MERCHANT SERVICE TIMES

SERVING OVER 15,000 READERS SINCE 2003

September 2020

In this months issue…

1. Automate Your Way To Residual Income With Virtual Assistants – Written by Dean Soto

2. Video interview featuring Dean Soto and Marc Beauchamp

3.Top payment gateway preferences by merchant segments that will help inform your GTM strategy – Written by Sherry Seetram

Automate Your Way To Residual Income With Virtual Assistants

You dove into the payment processing profession with hopes of creating a world of freedom and prosperity for you and your family. Often, what you’ll find is that with the excitement and rush of winning large accounts, the reality of servicing those accounts becomes daunting. It’s like spinning plates every day, and the more accounts you get, the more dishes you have to turn.

When you speak to veterans and mentors in the industry, the simple answer is to hire other people and delegate those spinning plates. Unfortunately, while that advice may have worked years ago, hiring people is expensive and sometimes even dangerous to the business that you are building. Workmen’s Comp. insurance, benefits, taxes, and even the genuine possibility of lawsuits can be huge roadblocks. Not to mention, in many parts of the US, minimum-wage is crippling. It makes hiring an impossibility for those right at the cusp of being overloaded with their clients.

With all of these obstacles, this is where embracing technology and the modern world gives alternative possibilities for growing and systematizing your payment processing business. What used to be available to the largest of the Fortune 500 companies now is at your fingertips. Thanks to instant communication, you can utilize an overseas virtual assistant at a fraction of your typical minimum-wage employee’s cost.

What is a virtual assistant?

The term virtual assistant became widely popular in Tim Ferris’s book “The Four Hour Workweek.” Essentially, a virtual assistant is someone who works remotely for your business. They can be domestic or overseas, but in this particular article, we’re going to focus on the benefits of using economic arbitrage by hiring someone halfway across the world.

Depending on where you hire overseas, you can find workers for as little as six dollars per hour and sometimes even less. You communicate via Skype, zoom, slack, or any other of the hundreds of tools now available to you and get work done without dealing with the red tape of hiring someone domestically. I’ll share more about where to hire these folks later on in this article.

What is a virtual assistant?

There are several things that a virtual assistant can do that will free you up to make more sales and grow your residual income over time. Some of those things include:
  • Lead generation – Whether you are reaching out to people via LinkedIn, called emailing prospects, or doing research before you reach out to a potential opportunity, a virtual assistant can handle 99%, if not 100%, of all of your lead generation.
  • Account management – This is the killer of most businesses in general. You make the sale, but you lose the customer by delivering poor onboarding and ongoing customer service. Why not focus on selling and let your virtual assistant onboard your new client correctly every time?
  • Bookkeeping – Not only are you spending hours servicing customers and making sales, why kill that momentum and motivation by sitting behind your laptop categorizing transactions? If you loved bookkeeping, you would not be in the payment processing business. So be a merchant services professional instead of a bookkeeper.
  • Marketing – Whether it is content marketing through blogs and email, social media marketing on Instagram and Facebook, or hundreds of other ways of reaching your target demographic, a virtual assistant can be an extension of you. While you are talking one-on-one with clients, your virtual assistant can get many prospects through a reliable marketing system that you delegated to them.
  • Prospect scheduling and follow-up – Scheduling and rescheduling potential clients suck. It’s a drain on your time and a momentum killer. It also sucks having to follow up with prospects who said they were ready to buy but are now dragging their feet. Having a virtual assistant do all of this frees you up to focus on those prepared to sign right now.

How to delegate the right way to your virtual assistant

There are two schools of thought, one old and one new, when working with somebody remotely. The old view is the idea of “see a need, and fill a need.” That is, if you need help with bookkeeping, you hire somebody with bookkeeping experience. If there is a gap in your business for social media marketing, you hire somebody with social media marketing experience.

For whatever hole you need to plug in your business, there is somebody out there in the world who can fill it for you.

It makes sense, but what it doesn’t make is a scalable business. You want your dollars to go as far as possible, even if you are spending a fraction of them that you would typically spend.

The new way is to hire based on systems. That is, the person you hire should primarily document everything in your business that you are doing right now. The documentation they create should be so detailed and step-by-step that anyone off the street can do it.

The old way provides one solution to one problem.

The new way uses systems and process documentation to multiply the abilities of a virtual assistant. That means that one virtual assistant can handle nearly everything in your business.

For example, one client that has been with us for nearly five years has one virtual assistant who handles 99% of his business. He runs ten restaurants in Southern California and is a franchise consultant. His virtual assistant handles payroll, interviews new hires for his stores, does bookkeeping, does social media marketing through LinkedIn, manages his email newsletter, reaches out to investors and manages cash flow, and hundreds of other things.

When you have your virtual assistant documents step-by-step everything that you have shown them, one virtual assistant becomes a powerhouse that can run most of your business.

Where can you find a virtual assistant?

