Category Archives: Popular Posts

What does Warren Buffet look for when he hires people?

Categories: Hiring & Firing, Popular Posts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What does Warren Buffet look for when he hires people?
He looks for people who can manage entire projects with minimal or no intervention. Otherwise he could be micromanaging and wouldn’t be able to grow his businesses!

I tried to apply Warren’s philosophy of hiring to my own business. I read a handful of books by Warren Buffet more than a decade ago. Much of the wisdom that he shared in his books stuck in my head. But, knowledge from reading books is different from street knowledge or the ability to apply your book knowledge in real life.

In real life, you might go through hundreds or thousands of people just to find a single person who can handle part of an operation with little or no intervention. With the other 99.9% of people, no matter how hungry they are, the minute you stop cracking the whip, they stop functioning!

It is so hard to apply Buffet’s wisdom, I often ask myself if it is even worth trying! Maybe it would be worth it to find someone who can handle 70% of my operation with some intervention. That solves most of the problem. Even that task is going to be very difficult to find someone to manage.

To use Buffet’s philosophy, you need to be an expert at testing people out. My favorite technique is to hand them something and see if you hear from them again. If I give someone an assignment with no due date, will they get back to me in 24 hours, in a week, three weeks, or never? This is a very useful analytic. If your new hired hand has a finished result in 12 hours and is asking for more work, that is someone who is likely to work out in the long run. Whether they can manage others is unclear, but at least they get their work done.

If you spend all of your time cracking the whip and micromanaging what everyone else does, you will never have time to grow your business. On the other hand, if you hire people who NEED to be micromanaged, and you don’t, then your will be out of business in a week which is much worse than never being able to grow your business. At least you will have a business!

The bottom line is:
If you can afford to hire people who function on their own then great. Otherwise, be prepared to micromanage your workers regardless of what Buffet says. Remember — Buffet has better access to human resources than you do, so do the best with whatever you have!

(1) According to Buffet, you need to hire people who function with little or no intervention
(2) I enjoyed reading Warren Buffet’s books, but applying his wisdom in real life is hard!

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Good Sign Bad Sign: What to look for in newly hired workers

Categories: Hiring & Firing, Popular on Twitter, Popular Posts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sometimes it is hard to know who to hire, especially when you are in a bind and need someone right away. There are many signs to look for and many phases in the relationship. Sometimes people start off with a bang and end with a low thud or fizzling sound. Always assume that a good relationship can go South. However, I have never seen a bad relationship turn good. On a brighter note, people with good attitudes who are working on their skills might improve their skills over the period of a year or two.

Good Signs
The service provider:
(1) Is always friendly and happy to talk
(2) Conversations last for more than two hours!
(3) You feel that if you were stuck with the person in an eight hour car ride that it would be a pleasant experience
(4) The person gives thoughtful answers to all of your questions and suggests their own points of view too
(5) Finishes work on time or early
(6) Is not only willing, but happy to meet with you on a Sunday or email you on a Holiday about a work related issue
(7) Enjoys taking you out to eat or being taken out to eat
(8) Gives consistently reasonable bids
(9) Is willing to do small things at no cost

Bad Signs
(1) The person is not so willing to answer questions, and answers seem incomplete or evasive
(2) Conversations are short and the person doesn’t seem to enthusiastic about talking. It is more of a burden
(3) Work is finished late, or is sloppy.
(4) Refuses to lift a finger on the weekend no matter what.
(5) Politely declines when you offer to take them out to eat at your expense.
(6) Complains about the work
(7) Answers their phone less than 35% of the time and doesn’t normally return calls or emails.

Categories of signs
(1) Willingness to interact:
Phone answer rate
Answering messages rate
Answering emails rate & speed
Willing to socialize with you off the job

(2) Quality of interaction:
Quality answers to questions
Suggestions — the person makes great suggestions on their own initiative
Complaining — the person complains regularly about small things
Tone: (happy, distant, absent minded, hostile, etc.)

(3) Punctuality — getting things done on time indicates a “Willingness to work”
(4) Quality of Work
(5) Efficiency of work — keeping bids reasonable and being helpful.
(6) Integrity — not cheating or lying.

Based on my experience, if you hire someone to work for you, nobody is ever perfect. So, don’t hold anyone to perfection unless you are Steve Jobs (who could get away with it.) Unfortunately, if a workers is seriously lacking in any of the six categories of signs listed above, you really can’t use them. But, if they are not too bad in any department and get the job done, you are in business.

One of the most critical signs that I read about in other people’s blogs is a gut feeling. How long would you consent to be stuck in a car with the other person. If the answer is twenty minutes, maybe you should not work with them. But, if the answer is all day, then you found a winner!

