Merchant Account Leads
A friend of mine recently submitted paperwork to create a LLC for a new business. Before the ink was even dry on the State's stamp of approval for his new company, his phone began ringing off the hook with calls from merchant account salespeople. He joked with me that he may have to change his phone number or his customers may not be able to get through all of the sales calls.
If you've ever started or managed a business, you know exactly what this feels like. The payment card industry is fiercely competitive and the calls, letters and visits from salespeople can be relentless. The attention can be annoying and even aggravating at times, but as I'll explain in a moment, there is a money-saving silver lining to the cloud of sales pressure.
Merchant account leads are the life blood of a salesperson in the payments industry. If you own or manage a business that accepts credit cards, that's exactly what you are – a merchant account lead, a potential deal and a quote waiting to happen. Don't take it personal, all sales-driven industries are lead-driven. They have to classify leads as numbers in order to calculate accurate metrics on which marketing efforts and sources of merchant account leads are effective.
You can let the sales pressure annoy you or you can use it to your advantage. Think for a moment how much your business spends on merchant account fees. The chances are pretty good that processing expenses account for a large chunk of your monthly businesses expenses. It's in your best interest to continually keep tabs on the best merchant account rates available. The flow of sales contacts make this easy by bringing the market to you. I'm not suggesting that you spend half an hour with every sales person that stops by, but it's advantageous to let them run the numbers top see if they can save you money.
To sales people, the best merchant account leads are those that come with recent processing statements. If you're currently processing credit cards and have statements to give, you can make their job easier and minimize the time spent with each encounter by having statements ready to send or hand out.
Use a dark marker to hide your account number and sensitive information and make a few copies of your merchant account statement each month. When sales people stop by tell them that you're busy at the moment, hand them a copy of your statement and ask them to call you if they can save you at least 0.25% off your existing merchant account effective rate. If you've got the ability, you can also scan your statement so that it's ready to send via email for all the sales people that will contact you via telephone.
If you're not currently processing having statements ready to hand out isn't an option but you can do the next best thing. Make a list of the following information and give/send it to sales people. Ask them to put together a merchant account quote and to contact you with a complete offer. This list should include:
- The age of your business
- The average credit card sales volume you expect monthly
- The amount of an average credit card sale
- How you will be processing credit cards (in-person, online, over the phone, etc.)
- A description of the products and/or services that you offer
This will allow sales people to put together a quote and you won't have to spend the time answering merchant account questions.
The next time you start to get annoyed with the flow of sales people. Just remember, you're a merchant account lead and they're a potential source of savings.
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