For ISOs and Independent Sales Agents, the payments industry has evolved drastically within the last few years. In the past, there was little product differentiation and ISOs and Independent Sales Agents were able to succeed simply by selling terminals and payment processing services at the best rate. Nowadays, having a good rate is important, but is not a key differentiator. 


With this in mind, what should ISOs and Independent Sales Agents do to distinguish themselves in the future? 


There are two main approaches ISOs and Independent Sales Agents must follow to have long-term success – a personable, consultative sales approach and product expertise. Let’s take a further look and both of these.


Personable, Consultative Sales Approach
The days of selling based on rate are over. Today’s merchants are looking for products and solutions that are advanced and solve their businesses needs. Sales agents need to be a business advisor on all things payments and sell based on solution or value, not rate. By truly listening to what their merchants wants and needs are, they are developing a relationship beyond a sale. 


Today’s agents should be more of a consultative sales person that can listen to merchants and propose a solution that positively impacts the merchant’s business. Many agents today are transactional and move from sale to sale quickly. As a result, they typically do not have the merchant’s or their company’s best interest at heart. Providing a solid solution coupled with superior customer service and support is key to winning over merchants.


Not only will a personable sales approach earn loyal merchants but will also earn loyal sales agents for an ISO. Agents will be able to build a book of business around merchants who trust them as their business advisor when it comes to payments, thus leading to recurring commissions that will allow them to be successful. 


Product Expertise
ISOs and Independent Sales Agents also need to become experts on their products in order to appropriately support and sell their solutions. If agents aren’t up-to-date with the latest forms of technology and payment solutions, they will be at a disadvantage and could potentially lose sales. 


With EMV now in effect, it is imperative for ISOs and agents to communicate to merchants the importance of upgrading to EMV capable solutions. As of October 1st, any transaction that is conducted using a fraudulent card will shift responsibility to the party that is the least compliant – typically the merchant. EMV-capable terminals have a variety of benefits, including:


  • Increased security
  • Reduces counterfeit card fraud
  • Increases revenue through acceptance of international visitors’ cards
  • Prevents shift in liability 


Many EMV-capable terminals will also include Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology. This form of technology is used to process mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay®, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay. In the past year, mobile wallets have become an increasingly common method that consumers’ have been using to make payments. 


As mobile wallets continue to grow, ISOs and agents can capitalize on this trend by informing their merchant’s that upgrading to EMV & NFC-capable terminals will allow them to process EMV chip card transactions & mobile wallet transactions. An ISO or agents need to have access to this technology in order to stay relevant to merchants.


ISOs and Independent Sales Agents need to stay on top of the latest sales techniques and become knowledgeable with the newest forms of technology to remain successful. By using a more personable sales approach and listening to the wants and needs of their merchants as well as becoming product experts on key products such as EMV and NFC technology, ISOs and agents will be able to ensure their merchants get the right solutions to grow their business.