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Dear ISO Relationship Managers,

Yes, I am going to go there ๐Ÿ˜‰ #ohyesidid #toomuchforaMonday

ISO Relationship Managers are the professionals that perform an array of business development duties for a direct financing company. Their main objection is to develop and maintain relationships with Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs) or Brokers.

Sounds simple enough as every industry is reliant on a level of developmental aspect of new business. Not in Merchant Cash Advance. This is maybe one of the only industries that have made the role and impact of an ISO Development Manager so messy that it needs an article. Not just any informative article blog but one that speaks directly to the brave men and women who take on this role. If this is you, keep reading. If you hire ISO Reps, keep reading too. I am going to be pointing out some major issues that if you, a direct financing company owner, does not fix - it will be fixed for you.

Business development is all about communication and representation of the company a person works for. Sometimes the position is a lay-up for those who have unique "peopleing" skills but then there are some who have no foundation and are forced to sell themselves and not the company, product, or service provided. Because of this, the turnover rate for this position is sometimes high and it seems the Company just doesn't understand why. The promise of high override commissions and freedom to drive in business in the fashionable influence of the person is attractive but falls short on providing a stable living.

Here is a few reasons why:

1. The Company is a start up and maps out their sales partnership department (if there is a "department") off of another Company's outline. The thought of something being easy and mimicable without proper foundation usually leaves an ISO Rep scrambling to fill multiple duties on top of building and maintaining business.

2. The Company wears too much makeup. This means there's a lot of attractable features but lack the support needed to bring on the amount of business an ISO Rep brings in. In turn, the ISO Rep gets discouraged as they are under delivering on their sale.

3. Because of the many mishaps, the ISO Rep is maybe the 4th or 5th hire or part of a larger team that is stepping over the same market.

It takes a lot to provide an ISO Rep or Manager the stability to maintain good faith and optimism at least and it can easily change. The excitement and race to sell sometimes comes first before the company is even put together. Leaving the ISO Rep to be the brand influence and public relations of the Company before it even gets a name for itself.

This is a problem. Why? We all know people at a Company and we all know when they leave. They usually reach out to their best clients OR their clients realize this. Since the trust is built on the reliability of that one person along with trust and dependability, the client (in this case a Broker) will often "follow" or trust in the decision the ISO Rep has made vs. the Company's reputation. Since many MCA Companies offer the same guidelines of funding including 2nd position+ and aggressive everything, it is very easy to switch or find new and better depending on where the ISO Relations Manager goes.

Up until this point this has stood true but there is another issue that ISO/Brokers have faced and that is the untrusting "direct FuNdEr" market and how most of these companies prey on those seeking better... which is usually disguised with the words "competitive" and "aggressive." The ISO Reps that are hired for these Companies sell the dream of being the next "OnDeck" and promise the world. The crazy thing about everything... this industry has the best swindling sales people next to the auto industry. Let me tell you...

I write this as a warning as well to newer ISO Managers that have had a hard time thus far. It's tough to build and maintain we all get the calls from an inexperienced representative asking us "what do you do with your dead deals?" As if that was an attractive question. The anger and frustration of those who can't sell are sold and it's shown to those who have actually been doing this for some time. To those ISO Reps I say get on the phone and make some cold calls to Merchants and learn the ways of land before you talk to those who have been doing it forever. We can sniff out if you don't have the right intentions and you plan on swiping our files out the backdoor within a week. It's like a sixth sense.

There are some veteran ISO Reps whos' rap sheets on Linkedin look like Santa's naughty list. Most times it's not there fault. Those who have been in the game for a while have expectations that sometimes cannot be met. To this I say GET OVER IT. There will be those who get upset but learning to say no and target a better market will provide a little more confidence than conforming to what is wanted from you from those who don't understand what it's like to talk to Brokers and get pinned against the wall when their deal dies unteen times. Especially if they've been working with that same volume player for years, they were told they can facilitate their requests, and now you are losing your book. What do you do at that point? That's what many are questioning in the environment we are in.

Have we let it go too far and let our standards go deeper than the depth of being in debt? Yes. Undoubtable, Yes.

The enabling of direct funders has caused the B2B industry to have the mentality of either "someone is going to do it" or "don't touch it, it doesn't exist" and turn a blind eye to something they can't control. What's even worse is that those who have the resources and power to impact, inform, and sway the market don't come together but rather chose to side with those to create a bias playing field. Some do not understand the politics and just want to "fund deals" not realizing this is all playing a major part in the future of how you work and who you work with.

For the ISO Representative of Funding Companies, your identity and duties of a obtaining new business, managing current relationships, scrubbing, marketing yourself, researching, and being present and lively in the face of your market is absolutely exhausting. You may make it look easy, but the deal flow and overall deal quality is so down you may think it's you. It's not you.

How can I be better at my job as an ISO Representative Manager?

