“How Can I Make Money With MY OWN Call Center?”
Question: I’ve researched “call centers” until my fingers were blue. Now I’ll ask the street smart “guru”. How can I make money with MY OWN call center?
D.S. Brattleboro VT
Answer Marc Charles:
Thanks for your note and question! The timing of your question is perfect. I’m going to show you how to make money with your own call center. But before I get into the specifics of this business let me address another issue, which is a failure to take the right kind of action.
Here’s what I mean….
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In my experience….new entrepreneurs are usually inundated with a ton of details. They tend to focus on a myriad of details rather than most important one…taking action! In other words, most of the businesses I’ve launched were on a “whim” and I simply took action. Granted, not every business succeeded, and you need a framework for a business. And you need an accurate understanding of how to generate sales for each business. But most of the time I think we need more action and less thinking!
So…I think entrepreneurs…to the best of their ability should focus on some type of action they can take, like writing a powerful sales letter, developing ad copy, or closing a sale rather than all of the other minor details surrounding a business, such as business cards, office location, accounting software, incorporating, and the like.
Believe me….as soon as your business starts making money you’ll have more than enough time to address details and issues…and in some cases you’ll be FORCED to address them! Which brings me to the business you’re thinking about…. a call center.
“What the Heck is a Call Center”?
A call center is a business service which receives “calls” from consumers or businesses in order to purchase products or services. An operator or representative is responsible to greet customers, answer all of the questions a prospective buyer may have and close the sale. This is different from telemarketing in that prospects call in rather than a company calling out.
What’s more, the companies which use call centers typically have front end marketing campaigns, be it TV infomercials, email, web, radio or a host of other methods. Most of the time call centers are given a specific timeframe when large media campaigns are running. The bulk of incoming calls usually occur during this timeframe. However, some marketing campaigns run around the world, using dozens of different media, twenty four seven.
I think the opportunities for in-house call centers are significant. But, as I’m sure you’ve learned when you searched this topic online there are hundreds of bogus and fraudulent companies out there…..some trying to sell you a “call center license”, while others trying to sell you programs for starting a call center.
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The best way to approach this business if you are new to it, or starting out, is to focus on one or two legitimate clients. You only need one client to make money in this business! My approach was to find a client who would pay a monthly retainer in addition to a commission.
My first client in this business…(and this was twenty plus years ago)….sold repair kits to automobile repair shops. They would advertise in auto repair magazines, via direct mail, on the radio and other places. Auto repair shops and dealerships would call into the call center via an 800 number, and the rep (me) would take the call.
After I secured a client, and had an agreement in writing, I ordered a separate phone line into a back bedroom in my apartment. I set up an answering machine to take calls when I was away.
By the way…..today this business is one hundred times easier! The main reason is because phones are digital today. You also have Skype and Google Voice….not to mention iPhones, Blackberry, PDAs and mobile laptops! So you don’t have to bother with answering machines or anything “low budget” like this.
On top of that, you don’t need to be chained down to a back bedroom, office or any physical space. If you have a digital device to receive calls from prospects you can run this business anywhere…within reason of course.
Anyway, I was able to work out a sales commission with my first client in addition to a small monthly retainer. Granted, I didn’t make a million dollars in this business…and it wasn’t a huge money maker…but I was able to run it as I built and focused on other businesses.
If you’re already working in a home office, or as a freelancer a call center might be a perfect fit. Or if you have a wife or kids at home…..they could do it too. A call center is a fairly simple business to run.
The downside of this business is competition for the large paying clients. But your focus should not be on huge companies anyway. You don’t want to be answering calls 24 hours a day 7 days a week…or do you?
On top of that, call centers for the larger companies have shifted overseas. If you’ve talked to any sales reps at call centers for the larger companies (like Dell, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Walmart, Target, HP or Capitol One) you’ve probably noticed his or her foreign accent….most of the call centers are located in India, Croatia, Mexico and China.
Though, there are thousands of small to medium sized businesses who would jump at the chance to have a reasonably priced calls center, and especially with operators willing to work on commission.
How to Find the People and Companies That Need Call Center Services
The people and companies in direct response marketing are probably most dependant on call center services. Direct response marketing includes such things are TV infomercials, email marketing, short and long form advertising (TV and radio), as well as online campaigns (webinars, YouTube, interstitials, etc.)
DMNews is a great source for locating direct response companies.
Another fabulous resource is Call Center Times.
Here’s a short list of companies involved in direct response marketing:
Direct Response Agencies
An Opportunity for Freelance Reps Too
Freelance “reps” receive phone calls from qualified prospects in order to answer pre-sale questions about a particular product or service. The emphasis of this opportunity is closing sales. I’ll get into the opportunities surrounding this opportunity in future issues.
Most people are unwilling or unable to work on commission only. And most of the best freelance “rep” opportunities are commission only. However, that’s why the opportunities are endless in this field! I’m serious.
What’s more, what most entrepreneurs do not realize is the pre-sale calls you receive as a freelance “rep” are usually pre-screened. That’s a big deal. If you’re a freelance rep selling precious metals and all of your calls are pre-screened…..in other words, you’re not making cold calls or trying to sell someone something they don’t want!
Most of the calls you would receive (often forwarded from a call center!) are prequalified. Receiving prequalified sales inquiries is a very big deal…and you can make a lot of money.
But, as I said….most entrepreneurs are unwilling or unable to consider commission only opportunities. I would take a commission only opportunity in the right market at the right time over a six figure “job” any day of the week….and I’ve done it!
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I hope that helps.
Your humble host,
PS Here’s a link to Call Center Job Opportunities (some freelance stuff)
(Ed Note: Marc Charles is referred to as “The King of Business Opportunities” ….and for good reason. He should be known as “The King of Legitimate Business Opportunities”…because he’s launched, bought, sold reviewed and advised on hundreds of businesses and money making opportunities. He understands legitimate opportunities. Marc has agreed supply League of Power members with crucial updates regarding legitimate business and money making opportunities.)
******* Valuable Resources********
DMA – 2010 (Conference and Exhibition)
Call Center Times (great leads, news and jobs!)