- Company description: Since you are starting a business, you will have to set up a business entity to get started. If you’re unsure of how this will work for you, just start out as a sole proprietor. Another popular way to set up a business is a Limited Liability Company, or LLC. Once things really started happening for us, we changed to an S-Corp.
This way we could completely separate our business finances from our personal finances, and there are also some tax advantages.
- Market analysis: If you live in a rural area, you can still get into the business, but you may have to drive a lot farther and spend a lot more time on the road as opposed to someone who lives in or near a big city. However, there are quite a few people in this business who run it all by phone, so don’t think that just because you live out in the sticks
you can’t make it big. Living about thirty miles outside of Baltimore, Maryland, I am within one hundred miles of one million businesses; a majority of them need to accept credit cards, and the vast majority of those already do. The good news is while there are over five million businesses that accept credit cards in the US due to a new law (see
Chapter 2: Durbin), there are just under five million businesses that don’t know they can get lower rates. The even better news is that due to new lower rates (our cost), we can offer a substantial savings to merchants but make more money on each transaction. We will cold-call by phone and visit existing businesses that accept credit cards and market to other businesses by referral and relationship marketing through organizations such as the chamber of commerce, lead groups, and networking events.
- Product or service: Through our processing partners and relationships we sell credit card processing, cash advances, check truncation, POS systems, and even ATMs as an agent, merchant-level sales rep (MLS), and/or an independent sales organization (ISO).
(We will help you decide which one is best for you.) We may end up specializing in one of or more these verticals. Due to new security standards such as PCI (see Glossary), merchants who wish to accept credit and debit cards are required to utilize equipment that is certified and compliant with security standards for the authorization and use of card data. To assist our clients with this need, we will sell, lease, or loan equipment through one of our partners. The main type of terminal is one that encompasses both a terminal and a printer and sometimes a PIN pad for PIN debit and/or a check reader for check
guarantee or truncation. We also offer cash advance to help fund clients who do not qualify for a conventional loan for their business needs. As our business grows, we may also branch out with touch-screen POS systems, ATMs, or even e-commerce payment gateways to help our customer accept payments online.
- Business checklist: You will need these things to be successful in this business:
• Car (not always necessary)
• Business cards (we will provide the template)
• Presentation Folders
Fax: You need a way to fax and receive faxed documents. A dedicated fax is nice, but as long as you have a fax machine it will work. For a small monthly fee there are also online fax services that will send and/or receive faxes for you and deliver them to your inbox.
To submit deals you will need to fax in or e-mail contracts and other supporting documents.
Computer: Our contracts are available online, as are equipment slicks and pricing. We even have training online. One of our partners provides a presentation to use from your laptop, and the list goes on and on. It’s a digital world—take advantage of it!
Phone: Communication plays a big part in this business, so a phone is a must. Use the Internet for your inside phone, but try to get an easy business number (like 555-3300). A cell phone is nice so you can answer the phone while you’re on the road. I forward calls to my cell phone sometimes so I can leave my office. Try not to miss any calls; a call is an opportunity knocking at your door.
Car: A car is helpful, but there are plenty of people in this business who make a living by doing all of their business over the phone. I need to get out of the office and talk to my clients in person, but it’s up to you. If you live in a metropolitan area and don’t have any wheels, there are probably hundreds of businesses within walking distance, not to mention available by public transportation. Sign up just ten merchants with a profit of $40 a month, and I’m sure you can find a car payment for $400.00, new or used!” That’s the thing about this business. If you’re out of work and you have no car, but you have a computer, a phone, a little energy, and a lot of charisma, that’s all it takes to make it. Throw in some hard work and dedication, and you’re a superstar!
Business Cards: Once you sign up, we will provide you with a template for business cards. Get some professional cards made on shiny stock with your name, title (like account representative or customer representative, or how about payment professional?),
phone, and an e-mail address. Hand them out like candy!
Website: You will need to buy a web address or domain. We will then upload a website to it for you. This is not a must, but it is nice when you can afford it!
