Do you run a call center, BPO, software outsourcing company, or want to? If you are good at what you do, you just might be able to expand into a real business! You’ll need management experience and solid skills, some cash, and some understanding of marketing — but, you can do it! But, where do you start?
Websites — Outsourcing companies need a website. Most people look for services online. So, making yourself easy to find with a website is paramount. However, having “a” website is just not enough. It needs to be well organized, have a services page where you have a long list of services you offer and notes about your expertise in those services. You need “About Us” information so people will get a sense of who you are. A good contact page is essential too with email addresses, a choice of phone numbers and an online form. Make sure your site is attractive, loads quickly, and does not have spelling mistakes, etc.
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Email — Many companies market by email, but do it wrong. Marketing by email should be personal. You should try to learn what the company’s needs are and cater to them. Additionally, emails that do not state the NAME of the recipient are impersonal and get ignored close to 100% of the time. Email marketing is powerful, but only when it is customized to the reader, and having a previous connection to the reader helps so they will know who you are. Otherwise, you are just another nuissance spammer. If you email decision makers in thousands of companies, find a way to ask them what their needs are, and get some dialogue going, you are in luck.
Phone — Phone calls from strangers are an annoyance. But, at least you can learn who the contact person is and gain their attention. Remember, step one is not to sell, but to learn people’s names, positions, and find out what types of services they use. Focus on getting information and find out what they need, what they like and dislike about their current service, and what improvements they would like to see in their service if they lived in a perfect world (which you will of course create for them.) Don’t call businesses unless they are very targetted otherwise you are wasting their time. Additionally, have someone considerate who has good English skills make the call instead of a bumbling nitwit who will lose your prospect’s interest the minute he opens his mouth.
Network — There are dozens of ways to network. You can go to networking meetings in your home country or the country where you are seeking clients. You can network with other companies in your industry to handle their OVERFLOW which is a serious problem. If you can be reliable about handling overflow, you might just become popular.
Freelancer Sites — Several years ago freelance sites were not that big a deal. Now, they are the standard way of getting anything done. Hiring BPO companies is a headache, but hiring a freelancer has never been easier. You can advertise your company as a freelancer, or freelance company on any site that will take you and watch the jobs come in. Yes, you will lose a percentage to the site, but you will also gain some long term clients who will refer you if you do a good job.
Linked In — We used to recommend Linked In more highly. But, since August of 2015 they made it hard to contact people using their medium without really paying. Linked In might change their rules in the future, but as of now, you can find people on Linked In, but you need to contact them using email or social media other than on Linked In. You can still try Linked In, but it is not as efficient or user-friendly as before which is a shame.
Advertise — There are sites like Craigslist where you can advertise. You can also advertise in industry specific publications. Track your sales that you got from your advertisements so you can keep the winning ads and get rid of the duds. You can advertise on 123outsource.net which specializes in promoting outsourcing companies on the web. We have a category for each type of outsourcing service as well, so your ad will be highly targetted.
Adwords PPC — PPC can be expensive, but you can geo-target where you want your ads to be shown and how much you want to pay. If you get a good return from adwords you can build a business fast. I built my Notary directory using adwords when it first started back in 2005 and got a bargain on it. I was paying 5 cents per click before others caught on. Boy was I at the right place at the right time. You can advertise specials that are displayed on your website using PPC .
Outsource Marketing — Who says that you should do your marketing yourself? Marketing is a specialty that might be better left to a specialist assuming they do a good job. But, many in marketing do not do a good job and don’t even care. So, be careful who you pick and offer results based compensation otherwise you won’t get any results!
Understand What the Client Wants — In India, business people are in a hurry to talk non-stop without listening. This is horrible. To do well in business you need to be gentle, smart, and listen. Your job is not to over-talk, but to be a detective and find out what the customer really wants. They might not tell you, so you have to figure it out. Understanding what clients want is similar to men understanding how women feel. If you hire a guy who has far too many girlfriends and keeps them all satisfied, he might be the right guy for the job (although he might come to work from a different direction each day.)
Be a Partner — The BPO outsourcing companies I have worked with have not tried to be a partner. Many have asked for formal partnerships, but this is not what I am talking about. Be a partner WITHOUT the formality. Be there for your clients. Offer suggestions without them asking. Alert them if they have done something dumb with their business. If you care about them more than they care about themselves, you will be rewarded with loyalty and referrals. People will swear by you. I have never seen anyone be this good all the time, but I do have one “partner” who is like this part of the time.
Correct English — Most Indians don’t feel this is important. However, Americans won’t hire you if you can’t communicate in proper English. You won’t get respect or jobs. We judge you based on how good your English is. If you make spelling and punctuation mistakes, we might not hire you. If you sound garbled over the phone or put us on hold without permission, we will assume you offer horrible service. In my experience, those who communicate poorly always do pathetic work — and I work with thousands of people. So, hire a tutor, and get your skills in order otherwise you will be unemployed.
Customer Retention — Outsourcing companies do not think about customer retention. They think of wooing new clients while they neglect existing clients who will therefor shortly dump them. It is easier to give good service to an existing client than get a new client. So, spend more energy making sure all of your clients are getting what they need. You could even ask them if there are any issues with the service and you might be surprised or appalled at what you hear. Some people won’t tell you unless you ask.
Blogging — Many companies understand the importance of community building. If you run a blog, forum, or community of some sort, you attract people who get to know your writing over time. These people can become clients or share your articles on the web on their networks. Blogging is a powerful way to make meaningful connections with thousands of people. I blog daily and swear by it. I spend an average of ninety minutes per day blogging which says a lot.
Chat Support — Many people will come to your site, but if you offer online chat to visitors, you might annoy them or you might develop a dialogue which could turn them into a client. Chat services on your site are something to consider although that is more of an advanced technique than a basic one.
Free Services — My best marketing secret is to offer free services in order to maintain and develop new connections with new people. A free client can turn into a paid client after they get to know you. Free services are by definition limited and not labor intensive for you to maintain. However, if you talk to your free members after a few months, you might find that they are more open to buying from you now that they have gotten to know you. My entire business model revolves around free services and I swear by its effectiveness as 25% of my paying clients started as free members. The question is, what type of free services could you offer? Samples of your work, or some other web-based application that they could have access to online. Think long and hard about this as it could change your future.
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