The Difference of One Month’s Billing
By Steve Michaels
Sales of telephone answering services – just like any other market – are run by supply and demand. While there are valuation averages that should be followed, there are also times when you need to look beyond the typical averages and consider how an account acquisition could help your TAS and enhance its bottom line.
Even if you’ve just spent over $150,000 on a switch to answer your calls, sent your managers to special training classes, and launched a new Web site, none of it means anything unless you have clients. Clients are your lifeblood, and sometimes you have to go beyond any norms to acquire them.
Let’s take, for example, a TAS selling 120 accounts that are billing $20,000 per month. Assume the seller is asking for eleven times monthly billing, and you are sticking to your guns and offering ten times. First, you will not get the deal, and second, we are talking about a price differential of only $167 dollars per account ($20,000 / 120 accounts = $166.67 per account). This is the difference of one – one month’s billing, that is. It is an amount that you would gladly pay a salesperson to land that account.
The question comes down to what you are willing to do to enhance your bottom line and maximize your infrastructure. You can always spend more money on your Web site, hire another salesperson, or create a new marketing campaign, but none of these are going to guarantee more business. Buying accounts will – if done right!
It’s ironic that the economy is flailing and yet the multiples for telephone answering services have never been better. Even though finding the financing to buy a business is harder, telephone answering services are selling for top prices – for the time being.
2010 ATSI Convention Coverage
The annual ATSI Convention and Expo was held at the Westin GasLamp Quarter in San Diego on May 11-14, 2010. Approximately 150 members and fifty vendor representatives (from seventeen companies) met for four days to learn the latest developments in the telephone answering service industry. With three keynote addresses and several general and breakout sessions, the convention offered something for everyone. It concluded with the greatly anticipated awards luncheon on Saturday, where the 2010 ATSI Award of Excellence and Call Center Award of Distinction recipients were announced; see the June issue for TAS Trader for the complete listing of AoE winners.
The vendors with exhibits at the convention were:
- Alston Tascom Inc
- CenturiSoft Inc.
- Creative Voice Solutions
- Hays Affinity Solutions
- OnviSource Inc
- Professional Teledata
- Skystream Broadband & Voice Integration
- Startel Corporation
- TAS Scheduler
- Telescan, LLC
- WW-Outsourcing International Services, Inc.
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Global Response Acquires Kelley’s Answering Service: Kelley’s Answering Service, one of the original telephone answering services (started by Max Kelley and continued by his daughter Janie Kelley), has been acquired by Global Response Corporation. Janie Kelley will be retiring after a lifetime of service in the industry. Global Response will keep the Kelley’s name, and the office in Seattle will continue with most of the existing employees, including an operator who has been working for thirty-seven years and another for twenty. The office will be moved to a more modern location near the SeaTec airport; new Alston Tascom equipment will be installed.
Call Scripting Enhancements from Szeto: Linx Scripting in the Szeto Call Linx TAS system has become more pictorial and user-friendly, both for the agents who use it and for the programmers who configure it. New features include at automatic “calendar pop” on relevant fields, a “spin button” with up/down arrow to provide easy selections and auto-fill option choices, an “abbreviation” element for lengthy and difficult-to-spell phrases, and “stock icons” to grab attention and signal the existence of help lines, the importance of an entry field, or information that must be read. These enhancements will be demonstrated at the CAM-X / WSTA Convention in Las Vegas, October 3-6, 2010.
Amtelco Infinity Version 5.6: Amtelco completed the first installation of the Infinity version 5.6 call handling and messaging system at Call Management Resources, Inc. (formerly MessagePlex), a twenty-seat answering service in Columbus, Ohio. It’s the first site upgraded to Infinity 5.6 software under a beta testing agreement with Amtelco. Infinity 5.6 includes all features contained in previous releases plus several new features, including a new server-based message detail reporting service, stronger access security with longer and more flexible login credentials, and optional SMS text- messaging delivery of automated digital pages. “Agents tell me that they love the operator chat size expansion,” said Scott Harbin, general manager of Call Management Resources.
Tom Searcy to Keynote 2010 GLTSA Meeting: Tom Searcy, from Hunt Big Sales, will be the keynote speaker for the 2010 GLTSA (Great Lakes TeleServices Association) annual meeting, to be held October 25-27 at the Marriott Courtyard Chicago Magnificent Mile Hotel. Tom Searcy is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and the foremost expert in large account sales. “GLTSA has built a reputation for bringing outstanding conference speakers who expand the perspective of business owners and sales personnel. Mr. Searcy will teach tactics and skills that can transform your organization and help your sales boom,” said Michele Ringwood of Pronto Connections and current president of GLTSA.