Software: Microsoft Office is a must, as a lot of the documents we work with are in
Word or Excel. You will also need a PDF reader, as the documents that are not in Word or Excel are PDFs. We will show you how to go online and print out a contract and even a proposal letter. It’s very easy, and you will have control over how you set your pricing as long as you do not go under cost. But don’t worry about pricing—we are going to help
you price for maximum effectiveness. We are going to provide you with templates so all you need to do is plug in your rates and present them to your prospects. You will also need a good printer so your proposals look sharp. You don’t have to get a color printer,
but I would definitely recommend a laser. They are just a little bit sharper than ink jet, and the cost per page is a little less.
Rolodex: Maybe I’m old school, but I still use a Rolodex. Feel free to use your computer contacts or CRM software, but you have to use something.
Journal: You can buy an empty book and write in it, or just type it on your computer. I like the book because you can take it with you and write as you go. I have even taken mine with me on vacation and written in it, and it’s funny because when people see you writing they want to know what you’re doing. I tell them I’m in the credit card processing business and that when I get an idea I write it down. Some of your best ideas will be forgotten or not followed through. So if you have a new idea for a way to get leads or deals, try it. If you fail, you have now learned one more way not to do something, but if you succeed, you are one step closer to achieving your goals and dreams. You will be surprised at how smart you really are when you ponder a question or a process, and leave it to your subconscious to work on it for you! Also, dedicate a portion of your journal to questions and answers. When someone asks you a question, you can give us a call or email and then write the answer down for future reference.
Presentation Folders: When I do a presentation, I bring my offer sheet, two copies of the enrollment agreement, and a presentation folder with a business-card holder inside.
After you complete the enrollment agreement, you place your offer, a copy of the enrollment agreement, and your business card into the folder and give it to your client. It’s a nice professional package for your newfound source of revenue. Pen: And speaking of ink, you will also need a pen. It needs to have a solid stream and
should preferably be black, as occasionally blue will not show up on a fax or a copy.
So with your business cards, twenty copies of your offer, six enrollment agreements, and some pocket folders to pull it all together, you are set!
Like everything else in life, you should start with what you know—or should I say whom you know. Whom do you know in business that accepts credit cards? Just give them a call and say, “Hey, Jack, it’s Jimmy. I bet you didn’t know, but I’m in the credit card processing business. It would really help me out if I could stop by and talk to you a little about it. Would that be OK?” Then shut up. You have just asked your first closing question—and the one who talks next loses. In a few seconds he will say something like, “I’m out tomorrow, but I guess you could stop by Thursday about ten a.m. Would that be OK?” That’s right—he just asked you if it was OK! You say, “Of course, Jack, that’s fine. I
will see you then.” So on your first call you learned two things: how to ask a closing question and wait for the answer, and how to respect someone’s time. When someone starts thinking about when they’re available, your foot is in the door, but you have to respect their time because time is money. If they ever say that to you, tell them, “You
give me a little of your time, and I’m going to help you make more money.” Get to your appointment a few minutes early and ask Jack a few probing questions: How long have you been in business? Have you always been with the same credit card processing company? Then ask if you can see his credit card machine. The reason you ask this is because if it’s super old or out of compliance (that’s right, about half of the machines in use today are actually out of compliance with the new security rules), Jack will need a new machine. The Tranz 330 and the Tranz 460 are two popular machines that are now out of compliance. Whatever machine Jack has, if he is leasing it then we can help you reprogram it. But if he has a new machine and it was given to them by their current processor, odds are there is time remaining on their current contract. Now the good news is depending on his volume (Jack needs to be doing at least $5,000 per month), we can offer him up to $300 toward his cancellation fee. If you end up saving Jack $50 a month while also paying his $300 cancellation fee, you are suddenly looking pretty good! Once you have taken a look at Jack’s machine, the next question you ask is “Have you had any problems with your current processor, or is there anything you don’t like about them?” And Jack will probably say something like, “Well, I guess when we run a transaction, we get our money. Their rates are a little high, and sometimes we seem to get these phantom fees I know nothing about, but I guess they’re OK.” Bingo, hit the pain points!