Pay attention to signs. A single sign doesn’t prove your destiny, but if there are too many question marks or bad signs, your work relationship will most likely not work. It makes sense to end a bad work relationship as soon as possible, or you will be complaining every day about the person!

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What does Warren Buffet look for when he hires people?

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Stand up comedian at a stand up restaurant in India

Categories: Humor, Popular Posts | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Well, what do you know? A stand up restaurant! I wonder if anyone ever considered having a stand up comedian perform at this stand up restaurant. I’m a stand up guy. Maybe I’ll improvise a routine right now. I wonder if anyone will mind. Let’s try.

Comedian: This is a great crowd!

Audience: (glances briefly at him)
Comedian: Something interesting happened to me on the way to the show today. I was on a flight from Singapore to Bangalore, and I decided to do a little comedy. I did a take off on take offs. But, the sound of the engines was so loud, that nobody heard the punch lines! The flight attendant had to assist by pointing to the emergency exits with both hands, and then pointed to the comedian during the punch lines with both hands… Then, she held up a sign saying, “The captain has turned off the no laughing sign”.

Flight Attendant: You are free to laugh as much as you like in the cabin areas. For those of you who do not want to hear these jokes, we will be offering ear plugs for $5 per passenger. If you experience turbulance, it might be due to the fact that the people behind you are bouncing up and down with laughter. For the vegetarians on the plane, we have a choice of corny jokes, and tomatoes to throw at the comic if you don’t like the corny jokes.

Comedian: I wish my ex-girlfriend were here. She can’t stand me, but here she wouldn’t have a

Audience: (several look inquisitively at him)

Comedian: I wouldn’t want to be a proctologist at a place like this. How can you get hemeroids if you never sit down?

Vipool: Are you a proctologist?
Nuntheny: My uncle Ramesh is very constipated and needs to see a proctologist right away.
Shankar: My family doesn’t have this type of problem. Just have a bite of aunty’s
cooking, that will kill any infection and burn a hole through any hemeroid — or ulcer for that matter.

Comedian: Remind your aunty not to invite me for dinner.

Ramesh: I think I heard an anecdote about aunty’s cooking the last time I had
constipation. I was told the problem would be over in a few minutes. Just have three bites of
aunty’s dahl and everything will turn to mush. HOT going in… HOT going out…


Comedian: I guess you save money with a restaurant like this. You don’t have to hire a hostess to get people seated.

Comedian: If I commit a murder here, at least they won’t give me the chair!

Vipool: No danger in that, your jokes are not exactly killing right now.
Nuntheny: Oh no, please do not commit a murder!
Shankar: What are you talking about — kill Vishal over there — that BASTARD!

Comedian: It looks like if you like my jokes, I stand a high chance of getting a standing ovation.

Comedian: This is my first trip to India. I heard that you have arranged marriages here. I want to know if anyone had an arranged divorce.

Vipool: We don’t do it that way. See that bridge in the distance? If we don’t like the marriage, we just jump off. If we don’t die from the fall, we’ll die from ingesting the polluted water in the river.
Shankar: Or, we could end our marriage by jumping in front of a train. There is a good train track for that three blocks up, then take a left.
Comedian: Oh, it’s nice to know you have a choice!


Comedian: I noticed that at Indian toll booths, they use two attendants at each booth. If America would get its head screwed on correctly for once, we would realize that this is a very effective way to solve the unemployment problem overnight.

Comedian: I went to the hills and three people tried to sell me a hat all at once. They surrounded me and kept hounding me to buy a hat. I told them I already had a hat, but needed pineapple, chocolate, and a tour map. So, they disappeared, and came back to harrass me exactly 75 minutes later. All three of them started trying to get me to buy pineapple from them. I told them I had already eaten.

Comedian: I had trouble getting here tonight. I took a cab ride, but the cab driver who spoke fluent English, couldn’t understand my thick New York accent. So, I was forced to figure out a way for him to understand me. I tried speaking slowly. I tried writing everything down, but he couldn’t read English — he could only speak English. So, I decided to mirror his thick South Indian accent.

“Dear respected sir, I am very much in need of a ride to Rajeev Nagar near Patna Temple in Bangalore section 14 next to Uma’s bakery emporeum to Pati Pati restaurant.”

Audience: (Standing as they may be, the audience is finally on the floor roaring with laughter)

Vipool: Your Indian accent is so funny. It is hard to picture that sound coming out of your mouth! We were not expecting that.
Nuntheny: Your South Indian accent is so funny I can’t stand it anymore!
Shankar: Screw your lame jokes. You should come here every night and imitate us. You’ll make great tips. We just want to hear us the way you hear us.

Comedian: I hear you
Audience: (no reaction)
Comedian: (Thick South Indian accent) I HEAR you
Audience: ah ha ha ha …. ha ha ha….

