ATM Sales: Part 4, Closing

By Vito | March 17, 2011

So, you’ve carried out all the initial phases of the sale and it’s now time to close. You’ve prepared for the sale and assessed both your client and the location. After weighing all considerations it’s now time present the contract to your client and to attempt to get him to sign. As mentioned in Part 1, be sure to bring those contracts along, no sense in getting this far and not being ready to sign your client on.

At this point, of course, your client may or may not be eager to sign. If you sense he’s at the stage that he’s ready to make a decision, push for the signature there and then. Be patient, don’t rush your client into signing, encourage him to read the contract so as to ensure you have nothing to hide. This will help to earn his trust. Read through the contract with him if necessary, explain any and all points that are unclear and make written modifications there on the spot if there are minor adjustments requested. If there are major adjustments necessary, bargain and negotiate until you have come upon a good compromise. The most important thing is not to leave until everything is hashed out and your client has signed on the dotted line.

If it is clear that your client is simply not going to sign immediately, it’s not time to give up or be discouraged. A long term contract, after all, is a big decision for a small business owner. If you leave the location without a sign contract, ask how much time your client needs to make a decision and then inform him you will call him on that day he’s stated to see what his decision is. Following up is crucial, and with a little persistence you can hopefully get a hesitant client to sign.

Selling ATM’s, as with anything else, is a process. The sales cycle can take anywhere from one afternoon to over a year, but never quit on a lead until you know all possibilities have been exhausted and you’ve received a decision one way or another.

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ATM Sales: Part 3, Assessing the Location

By Vito | March 9, 2011

Once you have assessed your customer’s needs you need to assess the true viability of the prospective location.  There are a  number of criteria you need to consider to understand the the location’s potential for success.  Some of the first things you need to ask your prospect:

These are some obvious questions to ask the location’s proprietor, but there are observations you need to make on your own.  Obviously, if the proprietor claims that 500 people come into the store daily yet while you’re there you don’t see a soul in the business,  you’d best be suspicious.  In addition, you’ll want to determine the best position in which to place the ATM inside the business, hoping the owner agrees.

If a placement is what the prospect is after, then you’ll have to negotiate who takes care of the phone line, or see if it’s possible to share a seldom used line (i.e. fax line) to avoid additional costs.   If a jack needs to be installed, you’ll also need to negotiate who’s responsible.

Lastly, if the prospect wants a placement, do you really think the location will yield enough profit to make it worth your while?  This is the golden question, and if there is any uncertainty you’d best have a clause in the contract giving  you an out if a certain profit and/or volume of transaction threshold is not met.  If you ultimately think it’s not going to satisfy your profit expectations, it’s time to push the sale of the equipment, or at worst give the prospect the equipment and require him to load the cash…

Stay tuned for the final blog, part 4…

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ATM Sales: Part 2, Assessing Your Client’s Needs

By Vito | March 1, 2011

Ok, so you’ve come prepared to your face-to-face sales meeting with your client at his business.  After an introduction and asking generalities about your client’s business, it’s important focus on your client’s needs.  Instead of becoming “salesy” and telling him about how great your company and your programs are, it’s time to sit back and listen to your
client’s expectations:

These questions can help you assess whether it’s in his best interests to purchase the ATM or for you to offer a placement.  If profit is his highest motivation, then purchasing the ATM is obviously his best option, that way he can retain 100% of the surcharge.  If he’s not as focused on profit, a placement may be a better option and you may find he only wants a small portion or even none of the profits.  Of course, if he wants no hassles, this is also an indication that he would likely be more interested in a placement.

The most difficult of scenarios, as you may have guessed, is if the client wants to profit highly, yet is not willing to operate the ATM or invest the capital necessary to buy or lease the equipment.  Let’s call this client Mr. Best-of-Both Worlds.  This is the client you have to make understand that unless he has a high transaction volume (above 300 transactions/month ) that the ATM is not profitable enough for you to give away a large percentage of the net income. After all, you must remind him that you need to profit.  AND you have to put large sums of cash into his ATM on a weekly basis (whereas he can fill it up daily with a low amount of cash) and drive to the location and expend gas (whereas he is there anyways) to fill the machine.