Now you bounce back and say, “Well, I know I can save you some money. Can I take a look at one of your statements?” And in a matter of minutes you have his statement in your hands. As you look at it your eyes start to glaze over and you realize you’re in a heap of trouble because it looks like Chinese and you can’t make heads or tails of it. So you tell him, “Our company has a team that will help me decipher this, and what I would like to do is prepare a comparison for you so you can see where you are now and where you can be with us. I can do this in just a couple of days, and when it’s done I will call you for an appointment”(or just make an appointment four or five business days out and you will be set). After you fax the statement to us, within a few days we will provide you with an Excel spreadsheet. On it we will have four pages that will list Jack’s current rates and our proposal for savings and your profit. We will also provide a sheet you can print out to show to the merchant, and even a special price request if you need to get competitive to get the deal. With this in hand and a few contracts (oops, I mean enrollment agreements) ready to go, you go back to visit your friend and tell him the good news. Not only do you get to tell him you can save him money, but you get to show him the sheet we provided. “Jack, we took a look at your statement, and we can really help you out.” Pull out the savings summary and show him the comparison. “We can lower your rates and your monthly fees, and we can actually save you about $50 a month. We will reprogram your machine and there is no cost to you whatsoever, only savings. What do you say, Jack, are you ready to save some money?” And you shut up. Sometimes the silence can be deafening, but you wait and wait. If you can’t stand it and end up saying something, odds are he will just say no. If he says OK, then you move right to the paperwork, and from there on you really try to keep your comments or questions to the enrollment agreement, because the last thing you want to do is talk him out of it. It sounds silly, but it happens. If he breaks the silence with a question, this is good because he wants more information; you either answer his question or get on the phone right there and get the answer. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to get on the phone, find out the answer, and then write the deal.
Objections are great, too, because it means he is interested; he just wants a few more answers. And don’t forget to write the question and the answer in your journal so you’re ready next time it comes up!
Complete the paperwork, making sure all required signatures are in place. Get a voided check for the direct deposit set up, and since you made a copy of the statement he gave you, you have that. Last but not least, you need either the first page of his lease or the first page of a utility bill for a site inspection to prove the location—and you are ready to submit your first deal. Go back home, complete an account setup form, and fax or scan and e-mail it all in. Within a day or so you’ll get a status update e-mail stating that it was either approved or that Jack needs an additional supporting document like a bank statement.
A day later you’ll get an e-mail saying the account was approved but you need to wait another half a day for the program to be written. The day you get your approval, call the client and set an appointment for the installation. When you arrive, call the installation group support line, and they will walk you through the clearing, the programming, and the terminal download. That’s right, these little machines are really mini-computers. Once it says “download done,” you can train your merchant (see Chapter 12: Equipment Installs and Customer Service), and you’re ready to go.
Let’s take a step back and look at a different scenario. After you said, “Do you want to save some money?”, Jack says, “I guess we’re OK.”
First of all, whatever you do, don’t quit. If you’re going to make a living at this, you have to at least give each and every prospect four to five opportunities to buy from you. You must practice it first or you will never be able to think of what to say. So come back and tell him what he already told you: “Jack, you told me you thought you were paying too much, and I’m going to lower your rates, which will save you over $50 per month. You said you were getting some phantom fees. We have none. We offer great customer service, but if you ever have a question they can’t answer I will get it for you, guaranteed! It’s a great deal, Jack, what do you say?” And don’t say another word.
Now he decides to throw you a change-up: “The truth is that $50 a month really isn’t that much money.” I love it when they say this. I say, “Let me ask you a question: If the government made a law that said you were paying too much for payment processing and they sent you a $50 check every month, would you cash it?” (Silence.) “Let me answer that one for you: of course you would. Well, Jack, as you know, a penny saved is a penny earned, but if you don’t think $50 a month is that much money, then save it for the next twelve months and donate it to your favorite charity. Oh yeah, and I’m not an accountant, but I’ll bet you can write it off!” I guarantee you he will be elated.
Now or any time after a closing question when you think the prospect is close, just whip out the application and ask if his legal name is different from their DBA. In other words, just start doing the app. He may answer a few questions and then say, “I really just want to think about it.” You’ve come this far, so don’t quit now. Go ahead and put him on the spot. What is the worst thing that can happen? You don’t get the deal. What’s the best thing that can happen? You get the deal and he refers three other businesses to you that are doing three times the volume he is. Ask him, “What exactly do you need to think about?” Wait a minute or so and then continue asking him questions about the application. He’s out of ammunition and you have a great account. The truth is, there are a million comebacks when a prospect says no. The key is to just say something and keep hammering away.
