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iProcess Proficiency Coach

Our solution offers a targeted approach to address key issues you may face in the processing sales industry for pennies a day! 

A key feature of our proficiency coach software allows you to address a specific concern when it arises, and supplements the iProcess Program. Anxious to address a key concern and need that addressed directly, immediately. What is our proficiency coach designed to do?  Answer Questions!

 

The Proficiency Coach program will search our data base based upon a key concept of over 300 topics and focus on answering your specific question. This is ideal for the seasoned veteran or the new sales person looking for a specific answer. We do this by offering: 

  • Information based on ‘Key Word’ look up Information broken down by 
  • ‘General Area of Interest’ 
  • Information tied to the iProcess Program to take you to an even broader platform of learning opportunity. 

Scroll down for examples of Proficiency Questions!

Proficiencies

Choose your category of question.
What is iProcess?

iProcess is a knowledge database for professionals selling payment processing. iProcess has been designed to operate in a simple, intuitive, and efficient manner. iProcess will work on your smart phone, tablet, laptop or computer. And iProcess is Android, Apple, and Windows friendly. The three primary parts of iProcess are Pathfinder, iProficiency, and iResource.

  • Pathfinder is a 10 section, step by step discussion on payment processing – from inception to sales. This is the deep dive section that includes topics such as interchange, action plans, and prospecting strategies.
  • iProficiency is to the point information and works this way – there are hundreds of questions we have heard from agents over the years. iProficiency attempts to answer those questions. 
  • And finally, our iResources section contains a significant amount of data – from Vertical Market data to downloadable content. Basically, agents have in their hand a tool unlike any other – and focused exclusively on the payment processing sales professional.
How did iProcess come about?

iProcess is the brainchild of Tim Shank.  Tim has worked with many of the top companies in the payments processing field, as an agent, manager, regional VP and Director of Sales.  His most enjoyable positions were those relating to developing field agents.  To this end, he has been developing the sales techniques within iProcess, and had written the iProcess system as a book when fate intervened.  

Don Wood has worked in sales for many years, being introduced into selling at his father’s car dealership in Detroit Michigan.  Don’s path took him down a different road as he became proficient in computer language and web development.  Tim and Don attend the same networking group in their hometown, and one day, a discussion occurred where both men shared their past history.  

Like the old Reese Peanut Butter Cup commercials where peanut butter and chocolate connect to form the best candy on the planet (Tim’s opinion) they started a journey that culminated in the product you now have in your hand.  The guiding principles are simple.  First, the product must be relevant and engaging.  Second, the product must be simple and intuitive.  Third, the product must be a tremendous value with one price gives all, and no gimmicks allowed.  Three principles, two dedicated guys.   iProcess – Sell Payment Processing like a PRO!

 

What is Pathfinder?

Pathfinder is the name of the first part of the iProcess system.  It is a step by step review of the payment processing world from the perspective of a sales professional.  There are ten sections, and they are divided into 36 chapters.  Designed to be a complete course for developing sales professionals in the payment processing field, Pathfinder benefits from the electronic nature of HOW the material is presented.  Unlike a book, the electronic version of Pathfinder can interact with the other sections of iProcess to make a completely immersive experience.  Over twenty years of experience has been distilled into this section – with one purpose:  to see more sales people find success in this amazing industry!

