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North American Bancard
Saturday, November 09 2019

There are lots of reasons why starting a merchant services business can be extremely lucrative, not the least of which is the fact that you can build a lasting asset (your residuals), which you can then sell. In fact, I spoke to someone in the industry today, and he was telling me all about his plan when he leaves the business and how he's planning to sell his residuals. What that conversation made me realize, though, is that lots of people underestimate the power of those residuals. The best thing you can do with this income is to use it as capital.

To be able to sell your business in the long-run, you need to make sure that you start the business the right way in the first place. There are some major things you're going to have to take into consideration so that your company is able to grow:

1) Own your portfolio's residuals. Maybe this seems very transparently obvious to you; after all, what's the point if you don't own your source of income? However, it's not uncommon that sales agents will lose their entire portfolio simply because they did not read the agreement that they made with their processor closely enough. You should always consider what might happen if you just decide to stop selling; if the answer is that you will lose your hard-earned residuals, then choose another partner.

2) Be able to sell your residuals. If you can't sell something, do you really own it, then? Sometimes processors will require you to have to consider an offer from them before selling to an outsider, and that's fine, but just make sure you are free to choose.

3) Find out if you can borrow cash against your residuals. A large merchant services ISO that isn't operating as a middle man should be able to lend you money. If they can't, this is a problem. Usually, you're going to want to exhaust several options before a buyout, and this includes borrowing.

So let's assume you have all of these issues squared away and are the proud owner of a growing portfolio of accounts. Now you can start to use that asset to raise some capital!

Before you do anything else, though, take a look at these general guidelines that will help you get a better picture of what is going on when the selling occurs:

Do you qualify? Don't bother trying to pump any cash from your merchant account portfolio before you have at least two dozen accounts or so. Make sure that your accounts are making at least $1000 every month as well. You will be hard pressed to find anyone who would want to buy residuals less than this.

Performing a buyout: When you perform an 100% upfront buyout, you'll get about 12 to 20 times the monthly worth of the accounts that you're selling. This is a rough estimate, but adjust your expectations accordingly.

Performing an earn-out: Basically, this is the same as a buyout, except you get less upfront. Some of the money is upfront, and the rest is sent to you in increments with the stipulation that your accounts don't get canceled and that they continue brining in a certain amount of money. This will yield you more than a buyout in the long run—about 20 to 24 times your monthly income.

Performing a secure buyout: Let's say you have a significantly-sized portfolio and you only want to sell some of your residuals. You can sell some of those accounts, and then use your others as collateral essentially to guarantee against any cancellations. This means less risk for the processor, so they are usually willing to pay more.

Getting a loan: Maybe you just need to borrow some liquid cash and use your residuals as a guarantee. Most ISOs can do this for you. Usually, you can borrow anywhere from a few months to up to a year's worth of residuals. The terms will vary depending on your partner company. Since of course your ISO will be interested in minimizing risk, just show that you are using the funds to grow, and you'll have a better chance at getting the deal you want. Your merchant services ISO program will also usually offer better terms than outside lenders.

Did this article help you learn more about how to turn your portfolio into a machine that pumps out capital? Do you have a portfolio that you're looking to use right now for these sorts of purposes? Contact us and we'll show you the way.

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Article provided by: Shaw Merchant Group

Saturday, November 02 2019

Lead-generation is the heart of any business and importantly credit card processing leads. No matter what kind of line of work you're in, you're going to need some sort of plan or sales funnel that will allow you to capture leads and hopefully turn them into paying customers. Since you surely have competitors, you're going to have to have some kind of edge to make these customers yours, and usually that edge is a solid marketing strategy. Most good marketing plans that capture worthwhile leads cost money, though, so you have to be prepared to invest in your business first and foremost.

