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Tuesday, December 28 2021
In the past, there has been a charge to use USAePay transactions with EPX. However, due to a new merchant services partnership with USAePay, EPX is now able to process transactions at a rate of $0 per item! This amazing new development not only means more affordability for merchants, but also opens doors that were previously closed for partners and agents looking to expand their horizons. Per item transaction fees are a nuisance and a profit-killer. Through the hard work of these two organizations, that problem is now solved, helping merchants and merchant services agents everywhere achieve more.
Of all parties involved, this new development perhaps benefits the merchants the most. While merchants have not always had fees passed down to them, they still feel the effects of having to increase processing fees and tack on per item fees to transactions. With less affordable payment solutions and higher processing bills, merchants are having a harder time succeeding. That is, until now. This partnership provides a flurry of benefits to the merchant that allows them to go with the payment processor that best meets their needs, not just one that doesn’t carry per item fees for USAePay transactions.
In addition to helping the merchant be more successful and find a better solution that meets their needs, this partnership also opens up countless doors to the agent. Merchant Services Agents have long been somewhat restricted by who they can partner with based on their status with USAePay. Merchants with this shopping cart solution often avoided solutions like what NAB has to offer because of the extra fees that are often involved. With this partnership, that struggle is a thing of the past.
With USAePay transactions now $0 per item, the world of merchants opens up to agents all over the globe. No longer do unnecessary fees stand in the way of gaining partnership with a merchant that needs your services. With processing more affordable than ever, merchants can get the outstanding value that our payment processing software, solutions, and other infrastructure has to offer. You can start exploring which merchants you were previously unable to serve because of fees and now show them the benefits of using EPX with USAePay.
Along with being able to serve a wider range of merchants, merchant services agents will also be able to serve their existing merchants better. With more margin to work with on each transaction, merchants can explore which solutions they can invest in that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. This strengthens the bond between merchant and agent and helps agents build trust.
As you know, it is now $0 per item to process a fee with USAePay on EPX. However, there is a small, monthly charge of $6 to use the service. Any merchant doing even small volume should look at this as an incredible deal and an opportunity to work with a payment processing provider that is more suitable and attentive to their needs.
EDGE Cash Discount Program: Defeating Processing Cost and Providing Even More Value to Business Owners
Saturday, December 25 2021
If you ask any business owner about the costs of accepting payments, one of the first things that they will tell you is that they feel that the fee they pay to process credit cards and other plastic is unfair and high. Given the chance, any one of these business owners would eliminate the cost and charge their customers for it. Until now, there has never been an easy way to do this without angering the customer and causing strife in their business. Furthermore, consumers in the modern world are heavily incentivized to use their plastic to pay for products for many reasons. To defeat this, you need to be able to present your business clients with a program that is equally as lucrative for them and their customers. The EDGE Cash Discount program is this system.
The problem merchants face with credit card payments
As you know, processing companies make most of their revenue from charging a percentage of each transaction. Typically, merchants will absorb this cost and deal with it as a cost of doing business. There is not an easy way to explain having to raise prices for those that pay with plastic, so the transaction cost cuts into the margin for the merchant and makes it harder to do business with high margins. Accepting cash is preferable because it offers higher margins, but people are heavily leaning towards card payments and are even incentivized with rewards programs and signup bonuses to use plastic as opposed to having to carry around cash.
Traditionally, merchants would charge the same amount to both their cash-paying customers and their card-paying customers. This makes things rather unfair to those that are paying with cash, as they are paying the same as someone else who pays with cards, which costs the merchant a high percentage to process. This less-than-ideal situation is what has led many merchants to seek out a different option. The EDGE cash discount program allows merchants to charge the same sticker price to both customers, but keep the same margin, as well.
Selling the EDGE Cash Discount Program
Remember how we said earlier on that merchants would love to pass the credit card processing cost onto the customer? Well, it's now possible with the EDGE program. The EDGE Cash Discount Program is an easy way to allow business owners to keep equal margins for any payment method and make pricing products that much easier. With the EDGE program, merchants won't have to worry about which payment methods their customers use most because they will be achieving the same profit either way.
In short, this program allows merchants to essentially wipe out processing cost in their store for all card payments. The program is implemented in a way that advertises it as a rewards program for cash instead of simply charging more for those that choose to use their card. For merchants, getting over the hump of advertising this program is the biggest hurdle. Once merchants realize that it will have no noticeable effect on foot traffic and revenue, it becomes an easy jump to make.
