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How to Get Experience, Get Paid and Get Going on a Great Career (Part 1)
May 16, 2012
A Few Words About the Crying Need for Experienced Sales Reps
by Mike Hutchinson. Senior Vice President of Sales for Certified Payment Processing
What to Do in a Tight Job Market
This is a tight job market, no doubt about it. But there’s one kind of job where there’s always an opening, and that’s sales. Whatever the business—healthcare, retail, food, entertainment—there will always be a need for someone to sell it.
But sales is like everything else. The best jobs go to people with experience. If you don’t have that experience, how do you get it?
How to Get Experience
My name is Mike Hutchinson and I’ve been in sales most of my working life. The first thing you ought to know about a career in sales is that it takes work to be a great sales person. If you hate work, that’s the bad news. The good news is that sales is an extremely rewarding profession. You can make a lot of money and get a lot of satisfaction. I have. I wouldn’t still be in sales if I didn’t love what I do.
I’m Senior Vice President of Sales for Certified Payment Processing. We’re looking for a few good sales reps. Actually, we’re looking for a lot of good sales reps. Always! A rep for my company is called an MSC, which is short for Merchant Sales Consultant.
Can You Make $22,000 a Month as an MSC?
I won’t kid you. Being a successful MSC involves more than just hard work. It takes dedication, optimism and—really important—the ability to listen and learn. If you expect to score a sale on your very first call, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you’re someone with persistence and initiative, you can do very well. We have one MSC in upper New York—not even in an urban area—who has been known to bring in $22,000 in a single month! Now, she’s unusual but we have other MSCs who make $3,000-4,000, some who make as much as $5,000. You can too.
How I Learned to Sell
Let me establish my “street creds” before I go on. Senior Vice President is a great title but I certainly didn’t start out that way! I began my sales career in the 1980s selling commercial insurance over the phone. Every call was a cold call and let me tell you, it could be pretty chilly work! There were two of us, both fresh out of college. We sat at a desk, facing each other. We each had a phone and a copy of the Yellow Pages, which back then—before the internet—was a huge book. We “smiled and dialed” all day long, wearing out fingers to the nub. That job was my schooling in sales. I never worked so hard, but what I learned was incalculable. It was worth another college degree – more, because it was real life lessons.
After about a year, I left that job and went on to something else. So did the guy across the desk. His name was Kirk Mann and he’s now General Manager of CPP and my boss. We both learned a lot at that job.
What CPP Makes and Why Merchants Have to Have It
When you buy something at the mall or wherever, you use a credit card or debit card or write a check. Sometimes you swipe your card; sometimes the clerk does. If it’s a check, the process is a little different but however it’s done, in a matter of seconds, your transaction is approved. If you think about it, it’s incredibly quick.
CPP markets the machines that send that information and we also provide the service that approves it. These are things that retail merchants absolutely have to have. We’re not the only company that does this. It’s a big and very competitive industry. CPP handles transactions for more than 40,000 merchants and processes $3 billion a year in transactions.
The MSC – the Crucial Link Between CPP and Its Customers
Now we think we’re the best but so do the other guys. The way to grow is to get merchants to sign up for our service. We handle small and medium-sized businesses, which means most of our customers own their own stores. They’re very busy people and the only way to get their attention and get their business is to visit them.
CPP has a sales department of more than 500 people. Of those, about 300 are our field representatives, what we call the Merchant Sales Consultants or MSCs.
People Who Haven’t Found Their Niche Yet – Is That You?
What kind of person makes the best MSC? There are all kinds of successful MSCs but a lot of our best reps are people who haven’t found their niche yet. They’ve tried this job and tried that job but they’re still looking for something that fits.
What we’re looking for at CPP are people with spirit, who don’t necessarily fit into an office routine. With most jobs, the size of your paycheck is set by your employer. Not if you’re an MSC. How much you make is up to you. You can make $4,000 a month – or you can make zero. MSC is a commission only job and if you don’t make a sale, you don’t make money.
Do Two Things and You Will Succeed
A lot of people hear “commission only” and get frightened. They think, “I’ll starve!” Well, no you won’t, not if you do two things. Here they are:
1. Show up.
2. Follow the model.
CPP doesn’t give its reps a sample case and throw them on the street. We want our MSCs to succeed because we depend on their success. Let me say that again, we want you to succeed. And we do everything possible to make that happen.
Over the years we’ve developed a sales model, a template for how you make a sale. We’ve been using this sales model since 2003 and it works, both for the company and the MSCs. We don’t expect our MSCs to succeed on their own, without help, especially since a lot of them are new to sales. What we do is provide an infrastructure that supports MSCs from lead to close.
And if you want to find out what that infrastructure is and why it works, you’ll have to read Part II of Your Future in Sales – Earn and Learn at CPP.
Or you can go directly to the CPP website and find out more about Careers at CPP.
Certified Payment Processing (CPP) is a full-service provider of electronic payment equipment for processing purchases made by debit and credit cards, as well as checks and online purchases, in addition to a range of other specialized merchant services. For nearly 20 years, CPP has helped small and medium-sized businesses increase revenue, control costs, improve efficiency, enhance processing security, and provide their customers with the most popular payment methods. With three sales entities -- TransTech Merchant Group, ISIS Direct and Summit Merchant Solutions -- CPP has more than 40,000 active merchants and transactions in excess of $3 billion. CPP has a support staff of 330 people to provide assistance to hundreds of field sales representatives across the country, and is headquartered just outside of Dallas, Texas.