Just spending money isn't enough, either. You need to spend it in the right places and know what tactics work best for your specific business. You also need to know when not to waste your time and money on someone who is likely never to grab the bait. The ROI of your marketing efforts really depends largely on whether you are targeting people who are actually interested. This is why I recommend creating relationships first and understanding your customer's problems before you try to help them.

Here are a few different techniques you can use to get potential quality clients in front of you:

Pay Per Click (PPC) - Nowadays, when people need something, they search for it on the Internet. This is great for them because it gives them what they want, but it's also great for you because you can grab their attention on a search engine results page or on someone else's website by buying ads. You might be thinking: Why would I use PPC ads that run when people search for my business on Google, when I can simply practice good SEO on my website and rise to the top of the results for my chosen keywords?

This is a legitimate argument, but there are two main reasons you would choose PPC anyway, either alongside aggressive SEO tactics or instead of them: 1) hiring an SEO expert to rank your business website for your chosen keywords costs money, possibly more than simply buying the ad space; and 2) your competitors are probably running PPC ads on the major search engines, so even if you rank high organically, their ads will be all over the place when people search for the keywords that you are targeting. Ideally, you would use both good SEO and a PPC campaign to target leads.

The nice thing about PPC compared to other methods where you pay for traffic is that the conversion rate is usually pretty good because your lead is already interested in what you're offering. Unlike more traditional methods, you have a lot of analytics to work with so you can learn about your audience. It also tends to be more cost-effective than other common lead-generation approaches.

Social Media - People mostly go on social media to hang out and not buy, but you should have a presence here anyway because there is a good chance that some percentage of people who are interested would rather contact you via Facebook or a similar medium rather than via phone, especially if they just have general questions.

Call Like a Madman - Part of being a merchant services sales rep is being able to persuade people in a variety of context, and that includes over the phone. You can buy a list of prospects or look online for businesses that seem like they might be needing your services. It really is a numbers game because you will have to call a lot of places before you get any results. However, if you're willing to deal with rejection and having people hang up on you every once in awhile, this can be a great method, especially if you're just starting out and your capital is somewhat limited. It may seem cumbersome, but if you call dozens of people per day, 5 days per week, someone is bound to use your services at some point.

Go in Person - If you have the courage, then meet your prospects in person. You can do this by either paying other companies to arrange meetings between you and prospective merchant processing leads, or you can simply look up businesses in your area and visit the owner at their location unsolicited. This of course takes social skills and a certain amount of courage, but if you've been in sales for awhile, you probably have both. If you feel like this is too much of an intrusion, you can also call ahead of time and warm up your lead before you meet them in person.

The main thing to consider of course, is to play off your strengths, so if you're too awkward over the phone, meeting in person might just be the ticket. On the other hand, remember to challenge yourself to learn other methods of lead-generation, even ones that may make you feel uncomfortable at first. Always expand your horizons.

Focus on the Funnel - What do you do after you have used one of the methods above and you have an interested party? They might not always be interested in buying right away. Though you should do what you can to close the lead in the moment while it is “hot,” not all is lost.

One thing that you can do is use “bait” to create or keep your leads, by offering them free information or a newsletter via email. This is your “list,” and it will allow you to simply keep collecting prospects and remind them every once in awhile that you exist and that you want to help them. How you find these prospects in the first place depends, but you can use any of the methods above potentially.

The fastest way to build up a list is probably PPC, though. People are already at their computer, so it's not hard for them to go check their email and confirm when they sign up, and you are targeting people who are already in the “information-gathering” phase of their quest to find a credit card processor.

Using these tactics, it shouldn't be too hard to find some leads. All that you have to do from there is solve the client's problem consistently, and you will have a stream of income potentially for a long time. If you're still confused or curious about any aspect of selling merchant services, check out the Shaw Merchant group website and be enlightened.

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    © Shaw Merchant Group, LLC. Our goal is to gather accurate, updated information and assist you in your research. We recommended that you check with your service provider or financial institution directly and get independent financial advice before making any commitments or business decisions. 

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