What is iProficiencies?
iProficiencies is the send part of iProcess.  If Pathfinder is the broad, step-by-step deep dive, then iProficiencies is the laser focused, answer-your-specific-question component of the product.  Hundreds of common questions collected under 8 general category headings.  What is interchange?  Go to iProficiencies to get a general answer, then use iProficiencies to link you to the section of Pathfinder that provides the deep-dive.  There is a host of information at your fingertips, and iProficiencies, like all of iProcess, is available whenever you need it, wherever you are!
What is iResources?
iResources is the third part of iProcess.  Within this knowledge vault you will find not only critical data rich information on the various vertical markets, but you will also find such things as a glossary of industry terms, pre-defined excel sheets to assist in prospecting, and additional resources you can use to further develop your knowledge and supplement your skills sets.  Best of all, iResources grows day-by-day, so the knowledge is not only current but constantly becoming more and more extensive.
What is VMARCS?
Exclusive to iProcess is a system designed to help identify potential vertical market aptitudes for an agent.  VMARCS stands for Vertical Market Co-efficient Score.  Developed to assist agents determine potential vertical market skills and strengths, VMARCS is simple to use, and offered to our members as our way of saying ‘thank you’ for supporting iProcess.  The process works like this: a VMARC data sheet is provided on our website, and an agent fills out the form – one for every position they have worked over the past 15 years.  Each VMARC sheet asks a series of questions designed to gauge the overall familiarity the agent has at a position within a vertical market.  iProcess then compiles the data and assigns a score to the vertical market – a VMARC score or ‘VMARCS’.  The agent is notified as to which vertical markets may provide an opportunity to match past work experiences and skills to an appropriate vertical market.  Some agents who have worked several jobs may submit multiple VMARCS, and the aggregate data is reviewed and resulting scores provided to the agent.
What devices support iProcess?
iProcess works on desktop, tablet or mobileMobility is very important in the world of selling.  It was a primary concern when developing iProcess that a sales agent could access our service even in the field.  As such, as long as you have access to the Internet, you should be able to pull up iProcess without any issues.  Apple, Android or Windows operating systems are supported and smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktop solutions function equally well.  Even when developing the ‘logic trees’ that were used in the construction of iProcess, we strove to take care to keep the data relevant, easy to access, and content whenever possible to a minimum.  Even the pictures require low data when possible, reducing load times and hopefully saving you time while improving performance. 
Is there any downloadable content I can use?

Downloadable ResourcesAbsolutely!  Our iResource section is home to some of the most unique data in the industry – specifically targeted to sales professionals.  And it is GROWING!  While some of the content is used in our Pathfinder, VMARC, and iProficiency modules, we have included a downloadable content section that should be a tremendous benefit to most agents.  

In general, there are two types of downloadable content in the iResources section.  

  • First, there are iSupport documents.  These are simple documents that complement a particular section and chapter in Pathfinder.  The iSupport document can be printed and used immediately by the agent.  An example would be our spreadsheet we have developed to work hand in hand with developing your natural market.  The sheet can be downloaded and populated as you see fit.  We have already performed much of the heavy lifting – it’s up to you to simply create your list and monitor your outreaches!  
  • Second, there are iSkills documents.  These have been referred to as ‘min training modules’ that complement a section or chapter in Pathfinder.  An example would be our iSkills document regarding Telemarketing Skills, which provides a specific and extensive discussion on a select topic, in this case how to conduct an effective telemarketing outreach call.  We believe our iSupport and iSkills downloadable content products provide many valuable resources to help you succeed and grow!
How often is iProcess updated?

Constantly! 

Our program is an organic construct, which has been years in the making.  Information is added daily, with new features and discussion topics added weekly.  iProcess, already one of the most robust tools of its kind, is still in its infancy!  

Imagine where we will be in 6 months or 6 years!  

HOW we invest our resources to promote growth is also an organic function, greatly influenced by our membership as well as events that occur daily in our industry.  The payment processing world is in flux, and the advent of new technologies has created a dynamic environment for sales professionals.  On the one hand, the decision making process as discussed in detail in Pathfinder has been happening in the same fashion for years.  Yet the means to INFLUENCE the sale changes based upon products, industry events, and the needs, concerns and issues of customers and merchants alike.  The advent of mobile processing has changed payment processing sales within the span of a few months, with the advent of products like Square redefining the sales model seemingly overnight.  iProcess is focused to address not only the aspects of selling that are immutable and never changing, but seeks to familiarize the sales person with those things that seem to change daily.  iProcess is committed to remaining relevant and engaging, offering information both current and reliable.

How can I pay my monthly membership fee?
Payment is a simple matter of providing us your credit card information.  Initially, we strongly encourage you to try our product free of charge.  Use iProcess for a week, and have full access to our features and benefits.  Get to know iProcess, and we agree you will find enough value to invest in our program moving forward.  Agents have indicated that the low monthly investment of $9.95 has seen a huge return in investment.  If our programs and features can help your business grow, we feel we have earned our keep – but that isn’t enough.  It is our goal that you look upon your iProcess membership with satisfaction, not as a necessary investment for your continued success, but that you consider iProcess to be the best employee resource you could ever ‘hire’ for just pennies a day!
What if I want to cancel?

Cancel at any time.  You are under no obligation.  Our business model places you, our member, in the highest position of value – and only happy, satisfied and engaged members are encouraged to remain an ‘iPro’.  Therefor your feedback is important.  Let us know if you have had success with iProcess.  Share this with others.  Direct them to our site.  Yet equally important, let us know if there are features and services you desire.  Chances are good they are already on our development road map.  We like hearing from our members.  Regardless, if you wish to leave we wish you well, and hope you may return at some time down the road!

