If you were a veteran recruiter of both independent agents and direct salespeople, how would you rate your performance: excellent, good, average or poor? If you are underperforming, you probably haven’t identified areas in need of improvement. And you likely haven’t taken time to figure out why you’ve lost prospects or long-time producing agents.
Before you blame your subpar closing ratio on factors beyond your control, look in the mirror. Reflect on what you’re doing and how you could be doing it better. The following are seven habits of highly effective recruiters and how they maintain business.
The Best Highly Effective ISO Recruiters Habits
• Habit 1: Be trustworthy. The payments industry is a small world, especially where people’s reputations are concerned. To maintain the best possible relations with your MLSs, it’s important to build relationships that are lasting and meaningful rather than treating them as a way to make money. This gives you a competitive advantage and benefits everyone involved.
• Habit 2: Be transparent. The ability to express a clear differentiation strategy in a way that helps your agents shows a genuine concern that wins their interest. This starts with understanding what makes your ISO’s strategic value exceptional, then considering how to convey these reasons. Strategic values may include increasing revenues, decreasing costs, gaining a competitive advantage and improving efficiencies to reduce risk.
• Habit 3: Be unselfish. The last thing you want an agent to feel is pressure from being a self-centered recruiter. Break the stigma of recruiters and senior management only being concerned with their agendas and concentrate on how your services benefit your agents. It’s not just about generating revenue; each agent needs help accomplishing their goals, and they vary by individual. Focus on how you can meet their needs before your own.
• Habit 4: Use the right closing strategy. Hard close techniques such as, “This is the last time we’ll be able to extend this offer” are highly ineffective. A hard close forces an answer, usually one that’s not in your favor such as a cold “no.” A more conversational technique such as, “If you bring another 25 MIDs per month, you will receive an additional 10% higher revenue split,” are highly effective. By giving your MLSs the opportunity to make a decision, you’ve created an empowering condition for them to say yes.
• Habit 5: Be accessible. Disappointing relationships are common, and it’s not something you should allow to create bitter mistrust toward your next prospective recruit. A sign that you’re becoming difficult is when you’re defensively asking for qualifications rather than proposing.
• Habit 6: Make things personal. The goal is to establish a more personal connection with agents by creating a relationship that goes beyond a need-to-know basis. Otherwise you risk isolating yourself from creating meaningful bonds. Successful recruiters and agents learn to communicate with mutual respect toward each other’s convictions, and sometimes they agree to disagree without being disagreeable. Ultimately this interpersonal dynamic allows for relationships to grow, which is the most important element of building a successful business.
• Habit 7: Value and appreciate people. The financial industry is growing and changing at rapid pace. If you are playing favorites, you’re potentially eliminating yourself from staying ahead of the game. Today’s startup may be tomorrow’s super ISO, and vice versa. A smart recruiter treats all agents with respect, regardless of the MID count for the month.
Don’t Forget the Small Stuff
Also, if you remember agents’ milestones – birthdays and holidays, for example – be punctual with your delivery. Last year, our business received a Christmas card and a double deck of playing cards from an ISO for being a “Top-3 Producer.” While we appreciated the thought, the package was postmarked and delivered four days after Christmas. Such oversights can make your offices feel undervalued and tend to be remembered more than many positive things the ISO might have done.
These lessons can be applied in the recruiting world and in life, so it’s best to mind the golden rule: treat everyone the way you want to be treated: with courtesy, dignity, and respect. If any of these 7 habits look unfamiliar to you, then it’s time to turn your mind to improvement and change. You’ll be glad you did.
Mike Ackerman is President of DigiPay Solutions Inc., which specializes in high-risk, high-volume, card-not-present and business-to-business merchant services. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.