As the acquiring industry heats up with competition, merchant cross-selling is a crucial strategy for success. The time, money and effort that goes into procuring new business can be draining to many organisations, but by focusing on existing relationships as well, an acquiring firm has the chance to drive profit more easily.
According to The Green Sheet, it’s 70 percent easier to make a sale to a previous customer than a new one. The source noted that it costs five to ten times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Further, the average spend of a repeat customer is an overwhelming 67 percent more than a new one.
Inarguably, acquirers should place an emphasis on the current merchant portfolio, particularly as these clients have already built up familiarity and trust. With an effective cross-selling strategy, acquiring organisations have the potential to capitalise on new opportunities for revenue simply through already secured clients.
Payments Journal asserted that these tactics are all based on the fact that acquirers need to understand their merchants’ identities and values before deciding how to sell to them. The source explained that by adopting a more consultative approach to selling products and focusing on the merchant’s needs and desires, the acquirer is then able to offer more relevant, personalised service.
This individualised treatment is crucial not only for maintaining merchant satisfaction, but also for gaining customers’ trust. These businesses are far more likely to take the suggestion for a new service from an acquirer that clearly has their business requirements and priorities in mind. Knowing what your customers want and when they want it is critical to an effective cross-sell and up-sell program.
A well-informed staff
It’s crucial for sales and support staff to be well-versed in all solutions, so The Green Sheet advised implementing a comprehensive training program to ensure this. Only then can these employees make the right recommendations to merchants during the cross-selling process, as well as answer any of their questions or address their concerns.
Focus on functional
When an organisation proposes products and services with no real strategic reasoning behind it that firm risks damaging the relationship with the merchant. Payments Journal noted that not every single client should be presented with a new product or service. Instead, acquirers should pay attention to specific issues that could be resolved by a new solution.
And the source pointed out that profitability from cross-selling doesn’t always depend on a new product. In fact, cross-selling lower cost services or channels can still be a very lucrative tactic. As these merchants have already been sold to, any additional solutions suggested should be highly valuable.
These add-ons should fit into one of two categories, The Green Sheet reported: those for up-selling and those for cross-selling. Cross-selling specifically refers to getting merchants to spend more money by signing up for services and products that complement the basic solutions, and that could improve their business.
Some of these offerings could include email and mobile marketing programs, check verification services, chargeback and data breach insurance and loyalty programs. The Green Sheet stressed that a large number of merchants today never updated their original payment equipment, which presents a significant opportunity for cross-selling.
Consider the big picture
While hyper-targeted offers are more effective when cross-selling to merchants, organisations still need to stay on top of the overall acquiring landscape, as certain factors might impact which offers are more attractive.
Payments Journal was adamant that financial institutions should recognise any trends or particular preferences that are shaping the industry, and then adapt all cross-selling strategies accordingly so as to best capitalise on them.
For one, the source explained that this means embracing the fact that a new offer shouldn’t be made to every merchant, and that timing is everything. Identifying new trends and demands, such as mobile solutions or new security technologies, as they emerge can enable the acquirer to quickly capitalise on opportunities to cross-sell.
While a merchant may not want a particular offering at the time that the acquirer attempts cross-selling, it’s important to keep these clients on the radar screen. The Green Sheet explained that much of successful cross-selling relies on staying in tune with the demands of merchants, which will evolve over time.
The source advised staying in touch to understand any challenges they may face or new objectives they want to achieve. Discussions that are free of a sales pitch can enable the acquirer to listen and gain deeper insight into real business issues that the merchant is looking to resolve. Then, down the road, the acquirer can suggest solutions that may align with that problem.
As it becomes increasingly challenging to acquire new accounts, cross-selling is a lucrative way for organisations to strengthen already attained relationships. It’s critical to follow these steps to ensure that the cross-selling strategy is rooted in recommending products and services that are truly valuable and mutually beneficial.
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