(1) A stand up comedian at a stand up restaurant in India. “They can’t understand my New York accent!”
(2) The captain has turned off the no laughing sign, you are free to laugh in the cabin areas now

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Steve Jobs watched his programmers carefully — so should you!

Categories: Management, Popular on Google+, Popular on Twitter, Popular Posts | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Just let the programmers do their work?
I am always being told to just let the designers do their work, and just let the programmers do their work. But, whenever I am not watching, they do things wrong and go off on expensive tangents that cost me hundreds in lost labor. They will fail to follow directions, or on a vaguely discussed point, build things in a way that I either don’t like or simply cannot use. Watching programmers can save you hundreds, thousands, or your life. So, why would people tell me to back off?

It is annoying to have someone looking over your shoulder.
I believe it is a nuisance to people to always have someone looking over their shoulder. But, if they would do their work the way I want it, I wouldn’t be looking over their shoulder in the first place. If a software developer generally does what they are supposed to, I don’t need to inspect their work that often or as carefully. But, very few of these software developers follow directions well. It has gotten to the point where I just won’t work with someone who has a track record of following directions any less than 80% of the time which is still a low figure.

So many people do not want me watching their programmers.
But, Steve Jobs watched his programmers much more than I watch mine. If you want to be successful, the evidence points to paying more attention, not less. I believe that I have been dealing with very negligent people who just want me off their back and don’t care much about the quality of the work.

Fire people who don’t want to be watched – immediately
The moral of my little article here is that if people want you off their back — fire them. Find people who are on your team, who are willing to be watched if necessary. Find people who care about following directions and getting things done on time in a reasonable amount of hours. Doing a long search to find good people might be difficult, but it is easier in the long run than hiring people who are evasive, dishonest, difficult, or who just don’t follow directions.

Good luck finding cooperative people
Unfortunately, to find a software development firm that generally does things right, they are less than 1%. Happy hunting! It might be better to hire your own programmers so that you are in control if you can’t find another company who cooperates 100%.

(1) If Steve Jobs watched his programmers carefully, why shouldn’t you?
(2) If your programmers don’t want u watching over their shoulders, watch over their butts as you kick them out of there
(3) Your workers won’t mind you watching over their shoulder as long as you give each shoulder equal time
(4) Watch carefully over your programmer’s shoulder, or shoulder blame for shoddy work they do on their own.
(5) If Steve Jobs watched his programmers carefully, so should U. Come back for upgrade of this tweet a year from now.

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Is it Fair that American Jobs Are Outsourced to India?

Categories: Of Interest, Popular Posts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Is it Fair that American Jobs Are Outsourced to India?
A Look at Both Sides of the Issue

There are always two sides to every story. It will take a lot of soul-searching, planning, sacrifice, and hard work for America to recover and create new jobs and a stable economy. If Americans take the reins and do these things, they will succeed in having a stable economy. But as long as educated Indians are able to work longer hours for lower wages than Americans–and their skills and motivation continue to improve–we should not expect the outsourced jobs to return. Deciding what is “fair” involves considering both sides of the issue, both countries’ needs…and what each can offer.

America Since 2001

Consistently since September 11, 2001, the American economy has been bombarded by economic loss and instability to a degree that Americans could not have foreseen or prepared for. Pandemics such as the mortgage meltdown and the subsequent wave of foreclosures and bankruptcies have affected 70% of the population in some way–economically, emotionally–stripping the country of jobs and hope. Not only did the unemployment rate soar after 2008, but people’s attitudes about the country and job prospects took a nose dive. It is apparent that, since the 1980’s, while productivity had been rising in the U.S., real wages–actual income that people took home– stayed the same
( ). People kept working harder and longer but not getting ahead as prices and perceived needs rose. According to, “The number of Americans receiving food stamps has soared, from about 27 million in 1994 to more than 46 million last year [2012], with a spike in the past few years, after the recession struck.” That means roughly one sixth of the entire population was poor enough to qualify for food stamps.

Job Loss, Loss of Income: the End of Manufacturing and the Growth of Technology

According to the Brookings Institute, “Between 1980 and 2009 the United States lost 7.1 million manufacturing jobs, about 38 percent of its manufacturing base,” and, for example, from May of 2002 through May 2012, “the estimated number of advertising and promotions managers fell by nearly two-thirds” (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Jobs in the construction industry decreased by 20% from 2007 to 2009. At the same time, low-wage jobs in the U.S. grew by over 40%, and the motivation, ambition, and real skills of at least 50% of the population have suffered since 2001. In 2013, it is now common for the average American to have several part-time jobs or means of earning income. On the other hand, in the field of technology and IT, which grew by 86% from 2000-2012 and was comprised of a better-educated sector of the population, jobs were available, and wages were often high, $50,000 to well over $100,000 a year. However, in all fields, three out of every four American workers began to describe their jobs as stressful. 10% of the population controlled 80% of the wealth, and corporate profits rose by 20% in 2011–in large part due to outsourcing as well as cutbacks in U.S. jobs. (