How many vertical markets does iProcess identify?
Vertical MarketsCurrently there are over 200 vertical markets identified, with the majority listed with extensive data in our iResources section.  Yet not EVERY vertical market has been released.  There are a few that will be added over the next several weeks and months – specific vertical markets that will become a featured specialization with iProcess, and as such, should draw a significant amount of interest from our membership.  After all, we can’t spill ALL OUR CANDY IN THE LOBBY!   With nearly two hundred vertical market proficiencies identified at this time, an agent will find a near limitless resource of opportunities to explore and develop!
How many chapters are there in Pathfinder?
ChaptersThere are 36 chapters in Pathfinder. Chapters are the divisions used within a section.  Whereas the section covers a broad aspect of ones journey to proficiency in the payments processing world, chapters typically sub-divide the section into just the right size to facilitate learning and retention.  You are welcome to use Pathfinder however you best see fit.  Some agents prefer to go straight to specific chapters and begin their journey there.  These are the folks who read the back of the book first, or who ‘cheat’ and read the movie reviews before attending the show.  Other agents have indicated they have worked through the iProcess program going from chapter 1 through 36 sequentially.  Although this may take some time, we have heard that the results have been terrific.  These are the folks who read the book cover to over and will run away from a discussion of the most recent movie lest they hear something that ruins the experience.  iProcess has only one concern – no matter what type of agent you are, that our products and services prove to be a valuable, effective, and cost efficient tool in seeing you succeed!
How many sections are there in Pathfinder?
SectionsThere are ten sections to Pathfinder.  Each section covers a specific general topic, and is divided into chapters.  There are 36 chapters within Pathfinder.  Sections have been laid out in a sequential order, addressing the sales process from start to finish.  We begin with the decision making process, flow into what a sales persons role should be, then move into the world of payment processing.  We cover not only the history of payment processing, but we look at each f the necessary components from consumers, merchants, associations and even interchange,, statements, and equipment.  We discuss the value of business and action plans, walk you through prospecting techniques, and introduce you to the creation of ones natural market leading to vertical market specializations.  We conclude with our iProcess 3Step sales model, and even share some effective closing techniques and how to handle and identify objections.  Nowhere have we seen a TARGETED FOCUS on selling merchant services solutions, also known as payment processing sales, in the industry.  And we have worked with agents who have confirmed this belief!
What is an iPro?

iProAn iPro is a term of affection.  Those who become members of iProcess – our paying customers – are referred to as ‘iPros’.  And we feel the term is not only justified, but does a very good job of describing our typical sales agent member.  iPros are committed to succeeding in the merchant services industry.  iPros understand the value of the topics and services discussed by iProcess.  Industry knowledge is critical, and the tools necessary to not only grow ones knowledge, but benefiting from the experience and resources found within iProcess makes complete sense.  Our typical iPro will put to use the programs outlined in this service, and commit to put forth the effort necessary to take this information and apply it to their particular strengths and opportunities.  Finally, an iPro understands the value of community, and that no one has all the answers, but with tools such as iProcess he or she CAN find the answers necessary to grow.  We at iProcess are looking forward to introducing future upgrades where we can connect our iPros – not only between one another – but to other service providers in the industry, while maintaining your confidentiality and right to privacy.

What are some of the future updates in store for iProcess?
FutureThat is a good question, and one that we hear quite often.  Currently, our focus is on expanding our iSkills and iSupport sections of the iResources module, as well as simply growing our iProcess membership.  We are reviewing the typical things such as spelling, ease of use, and overall functionality on an ongoing basis.  Many of our updates that are on the roadmap are discussed as ‘upgrades’, with the thought of providing services requested frequently by our existing iProcess members.  Typically, these requests fall into three categories – networking with ISO’s and processors, enhancing the interaction experience with iProcess (yes, we are looking into the ability to ask questions and have iProcess respond to your verbal requests), and finally creating an additional module that provides business contacts for peripheral services from advertising to lead lists that an agent can use.  (This final project is in the works, and we are affectionately calling the module ‘iContact’).  We hope to release future updates as iProcess continues to grow, and are excited at the opportunity to provide sales professionals a greater value as time goes on.  Understand, your privacy is our concern, and we will stand by our pledge to keep iProcess cost effective – we are committed to keeping our $9.95 membership fee!
Is my information shared with third party companies?
Your information is safe with usNo.  Our member database is confidential and proprietary.  Your information and identity is safe and will remain so.  iProcess has received numerous requests from agents, asking opinions such as which processing relationship may be worth exploring, or what processing hardware provider offers the most reliable equipment, etc.  Our roadmap does include enhancements to iProcess, and we are researching opportunities where iProcess can expand its services to our iPros.  This, however, takes time and as always, our commitment is that these would be offered as enhancements which would require your permission to implement with the individual sales professional
Should I fill in pricing information AFTER the paperwork is signed?
One should NEVER fill in pricing information after signatures are collected.  Such practices, or worse, altering pricing information after the signatures are collected can result in sanctions from your processor and perhaps more severe penalties as well.
How do I overcome Pricing Concerns?