In the movie Tommy Boy, Tommy’s prospect wants to know why his company doesn’t put a guarantee on the box like the other company does. The prospect asks, “But why do they put a guarantee on the box?” Tommy says, “Because they know all they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of shit. That’s all it is, isn’t it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for now, for your customer’s sake, for your daughter’s sake, ya might wanna think about buying a quality product.” Customer: “OK, I’ll buy from you.”
One of the things that this tells you is to answer the objection and then ask for the deal. Last but not least, the oldest one in the book has to be “feel, felt, and found.” I’m talking to a new business owner and he says, “I just think I need to wait for a while to make a decision.” I say, “I know how you feel, others have felt that way before, but I’ve found that new business owners are at times overwhelmed with all of the things they need to do to get ready to open. So as busy as you’re going to be, if you get this out of the way now, it will be one less thing to worry about. You know you need it and the time is now!
What do you say?” Organize that sentence in any way or for any situation—just use those three words and it will help you!
Cold “Calling” Businesses
It turns out your friend and new client is located in an industrial complex that houses ten businesses. Walk in on each and every one of them and repeat what you just did. The only thing you might change is to have fliers ready with your standard offer to give to businesses when you do not get to talk to the owner. Reserve folders with your proposals in them for business owners you speak with—or better yet, after you sign them up! When you enter a business, ask if the owner or manager is available and then introduce yourself by name. When the manager tells you his or her name, remember it and say, “(Name), I was wondering if you knew that the government made a law allowing for new low rates on debit card acceptance?” Then wait for an answer. Odds are he will say, “No, I didn’t know that.” Then you whip out your offer sheet and say, “We’re offering some great new rates on credit card processing, too, and the savings can be significant.” Hand him the flier and then ask if you could see a copy of his processing statement. When you get it in hand, tell him, “What I would like to do is take this with me for just a few days and then bring back a comparison to show you where you are and where you can be with us. If you like what you see, we can move forward from there.
What do you say?” And once again you shut up. Silence does put pressure on the person you are talking to, but there is no other way to get the appointment. Odds are he will say, “OK.” Then you follow the steps you did with Jack above. Now you have an example of how to talk to someone you know and how to walk in on a business you don’t know. You will be doing the latter much more often, but both are very important. It’s that simple, and every time you get a deal, you gain that much more confidence. I have been in this business for twenty-four years and I still get a thrill when I write a deal. Why? Because I just made money out of thin air. All I really used was my brain, my personality, and a little know-how. Time + effort + knowledge (via this book) and in no time you’re in Fat City!
You will always find that calling on people you know or customers you already have is much easier than cold-calling people or businesses you don’t know. So how do you make relationships with business owners before you try to sell them? One of the best ways is to join your local chamber of commerce. Some will have one hundred businesses or more, and some will have one thousand businesses or more. Once you join the chamber, they will often have mixers or business-card exchanges, giving you an opportunity to meet fellow business owners. When possible, ask about their business first, let them talk, and pay attention—but when you get a chance, ask them if they accept credit cards. Now you know a little about their business and you can go into your spiel about the new lower rates and how you would like to do an analysis for them. Tell them you’re sure you can save them money and maybe even help them improve the method
they use for accepting credit cards. The process is the same from there; you get them the info and then try to close them.
Whatever you do, don’t accept “no” the first time they say it. Let’s say that you capture 10 percent of the deals you would have lost by accepting a “no.” If you are doing one hundred deals a year, that is ten deals or roughly $4,000 in conversion bonuses and $400 a month in lost revenue. How much would it hurt if you lost $400 a month now?
