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Tips from the Top Part 1: Interview with Michele Germain

VizyPay was founded with small business owners in mind, and we take great pride in offering programs that truly help small businesses across the country. Our talented sales partners help connect our unique programs with businesses in their area. Although we are confident in our processing programs, competitive pay plans, and unbeatable support, we understand that starting a commission-only sales role can be intimidating. To help you out, we interviewed a handful of our top agents to get some feedback on how they got started in the industry, what makes them so successful, and why they chose VizyPay. Whether you are considering this position, are an existing sales partner with us, or are a merchant of ours, we hope this helps give you some insight into the sales role and the messages we give our employees. We are truly here to help small businesses and our sales partners succeed.

Follow along to this multi-part series where we interview the best of the best to give you some insight into how to succeed as a sales partner with VizyPay! Each person we interviewed tells a completely different story about how they first discovered this industry and how they found success. First up in this series is Michele Germain from Green Bay, WI. We sat down with Michele to discuss our company, how she discovered this role, and a few things that make her one of our top sales agents month after month. 


Q: How did you get started in the industry?

Michele: I was a member of a networking group and at the time I was selling advertising. A group member who was working in the merchant services space came up to me one day and said, "Michele, you have a great attitude and you're so confident. I'd like you to consider coming to work with me." I was intrigued, so after meeting together with my husband, I jumped on board. It's been a great experience overall.


Q: Did you have any hesitations about this industry? If so, what helped you overcome them?

Michele: The first thing I learned was that this can be a cut-throat industry. There are a lot of agents who don't mind lying to a merchant just to get a sale. Then, they disappear! I decided that I was going to show merchants that we are not all like that. You know, the used car salesman mentality? Well, that's just not me! I started out with a plan to show merchants that there are indeed honest salespeople in the world. It took time to gain trust, but now, over 10 years later, I have merchants who send me notes, go out of their way to thank me and just tell me how grateful they are to have an agent who actually does more than I promise.


Q: What was business like when you first started?

Michele: When I first started, there was no talk of PCI compliance, chip cards, no real concern for security at all. Fees weren't horrible and getting new merchants was less about rates than it was about service. Now, it's both rates AND service.


Q: How do you generate new leads?

Michele:  While I love to “cold call” in person, I realize that some merchants are overwhelmed with phone calls from salespeople who are pushy and rude, so that sometimes impacts how well they receive me in person. Now, my leads come from direct referrals or word of mouth - often it's my mouth, but you get the picture! I network a LOT!


Q: How has your approach changed from when you started to now?

Michele: My approach has always been to take care of people. I will never sign a merchant up if they don't need my service. Sometimes they are in a good plan and I will tell them that. My tagline reads: "We Do the Right Thing Because It's the Right Thing to Do" and that will never change.


Q: How soon did you start getting referrals? What does that look like now?

Michele: Anytime someone is new to a job or field, it takes time to learn and grow. For me, it was just a matter of talking - something that I have a lot of practice with! Patience is the key here. What it looks like now is that I have people who call or email me asking me if I will help them. But that takes time.


Q: What is your relationship with a merchant after a sale?

Michele: I love this question because it implies customer service. I talk to agents who actually don't care about their merchants and only want the up-front bonuses that many companies pay for signing somebody up. They get whatever residual income they get but they don't take care of the merchant. That is NOT me! Just today, I was on the phone with a merchant who was frustrated because he just could not get his PCI compliance done. I get it. It's confusing. But it's more confusing and frustrating for the merchant who many times doesn't even truly see the need for compliance. Overall, I probably took about an hour and a half out of my day. Why? Because he was frustrated. We got him all taken care of and now when he thinks of me, he won't think “frustration,” he'll think “results.” THAT'S how I take care of my merchants. Sometimes I'll stop in with a tray of goodies for the staff, or a personal small gift for the business owner just to remind them that I care.


Q: What do you do to set yourself apart from other people in the field?

Michele: I think it's more about who I am than what I do. I truly believe that we all need each other, and we all have something to offer. I offer solutions. And I don't stop until I find them!


Q: What made you choose VizyPay?

Michele: Honestly, I was frustrated with the company I was with at the time, so the timing was perfect when Austin reached out to me. I knew him from past industry experience, so I knew he would deliver on his promises. He has and VizyPay never lets me down!


Q: What’s the best overall advice you would give to someone just starting out?  

Michele: Many people will tell you to do whatever it takes to get a sale. I say, "NO!" You do whatever it takes to help the merchant. Be honest! If you don't know an answer, then say so. But, promise to get the answer and then do it! Admit when you make a mistake and never forget to apologize when you do! And, if you walk in the door looking like you just rolled out of bed, don't expect to be invited back. I'm often amazed at how some salespeople place no value on appearance. 


Q: Anything else to add?

Michele: I will also add that if you don't follow up with merchants, they will forget about you. That early stage is critical. This is the time to show them that you keep your word. Be sure you not only keep your appointments but are very respectful of their time. If your appointment is at 10:00, be there a few minutes early.

I also tell merchants that when I'm there, I want them to put me on the back burner. By that I just mean that when a customer walks in the door, I literally step away and shut my mouth, allowing the business owner to do what needs doing. This may sound simplistic, but I can't tell you how many merchants have thanked me for my level of respect for their time. 

One last thing: remember that you are not only representing yourself, but also the company that is behind you. So, do them proud and always do the right thing!

Read parts two, three, four, and five of this series to hear from more sales experts, and visit our full blog for additional information that can benefit your business!  

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