Pricing concerns are a common issue you will face in sales.  The key is to promote value to minimize pricing concerns.  If the purchasing decision, or in most cases the reason to switch processors, is exclusively a matter of cost savings your chances of closing the deal is slim, and maintaining the relationship long term a dream.  Remember, the more you can build up value - personal service, familiarity of the vertical market, better quality services, increasing productivity and overall improvements to service quality and reliability the more flexible the customer is to reduced savings, or even paying a little more!

What types of check guarantee programs are there?

Check guarantee comes in many flavors.  There is traditional check guarantee where information is sent to a company, checked against a database of known offenders, and a verdict of 'approved' or 'declined' is assessed against the check.  In this case the check may bounce, but the guarantee company will pursue the offender and attempt to secure the loss IF the check verification process was followed to the letter.  There are other forms of check guarantee where the check is imaged and funds are guaranteed from the service, with the check image being used by the financial institution and the physical check returned to the customer or shredded.  As a general rule, the more extensive the coverage and protection the pricier the costs associated with the program.  NOTE - contact your processing relationship manager to learn more.

How does Payment Processing work?

Within the iProcess Pathfinder section payment processing is discussed in detail, and understanding this aspect of the industry is important for your continued success.  An annotated overview of payment processing follows:  Transactions between a customer and the business selling the service or product (merchant) are conducted without cash or checks.  An electronic system employee either credit or debit cards was created.  The funds would be transferred from the customers bank into the bank account of the merchant.  A fee is assessed between the banks which is called interchange.  Additional fees are added to the transaction by the company that collects the data and submits the data between the banks,  Processing networks originally were created within the banks to conduct this activity, but were spun off and became the seed companies of the large processing houses of today.  Payment processing sales professionals sell services to merchants.  One final note is that customers who use credit cand debit cards are also assessed fees and interest rates to use the service, thus the program is extremely profitable to banks who either issue credit cards, handle the transfer between banks (acquirers), or perform both functions.

What benefits are there to EMV chip card processing?

EMV chip technology is the new industry standard supplanting magnetic stripe technology.  This technology is more secure as Smart Card Chips cannot be so easily replicated, and the processors of data transmission and authentication is more secure than the prior standard.  The industry is promoting the usage of EMV capable equipment, and over the next few years equipment needs will be met with EMV equipped devices, creating a watershed opportunity for agents to create value and potentially earn additional revenue by selling new terminals and POS EMV capable systems.

How do I identify a favorable Vertical Market?

Vertical markets are business opportunities that share similar market focus, and are grouped according to MCC (Merchant Classification Code). The MCC rating system is itself based upon SIC (Standard Industrial Code) classifications. The iProcess program utilizes vertical market data to create vertical market sales proficiencies. A significant amount of effort is placed on identifying your potential best focus vertical markets, and iProcess has developed a specialization often overlooked in the industry. IProcess wants to help you become THE PRO WITHIN YOUR VERTICAL MARKET when selling payment processing, giving you an edge compared to others who merely sell processing services. Identification of your particular vertical market proficiencies employs our V-MARCS as well as a conversation with the agent if applicable. Once iProcess can assess your work history, we factor in your desires as to which vertical markets you want to develop. You are not limited to just one vertical market...the sky is the limit!

What are some effective prospecting techniques used over the phone?
Prospecting phone techniques are important.  iProcess covers this question in detail via PATHFINDER as well as offering several specific tools in our RESOURCES section.  An annotated response to this question is to employ basic telemarketing techniques such as smiling during your conversation, keep things brief and to the point, ask for permission to speak with the decision makers and always thank a person for their time regardless of the outcome.  Keep your conversation under a minute, and call back if the person is busy.  Employ an effective script, use a CRM software to track your outreaches and above all remember it is a numbers game.  Also be conscious of do not contact lists and the laws that may apply to your activities.  One final note.  Phone prospecting is all about dialing and dialing and dialing..so be sure to keep your attitude positive!
How do I present value?

