“A suit and hair product isn’t a value-add.”
That’s one of my all-time favorite POS reseller quotes because it’s both humorous and 100% accurate. You might make the initial sale based on a slick presentation. But to keep merchants long term requires a value proposition that improves their business exponentially.
At RetailNOW 2017, I was honored to present “18 Ways Leading POS Resellers Provide Superior Value to Their Merchants” to a group of growth-oriented VARs, ISVs, and vendors. Although I’m not going to regale you with every detail from my talk, I will share the five most impactful tactics. Please note these weren’t dreamed up at my desk. These are real-world activities applied by the leading POS resellers in North America.
Conduct Regular 1-on-1 Client Meetings
Too often resellers get busy with their day-to-day operations—especially their high-maintenance merchants—and neglect their best customers. Make sure you schedule 1-on-1 time with as many merchants as possible to talk about their immediate problems, their long-term plans, and how you can help. Adding a merchant to your email newsletter distribution list doesn’t count as a 1-on-1 engagement! A big part of your unique value is the ability to provide personalized service; and you can’t do that without proactively connecting with your customers.
Embrace Commercial Teaching
This concept comes from the book The Challenger Sale, and it’s been embraced by many leading resellers: “Commercial Teaching – teach them something new about how their company can compete more effectively.” Merchants will say, “I want!” or “I need!”—and responding to them quickly is good customer service. Even more valuable is proactively analyzing their business and showing them how you can improve their outcomes. Examples of this include introducing online ordering to restaurants and omnichannel capabilities to retailers. Teaching your merchants how those technologies can grow their sales will be supremely valuable to them.
Invest in Software Development
Several of the top resellers I’ve talked with say that they’re spending more energy developing custom software applications for customers. They tell stories of large installs they’ve landed because they were willing (and able) to create a package that met the unique needs of the merchant. Going it alone on this venture without software expertise, however, might keep your expenses low; but it won’t provide superior value. These resellers either hired developers internally, partnered with developers, or acquired a small ISV to accomplish this outcome. As one reseller told me, “Don’t do it by yourself. Respect the complexity.”
Offer Managed Services
I keep a running list of recurring revenue-generating services POS resellers are offering to their merchants . . . and the font size is getting pretty small to keep it all on one page! The services we discussed at RetailNOW 2017 that provide the most value to merchants are: 1) remote monitoring and management (RMM), 2) internet service, 3) web/email hosting, 4) online ordering, and 5) gift cards/loyalty programs.
Ensure a Human Being Answers Every Phone Call
I asked the audience at my presentation to raise a hand if they love it when they hear on the other end of the phone, “Please listen to this entire message as our options have recently changed.” Zero hands were raised. I’ve conducted customer surveys for several resellers this past year, and what frustrates merchants the most are hard-to-navigate phone systems and voice mails that aren’t returned promptly. I suggest either having a staff member answer the phone or giving your customers the option to talk with a human with one press of a button.
Jim Roddy is a reseller & ISV business advisor for PaymentsEdge Advisory Services at Vantiv Integrated Payments. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998 including 11 years as president of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a RSPA board member, and one term as RSPA chairman of the board. Jim often speaks at industry conferences and is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.