What’s included in this program?
One of the largest concerns that business owners have when implementing this program is the procedure change that must occur and how that change is presented to their customers. Luckily, the materials that are included in the program make it an easy transition and results in minimal disruption.
For starters, this program includes EDGE cash discounting software, which is a program that will automate all of the repricings that have to occur at checkout depending on which payment method the customer decides to use. This reduces the amount of time and labor that the business owner will have to spend, streamlining operations and making the transition anything but a burden on the daily operations of the business.
To explain the slight change to their customers and advertise the cash discount program, there will also be signage and literature explaining the program and how the pricing works so that the business owner can adequately inform the customers about the changes and ensure that there is no confusion. The business owner benefits from this information and incentivization, which could drive more customers to use cash because of the perceived benefits.
Finally, all of the equipment that is needed to facilitate this change can be provided to the merchant in this program. This includes POS systems and other technical equipment that is needed to facilitate the repricing and restructuring of transactions and how totals are calculated.
With these tools, merchants will have everything that they need to implement the EDGE cash discount program and increase their margins without a noticeable disruption in the checkout flow. Merchants won't have many reasons to resist this change and with a trustworthy rep to walk them through the process, they should see only benefits from the new system.
Saturday, December 18 2021
If you have past sales experience, that's often a plus, but a lot of the time there can be aspects of your past that will give you a disadvantage. For example, if you used to sell mortgages, you didn't have to worry too much about creating a sense of urgency, since people were already a little desperate because their new house was on the line. It's not too different if you're selling the actual houses either; if someone has sought out a real estate agent, they're looking to buy. The same goes with selling cars, since many of the people who are coming to you really need a new one and can't go very long without transportation. Your job would be a lot harder if you had to go up to random people on the street—or worse, random people getting out of their cars in a parking garage—and ask them if they needed a new car. Sounds ridiculous? Well, this is basically what your life is like when you're selling merchant services. This is why the mindset is completely different in this field.
Obviously, there are positive and negative aspects to this. Once you have convinced a merchant that he'd do better to change to your plan, making the actual deal is usually smooth. Just don't mess up, and you'll have a good closing rate. Another great aspect of this business is that once you convince a merchant that they need to change their processor, they will probably buy those services from you and not another random merchant services agent. This is all great, but unfortunately creating the sense of urgency that will get them to make a change is one of your biggest challenges.
Let's take a look at these guidelines that will help you create more urgency in your prospects:
1) More prospects = more sales. You are going to have to accept that you will have to deal with a much higher volume of prospects than in other fields to close a decent amount of deals. If you used to sell mortgages, for instance, your conversion rate is probably high—maybe as high as 1/3 of your prospects. A big reason as to why this is comes down to the fact that your clients already have decided what they want to buy and are coming to you for help.
If you find a quality lead, the conversion rate is actually about the same when you're in merchant services, but the problem is that you will have to go through many people to find quality leads. You might walk into two dozen stores, but only find yourself able to talk to 20% of the owners, and only 10% of the stores you walked into had genuinely good prospects. A good prospect is someone who realizes that they could use your services and is eager to explore the options. This is why you shouldn't get discouraged if you find that you're having to visit tons of businesses just to make some progress. This is how the game is played.
2) Take it a step at a time. When you first make your pitch, you want them to reach a point of understanding that they need to make a change; don't rush them into make the full decision just yet. Your job at first is just to convince them that they would be better off with another service. Yes, you might be able to convince them of this and close the deal in the same session after you've had some practice, but these are still distinct steps. Just make sure that you don't make the assumption that the merchant wants a different processor—at the moment, they're probably not even thinking about it. You will have to convince them. The problem of course is that most merchants don't even think of this as a problem. They already put together their processing solution and they don't need to worry about it anymore, as far as they are concerned. They would rather put their attention elsewhere.
How can you overcome that default resistance and make them open to the possibility of switching? Well, you should show them that you're not trying to throw a wrench in their plans or rip them off. Let them know that you are only showing them how much they could save if they reconsider, and that they can use your service if they want to. Try to focus on convincing them that they need to switch more than that they need to go with you specifically. Tell the client straight up that you are not interested in signing them up that day. They should be under the impression that you are interested in getting to know their needs better, and that you are merely opening them up to the cost-saving possibilities of finding a better credit card processing agent program.