The Cost of Education and Poor Mental Health

In the United States, during this same period following 2001, Education in the U.S. became increasingly unaffordable and less comprehensive–for all but the top 5% of the population– and the average person could not be assured of a secure future. At the same time, in a study conducted by the National Institute for Mental Health between 2001 and 2003, 46% of a randomly selected group of Americans were found to have suffered from symptoms of mental illness at some point, and mental illness in the U.S.–and the numbers of people on medication–rose sharply by 2008. In fact, Americans’ use of antidepressant medication rose by 400% from 2001 to 2011 (cbsnews: ). Continually disappointed and forced to live on less and less, Americans could not afford to have their IT or call-center jobs outsourced to foreign countries.
Yet business process outsourcing was the solution big business adopted in the last decade. Here are some reasons why.

Burned Out and Out of Steam

Americans want top wages, yet in many cases, their skills and work habits no longer match the amount of money they expect or need to earn.

By 2008, U.S. workers were stressed to the max compared to their Indian counterparts. It is well known that in developing countries, there is less stress than in developed countries, says Professor Robert Ostermann, an expert on occupational stress at Fairleigh-Dickinson University. One reason, he claims, for increased stress in countries like the U.S. is the amount of advertising and hammering the public to increase their spending and expand beyond a manageable lifestyle. Yet expectations like this contributed to the mortgage crisis: by 2008, encouraged by the mortgage industry, many Americans had borrowed on the inflated equity in their homes, continuing to increase credit card debt…and when the bubble burst, they would never again be able to have that lifestyle. Discouraged, tired, and feeling tricked by the lenders and the system, they did not want the low-wage jobs that were available–because the standard of living prevalent in the U.S. demanded something more–something they felt they had been promised but not granted.

The Truth

Workers in India–who are generally poor but are not suffering from depression and are very highly motivated to earn even a third of what Americans needed to earn in the IT and call-center industries–are by comparison well educated, compliant, and hardworking. They also still have their faith, whereas many Americans have lost their belief in a higher power–or at least act as if they have. The average income in India is about $1400 a year. In the IT industry, a senior developer with 5 years of experience may make the equivalent of $9000-$11,000 a year. His U.S. counterpart will make $80,000 a year. Is it “fair” that American jobs are outsourced to India?

American IT professionals are just not a bargain–and are high maintenance. By some standards, Americans’ work is unsatisfactory; in the IT field, for example, many high-paid developers don’t return calls, and don’t work efficiently; they pad their hours, have temper tantrums… yet they expect to be paid the big bucks even though they do not demonstrate the required skills and attitude. The big companies all have offices and call centers overseas for these very reasons. For much less money, they can find workers in India who do not argue, do not demand high salaries, but more or less cheerfully do the work. They are a bit slower than Americans, and there are some communication problems…but they are human beings with needs just like Americans’, and they are available and willing. They will work for much less than Americans, and are easy to manage once you understand the culture and set up a good working relationship.

There is such a thing as karma. Americans have been selfish for a long long time. They took land away from the Native American Indians, and they took Africans from their homeland. They have often talked down other races and other cultures, and have touted their superiority. And now, they are burning out. We are burning out.

Of course, not all Americans have been selfish. But we have been all but blind to others on the planet, and just looking at history or the survival of various species, no group is on top forever. The Romans and the Greeks had their day. India has an impressive ancient culture with a great deal of wisdom and much to offer.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s their time now.

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How to gain clients for your Call Center: Pay-Per-Click!

Categories: Call Center, Popular Posts | Tagged , | 1 Comment

You down with PPC? Yeah you know me.
Remember this song from the 90’s? I do. Or was it the 80’s. It is all a distant memory. Actually, it was OPP, not PPC, but close enough, right? People ask me all day long how to get clients for their call center. The truth is that there are hundreds of ways, and PPC is one.

Google and other mediums offer pay-per-click programs.
You can pay for clicks on particular keywords. You bid how much you are willing to pay on particular keywords, and you can set a daily maximum budget for ad-groups which are groups of keywords which supposedly are in the same category (for best results). Easy, right? Actually, this PPC system requires a lot of time and expertise. I recommend that you learn something about it so that you are in control.

Yes, you can hire an online marketing specialist to help you out.
Whether they are any good or not is something you will not know if you are keyword illiterate. You might get screwed, or just receive mediocre work at great expense. Or, you can master the ancient Chinese art of keyword identification, selection and ROI analysis. If my memory serves me correct, Sun-Tze made references to this art in his literature… Actually, scratch that — I’m confusing Sun-Tze’s psychological warfare techniques with my keyword warfare techniques and my memory is playing tricks on me.

