Get your week off to the right start by listening to my interview with Juan Alfaro who consistently sells 20 to 30 new merchant accounts per month.

 James: Juan, give the sales people a little background on maybe how you got in the industry and a little bit about your process we talked about yesterday. How are you targeting merchants out in the field right now?

Juan: As far as being an agent, I have been in the industry for about 20 years. I started out with a company called Vericom that started back in the 90s. I worked also for Central Payments and First Data. Most of the companies out there do not provide you with training. They just give you 1-2 hours in the morning to fill out the application, look for your leads, and that is about it, you are on your own. The main thing you need to know if you want to join this industry, you better like it. Because this is a full time job. You need to be committed and really like the money. If you like money you are in the right place. I love it myself. Everyday I get up and I say how many appointments do I have today? Okay I have 5. Let me see if I can find another five for the next day. And I go out there. But I already have my plans set up and I am very committed to what I need to do everyday. Basically, I recommend everyone find something you can commit to and stick to it. There is a lot of money to be made but you got to commit to it. Do training and research online for the industry you are in. Once you have made the sale say to the business owner, “If you know that I am going to help you out do you know anyone else that you can recommend or refer me to?” I let them know that I am the one they can call when they have problems not a 1-800 number.

My number one belief is customer service. You always have to assure them that you are not going to be that person that just walks in there with a contract and signs you up. You call the person the next day and they never call you back. You have to make sure that you build your merchant base. I always stop by and say, “Hi, how are you doing? Do you know anybody else that I can help?” It is a lot about networking. Going forward, I really don’t have a hard time in making sales because I search online for a business I want to go visit. I see all the grocery stores in the area. I make a list and start calling them the day before and say, “I will be in your city tomorrow and I would like to make an appointment so I can let you know how much I can save you on your EBT service. I know you probably have a lot of people calling you, but if you give me the opportunity you do not have to sign up. I just need to give you the information and you can decide what you want to do, Mr. Merchant.”

James: I can tell you from experience. If you are calling and setting appointments. Don’t call and pitch merchant services. That is close to a guaranteed hangup. If you call, say something like, “I just wanted to come by and drop off some free marketing materials and go over them with you…”We have something like an 80% close rate on that. Right, Juan? That is an easy pitch. Juan:Exactly, everybody always likes when you mention “free.” Some ask, “What is your email?” freealfaro71@yahoo.com I had someone ask when I gave them that email, “Why do you have an email like that?” My reply, “You will always get something for free. It may be something that I advise you on or provide you for, but you will always get something for free with me. I can guarantee you that!” People like that. Even if you give them a dollar off buying a hamburger they are happy because they get a dollar off. Same idea here. “You know what? I am going to give you a free ream of paper for your printer because you are signing up with me…” Another thing I say when I walk into a business, “I am not here to sign you up I just want to know what you currently use and what I can help you with?” After talking to them for a little while they will get to the point where they say, “Tell me more about it. I might be interested in signing up. What can you give me?” I say, “This is what I can give you and what you currently have.” They reply that they are too busy to talk about it all. I say, “You know what? I am very busy myself. I will try to come back tomorrow?” Well I am busy myself tomorrow to. What about a couple days from now. Today is Tuesday what about if I see you Thursday. What is a good day for you. What about Friday? Okay, let me write you down for Friday because I have a lot of appointments and I don’t want to overbook my commitments and not be able to meet with you. Commitment from the customers and commitment from you is needed.

Another important thing is the presentation. Always dress up and show respect for others and respect for yourself. Presentation is a very key thing you need to do to open doors. I always wear a suit.because if you go in jeans and a t-shirt more than likely they will say, “I don’t have time for you. This other guy from the bank came in wearing a tie and everything, I think he probably knows more than you do with what we are talking about.” Do your homework if you are going to go into a store that is carrying EBT. Know what the credit card regulations are. Don’t let them teach you.