I know you didn't ask but I will give pointers and tips when due. Especially since there is a great number of ISO Reps that are willing to give their feedback because they just want other better humans out there. In a world where online communication is king in our market, transparency is the crown you can wear to bring you the respect you rightfully work for. The many fake photos, boasted promotions, and underlying lies to gain business is dead. It may take some time to build but who you are and your own brand will bring clarity and a sense of trust. Though you cannot control the deals, you can control the emotions and overall moral of another person. That's a big job! Peopleing - though not a "word" is a word for the ones who do it an it's not easy. Just know that you don't have to do it perfectly. Just do it your way.

What can my Company do to better support my position as an ISO Manager?

If you bring any of this up to your higher ups and they get mad, tell them to call me. Your website is the storefront of your business. The strength of content and actionable push from the resources and info you give drive business to you. They cannot expect you to just put on a "dog and pony show" and bring in the best business. It's like going to a pizza place and the sauce is jar ragu and it's undercooked but the outside signage says "THE BEST PIZZA!" Ummm... no the heck it's not. Your Company needs to back up their words even if there is no tangible product. The service and the ways in which they "fund" need to steer your direction. The better the product the better selection of market. The lower end or higher risk products tend to be geared towards those who "settle" and take the risks for a quick payday. For Merchant Cash Advance, this risk grows as the factors of funding grow. Depending on what you represent speaks of you and how you place yourself in the market. If you are high-risk and don't care... why are you reading this?

No one is signing up with my Company. What do I do?

Ask yourself why. Maybe it isn't you but there are somethings that come to mind. 1) If you are cold-calling a list or cold emailing, be prepared to get blocked and cursed out. ISO lists are sold like any other list and you're calling people who cold call for a living. What's the remedy? Sometimes it's the "keep calling" method. Eventually your persistence and if you really believe in your company and know the ISO is wrong for shutting you down, it'll work. Gotta get through those "nos" to get a "yes." 2) Your online presence SUCKS. Just admit it. From the "powered by GoDaddy" website to the owner of your company having a photo of the Wolf of Wall Street- Leo Decaprio in his profile says A LOT. You can categorize people by generational attributes or labels but those who cannot separate their personal hustle side from their professional business building side tend to see a decline in new business. Beef up your company branding, brand promise, and overall public representation before you, the ISO Manager, do all the work for them.

I'm a Funding Company and my ISO Reps aren't doing good. What am I doing wrong?

Look at the past. Is it time for a change? Google your Company. Can't find anything? That's a problem. Google yourself. Does your facebook photo from circa 2003 pop-up? Yikes. There are many things that can cause this but overall the market is not friendly to anyone at the moment and it's tough. You can give as many bonuses and volume promos out as possible but it still doesn't separate the truth in how things really are at the moment. There will be future posts about Cheap Money Ain't Cheap No More and Putting In The Effort for What You Want. That will help you understand but it really has to do with the work ethic and efforts of both your ISO managers and the ISOs they are working with. You can also pinpoint it to relatability. Some ISOs don't work with your Company because they don't like your ISO Manager or the way you make decisions.

What are some outlets to get my Company's name out there or for me to get more ISO Partners?

Firstly, make sure your Company has everything checked off your transparency list. As an ISO/Broker, we want to know:

  • Who You Are

  • Where You're From

  • What You Did (Before)

  • and How Will You Fund Me ... I mean, your Merchants.

Who you are... finding your company online, in the SoS, and the Owners and staff. Some Companies are one-off members with limited credibility online.

Where You're From... There are certain geographic areas that some are not fond of when it comes to picking their funding partners. Especially, if your address is a dumpster or a grocery store? COVID made it "okay" for people to just say their office is remote but it's unacceptable for a direct financial company to be an empty lot in Brooklyn. #sorrynotsorry

What You Did... You or the Owner of the Company. Linkedin is a big indicator of the bad (or good) habits one has picked up. We also look at the mutual connections and activity of who you converse, comment, and tag. Your network is your net worth and it tells a lot.

As long as you FUND ME... or Fund your Merchants. I hope you sang the song at least. If you are offering 2nd position and up funding but not going past 120 days and boast of funding defaults in the same breath... we have a problem. Casting such a wide net may equal the volume that you may need but upfront not having a specific industry specialty or something that puts your Company in a tier that an ISO can fill will only leave you in the dark corner with all the other "send me deals" Funders and you will be ignored. Your guidelines and past fundings are your push for perfection (lightly using this word) for setting up your long-standing merchants you fund. If not, your renewals will be stacks and your volume with tank with the behavior of your ISO Representative.

This is the first of many ISO Manager geared content and topics that will be provided through The Confident Broker. Why? Because we want Brokers to be better at what they do and that means working with the right people. The people we meet first are ISO MANAGERS! They say a lot about the type of culture we build and the business we originate and it all falls on the lap of you... the Funding Company Owner.

...and for The Confident Broker... We're on a path to bring clarity and some much needed standard and ethics if there is a future to the funding of small business in the high-risk, debt, start-up, revenue-based industry.

If you like this article and want to read/hear more let me know! I appreciate the support and strive to provide the utmost value in building you as a professional.

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