The basics you need to know are:

(1) What your keywords are.
This includes keyword variations, and combinations of geographical terms and keyword variations. If you promote Twitter campaigns in Noida, then you might like terms such as:
Twitter Noida, Twitter Promotion Noida, Social Media Noida, Noida Social Media, Noida Twitter, Online Marketing Noida, eMarketing Noida, Internet Marketing Noida, Internet Marketing India, Internet Marketing Delhi

Pair geographic words & industry terms
These are just the tip of the iceberg (or the heap of discarded coconut husks in the case of Noida). Each geographical term needs to be paired with industry terms — forward and backwards — with the geographical term before and after the word. Include nearby cities, metro names, country names, and more. Include related industry terms like Call Center, Social media, Online Marketing, and more. Additionally, Google has a bunch of suggested terms, and estimates for how many clicks you will get bidding on their recommended terms. Get an account and the possibilities are as endless as you can pay for.

(2) ROI…
You need to know if certain words are getting you customers. This is not so easy to predict. But, you hire a professional to configure the ROI system on Google, and then you can see how many searches for particular terms make it to your contact us page. If they fill out an inquiry form, then that qualifies as a LEAD, and leads are worth money, and are a metric. You need to figure out how many contacts equals a new client, and what a new client is worth. Also please keep in mind that if your company learns to better at retaining clients through better customer services, you might keep your new clients longer and get more referrals — hence making them 10x as valuable. Smart… very smart…

(3) Adjusting your bids
Once you can guess the ROI on your terms which can take a few months in some cases, you need to adjust your bids. Beware, google adwords has some bizarre twists. I find that if I bid a particular amount on a term, I can slowly lower my bid, yet get the same traffic. Why is this? That is because Google slowly acquires analytics on my ads performance and CPM revenues that they are getting. If I get steady clicks, then they lower my price to be in the same approximate level in the paid search results. Additionally, if my ad is out there longer, then people recognize my company name and click on my ad more which increases my CPM click rate — and google LOWERS my per click price at a particular level the more clicks per 1000 impressions I get — a very interesting fact which you need to write down your notebook.

(4) Add more ad groups
As your campaign grows and prospers, you can add more ad groups, more terms, and refine your campaign. You can even be more aggressive and try new offensives.

(5) Geo-targeting 101.
Learn this. If you are an Indian Call Center, and want clients in America, Google allows you to target certain geographical regions of the world. Target towns, cities, zip codes, countries, or even continents. You will pay more for clicks from America, but that is where the high paying clients are. Keep in mind that Americans are also more demanding, and often more berating or hard to deal with than your friendly and agreeable compatriots in mother India. If you are going to pay big bucks to Google (which has made me very successful by the way), make sure your website is attractive enough to get conversions (sales) from the traffic that Google gets you. Presentation comes before promotion — got it? Also, make sure your staff who answers the phone can deal with American clients gracefully. You might consider an American phone #, and answering the phone 24 hours a day.

(6) Lessons to be learned.
I used Google PPC to find companies as well as to advertise my own company. I learned that many overseas companies, particularly a company in China NEVER answer their phone. That means that all of the thousands that they waste in PPC costs go down the drain. I wonder what Sun-Tze would have to say about that?

Pretend to be weak when you are ready to attack — Sun-Tze (rephrased by me)
Throw your money down the drain when you desperately need it to hire staff members who speak passable English — The opposite of what Sun-Tze would say.

Remember…. business is war. If you fail, you go broke and suffer being socially ostracized, poverty, disease and other horrible fates. Use Google Adwords the right way and you could become a millionaire. Use it wrong and you can lose it all.

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How to acquire call center clients — looking like a big company

Categories: Call Center, Popular Posts | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Getting respect
Many small companies feel that they can’t get any respect unless people think they are a big company. If you live in a 3rd world country, it is hard to get past these narrow-minded opinions. 3rd worlders have nonsensical and narrow-minded opinions about almost everything. In America, we don’t think that bigger is better. The coolest companies in America are small companies. Small companies often don’t want to become bigger companies.

Keeping your roots
Some larger American companies still maintain a lot of the charm that they had when they were smaller companies. Some people think that you can’t get ahead without the big company image, but charm sells — and don’t you forget that!

Small time call centers
Many small time call centers feel that they can not get clients unless they look like a big company. Nothing could be further from the truth. Often, the reps at these companies will be very impersonal and distant to maintain their big company image. However, when you ask them anything about their company and workers — they can not produce any content — it is always private. The bigger question is, how can you acquire call center clients if you don’t answer any of their questions? People don’t want big companies, they want answers! So, start giving them.

