The government market affords the agent an opportunity to sell in a very competitive market. Due to the nature of this market and the extreme amount of oversight and regulation in place, the servicing and selling to prospects requires a significant amount of knowledge and expertise.
Opportunities exist at three levels of government – federal, State and Local levels.
- Government – Federal Branch. Such relationships typically involve processing agreements with businesses assigned to report to legislative committees within the government. A perfect example might be the credit card processing that occurs on military bases across the United States. Such accounts require GSA familiarity, and might even rely upon lobbying efforts to get the agent in touch with the appropriate decision makers.
- Government – State Branch. Such relationships typically mirror those of the Federal Branch in so far as the chain of command to make processing decisions falling into the hands of a committee. Court fees and taxes are two areas where payment processing is a requirement. Many of these relationships may hinge upon the ability to have discussions with the appropriate department within the state, and require significant amounts of due diligence.
- Government – Local Branch. Such relationships are the more accessible opportunities for an agent to develop relationships, but may also provide many of the same type of challenges as the larger State and Federal opportunities. Local licensing opportunities, court systems, and even paying one’s taxes may fall into this area of expertise.
A few payment processors that specialize in servicing this market dominate this vertical market opportunity. Many of the processing relationships still reflect a primary banking relationship between government agency and financial institution that could extend years or even decades.
Additionally, one cannot ‘discount’ the amount of political influence that may be exerted when a choice of payment processor is on the table. An additional concern is the requirement to institute ‘convenience fees’ to fund the payment transaction, something unique to government and public utilities (until recently).
A unique opportunity, servicing governmental agencies may open significant opportunities for the agent. If one possesses the knowledge and processor support required to service this industry, given time, a robust portfolio of businesses may be established. Having work experience within this vertical market may be short of a requirement if one is to maximize this markets potential to the fullest. Having a strong relationship with the bank used as the primary financial partner is also a tremendous asset.
Only the most seasoned of agent, or someone with significant governmental connections and experience, should attempt to develop this vertical market. Regardless, specialists in this vertical market are rare, and an effective agent will be presented with hundreds of opportunities throughout most states, and thousands across the country.