The merchant wasn't interested in buying, but Joe Porco handed him a business card anyway. Then, as Porco looked on in disbelief, the merchant disdainfully threw the card into a waste basket.

But Porco didn't despair and he certainly didn't take it personally. Instead, he persevered and three years later he was doing business with the merchant.

Not every sales call has a happy ending, but Porco has figured out how to increase the chances of a desirable outcome and he's sharing his formulas in his new job as national sales trainer for Harbortouch, an Allentown, Pa.-based payment processor and point-of-sale system provider formerly known as United Bank Card Inc.

"I've found a way of achieving more consistent wins by standardizing my successful actions," Porco says. In other words, when Porco has a good day of selling, he notes what worked and repeats it.

Those experiences form the basis of what the former New York City school teacher, successful restaurateur and 25-year salesman conveys in Web seminars and classroom sessions for representatives of independent sales organizations and POS resellers at Harbortouch.

Before Porco came to work for Harbortouch, about 80 students had come to Allentown for three days of training in how to promote POS systems. He's streamlined the course, truncating it to a day and a half, and he's put about 50 students through it since arriving three months ago.

He hopes to help 750 to 1,000 salespeople become qualified to market the company's POS systems within 12 to 18 months, he says.

To that end, Porco has developed a document he calls "Five Ways to Start Selling POS."

First, he cautions against thin-skinned reactions to rejection in a section he calls "Don't Make It Personal." Reactions to salespeople range from skeptical to abrasive, the document says. "We will always be blamed for the sins of all the other salespeople before us," it reads.

It's up to salespeople to keep trying and, in time, become business owners' trusted partners, Porco says. Eventually, prospects call seeking the salesperson's help.

"That's when it's fun," he says of those pleas for assistance.

The document's second section turns the first part upside down by suggesting readers "Make It Personal."

When talking to prospects, salespeople should explain their reasons for joining the organization whose products they sell. Sharing that personal history could provide prospects with good reason to put their faith in the company.

Making it personal also includes demonstrating why a product or service stands out from the competition.

It means contacting established customers regularly. "The best customer service takes place before there is a problem," Porco's document says.

The remaining sections offer tips on researching prospects' needs, being a customer before becoming a salesperson, and how to appeal to merchants that are already happy with the technology they use.

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