Being helpful — not being big
Indian call centers are famous for having people with typical thick Indian accents pretending to be in America, and having a fake American name. They think that the only way to be liked is to be American. This is not true. The way to be liked is not to be American, and is also NOT to be a big company. Being HELPFUL is the way to be liked. At my company, clients don’t like it when we are NICE to them. They don’t want NICE, they want HELP. This is why I succeed in my business — I am not nice — But, I am helpful.

Skills — not size
When I interview call centers, I don’t care if they are big or small. I want to know if they have employees who can do my work the way I want it done. If they have 100 workers of various skill levels, but refuse to give me one who has the skill set that I want, I will not be happy. I would be better off with a call center with 1 seat, that has the worker that I want. It is about skills — not size.

The moral of the story
What you should learn from this blog entry is: Don’t pretend to be a glamorous large company (unless you are). Rather, pretend to be a small, helpful, and skillful company that answers all of the client’s questions. Then, you will impress people. You should be flexible and nice too if you want to attract call center clients!

Why your sitar & tabla lessons are the most important training for business

Categories: Of Interest, Outsourcing Articles, Popular Posts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I am always being asked how to get more clients for call centers, data entry, and software houses. But, the type of answers people want are what I call, “immediate gratification” type answers. How can I get something now that I may or may not deserve or merit. If I were writing to a Western audience, I would talk about piano or violin lessons, but most of my readers are in India, so let’s talk about the veena, sitar, tabla and tambouras.

When you take music lessons, you learn a whole lot more than just music. You learn discipline (essential for any profession), impeccable timing, listening skills, sensitivity, and how to coordinate with others — especially if playing a raga with a tabla player.

Many times when we call Call centers, we get people who can hardly communicate, if they answer the phone at all. If we email them, the email doesn’t get returned. If you want clients so badly, what prevents you from answering your email? That might be the only medium for communication that someone could use to communicate with you. Additionally, we get the “hard sell” types who want to immediately lock you into a very constrictive contract without evening listening to what your needs are.

Listening skills
Then, the staff at these call centers sometimes speak too softly, or too loudly. If you had a musical background, you would realize right away that their pitch was off tune. Some of them have a pleasant or unpleasant tone. Anybody can notice this, but with a musical background, your brain becomes very much more sensitized to noise. A call center worker might put words together in ways that are hard for the client to understand as well. You will pick up on this much better with a musical background. As I stated earlier, the management also doesn’t always listen to what the client wants. Listening is critical to success in business and you will have a much better listening skills if you took sitar lessons.

In music, you have to play a sequence of notes, with sensitivity in a particular rhythm. Emails are similar. They need to be answered in a time sensitive way. You can not wait three weeks to get back to someone about a time sensitive issue and then say, “oh sorry”. If the tabla player plays 12 beats and then you have to play a few notes immediately afterwards — this is very similar to what happens in the world of business. Your client might send you a process that has to be begun on Tuesday morning at 5am. What if three hours after a process is started, you need to inspect a critical piece of work to see if the project is going as planned, and you miss that precise window of time? If you are not paying attention, you miss critical deadlines and get lose your clients. A few veena lessons will teach you about timing!

In business, analytics is very important. Knowing what the most important task to do at a particular time when you have limited resources. Sensitivity can help you notice more, and a lot faster. You will also notice a lot more details about what you are doing, and what is flawed and what needs to be fixed. Higher level business-people are much more refined in all aspects of their work.

Most companies have managers who are either unavailable, or who have trouble giving accurate answers to questions. In music, if there is even one flaw, the entire song, piece or raga can be ruined. In business, if you give wrong answers, your sale can be ruined. This type of accuracy training or discipline is irreplaceable and comes from studying music. Sure, business school can teach you a lot of principles, but tabla lessons teach you a sense of accuracy that can be transposed into any profession!

Clasically trained musicians make higher incomes!
If you look at people who are classical musicians in the United States, their average income is in the top 1-5%. They average around US$120,000 per year in income. People who just want quick bucks generally make around 15-40% of that amount. The discipline of classical music translates into good study skills which once again translates into higher level jobs and higher sensitivity in business skills. Sensitivity training is everything and your tamboura lessons will really help with this.

The moral of this blog is — think of your clients as tabla players. After they play their beats, you have to chime in!

(1) Classically trained musicians make higher incomes if they pursue professions
(2) The discipline of classical music translates into better study skills = higher income

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How to find clients for call centers — good salespeople

Categories: Call Center, Popular Posts | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bad salespeople are a curse
I talk to salespeople all day long. Honestly, I am sick of the dishonest ones. I am also sick of incompetent salespeople. Additionally, I can’t stand it when salespeople give me wrong information. I can’t tell who is a liar, and who is merely stupid. What kind of company image do you want? Do you want your prospects to think you are a bunch of liars, bums, or fools? My recommendation is to get honest and capable salespeople, and your company will have a great image and you will find clients for your call center!