If he operates at what you suspect to be a  low volume location, he at very least needs to be responsible for cash loading if he insists on a high percentage of the profits (40% or above), while you provide the machine.  You can also propose to put a machine on a trial basis, 30-60 day  contract, to verify whether the location is indeed high volume or not.  During that time, if you choose to provide cash loading, you can propose a smaller than usual percentage for your client until the end of the trial period (to cover your installation costs), after which time a longer term contract can be renegotiated if the location proves viable.

If you cannot come to an agreement with Mr. Best-of-Both Worlds, and he pulls the oft used, “Well I have another guy that can do it for me at my price,” you may have to consider walking away and letting the “other guy” take the account. You need to ensure a fair deal, and if your prospect is not reasonable, sometimes walking away is the best option.  In negotiations, the guy that can afford to walk away always wins.

Stay tuned for part 3…


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ATM Sales: Part 1, Approaching the Sale

By Vito | February 22, 2011

By nature, many of us ATM operators are not natural salesmen.  In fact, for those of you who are drawn to the more mechanical side of the ATM industry you may downright despise the selling aspect of the business.  But, as small business owners with likely one or no employees, we’re thrust into the role of salesman when trying to grow our businesses.

Most people do not have the rosiest stereotypes of salesman, and perhaps rightfully so.  But regardless of the stereotypes, selling requires a certain gusto and is not suited for the shy.  Just as important, however, is being prepared.  If you’ve had the good fortune of arranging a meeting with the decision-maker of a business, then the last thing you want killing the sale is lack of professionalism or being unprepared.  So, here are some initial pointers.

Have a business card.  Seems like an obvious one right?  Well, not so fast.  I can’t tell you how many times in business situation that one of the parties forgets to bring a business card.  This represents both a first impression and a convenient means for them to retain all your contact information.  I’ve also been handed cards that were wrinkled and bent.  Invest $10 to buy a business card holder, that way they always stay nice and sharp.  Also, don’t skimp on cheap cards, spend a bit of money to have them professionally designed and printed on good paper stock.  These days you can get 1,000 for around $50 – $75, that should last a lifetime.

Be well-groomed.  In the ATM industry most of us aren’t wearing suits and ties, but make sure you look presentable.  Comb your hair, make sure your clothes are clean, and keep your facial hair tidy.  Again, you only get one first impression and the more well-put-together you look the more likely your prospect is to project in his own mind that you are a successful business operator.

Have brochures of ATM’s.  People like to visualize what’s about to be placed in their store, having brochures of the models that your business uses helps the prospect envision that.  Take out the guess work, get brochures from your distributor so your prospects can literally see what they’re signing up for.

Bring your contracts and a pen.  Nothing could be worse than having a customer who is ready to sign but has no contract to sign!  I used to carry a small binder with every contract, and variation possible.  If I had to alter the contract, I’d cross it out and initial, while having the customer initial.  Always be prepared to close the deal.

Check in soon for part 2.

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Some Handy ATM Cleaning Supplies

By Vito | February 15, 2011

You can never keep your ATM too clean, after all any investment worth several thousand dollars is well worth protecting. So, I discussed a few cleaning tips in another blog “Clean ATM, Clean Image”, but there are additional steps you can take to keep your ATM’s clean.

One of the biggest problems I experienced MB 1500 (and fortunately it was really the only complaint I had about the particular model which worked great otherwise) was the card reader. The dip style card readers went out often on the models I owned, much to my chagrin. So, after experiencing several malfunctions and having to replace many, I decided to take additional measures in attempting to thwart further problems. I came across a client who was still using an old Triton 9600 who gave me some nifty dip reader card cleaners. After a certain point I carried these around and tried to keep my ATMs’ card readers as clean as possible. I honestly can’t say whether it made a monumental difference or not, but at least I knew I felt better about handling the delicate readers with extra care by cleaning them from time to time. The cleaners are cheap, so if you are experiencingdifficulties with readers you have little to lose by trying them out.

Another handy cleaning tool is canned air. There are tons of different brands and types, so it makes no difference which you buy. These I didn’t use as often, and I’d certainly be careful to not use them close to the main motherboard or dispenser motherboard (though you may at your own risk), but it came in handy for cleaning out spider webs, dust, and other particles that make there way on and into the ATM unit. A simple can do the trick, but the canned air was also nice because it seemed quicker and more convenient at times.

Regardless, your ATM machines are an investment, and like any investment, they can use their share of cleaning from time to time.

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