3) Have some kind of bonus or offer. People like being just in time for “special” deals, and this can create a huge sense of urgency if it is available only for a limited time. Since you will have to get them out of that “analysis paralysis” mode and into a decision, it will help them to focus on closing the deal if you have some kind of time limit like that. As soon as you convince them that they need to make a change, you can start discussing your various juicy offers. Let's look at a few different routes that you could take:
Give them a Free Cash Gift – They may be a business owner, but chances are that they're pouring all of their personal resources into the business. It may not seem like much, but offering them something like a gift card or cash back when they make their account will certainly entice them. Make sure to start out letting them know that they won't have to pay any fees upfront if you work with a free terminal program or something similar, and then throw the free money on top of that to sweeten the deal. It doesn't have to be a huge amount of money—just 100 dollars will suffice—and you can easily take this out of your upfront signing bonus. Make it a point to mention this deal in your advertising. Basically, the merchant has nothing to lose here, and will actually make money upfront from the deal.
Give them a free terminal – Believe it or not, there are still merchant services ISOs out there that do not offer free terminals with their deals. This can be for a number of reasons, but generally-speaking you want to steer clear of these companies when you're choosing a partner. Make sure that there is an option to offer a free terminal to the merchant, since this removes a major upfront cost. Much of the resistance that you will encounter has to do with these upfront costs and whether or not the merchant has the liquid cash to cover them. Bring a terminal in personally if you can to show them an example of what they can have for free. Tell them you're offering it temporarily. Guarantee Them Monthly Savings – You need to first consult with them and look at how much they pay in fees to pull this one off. Tell them that you can save them a certain amount of basis points per month of the competitors. Find out how much processing they do, and multiply it by however many basis points you are claiming to save them. Just make sure that you don't work with very large merchants here, or else it could cost you too much money.
Once you have established how much they are going to save with you per month, make sure to zoom out and show them the big picture. Tell them how much they are going to save over the course of a year or two years. Discuss these big, long-term numbers instead of the tiny savings of 10 or 20 dollars that you might be able to pull off every month. These bigger numbers are certainly more motivating, and will get them to consider your offer much more readily, especially if some of the other offers above are included.
Hopefully, these tips have enlightened you at least a little bit as to how you can create urgency in your prospects. Do you still have questions? Let us know! Contact us anytime and we will be happy to help you.
Wednesday, December 15 2021
No matter what business you're in, you're not going to get very far without going out there and finding prospective customers. Whether you do this in person or via the Internet, you're going to have to find a strategy to funnel new customers into your business. There are lots of different ways to do this, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that you don't have to come up with everything on your own. There are already proven marketing strategies that exist, and you can simply use those models and apply them to your own business. Especially if you are new to this field, don't waste your time trying a million things that might not work, when you can employ time-tested techniques.
The key is to keep things simple. No matter what specific tactics you go with, your strategy should involve finding your niche or market, finding out what they need, delivering that need, and then spreading the word about your services. At its core, that is basically it, but let's take a more detailed look at these various aspects:
Finding Your Market - Ask yourself a few questions. For example, who would use your services? In your mind, who is the ideal customer and who do you envision yourself working with? What kind of merchants have the sorts of problems that you know for a fact that you can solve? If you're already selling, what kinds of businesses seem to buy from you the most?
From these questions, you can begin to narrow down where the money is. Let's say for instance that you are selling POS services that come with a free terminal and a low monthly fee. You might find that small startups and coffee shops gravitate to your product more than larger warehouse stores. If you focus on the people who are truly interested in your product because you actually solve their problems efficiently, then you won't have to do much persuading. The best ROI when it comes to marketing happens when people already want to be sold to, so it's important to identify who that is and not waste your time trying to seduce people who would be less interested.
Finding Out What They Need - Of course, as trends in technology and in the market change, your clients' needs will be changing, too, so you should make sure that your concept of their needs is constantly evolving. However, you will want to have a general idea of what your clients are looking for at any given moment.
Think to yourself: Why would they want to buy from me? If you can't answer that question, then you have not catered your products to their needs enough and you may not know how to truly solve their problems. The cure for this is to listen. What products do your current clients give you good feedback about? What do they complain about? If you've lost clients before, why did you lose them? If a client chose you over a competitor, why was that?
