- Although the public doesn’t usually realize it, most Credit Card Sales Agents are not processing company employees, but instead operate their own small businesses.
- Very often, sales professionals new to the industry also don’t recognize that their agency is their own business.
- Real Merchant Solutions Merchant Advocates are in business long term, and only succeed if their merchants continue process with them.
Read the full details below
The economy has been tough. Jobs have been hard to find. For millions of Americans with good skills and valuable experience, trying to climb back into the ranks of the employed has been a long, frustrating tale of sending endless resumes off to the internet void. Too often the results have either been radio silence, or an unattractive offer for an unpleasant job at an unappealing rate of pay. In a difficult environment like this, the lure of a sales jobs that offers the potential to earn what one is really worth is usually how a Credit Card Sales Agent is born. What is often unrecognized is that credit card sales agents are really business owners themselves.
The Credit Card Sales Agent Jumps Off
There are thousands of these opportunities out there on the job boards, and some are better than others. In most cases, there will be minimal training, if any, before the new agent is pushed out of the plane and encouraged to pull the ripcord. Typically, the shiny new credit card sales agent will be told to ask the merchant for a current statement, and then either call a manager or send it the statement in for an “analysis”. There is almost always a way (either real or imagined), to save the merchant money, and the agent will go back to the business owner with the findings and try to close the deal. The first few times, agents will have very little idea of what they’re doing or how to price the deal.
Whether you’ve just started out in this business or have years of experience, this scenario should sound familiar. What too many credit card sales agents don’t realize, however, is that in most cases, a career in merchant processing is really the start of their own small business. Sure, you may have a relationship with a certain processor, and at first you’ll believe that you actually “work” for them, but in almost every case you’re really on your own. Should you price a deal at Interchange plus 10, 40 or 100 basis points to get a deal? It’s up to you. Should you charge 5 cents a transaction or 15 cents? It’s your decision. Would it be better to insist on a three year contract with an early termination fee, or make it a month-to-month agreement without those hated fees? You’re in charge.
To make as much money as possible up front, some agents will try to build a business by crafting deals where the merchant pays very little above interchange rates for their actual processing, but stick the client with an expensive lease for equipment they could get for free from another processor. Sometimes referred to as lease hunters, this type of agent does not meet the essential criteria that is part of the Real Merchant Solutions (RMS) culture, the crafting of processing relationships that are fair to all parties: the merchant, the agent and the processor. In this example of a very low processing rate combined with a long term lease, there is little or no revenue to be realized by the processor, and the merchant will pay dearly for that rate, so only the agent would profit. Also, since the credit card sales agent will earn little or no residual income from that arrangement, it is unlikely the merchant will ever see him again.
The Real Merchant Solutions Way
At Real Merchant Solutions, we only offer services from processors that waive Early Termination Fees (ETF) and are happy to do business on a month to month basis. Our thinking is that if we provide good service at a fair price, our merchant clients will have no reason to want to go elsewhere. All RMS agents work with a variety of processors, and do their best to match the client with the most suitable processor for their business, but in every case, there is not a contractual commitment or a requirement that the merchant agree to an ETF. The goal is to balance the benefits: to provide excellent service to the merchant from a top tier processor, with a pricing structure that allows both the processor and the agent to enjoy a reasonable, continuing revenue stream.
It is estimated that there are 2,600 processing companies in the United States, and perhaps 90% of them should be ignored by both merchants and agents when looking for a partner. Choose one that is confident enough in their products and services that they will offer month-to-month agreements, waive the ETF and offer free terminal placement. Be sure that any agreement you sign as an agent offers a fair split on residuals with enough up-front bonus to get you through while you build a book of business. Consider operating under your own trade name, and be ready to offer real, pro-active services for your clients. Be a real “merchant advocate” as all RMS agents are , in every sense of the word.
Done right, this is not a “get rich quick” opportunity, but rather a slow, careful climb to building a book of business than can provide a handsome income, given time.
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