Your Next Referral Could Turn Out to be a Real Turkey

By Steve Michaels

Living in the outback of Montana gives us the opportunity to see a lot of wild life. From our ranch, we have seen bears, mountain lions, coyotes, moose, and elk. With the addition of a two-acre pond, we also see muskrats, beavers, bald eagles, ospreys, blue herons, golden eagles, and plenty of trout. But one of the hardest species to spot that inhabits our area is wild turkey. They live in a flock and are ever wary of the many predators that surround us.

I decided one day to see if I could get them closer to the house so I could watch their many antics outside my window. I began distributing sunflower seeds near the barn where I knew they visited on a daily basis. Then, over time I made a trail of seeds leading closer to the house under a pear tree located right outside my window. I noticed there was only one turkey that would come closer each day leading me to believe that he was the head of the flock or the alpha male. Once he had cleared the way by showing there was no danger, the others would follow. After a couple of weeks, the entire flock was strutting their stuff right outside my window. This of course was fun and exciting, as the males would show their plumage trying to attract a female. It was a free show without me having to leave the comfort of my chair.

In the wild, there is always the dominant male or female that leads the group. They are the ones to whom the rest of the pack looks up to and follows for guidance, protection, and leadership. This is also the case in the business world.

When there is a new product or service offered to us in the teleservices industry, we at first become suspicious and wary, gathering as much information as possible about this new opportunity. We ask questions and get brochures, but inevitably look around for referrals to see whom else has purchased the product or service. Chances are, if one of our industry leaders or someone we rely on and trust as a business owner has purchased the package, then our fear and apprehension decreases; we assume they have done their homework and have found the system and the vendor to be reliable and reputable. If all is favorable, then we are more likely to purchase the same product, relying in part, on their decision and judgment.

The same holds true in growing your call center. For example, if you process medical calls and want to increase your client base, doesn’t it make sense to contact the director of a hospital or head of a medical group to sell your services? Making a visit to the doctor’s office and gathering as much information about that account as possible would be your first step. Learn how their operation works inside and out so that you can tailor your services to fit their desires to a tee. In doing so, they become pleased with your service and refer others to you. Then you can name-drop and use them as a reference when soliciting other clients in the same profession. Through word-of-mouth, your market niche will begin to grow. You can also pinpoint your advertising dollar and direct your sales campaign toward this particular industry. This specialization technique also works for real estate, funeral homes, apartment complexes, or any other industry that has a need for your services.

People like to make the right choices, especially when it comes to the success of their business. If they know that a respected member of their industry uses your services and is considered the alpha male or head turkey, then it is easier for them to follow. This tool is quite successful and has been proven to increase the client base of many teleservice companies nationwide.

Steve Michaels and TAS Marketing have been serving the TAS industry in the mergers and acquisitions arena for over 23 years with over 220 businesses sold. His years of experience have widened his scope and experience in buying and selling businesses nationwide. He may be contacted at 800-369-6126,, or visit

[From Connection MagazineMay/June 2002]

Learn more about the Telephone Answering Service Industry.

How to Start a Telephone Answering Service, by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PdH
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