"As a Guerrilla Marketer, You Take Credit
Cards - All of Them..." Jay Conrad
Levinson wrote those words in his book, Guerrilla Marketing.Ý
Those words have never been as true as they are today. To prospects,
it means convenience, and they appreciate you for making it so easy
to buy from you.
Of course, in reality, it isn't easy for many small businesses to get merchant status. And if you run your business from your home, you can just about forget it- Unless you read the rest of this article.
Just ask around and you'll find that "most banks don't want to take a risk on new, home-based, or mail order businesses." Their reasons are because of the short track record and lower sales volume. Also, mail order, unfortunately, has more fraud associated with it.
So now that we know it's not always easy to get merchant status, let's look at the reasons why you should do everything you can to get it very soon:
Profits are the bottom line for every business. Almost any type of business will benefit from taking credit cards. But not all of them. If, for example, you have a very high priced product or service geared towards very large corporations, taking plastic may not increase sales very much.
But, assume you're selling a product or service to small businesses or individuals. Your profits can increase an average of 30% - 80% according to accepted industry standards. If you're selling by mail order, your sales will be substantially higher.
If your product or service includes what people want or need on short notice, your sales can be much higher. Some mail order items are sold exclusively over the phone, or on an on-line computer service. So you can imagine how vitally important accepting credit cards can be to this type of business.
Check out any of the larger corporations that advertise on television or in the national magazines. You'll always see that major charge cards like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover are welcomed with wide open arms. Customers know that they are protected from scams and con artists because if they feel "ripped off," they can call the bank and have the dispute arbitrated. If you have that option in your ads, your prospects will think of you as a major player as well.
CLOSE IMPULSE SALES
You've seen those clever Infomercials on television. We all buy on impulse. I know I have. In my home, you'll find many items, like woks, steamers, Flying Lures, and many other gadgets. Millions of people buy all sorts of these things after seeing them cleverly sold on TV. But wait! If they didn't take credit cards, I would never have bought a single one of them! Credit cards let all the customers buy from you. Just check with any advertising expert and they will tell you that you must do something to get the customer to ACT RIGHT NOW - IMMEDIATELY. Letting people use major credit cards is the easiest, fastest, and best way to do this.
How many times have you wanted to buy something but didn't because you had to write a check, fill out an envelope, and mail it in? If you're like most of us, you probably put it off until you forgot about it!
Your cost of accepting credit cards will actually pay for itself. Especially when the costs are offset in no time with increased revenue and profit. You'll also be saving a lot by reducing your paperwork and order-processing time. This is why all of the on-line services, such as CompuServe and America On-line to name only two, promote paying by credit card. Some of them even charge an extra fee if they have to send you a statement or debit your checking account. How much can you save each month if you don't have to open the envelopes, endorse all those checks, and cover the bad ones?!
Most credit card processors will now connect you directly to their bank's computer with a processing terminal like the ones you see at gas stations or the local hardware store. This allows them to authorize your transactions in seconds, and then deposit the money in your bank account where you have access in a couple of days. This means you have sole use of your customer's money that has been deposited into your bank account to purchase a product.
For example, let's say you sell a computer and have it drop shipped to your customer. You sell a $2500 computer that costs you $1500 wholesale. You take the customer's order over the phone and then your customer uses her credit card. In two days, the $2500 is in your bank account and then you send $1500 to your supplier and keep the rest ($1000) for your profit! You did this all without using your own money, and it all only took a few days.
NO MORE BAD CHECKS
When almost any credit card is processed and approved, you can be 100% assured that the funds will be good. Because if the user doesn't pay their bill, the credit card provider takes all the risk, not you! Remember, you already have your money in the bank. For retail businesses, Debit services are now available with the use of optional hardware. If you are dealing with the customer "face to face," you can now take their debit card and transfer the money directly from their account to yours. Check guarantee services are great at covering bad checks but its a real hassle! This avoids taking any checks at all. How many times have you heard " the check was good when I wrote it?" Just about every bank issues an ATM card with a new account. Why not use this situation to make your life simpler and your business more prosperous?
NO MORE LOST BUSINESS
When I decide to purchase something over the phone or by mail, I always find a company that accepts credit cards. I'll bet you do the same. Why? Because we know it saves time, provides security, and gives all of us an automatic warranty if we're not satisfied with the purchase.
If a company doesn't take credit cards, I just pass over them and buy from a similar one that does. You can be sure that most people do the same thing.
WE ARE A "CASHLESS SOCIETY "
If you don't accept credit cards, you are losing business to your competitors that do. More than 100 BILLION DOLLARS in purchases were made last year by credit cards. Any mail order business can expect 85%-90% of their total sales to be from customers using credit cards alone.Let's face it: doing business today is no longer just a local activity. We do much business nationally and globally. We take the orders via fax, phone, and computers. Business on the internet, for example, is EXPLODING more rapidly every single day. By accepting credit cards, you will be part of that growth. You will get your share of the enormous business that is just waiting for your offer.
So, get ready. Start RIGHT NOW to increase your income and grow your business. Get your merchant account and join the successful businesses that are growing rapidly because they already accept credit cards.
How do you get a merchant account? You can turn to an independent bank card agent. He or she can help almost any type of business get merchant status both quickly and easily.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
You have to shop around because some agents will end up costing you more than you expected. Be on your guard for EXTRA FEES, like their monthly minimums, voice authorization fees, daily closeout fees, and the dreaded charge back fees. Another ploy to watch out for is the one that offers a very low set up with a higher discount rate. These often end up costing you many times more than you realized. The reason is because the rates go up gradually, but only after you are set up...
A good way to check a bank card agent's credibility is to ensure that they disclose the bank's name, processing network, and ALL associated fees. These are required to be disclosed by Visa and Mastercard, and any company that doesn't may be a little shady.
A very good independent agent can get you merchant status even if you work from home or have a mail order business. Why? Because their program deducts the percentage rate (discount % fee) at the time of the transaction rather than at the end of the month.
In addition, they use 100% electronic processing via an electronic terminal or computer software. This makes it 100% safer and reduces fraud from stolen credit cards. It's for this reason that they can accept most any business except travel, 900 sex lines, pawn shops, and a few others. Also, all good agents don't have floating rates, hidden monthly minimum fees, and no minimum monthly volume requirements. If you are offered these stay away because you will end up paying much more later on!