Have you ever been called up by some salesman promising you unbelievably low rates on your credit card processing rates?
For those that have been around the block a few times, they know by now to politely decline the sales pitch and hang up the phone. But what about those who are relatively new to credit card processing and haven’t yet been burned by these types of empty promises? It can be difficult to discern an honest sales pitch from a dishonest one, and oftentimes those who are wise to the manipulation are wise only because they, themselves, have been burnt. So how do you know when a sales pitch is too good to be true if you don’t even know what to watch out for?
Unfortunately, these types of high-pressure sales tactics may be used by some ISO’s (Independent Sales Organizations) when they’re speaking to potential merchants and trying to get them to switch from their current payment processor. In these cases, the salesperson is incentivized by their employer to convince you to sign up for their services, and whether their product or service will actually benefit your business is unfortunately not a factor. At Helcim, we are constantly helping merchants who have been misinformed, lied to, or exploited by some of these organizations, so we are acutely aware of the kinds of dishonest tactics that are employed by these organizations. As part of our commitment to merchant education, we want to bring awareness to some of the sales tactics that ISO’s might use, so you can protect yourself and your business from switching to a payment processor who is promising more then they will deliver.
Commissions Encourage Bad Behavior
Because some sales agents might be compensated using a commission-based model, they are automatically incentivized to sell more and push to close sales no matter what. Instead of thinking about what is best for the business, the sales agents are focused more on how making the sale will benefit themselves financially, which does not benefit you or your business. Sales agents can also receive large commissions for signing businesses up for lengthy equipment leases, something that we at Helcim do not believe in. These equipment leases often end up causing your business to pay significantly more than you would if you had bought the equipment outright.
Performance Bonuses Incentivize Closing Deals at Any Cost
There are various types of performance bonuses that ISO agents might be eligible for, including sign-on bonuses, monthly bonuses, and self-generated deal bonuses. When sales agents are focused on hitting their monthly targets to make their bonuses, they are less likely to spend time with you when you have questions or to help you understand the services that you are signing up for. They simply want to close the sale and move on to the next one.
Anticipated Questions Lead to Prepared Answers
Accepting credit cards is, by its very nature, complicated business. No matter which payment processor you are partnered with, you will most likely have questions. Hopefully, when these questions come up, your processor is able to answer them honestly to provide some clarity and peace of mind. What can, unfortunately, happen when dealing with an ISO focused solely on sales, is that they provide you with a templated generic answer that is specifically designed to suppress your question, rather than truthfully answer it, and prevent further concerns. Sales agents are coached to provide answers to your questions that include complicated and unfamiliar qualifying words designed to confuse you and leave loopholes for the ISO to change the service that they are delivering. We’ve even seen some of the sales training decks distributed by some of these organizations that encourage dishonesty and manipulation, so it is important to remain skeptical and vigilant.
Deceptive Sales Tactics
Some payment processors rely on cold calling, or outbound sales, to generate new sales, and they may use deceptive sales tactics to lure merchants away from their current provider. We’ve seen a lot of this over the years, and some of the methods are truly deceitful. In an effort to make you question your current processing arrangement, the sales agent might make claims that your current processor is making you overpay, they might dangle some rates that seem too good to be true, or they might even resort to claiming that you’ve done something wrong in order to scare you into considering their services over your current provider. While it can be important to keep an open mind, be sure to take everything communicated in a sales pitch with a grain (or cup) of salt and do your research with your current processor to find out what is actually best for your business.
Contracts Lock You In
What’s important to remember is that these sales pitches are designed to get you to question your current processor, so you need to be vigilant and ask the right questions. It’s usually not until they send over the paperwork, and if you are able to see through their deception, that you will see expensive lease rates and early termination fees cleverly designed to lock you into a long-term contract. Generally, long-term contracts (anything over a month) are in place as a way of procuring a significant payment commitment. This is why these “great rates” may exist at the beginning of that contract but may significantly increase after your third or fourth statement. There’s also a fairly good chance that if you do lock yourself into one of these contracts, that you’ll not be able to release yourself from it without paying significant cancelation fees or early-termination penalties. If your current payment provider is offering fair rates, no long-term contracts, and month to month billing, another company may need to rely on deceptive introductory rates to get you to switch.
Helcim doesn’t believe in any sales tactics other than educating you so you can make an informed decision and feel confident about your decision to partner with us. The Helcim Guru’s are passionate about helping merchants and they work closely with all members of the Helcim team, so we can provide the best possible experience to all of our merchants. They don’t work on commission, they don’t have any sales targets, they don’t cold call, and they are encouraged to spend as much time with you as it takes for you to get a complete and whole picture of how our services fit with your business today, and in the future. We don’t have any cancelation fees and we bill month to month, because we want you to be our partner because you want to be here, and not because you’re locked into a contract. We strongly believe that this is how business should be done and that by approaching customer service in this way we will be able to build long last relationships with our merchants because we are able to provide them with a truly better payment experience.