Think about it! Once you’ve joined the chamber and been to a few mixers, call the members you haven’t met yet and ask them about their businesses. When you get a chance, give them your spiel, but keep in mind that you have something in common: You are both chamber members, so you are not total strangers. Now that you’re working the local chamber of commerce, start your own. Write a
letter of introduction explaining what you do, why you’re in business, and why business owners should go with you. Look up one hundred businesses in your area; go see them slowly but surely over the next year. When you walk into the business, try to find out who the owner is, and tell the gatekeepers that you just want to introduce yourself. When you meet them, smile, introduce yourself, and give a firm handshake. Wet fish are not allowed. Believe it or not, it gives you credibility. Tell them you are the local credit card processing guru and go for the switch. If they say no, try one more time as stated earlier
in this chapter. But what you do want to do is leave on good terms. Make a note in your calendar to call them back every ten or eleven months until they do buy from you.
What you are trying to do is become known as the go-to guy or gal for credit and debit card processing. This is super-important because a referral is a slam dunk and a slam dunk is a high-percentage shot. You don’t make them all, but the more high percentage shots you take, the easier it gets to achieve your goals and live your dreams!
Verticals or Niches
As you become more and more familiar with the process of hunting down your quarry and closing the deal, you really need to become more specialized. There is an old saying that you can’t be everything to everyone. Whether it’s retail or e-commerce or restaurants, it doesn’t matter. The more specialized you get, the more business you will get in that specialization, and oh yeah, the more referrals you will get. Why? Because you’re the expert!
The term “verticals” in business refers to a vertical market. Basically, a vertical market is one where you tailor your offer to the needs of a specific group of businesses. Vertical markets are those that focus on a specific niche, and they can be marketed to in a similar manner. The entire business can be part of the vertical market, or just an
individual department. For example, if I were to focus solely on auto parts businesses, then auto parts is my vertical. If I were to sell payment gateways to auto parts businesses that want to sell online through e-commerce, that is a niche. Either way you look at it, the
more focused you are on a particular vertical or niche, the easier it is to understand their business and meet their needs.
Now that you have written a few deals and are starting to feel like you know what you’re talking about, and you’ve exhausted your friends or warm leads, then you need to get on the phone and start making some calls (see Chapter 7: Telemarketing and Appointment-
Setting). Telemarketing is an incredible way to maximize your marketing effort, finding out who the decision maker is a little quicker than going door to door. So pick a vertical, like auto repair. Auto repair companies can be great clients. They offer above-average
volume. My average auto repair client earns me over $100 a month in residuals.
Download a list of auto repair businesses within ten or fifteen miles of your home, upload the list to our dialer, and give them a call. When they answer, say: “Hi, my name is (Your Name) and I’m from (Company Name), and your name, please? (Their Name), how are you doing today? (Their Name), I’m trying to get a hold of the person who is in charge of your payment processing. Who might that be?”
If they give you a person’s name and say he is not there, write it down and then ask when is the best time to catch up with him. Then call him or stop by at that time. If you do get the owner or manager in charge, continue like this: “(Their Name), if there were two things you could change about your current credit card processor, what would they be?” Or if you don’t think you’re ready to answer questions yet, try this: “Do you think you’re paying too much in processing fees?”
Then either address his problem, or if he says he’s happy, say:
“Well, (Their Name), did you know that a new law took effect (The Durbin Amendment) that says the banks and processors have to make lower rates available to businesses like yours? So it’s not a matter of if I can save you money but how much! We have saved some companies as much as 1 percent a month, and that’s big money!
“What I would like to do is stop by at your convenience, take a look at one of your processing statements, and do a cost comparison and show you exactly how much I can save you. There is no cost to you, and all I really want to do is let you know where you stand. Some merchants we speak with are not doing that badly, but some are really getting hammered, and if I can help you bring more money home to your family, then I have done my job and that’s how I make a living.
“I’m not just talking about a couple of bucks; I’m talking about a significant savings. When would be a good time for me to stop by?”
This is another closing question, so shut up!
If he says he’s not interested or he’s good to go, ask him if he needs money (see Chapter 14: Cash Advance). This script works for me, but it may not work for you as it is. Feel free to adjust it as necessary. We can also help you develop scripts for any vertical you wish to attack.
Telemarketing is a great way to set appointments, but for a lot of people and a lot of big companies in this industry, it is their sole way of making sales. So if you have the gift of gab and you don’t mind sitting on your butt all day, then this might be for you. It is harder to make the sale, but with our auto dialer you can easily make over one thousand calls in a week.
