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North American Bancard
Finding Your Niche in Merchant Services
Monday, May 11 2020

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:

  • By business type. For example, by focusing on selling to dentists, coffee shops, food trucks, etc.
  • By type of terminal. For example, selling tablet-based deals.
  • By area. In smaller communities, there may be less competition.
  • By language and culture. Maybe you speak Mandarin in a largely English-speaking area. This gives you the keys to an insular community.

If you're having trouble figuring out what niche would work well, then consider a few things:

  • So far, which businesses seem to bring in new leads for you via word of mouth?
  • What kind of merchants seem happiest with your services?
  • What sort of talents do you have that few other people do? Are you bilingual?
  • What kinds of merchants do you personally enjoy working with?

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.

Article by Shaw Merchant Group

Posted by Manuel Moquete on 02/21/2017 - 01:59 AM
choosing the best niche is very important. It will help you to make your time and effot a lot easier. you can target a general audience based on your needs.
Posted by Manuel Moquete on 02/21/2017 - 02:07 AM
Thanks for a great article. You are spot on. It's no longer good enough to be a generalist in the payment industry. Thanks to technology and the web, business payment environments are becoming increasingly complex. Today's payment professional must look to become an expert in their chosen niche. This requires time, dedication and the right partnerships but is a necessary step if a reseller is to survive the changes in the payment industry.
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