How Not to Sell Your Telephone Answering Service
August 30, 2016
There are some commonsense steps to take when selling your telephone answering service, just as there are when selling anything. Common key elements include presentation, promotion, correcting problems, and so forth.
At the risk of comparing a business to a vehicle, would you abuse a car, drive until it breaks down, and then slap a for sale sign on it along the side of the road? Of course not, but too many people adopt this same philosophy when it comes time to sell their answering service.
If you don’t care about selling your answering service for a good price, here is what you should do:
Don’t Maintain Equipment, Staffing, or Marketing: Don’t worry about tomorrow, it will all work out – you hope. Instead of planning, let your equipment age and don’t maintain it, allow staff to atrophy and keep underperforming employees on the payroll, and ignore all marketing because you don’t see the point of promotion anyway.
Let Small Problems Become Big Issues: Instead of resolving a small customer service error, ignore it and maybe it will go away. Or it could fester into a lawsuit that will cost dearly.
Give Away Service: You argue that the incremental cost to answer one phone call is zero. Therefore you can surely give free answering service to family, friends, and nonprofits without consequence. Yeah, right. Where else does that work?
Undercharge: The old joke is “We lose money on every sale, but we’ll make up for it in volume.” Some answering services actually think this way. But no matter how many unprofitable clients you add, the result is still unprofitability.
Allow Payroll to Bloat: So what if you’re overstaffed a bit? You’ll provide better service, right? Maybe, but likely not. Over scheduled shifts lead to bored staff who tend to goof off. That’s never good. Just having one extra agent per shift will cost about 100k per year. Do the math if you don’t believe me.
Let the New Owner Worry About It: A deferred problem is a time bomb waiting to go off. Each one makes your answering service less attractive. Too many make it unsalable.
Ride it Out as Long as You Can: Some owners are passive, sucking out as much money as they can with no regard to the future. It makes about as much sense as driving a car without any oil in the engine. Your days are numbered.
You may laugh at these six foolish steps, yet each one of them has occurred. The seller has let his or her business languish but still expects to sell it for top dollar. No way, not going to happen.
Whatever you are selling, including your answering service, take care of it and work to provide a can’t-say-no package to a potential buyer. That is how to sell fast and for top dollar.
Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider and consultancy for the call center and telephone answering service industry. Contact Janet at email@example.com or 800-901-7706 to arrange a private consultation about buying or selling an answering service.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.
How to Generate Content for Your Newsletter
You’ve been collecting email addresses from your answering service clients and prospects for months. You know you need to do something with this inf...
Call Centers Can Provide the Answer When Chatbots Overwhelm
Chatbots, which automate responses to social media inquiries, promise to provide some interesting customer service solutions, but they also pose threa...
Buying a Distressed Answering Service
We talked about “Selling a Distressed Answering Service.” Now we look at this issue from the alternate perspective of the buyer. The key is to tre...
Hospital System Sees Call Center as Marketing Tool
Heads turned and ears perked up by what the hospital’s VP of marketing said during a roundtable discussion at a recent convention: “Our call cente...
Are You Sick of Hearing Complaints about Your Answering Service?
No one wants to receive an assignment to investigate and vet a new call center. If all goes well you might get a pat on the back, and anything that go...
Is Your Answering Service Your Retirement Plan?
For many business owners their business is in effect their retirement plan. Yes, they do have a SEP or IRA, but most of their assets are tied up in th...
Format Your Marketing Emails for Mobile Devices
Would you ever send out an email-marketing piece that only half your list could read? Of course not. That would be a waste of effort for you and highl...
Develop a Career Path For Your Call Center Agents
A key challenge call centers face is finding good agents. Then they must train those agents, which is an investment that can take several weeks. After...