Delivering What They Need - Once you know what they want, you have to have the ability to deliver it of course. This is why you shouldn't marry yourself to a single merchant service company. First and foremost, you need to deliver what your market wants, and the company that you choose as a partner needs to cater to that need. This is why you should keep your options open and always be on the lookout for new and better solutions to your customers' problems.
Spreading the Word - In other words, you must market your services, or else few people will know that you even exist. When people recommend you to their colleagues, this is of course the best kind of marketing, but before you've built up a reputation, you're going to have to tell people about yourself. There are several ways you can do this. For example, you can attempt to pay for leads that you meet in person, you can go the telemarketing route, you can pay for leads online, or you can even run pay per click (PPC) campaigns to draw new customers in. They all have their virtues, and you should choose a tactic that plays on your strengths.
Now that you know about your audience and can deliver on their needs, as well as spread the word about your services, how do you turn your prospects into customers and continue growing your business? That is the age-old sales question, indeed. Follow these general steps, and you can begin to see growth:
Step 1) Find Prospects the Right Way - This happens before you even begin persuading the prospect of anything. The first step to converting people is to find the right people so you're not wasting your time! Don't cast a net so wide that you find yourself talking to people who are completely uninterested in what you have, or even people who are only partial matches who need lots of convincing. Especially when your business is young, you don't have time to waste. Put effort into prospects that have shown a previous interest in buying your kind of merchant services. You can do this by buying highly targeted leads or by getting referrals from other customers and businesses. You can also try hanging out where business owners do, for example at local entrepreneur or business meet-ups.
Another great way to do this is to keep an eye out for new businesses as they open. If you sell POS systems for liquor stores for instance, look up who has purchased a license lately. You can even start by servicing people that you know personally who are in your professional network.
Step 2) Give Them What They Need - Solve people's problems, and they will sing your praises. Testimonials from other business owners can be very powerful when drawing in more business. Make sure that your existing customers have nothing but good things to say about you, and the rest will often take care of itself.
Step 3) Make Friends - Referrals are some of the best sources of sales. Partner up with others who are in business-to-business fields, but who are not direct competitors and have them refer their customers to you. For example, you can work with CPA's, printing companies, or even web designers. Basically, if you know someone who would be working with new businesses constantly, offer to trade leads with them if the customer genuinely needs the service (and they often will). Using these techniques, you will find that getting prospects and converting them into paying customers is a lot easier. Above all, always remember to deliver good service and you will always have an eager customer base.
Saturday, December 11 2021
In any business, it is extremely important to find a specific niche to work in, especially if you're starting out, and this isn't any less true when you're in merchant services. You are practically guaranteed to be swamped with competitors if you try to be too general in your approach. So the first thing you should do when deciding the direction of your business is to figure out what will make you different from the rest.
When I went to a conference for Merchant Services ISOs and sales agents recently, I couldn't help but make the observation that most of the companies did not see themselves as broadly-focused. Instead, the majority of the merchant services ISOs and sales agents set their focus towards a single niche of merchants that they concentrated on.
What do I mean by “niche”? Well, in this context, it basically means choosing a micro-market where your skills and talents would be best suited, and where you will meet fewer competitors. Instead of trying to please everyone (and likely failing), you will just please a handful of customers very well.
Now, what kind of niches can a merchant services sales agent exploit? There are actually many of them. For example, I met one individual at the conference who was looking to focus on POS systems. He wants to concentrate on getting the right kind of terminal to his clients, and of course also selling them the merchant account. Another businessman created a rewards program for his current clients for finding him new merchants, and this helped grow his enterprise. Yet another company was putting its energy into creating the actual POS software, so that its user base would get used to the interface and not want to switch to another.
Every one of these methods may be different, but they are all performed within their own niche, which makes them powerful. In any field that is very competitive, this is the best strategy to use.
What can you do to leverage your specific talents?
How can you find your own niche as a merchant services provider? Here are some ways that you can differentiate yourself:
If you're having trouble figuring out what niche would work well, then consider a few things:
These can all give you clues that will lead you in the right direction. Finding a niche that you can fit into will make your ROI better and even your work life more enjoyable.
Have you decided on a niche yet? Let us know.
Saturday, December 11 2021
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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Sunday, 03 April 2022
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