ValueOne's value is a cumulative result, and is based upon the engagement level of the customer matching their interest level with both factors so high that a call to action event occurs and the client signs the paperwork to purchase your services.  This is discussed in detail in out PATHFINDER section, and is also a key discussion topic within the C# section 'how people make purchasing decisions'.  In general, think of value as the water level inside a bathtub.  If you pull the drain as the water faucets are turned on, water will enter the tub and exit through the drain.  If the purpose is to overflow the tub, creating the call to action to get towels and react to the situation, the open drain is preventing you from reaching your goal.  The same is with the sales process.  Distractions, buyers remorse, lack of knowledge and even the mood swings of the customer all take their toll on achieving a sale.  You must make sure that your presentation is compelling and engaging to counteract the distractions of everyday work environments.  Then you must OVER COMMIT (not over act or become a distraction yourself) to ensure you create a call to action within the mind of the merchant.  This is the true level of allure, when the customer feels he is better off spending money to acquire your services rather than live without them.

What should I confirm before starting the closing appointment?
CloseIf one is scheduling a closing appointment, make certain the appropriate parties necessary to make the decision AND sign the paperwork are present.  Also clarify that the goal is to achieve the desired ends of both parties, which is ideally to identify the services required such that you and the merchant can do business.  Make certain such things as a voided check, processing statements and all necessary documentation is handy.  For this reason, it is best to visit the merchant where these items are easily collected, which may be at times someplace other than the place of business.  Regardless, always confirm the date and time of the appointment, and try not to schedule appointments beyond 48 hours as merchants tend to forget, or buyers remorse may take hold PRIOR to your meeting!
What is pass through or interchange plus pricing?
Interchange plus or pass through pricing is the same thing as cost plus pricing, just identified differently. Pass through or interchange plus pricing reflects terminology originally coined to describe this pricing model, then after 2009 the phrase 'cost plus' took this market segment by storm. This is how it works, in general. Cost plus, also known as pass-thru pricing, is covered in greater depth in the PATHFINDER section of iProcess. Having said this, the following explanation will help you better understand the value of a cost plus pricing model. At the foundation of all payment transactions lies the core costs called interchange. This term is used to cover the fees assessed between banks when monies are transferred between banks when a payment is made electronically with a debit or credit card. The fee has two components, a percentage of the sale known as a 'discount rate' and a set fee in cents, known as a 'transaction fee'. There are roughly three variables that determine the actual rate and transaction fee. First, the type of business where the transaction occurs (by MCC code). Second, the type of card used (MasterCard or Visa, but also check card, credit card, rewards card, international card, corporate card, etc.). Third, how the card data was collected (PIN based, card swiped, information entered manually (card not present), etc. One additional element may impact the final fees assessed, that being how soon the sale verification data was transmitted and captured by the processor after the approval was received (batching). Cost plus pricing is as the name implies - these interchange costs are passed on to the merchant and are displayed on the statement. The processor then assesses an additional transaction fee and discount rate across all transactions. This fee is typically identified as the 'processors cut' for servicing the account, although other fees such as statement fees, even additional fees such as 'per item fees' may be assessed. Many instances of 'cost plus pricing' have arisen over the last few years. This system of processing is being marketed as a more fair and accurate pricing systems for the merchant, and in some cases this is the case but not always. In reality, cost plus, due to the sound of the structure, is in many regards a marketing tool used to close more deals. Both cost plus and tiered pricing models have their benefits and shortcomings. It is up to the sales agent to decide which system should be employed. NOTE - as a general rule, it is much simpler to compare like programs with one another, ie cost plus to cost plus, and tiered to tiered.
How much is E-Commerce?
e-CommerceE commerce solutions are on the rise and have become an attractive alternative to terminal based processing solutions.  An initial fee of a few hundred dollars and an ongoing monthly fee along with a transaction fee are the typical expense items a merchant must deal with.  To recap, E-Commerce is the term used to describe payment transactions conducted remotely via a web link and internet access.  Payments conducted in this fashion require the purchaser only have access to the internet, and a specific website be available for the transaction to be made.  The website is typically 'hosted' by an internet service provider, and the website will require the addition of a 'shopping cart' software allowing the customer to choose the product or service, confirm the cost, and enter in their card data.
What influences a merchants pricing structure?
The easiest answer is simply which pricing structure is the merchant currently employing.  Most merchants on a tiered pricing structure are happy to stay on this structure, whereas those on a cost plus system prefer to remain on that system.  A more accurate, yet more convoluted explanation lies in how the merchant will be processing transactions, and how the sales occur.  There are merchants that may benefit from one pricing system or the other.  Remember, tiered pricing places several actual interchange values in one 'bucket' or category.  In these scenarios, some categories may even be higher than the 'bucket' rate, in which case the merchant is getting a break.  Whereas some values are much lower from an interchange perspective, and the 'nucket' rate being higher, the merchant may be paying more than if they had adopted a cost plus pricing model.  Plus, many merchants enjoy the relative simplicity of a tiered pricing structure.  For merchants new to credit card processing, the rate structure is often suggested by the agent and adopted by the merchant, although an increasing number of 'educated' merchants may ask for cost-plus pricing or tiered pricing, which then becomes a condition of the sale to accommodate their wishes if possible.
What is an action plan?
Action PlanAction plans are discussed in greater detail within the PATHFINDER section of iProcess.  An action plan is a set guideline for activities one will undertake during the week.  Action plans typically have a goal, with the activities outlined serving as necessary activities to achieve ones goal.  An example of a simple action plan may look something like this:  Write 3 deals a week is my goal.  To get there I need to 1.) make nine presentations this week.   2.)  schedule twelve presentations next week  3.) make 120 outreaches this week to schedule 12 presentations for next week  4.)  make Tuesday and Wednesday mornings my phone call days, making 100 calls each day.  5.)  Follow up with all customers I wrote 30 days ago to ask for referrals  6.)  Prospect three times this week for 2 hours each, meeting at least thirty new business owners.  Action plans take a bit of thought and planning to reach ones goal, and should be reviewed and adjusted to keep ones activities focused on results.  Again, unlike a business plan, an action plan focuses ones ACTIVITIES to achieve specific SALES GOALS.  Creating an effective action plan is key to an agents success.  Following the plan, maintaining a positive attitude and implementing the sales process round out the necessary action elements to achieve success.
What is a business plan?