James: Let me summarize for the new sales partners that are on this call what EBT is. So basically you have the food stamp, the snapcard EBT, food benefits on a card now.  So now merchants who have this need to upgrade to a new terminal, plus they have to upgrade for EMV compliance. Go to Youtube and search for “EMV compliance CCSalesPro” and you will see a video about 1 hour long I did on emv compliance. They have to be emv compliant anyway so this a perfect opportunity for you to go in and say “Hey you are no longer getting this free machine, we can provide you with the free VX520 which is cutting-edge. It is emv compliant and has a free emv pinpad.

Juan:  Whenever you mention this to the merchants, tell them it is not free, but we don’t charge you for it. We lend you the equipment if we get it returned. We do everything like EBT was doing. EBT says, “We will charge $495 if you don’t return the equipment.” We charge $425. But the difference is they do not pay a penny. I had a company call in today. One of my merchants actually worked through EBT and the name of the company was Ebtservice. They were actually lying. They wanted to charge them $499 dollars for the machine and they were charging $0.25 for every transaction. So going forward, we lend the equipment as long as they are with us. I find customers with EBT who say, “Well, the equipment is mine.” I say, “No, the government lent it to you. When they said “free” that means they didn’t charge you every month, but now you have to return it.”

James: The tablet POS system that we are using has a plugin that makes it EMV compliant. The last thing I wanted to do before we got back to some questions. Clarify for agents, because a lot of them hear you and they are like, “This guy is been in the industry for 20 years and he is doing 20 deals a month like clock work.” And you are saying this is just a simple system. Just share with us the numbers. How many businesses are you walking into? How many of those are converting into sales? How are you actually getting 20 sales a month plus?

Juan: Per day I visit 10 new businesses. Out of those businesses I get to close one. Out of those ten that I visit I get to follow up with at least 5. I close those five that I have that are still thinking about it by setting up an appointment to go back to talk with them. It is going to be hard to do make the ten new appointments because I already have the five business leads. As you start out you have to visit at least 10 businesses, see what they need, and try to close at least one a day. That will give you five a week. In four weeks that will get you 20 sales. I have been trying to hit about 30 to 35 sales a month. Once you start building your pipelines you can end up closing 2 or 3 sales a day. Sometimes you will have a day where all you are going to do is visit them and come back tomorrow or the next day. I had one of those days today. I visited grocery stores, who at first were not interested. They said, “I have been calling everyone else and they are higher than you. Come back tomorrow and I will have an answer for you. I don’t want to waste your time.” I said, “Perfect. Tomorrow I will have my paperwork ready for you.” You need to be persistent and committed to having those ten new customers everyday. Like I said it is really easy on Google to find the companies you want to visit: restaurants, grocery stores, bakery stores, etc. As you are going down the street you will see the volume of businesses you can go to. What I have is a notepad and a recorder. Depending on the ones I can get my hands on I will write their phone number down. I will call them later on that day, or the next day, or record it in the little portable recorder that I have. When I get home I take my notes and make appointments for the next day. Currently I have 9 potential leads that I know I can close about 8!

James: Wow! Juan, thank you so much. The information is great.  Basically, what you are saying is be committed to the business, look sharp, know what you are talking about, and walk into 10 businesses a day.

Juan: That is correct, and like I said it is not that hard. I don’t know how big the town is that you are living in. But I am pretty sure that you have walked around the store near your Walmart and seen other small businesses. In a place like Walmart it is a bit harder to find the person in charge. But going forward start with the Ma and Pap Shops. Start early in the morning. That is when you actually find owners. Sometimes you have to start late at night because that is when they go back to the business. If the owner owns the place, the best time would be right after they finish breakfast at about 10:30-11am or after they finish lunch between 2:30-4pm. If they are family-owned they probably close about 6-7pm. Find out when you can set an appointment with them because they are always going to be busy.

I hope you enjoyed reading the trascript!

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