Whether you’re telemarketing or going door to door, I have a question for you. If one of your prospects told you that they would give you $200 if you called them back, would you? Of course you would! Now, if you get a lead and they ask you to stop by or call them at a later date, will you? The answer should always be “of course.” The first step is cold-calling and the second step is follow-up. Obviously follow-up is more important because you have already started cultivating the prospect. Follow-up should be a priority because if you don’t follow up on each and every lead you get, you have simply wasted your time. At the end of each and every day, you have got to take a half an hour or so to organize your leads and plan your follow-ups. It’s ultra-important! It’s certainly easier to only follow up on the hot and easy prospects, but it is way more fruitful to do the dirty work to get the bigger accounts. My bread and butter are the $72-a-month accounts, but I couldn’t make $72 a month on average without the $150-per-month accounts. That’s right, I’m telling you that you can make $50 a month, but I’m making $72 a month, and there are two reasons for that. One, because of my experience —I’m more comfortable talking with business owners of larger accounts; and two, some accounts will go up in value as the business matures. All you need is time, effort, and a little hutzpah to make it in this business!
When you first start out, you should be able to close one in ten deals. That’s not one in ten people you come into contact with; it’s one in ten people you come in contact with who show an interest or have a need for what you are offering. To get two deals a week, you need twenty prospects, or four new prospects every day. This is how you start to
build a funnel. You can set your goals by your needs, but let’s start out with two deals per week. Two deals per week is 100 deals per year with two weeks’ vacation. So if you telemarket twenty hours per week (cold calls and follow-ups) and you get one lead every other hour, then you are well on your way to two deals per week—but you still need one more deal. The other twenty hours you are out on appointments, but in between appointments you need to walk in on businesses in the area and share the good news. Regardless of what vertical you are working in to meet your future goals of three or four or more deals per week, you need to talk to one hundred business owners each and
every day. I know that sounds tough, but if you’re using our dialer you can do that in a few hours. If you’re canvassing you can walk in on forty or fifty in a day. In a typical week you will spend 45 to 50 percent of your time prospecting or cold-calling, 35 to 40 percent of your time following up, and, if you’re good, 10 to 20 percent of your time doing presentations and closing deals. It’s not as hard as it sounds, and we are going to be there for you every step of the way. The hardest part of this business is not making a sale;
it’s putting in forty hours each and every week on your own volition.
Walk-ins are a little easier because you are harder to hang up on in person, but obviously you can’t talk to as many prospects. However, if you can get ten more leads, or two per day, then three deals a week is certainly possible. BUT WE WANT MORE!
Fine! How do we get more?
Now you have made a few sales and are getting your name out there, but you need to keep pushing. Call all the bank branch managers in your area and ask for an appointment. Tell them you’re in the credit card processing business and you just wanted to introduce yourself for future reference. Keep in mind that some of these companies are your competitors, but most of them work with companies like our processing partners to serve their clients.
When you get there, introduce yourself and ask them if they offer credit card processing to their clients. Most of them will say yes, but if they say no, tell them that you offer a partner program with personalized service where you can assist their clients with their credit card processing needs, and you can even offer them a portion of the processing revenue. We have contracts ready to go for this sort of thing. If they tell you that they do offer processing through their partner, tell them, “Well, I would like to be your source for merchants you can’t help.” You can also ask them when their contract is up so you can offer a bid to service their clients. We can help you with
the bid, but I would offer them 40 or 50 percent of your split for your residuals, and you keep all of the bonuses and equipment revenue. Whether it’s someone with bad credit or someone looking for a solution the bank doesn’t offer, you can help. Touch base with
them every month or so; you would be surprised how many deals they will send you. One of the cool things about bank referrals is that your rates don’t have to be super competitive, and a lot of the time you can even lease equipment. So bank referrals are a Godsend. Make some banker friends and watch your revenue soar! One of the other things you might get from a branch manager is a job offer. Some of my referral partners have offered me work, and I have come close a few times, but I need my freedom. But heck, if it works for you, then go for it! Once again, you are trying to become the go-to person for merchant services, and the more people who know what you do, the better
Lets get started!
Call James Darle Jones with your questions @ 301 829 3331