By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Having bought more than a dozen answering services in my day, I understand the allure of chasing the sale, negotiating fair terms, closing the deal, and taking control of the acquisition. Yet the real value comes after the sale when the acquired accounts are optimized.
Yes, you inevitably lose some, no matter how careful the transition, but the ones that remain are profitable and grow your bottom line. Even though this post-sale optimization is a critical final step, it’s not nearly as exciting as pursuing the deal. But it is more important. Critically so. Maximizing the value of a newly acquired property requires hard work, takes time, and receives little recognition. But when successful, the results pay off month after month.
Some answering services excel in deal-making but flounder at exploiting the potential of their purchase. As a result, they churn the accounts they just bought. While a few of those clients will stop using answering services altogether, a majority will move on to another answering service. And that’s good news for everyone else in the industry.
Each acquisition prompts some clients to look for a new service. In some cases, many accounts will want to jump ship. This means an opportunity for the rest of the industry. Look for ways to make it easy for these businesses to switch to your answering service. Speed and ease of transition is critical. They are in pain and want to move. Make it effortless, and they will choose you.
This is the upside to the dark side of acquisitions.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader, covering the telephone answering service industry. Check out his book How to Start a Telephone Answering Service.