There are hundreds of different websites and agencies that provide virtual assistants. Some of the most popular are places like Upwork.com and Hubstaff Talent. You can do a detailed search based on location, salary range, and skill set. The benefit of hiring from these places is that you can try out a virtual assistant without being contractually obligated to stay for an extended period.

There are agencies like Zirtual.com, where they do the heavy lifting of finding and placing a virtual assistant in your business, but they are often expensive or have long-term contracts.

We at www.prosulum.com try to be the best of both worlds, but also deliver system-based virtual assistants that document and automate your business so that you never have to do mundane tasks ever again. You know that your plans are being taken care of, and you can focus on growing your bottom line without increasing your budget—that way, one virtual assistant can do the job of many for years to come.

Conclusion

Now is the time to embrace what is available to you. The faster you start taking advantage of the economic arbitrage available to the everyday business owner, the quicker you’re going to reap the benefits. There is no easier way to transition from a glorified salesperson to a business owner than to take advantage of the virtual assistant world.

About: Dean Soto is the President of https://www.prosulum.com which helps small businesses systematically automate their business in as little as 5-minutes a day with low-cost overseas Virtual Systems Architects (Virtual Assistants with Superpowers).

Interview with Dean Soto & Marc Beauchamp

Top payment gateway preferences by merchant segments that will help inform your GTM strategy

In my experience working directly with merchants on a variety of topics (e.g., conversion optimization, payments processing strategy, RFPs) I found merchant preferences do indeed vary by size— almost as much as industry verticals. And over the past decade, as I’ve worked with many service providers (from Acquirers and ISOs to Payment Gateways) to articulate value proposition across merchant segments and niche verticals, I feel there is a missed opportunity for the broader industry to deliver a marketing strategy focused on the evolving needs of merchants by segment.

There are certainly key needs all merchants have in common regardless of size (e.g., reliability, high conversion, perceived security) but there are many important, yet varying preferences depending on a merchant’s size. A deeper understanding of specific needs by segment will not only serve as critical insights to develop a targeted go-to-market strategy but also increase customer retention and lifetime value for payments service providers. To help illustrate a visual perspective (at a glance), I created the below original graphic of the top payment gateway preferences across merchant segments, knowing full well this is not a constant point of view. Particularly in light of recent events, we are seeing rapid change in merchant preferences across segment and even more astonishingly, at the SMB segment that was previously reluctant to implement digital capabilities and multi-channel sales— a silver lining of COVID-19 impact.

The Mid-Market National (MMN) Segment really stands out as the most often overlooked for a more targeted sales and marketing approach—presenting significant opportunities for payment gateway providers.

Key Insights

  • Smaller merchants generally prefer simple set-up and basic capabilities from payment gateway providers. However, as COVID-19 lingers, we will continue to see acceleration in digital/contactless payments at the SMB segment, more than we would have expected (e.g., small businesses are shifting from paper menus to digital menus, from buying in-store to buying online and pick-up in-store/curbside). So as smaller merchants’ needs move up the spectrum from basic processing requirements to more sophisticated features and services, a targeted consultative sales technique vs transaction-based selling will lead to better results.
  • The MMN segment typically evolves in size and so their needs change during this transition. However, payment service providers miss significant opportunities to offer targeted solutions that will help merchants in this segment. Some notable unmet needs include specialized education and consultative support (e.g., global sales enablement/cross border acceptance, insightful reporting and analytics, omni-channel integration, dedicated support)—which will help the MMN segment better prepare for growth.
  • Enterprise merchants typically prefer a high level of flexibility and powerful capabilities to support its complex businesses (e.g., variety of payment/alternative options, customization, global connectivity, dedicated experts, customer convenience). Providers should align existing capabilities with the complex needs of Enterprise merchants to be successful in their go-to-market approach. And consider even table stake offerings (e.g., level II/III reporting) can be a deal breaker for many large merchants, if not available.

There is no doubt the Global payment gateway market share will blow through all previous projections, helped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Capture the tailwinds by shoring-up your understanding of merchant needs to win new business, drive customer experience, and further extend the customer lifetime value.

Answer the following key questions to gauge your organization’s readiness to capitalize on the opportunity to better serve your merchants and compete effectively:

  • Do your solutions meet the current and future needs of your target customer segments?

  • Have you articulated your competitive advantage, and if so, how well are you communicating this to your existing and new customers?

  • As your customers transition from Small to Mid-Market, are you providing education and consulting to enable and optimize their growth?

Learn More...

We help leading payments service providers assess the constantly evolving payments landscape, capture competitive trends, and develop actionable go-to-market strategies aligned to target customers. Check out our featured case studies, services, and client testimonials to learn more about our expertise in developing and executing successful go-to-market strategies.

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ePAY consulting services is a specialized payments consultancy trusted by mission-driven organizations across the payments ecosystem to develop winning strategies and optimize business performance.

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