7 Ways to Build a Stronger ISO Office in 2020


New Year New You – 7 Ways to Build a Healthier ISO Office in 2020

  1. Focus on Your Niche

Merchants are diverse, with different business styles and processing needs.  Not every sales rep is going to understand the needs of every merchant.  Over time you will figure out what kind of businesses you enjoy dealing with.  Restaurants might be higher volume, but you may have POS systems that are difficult to deal with.  Petro merchants have gas pumps that complicate things. Some medical businesses require HIPPA compliance to do business with them.  Many successful sales people in the payments industry came from the industries they now market to because they are so familiar with the ins and outs of that business type.  Instead of chasing every unique opportunity, dive deeper into the area you’ve had success with and establish yourself as the expert payment processor provider in that business type.  Your time is valuable, make sure you are spending it wisely and prospecting merchants with whom you know you will have a higher rate of success.

  1. Hire Smarter

Good sales agents don’t necessarily need to have experience in the payments industry, but they do need to be able to talk to anyone at any time.  This includes cold calling – which is a unique skill.  While providing training for your current team will go a long way toward improved sales, hiring the right people to begin with gets you to the closer line faster.  Here’s a few tips:

  • Create a successful agent profile by identifying your top agents and determining the things that make them successful.
  • Be specific about the skills, habits, work practices and attitudes that contribute to their success. When interviewing new people, make sure they have these same attributes.
  • Be sure to develop standard interview questions for each applicant and score responses to compare individual answers. This will help you evaluate all interviews fairly.
  • Draft these questions so they will give you a good idea about the candidate’s core abilities and how they’ve handled challenges in similar work environments.

Since most agent positions are phone-based, you may want to conduct the initial interview over the phone to accurately assess phone etiquette and communication skills. By interviewing applicants over the phone, you’ll be able to determine whether a second interview is worth your time and assess the likelihood they’ll succeed in your work environment.

  1. Keep the Sales Funnel Full

Of course, it doesn’t matter how great your agents are if you aren’t getting them viable leads to call.  Drumming up your own leads and referrals are great, but it’s a lot of effort.  For faster lead generation, hit the list suppliers for phone numbers. There are a lot of services from which to choose.  Here are just a few:

  1. telephonelists.biz – Offers a monthly plan for $129/month that allows 20,000 business lead downloads and 24-hour database access. They also sell in bulk by state area starting at $239 per download.
  2. Cole Lists – Only charges you for what you use. For every record you choose to download you use a credit.  The more records you download, the cheaper the credits.  There is an annual plan for unlimited leads but it is restricted to specific areas.  Pricing starts from $0.11 per record
  3. Hoovers – Is one of the biggest names in the business, only selling B2B leads. They are a bit more expensive but they do have more email data than most and more detailed information on the business size/type/volume, etc.
  4. InfoFree – Ideal for smaller businesses, InfoFree offers a free contract manager as part of their package and admin support throughout the telemarketing process. Access to searches and views their lists costs $79.95/month with limited downloads.
  1. Establish Yourself Online

You may be well known in your territory, but if someone searches for you online, what are they going to find?  Establishing yourself online is important not only for generating leads, but to add authenticity and validation for your company.  According to Forrester Research, 59% of merchants prefer to do research online prior to a commitment. If you don’t exist online, the chances of you closing the deal reduces significantly.  Here are just a few ways to establish your online presence:

  1. Have a Website – Building a website is not a complex or expensive process.  There are many plug-and-play website builders out there that anybody with some computer savvy can pickup in a couple hours.  Check out Wix.com or Squarespace for example – both provide a library of templates to choose from with easy wiziwig editors for a quick build and fast launch.
  2. Claim Your Local Listings – Make sure your business is listed one listing sites such as Google, Yelp, BBB, Yahoo and more. It adds credibility, improves your search rankings and makes you findable for merchants.
  3. Create Social Pages – It is a great way to promote new products and offerings to your existing merchants and attract new merchants. Like local listings, it adds credibility and boosts your SEO rankings.

For more information and a deeper dive into how you can establish your online presence, watch our webinar.

  1. Build a Referral Network

Be sure to encourage referrals and give contacts a quick way to refer you – with referral cards or business cards.  Make sure every merchant you close has a stack of cards to hang out to inquiring customers and don’t be afraid to offer a referral reward (it’s a lot cheaper than marketing)!  Some examples of referral resources would be:

  1. Associations
  2. Business Security and Fire Service companies
  3. Shelf Stockers / Merchandise Providers
  4. Web Developers
  5. Local Advertising Affiliates
  6. Accountants
  7. Lawyers
  8. Business Developers

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box – ideally everyone you know could be a referral source, and you may be surprised at some of the sources you never knew you had.

  1. Consider Investing in a CRM

Once you get the leads flowing in the door and have the right people to sell them, you may want to consider investing in a CRM (Customer Relationship Management System)  CRM systems are a one-stop-shop to store and manage your contacts and be able to track and drive your sales pipeline.  More advanced CRM systems come with built-in email programs and online advertising tracking software.  Some to consider would be:

  1. HubSpot
  2. Pipedrive
  3. Freshsales
  4. Salesforce
  5. ZohoCRM
  1. Keep What You Kill

Don’t do all the work of hunting down merchants just to lose them to a lone wolf.  You worked hard to build your merchant base, make sure you keep them happy and processing.  Part of this is making sure they feel as important to you as you are to them. Giving your personal cell phone number and being available 24/7 will put you above and beyond what most offices offer.  As you grow and build your book, you’re going to need help with customer support and technology troubleshooting.  Getting the right personnel to back up your business is key when you start feeling the strain of a growing merchant base.

Lastly, run your business with integrity and be honest with your merchants through the sales process and beyond.  It goes along way in building trust and loyalty.

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