Training is everything
Many times I call companies up, and talk to the salespeople. The only question I want to ask them is, “Who trained you?” Of course, both of us know that the answer is that NOBODY trained them. Your company image will look very foolish if you don’t train your sales staff well. If you want to know how to get clients for call centers — start with training your sales staff.

Have redundant salespeople
Most companies make it challenging to find a salesperson. They want to prevent you from buying something. That is a very interesting business strategy. I do not use that strategy at my company — but, if avoiding your prospects helps you succeed — then, all the more power to you! I think it makes sense to have more than enough salespeople at your company. Maybe you should have 20% more sales people than you need. That way, if a great prospect calls who wants to offer you a million dollar deal, you will not miss that opportunity because everyone is out to lunch, dinner, out sick, or talking to another prospective client.

Of all the companies I have talked to
I would honestly say, that with Indian companies, I am unhappy with them in almost all regards. The sloppiness is attrocious. If you wonder why you are not getting jobs, it is because of the sloppiness that goes on in India. Nobody will trust a company in India unless they know for sure that you are whatever the opposite of sloppy is. And most overseas companies will not give you a chance. But, with American companies, their salespeople are usually horrible. Perhaps only 10% of companies that I have dealt with have good salespeople. The companies that are growing and doing well, normally have either acceptable or high quality sales people. I suggest you look into improving your sales staff today!

So now, I hope you understand how to acquire clients for call centers by having great sales people.

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How to get clients for call centers — Contracts!

Categories: Call Center, Popular Posts | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

I can imagine that it might be hard running a small call center. Imagine that you have 20 seats, and 5 are empty. Then, the phone rings and someone wants 20 seats filled right away. How do you hire all of those people and squeeze them into your little office? Do you put them on the roof or on the patio? Perhaps the sidewalk? Call centers rely on contracts, and they are necessary when the call center owner has to invest in hiring new staff members and training. However, many BPO companies are too pushy trying to get strangers to sign contracts.

I wanted a small call center process done
I remember that when I needed a small BPO job done, one call center in Bangalore tried to get me to sign a year long outsourcing contract. I said that I didn’t even know them or how good they were. How can I sign a contract? I didn’t know how long the job would last, or how long I would last tolerating them. They basically lost me because they were too rigid about their contract. Sure, big businesses use contracts and we all want to emulate big businesses. But, small clients don’t always want a contract — no matter how flexible it is.

Small clients are valuable
Most businesses want big clients including call centers. They ignore the little clients in search of big ones. Then, they lose the little clients, to satisfy the big client, and then lose the big client, and end up with nothing. My business has almost all small clients. We have three people on staff, plenty of outsourced work on the side, and healthy profit margins. Small clients can be profitable if you manage them efficiently — we do! Small clients have fewer choices of who they can work with because most call centers are so restrictive about their contracts. If you can be flexible, you can attract lots of small clients. You can even charge a little more to offer them flexibility, and they will have no choice but to accept.

Small clients can become big clients if you fertilize them
If you give good service to small clients, those small clients would have a new tool to grow. Remember, that you are helping other people’s companies grow, and not just trying to make money from them. If you help them grow, then when they become a bigger business, they will give you more business as well. They might even sign a contract a few months down the line. Additionally, if you give people good service, you will get referrals which will help you get more clients in the long run.

The bottom line about call center contracts
Call center contracts are important to make sure your clients will commit to a term of service. In the beginning, unless you are flooded with huge clients, try to make your contracts short-term, easy to read, and more beneficial to the client. That way, the client will have a positive feeling about your BPO. If the terms of the contract only benefit your BPO and not the client, the client is likely to hire some other call center service. A two month contract seems like a good minimum term to begin with. If your client is satisfied with your service, then you can go month to month, or have them sign a half year or a year long contract.

So, the moral of the story is — think less about contracts, and more about helping clients get what they want. They will be more likely to stay with you if you cater to them. And if they stay, then your business will grow. If you scare them away, then your 20 seater call center will have 20 empty seats!

I hope that answers your question about how to get clients for call centers by being flexible about contracts.


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How to acquire clients for call centers — Presentation!

Categories: Call Center, Popular Posts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I wrote a bunch of very similar sounding blog entries about how to acquire clients for call centers. The titles are all a little different. However, the content is very unique and helpful for each entry. Presentation is a very important topic that most outsourcing companies just don’t understand. Many companies just don’t understand how to have qualified people answer the phone and introduce their company. There are certain types of information that your phone answering staff need to know to make a good presentation so that you can have the best call center in town.

