Well to find businesses that fit my customer profiles. Know your logistics, know your numbers, execute your daily behaviors. I am thankful for the internet, because of it there is a ton of resources at your finger tips.
For overall information on businesses, sources that give me the contact info and general details of a company as well as contact info and names of owners/executives, the two I use a lot are Manta and Hoovers. I also really Like Linked In. On Linked in you can Join Relevant groups to the merchants you are targeting as well as inviting them to join your network, which gives you direct access to them. Finding companies on Facebook and twitter is also a good way to glean information and start building a relationship ( though not always as cut and dry as a business directory).Websites and blogs are also a great way to learn about a business and make contact. For making face to face contacts joining networking groups such as BNI, local chambers of commerce, and associations. I know a Chiropractor who sells merchant services by setting up statewide Chiropractic associations as referral partners. Another example is an agent group that sets up bank partnerships with independent banks and small credit unions, they exclusively market through those channels. With enough referral partners, association partners, networking groups, and other proactive situations, an agent could legitimately never have to cold call. Finally you have web search engines like Google and the old stand by, the Yellow Pages. Doing some research and creating an action plan will allow you to prospect efficiently as well as help you develop the daily behaviors to drive your success.
PS it is a lot of work, but it pays dividends and will get you to your goal. No One is going to just hand yu solid leads, there is always a catch, and this industry is tough, you have to be driven to succeed. With a paln in place, the right partners, and executing the behaviors daily, you can make it. Also, always improve and learn!