Aa small business owner, and someone who has been on both sides of the fence, I’ve wanted to punch salesmen in the face! Not like a love tap between middle school best friends, like a seething, visceral 1990’s Mike Tyson 1st RD haymaker!

I’ll have you know, I do not condone violence, but I have been frustrated with the merchant services industry since I walked in that ominous door 5 years ago as a salesman. I had no idea what was in store, or the highs and lows I would experience, or the questionable decisions I would make, the people I would piss off from my lack of experience, or the information I would omit just to get a sale for the sake of my sales quota. I call this, “the former.”

Then perspective kicked in…hindsight knowledge for foresight gain.

For every former, there is a “latter. “ I reflected on the people I saved money, and conversely, the profit I cost my company. The families I made smile. The 10 hour round trip drive – 5 up and 5 back – for a POS (Point-of-Sale) product demo for a colleague’s client with zero benefit to me or my bottom line; simply because that’s who I am and how I approached my job. How I offered the best parts of me to be of service to my clients, is just what I did because it was the right thing to do.

The payments industry taught me that no two days are the same, no two businesses are the same, the business owners are similar and at the same time very different, and no two sales reps are the same.

Different skills set. Different approach. Different quality of service. Different competence. Different goals. Different moral conviction.

Bottom line: there are always two sides to every coin. The thing that you have to determine is how the flip side of that coin will affect you, or your business. Don’t let a lack of understanding, or a lack of information be detrimental to how you run your business. I affectionately like to call this the “knowledge gap.” The knowledge gap is not just the difference between what you know, and what someone else knows about the same topic, it’s also the working and evolving knowledge that someone continuously studies/trains to further increase what they know compared to what you know [Gap]…and that was a mouthful.


As a business owner, you have to be well versed on all processes and daily operations of your business. Treat merchant services and the payments industry the exact SAME WAY. Merchant reps leverage information about you and the payments industry to prove their value or the service of their value. You should have an idea about how sales reps will approach you. You don’t have to be an expert, but don’t be naïve.

If you take this to heart, then you should *learn how to read/break down your merchant statement (link coming soon) and understand your rates and fees.

Looking back on my former career with hindsight lensed glasses, I had no idea the rollercoaster ride I was on, paying the price of admission for a ride that ended with mixed feelings, uncertain gratitude and a dissatisfied conclusion. Sort of like reading a novel that everyone has heard about, read reviews, – fascinated by the second act and the page turning story arc, only to read the last word in the last sentence of the last page, and say to yourself, “that’s how that ended?”

The onus is a two way street. To be clear, onus is a two way street that runs in both directions despite how people treat that metaphor as a one-way street with two cars on a collision course driving 80mph.

After all, the healing should begin somewhere.

Stephen Myles

Stephen Myles

Prior to founding TruCost, Stephen built his merchant services career helping owners grow their business through technology, cloud-based solutions, and the digital operating model; bridging the gap between technology, people, and process.

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