Business PlanA business plan is a comprehensive document outlining the various aspects of ones business model.  Business plans are an asset when one is attempting to identify the various resources which will be required to grow and develop ones business.  In other words, a business plan is a written statement of your business; what you want to achieve with it and how you will accomplish the tasks at hand. It should outline the structure of your business, ones various products and services offered, identify the customer, outline the growth potential and establish ones financial assets and liabilities.  Agents who take the time to draw up a business plan are often more successful than others who fail to invest the necessary time and energy to do so.  The very process of establishing a business plan encourages the business owner to face questions and seek answers to challenges they will in all likelihood encounter as an agent. Consider this one activity well worth the time and energy to invest in ones self.

How does one build a personal brand image (PBI)?
Your personal brand image (PBI) is simply how you appear to the world.  iProcess discusses this in greater detail within PATHFINDER and we offer tools within RESOURCES to assist you develop a personal brand image.  In the processing industry, creating a professional image and one that is engaging, creating interest among potential clients is the pinnacle of accomplishment.  If one designs their marketing campaigns to add to ones personal brand and maintains a consistent message, they will eventually create advocates that will not only acknowledge the agents expertise but will drive business in their direction.  This is the ultimate goal of achieving an effective personal brand image - to attract and secure business opportunities while separating oneself favorably from the competition.
What are the most effective marketing channels?
Many marketing channelsThe answer is subjective and is tied to the vertical markets one is supporting.  In some instances, specifically narrow vertical markets or highly specialized vertical markets, marketing activities such as mass mailings, etc. have little impact and can be a waste of money and resources.  Trade magazines and periodicals may be a terrific resource to get ones name and specialty in front of these decision makers.  If you are promoting a geographic specialization, such that your specialty is servicing all local businesses within a set close geography, then perhaps local radio and TV may be more appropriate.  SEO (search engine optimization) might be the ticket if you have a compelling website, or perhaps working with local networking groups is a better investment of your time and money.  The moral of this story is to first identify HOW you will separate yourself from the competition, HOW you can best penetrate your specific vertical market, and WHAT are you willing to invest to create activities.  Also contact your processing relationship manager to identify what resources are made available to assist you in your marketing efforts.