The manufacturing market affords the agent an opportunity to use his or her past work history to open relationships not primarily focused on by the average merchant services agent. Manufacturing business opportunities typically fall into two categories – national presence and local presence.
- Manufacturers sporting a national presence are serviced by processors and banks. Additionally, these relationships are often services and represented by their ‘national accounts division’ team. Such companies include Ford, Honda, Good Year, Kraft Foods and Winston-Salem. These accounts are a difficult target to gain inroads, and require a substantial support team as their transactions may run to the hundreds of thousands each week.
- Manufacturers whose focus is on a local scale often are overlooked from a specialization perspective. Many times such merchants will turn to their bank to be referred to a processor, and will form long term relationships. In increasing number of owners and leadership teams that understand the payments industry are more at ease making a switch from one processor to the next. Familiarity with the vertical market is a plus, and first hand experience is typically valued.
Many manufacturing relationships often rely upon keyed (also known as MOTO) transactions with face to face not occurring as customers may be all over the US – and perhaps across the globe. As such, educated agents who can demystify some of the fees the manufacturers are paying are worth their weight in gold.
There are many opportunities to subscribe to trade journals and magazines which may provide you insight into a specific vertical market. Also, becoming the ‘preferred merchant services provider’ for such an organization could be a tremendous boon to your business model. Manufacturers tend to appreciate ‘specialists’ within a given field, and one should expect that appreciation to be shown to those specializing in a particular vertical market.
Do not invest significant time or energy on the larger national accounts unless you have an advantage that will bring you to the top decision makers. There are literally hundreds of large national companies, yet of greater importance are the thousands of smaller businesses you may reach through your vertical market expertise.