(1) What makes your company better than others of its kind?
Most people who answer the phone wouldn’t have a clue of how to answer that question. But, if you don’t know why someone should hire your company — then, they probably won’t — and probably shouldn’t. If you ask me what is better about my company, I can give you ten compelling reasons right off the top of my head — can you do that about your company? Think about it! You need to know why you are better. On the other hand, maybe your company is NOT better — and maybe that is why you can’t think of any reasons. Either you have better staff members, better flexibility, lower prices, or better something. If nothing else, perhaps you are better at being AVERAGE! Humor sells!

Here is a mock presentation:
Hello, this is Sam from YXV company. We sell widgets. Our widgets are no better and no worse than anyone else’s widgets. Additionally, our sales staff is no better or worse trained than the average widget selling company. Our delivery times and reliability are also pathetically average. Why should you hire us? I have absolutely no idea — other than the fact that if you want to hire someone average — that’s us. When it comes to being average, we shine above (or beside) the rest. We excel at being mediocre. Hire us today– and be happy knowing that you hired someone average – -with a smile!

This presentation is actually very well structured and comedic. Believe it or not, it would sell well, especially with a TV commercial. You could show average Sam wearing an off white work outfit and a silly looking off white painter’s hat. You would remember Sam’s funny and artificial smile, how average or under average he looks, and how he made you laugh by trying to smile. The name YXV would stick in people’s heads, and next time they are browsing the phone book, or looking for widgets, they will remember you for being funny, and having brand recognition.

Here is how companies in India present themselves

Staff: Hi, this is Surendra from YXV company. We are a call center.

Prospect: Could you tell us about your workers?

Staff: Oh, well that is personal and I can not talk about that

Prospect: Could you tell us about your company’s history?
Staff: No, sorry, that also is personal. We don’t discuss that with strangers. All of our information is on the website.

Prospect: We just checked your website and it has absolutely no information about your company history or staff. It just mentions that you have 40 workers and do certain types of services. It quotes some very technical statistics about your company without giving me any idea of who you are and what the personality of your company is like.

Staff: Once again, sorry, but I am not at liberty to discuss that. We have an 87% success rate with our clients (whatever that means), and have a 93.3% rate of something else.

Prospect: These numbers are very dry and unhelpful. They mean nothing to me. Sure it is nice to have statistics about your company the same way that big companies do. But, understanding the people who I will be dealing with means a lot more to me — but, I think that your evasiveness and vacuous responses have given me all the information that I need to know about your company — which basically is — to never call your company again even if my life depends on it.

Here is a better presentation

Staff: Hi this is Vivek from YXV company. We are a call center that has been in business for 12 long years.

Prospect: That sounds wonderful to know that you have longevity. How are your years longer than regular years?
Staff: Each of the 12 years, actually only had 12 months… perhaps 12.5 lunar months if you go by that. But, we accomplished so much in each year, that I personally feel, that they qualify to be categorized as long years — just like a New York minute really is shorter than a regular minute.

Prospect: Interesting answer. By the way, I like that you answered your phone.

Staff: I beg your pardon?
Prospect: Most companies don’t answer their phone.

Staff: Well, how can they acquire clients for their call center if they don’t?
Prospect: Maybe they don’t want clients. But, your company seems to want to acquire clients for their call center! And, you are very interesting to talk to.

Staff: Oh, well thank you! Would you like to know about our company history?
Prospect: Usually it is like pulling teeth trying to get a company to properly introduce themselves, and here you are actually VOLUNTEERING valuable information to me. You guys REALLY do want to acquire more call center clients!

Staff: Well, back 12 years ago, our founder Mr. Reddi wanted to try a new business. He came from a business family, but they were all in old fashioned businesses, and he wanted to keep up with the changing economic times…..
…………. etc…

Prospect: Wow, that was a great story, after hearing that story, I feel as if I know Mr. Reddi personally. How about your staff members?
Staff: Yes, well, we have 30 total staff members. We have 20 full timers, and a handful of part timers. Our senior manager is Jeff, and ….etc.

As you can see, this salesperson is informative, personable, and funny. Those are characteristics that sell. Additionally, he answered his phone which is more than I can say for 70% of Indian companies. Do you answer your phone? I suggest you at least think about it!

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How call centers find clients

Categories: Call Center, Popular Posts | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Call centers find clients in all types of ways. Some cold call companies around the world asking for business. Others get business by referral only. Imagine the profit margin of a company that doesn’t need a marketing budget? Many companies advertise on websites, directories, or through agents. There are so many ways for how call centers find clients.

But, the bigger issue is: Is your call center good enough to get serious clients? Many call centers are not that great at what they do. The bottom line is that you can spend a mint on marketing, but if you don’t have the service offering to back up your sales and marketing venture, you will end up with a loss.

So, my advice is to first think about how to have the best call center in the world. I would have at least seven years of experience working for someone else’s call center in a management position before attempting your own. If you think you can do a better job running your own call center, then good luck. If you offer a superior service, then IF you get clients, you will probably keep them, and maybe get a few referrals as well!


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