May and June Trips To Philippines

I made 2 trips to the Philippines in May and June.  The primary purpose of these trips was to meet Rose Sarip, our newest large customer and potential new Stockholder for Globaltmail USA, Inc., sign contracts with her and receive payment.  During the first trip, I was able to hold some significant sales meetings in Kalibo and set up future sales of the PRG. To date, 4 PRG sales have been made from that trip.  Rose did not show up because her daughters didn’t have travel documents to leave their home in Saudi Arabia.  I made the 2nd trip because her daughters obtained their travel documents and Rose rescheduled her trip.

The 2nd trip was significant in that two things happened:  First, I was able to sign all the contract with Rose.  Second, we launched the new PRG Membership called “Starter PRG”.  Everybody thought Rose was going to pay within a day or two of signing the contracts.  As of this writing, she has not paid.  She has said she will pay before leaving the Philippines on August 10.  We are waiting to see if payment arrives.  The payment is supposed to consist of about $189,000 of PRG Membership payments, $100,000 in a stock purchase by Rose for her own account and another $25,000 for a partnership consisting of 19 individuals on Rose’s team.  We expect the total payment to be approximately $314,000;  but the final amount is not clear due to the fact that she wasn’t sure at the signing event about the exact number of ranks of PRG Memberships she would buy.

Launch of Starter PRG

The more significant aspect of the trip to the Philippines was the launch of our new Starter PRG Membership.  This membership appears to be catching on among those who are interested in the Company’s success.  Within 24 hours of announcing the membership, we had 32 people commit to purchase.  As of this date, there are 45 who are now committed.  This is a $500 membership that’s available on a full-pay or a 2-pay plan. Most customers are opting for the 2-pay plan.  Yesterday I received the first payment from several of the new Starter PRG Members. in the amount of a little more than $1,700.  I don’t yet have details about the pricing because Randy has allowed them to pay with Peso’s instead of USD.

Randy also reports there are approximately an additional 100 more prospects who have expressed interest in buying the Starter PRG.  He believes this new membership will dramatically transform the company by providing a steady and growing sales volume.

I believe he is right.

Summary: October 2013 to May 2014

It has been a remarkable journey since closing the call center last September.  We have completely re-purposed the primary focus our our company to be closer to the vision originally outlined in the business plans from 2006 and the Private Placement Memorandum & Business Plan from 2010.  As of today, I can say we have successfully deployed Voifone™ and it’s growing rapidly.

6 Months of Almost $0 Revenue

Development has been continual and around the clock since we decided to close the call center and focus on building the more comprehensive communications platform that has always been our primary goal.  Admittedly, the GroupCaller™ call center and lead-generation business we operated last year was just a means-to-an-end, a method of generating sufficient revenue to hire the developers necessary to complete the whole project, but it came to an abrupt end without warning or expectation.  As often happens, adversity brings with it the seeds of success.  And that seems to be the case with our current effort.

How Did We Survive?

So, how did we hire more developers, keep the staff open, move out of the call center facility and open a new office in Morong, and add several new platforms since last October?  I didn’t go out and find new investors.  What I did was simple:  I invested almost all my remaining assets into this business – well into the six figures in the past 7 months – more than 95% of my assets have now been invested into the company.  I’m proud of our progress and have “bet the farm” so to speak on our success, of which I have no doubt.

What We Accomplished

In the 7 1/2 months since beginning this massive development effort we have accomplished a lot.  And we’re now at the beginning stages of seeing the results of our efforts.  Here’s a quick summary of what we accomplished so far:

  • MLM Back Office Functional:  The framework necessary for independent sales reps to do their jobs is what we call the “Back Office”.  This is the e-commerce and MLM/Network Marketing system that allows the purchase of our services, tracking of sales and calculates the commission and bonus payout schedule that motivates our sales team.  This was an arduous task and took 4 months from start to finish (last October until the end of January before we could use it).  In reality, this is like all our other platforms and is never really “finished”.  We simply created enough to make it usable.  We’ll continue to add new features as long as technology continues to develop.  And we think that will be “forever”.  As of this writing, the Back Office works great and is being used daily by hundreds of new Associates.
  • Voifone™ Platform Works:  We’re proud to say that our main product has been deployed and is used daily by a rapidly increasing fan-base.  As far as I know, we’re the only VoIP International calling system that provides direct-dial to the entire world right out-of-the-box, while at the same time providing a compensation system merely for registering and using our services.  We currently have 4 great soft phones for Android, Windows, iOS (iPhone & iPad) and MAC operating system.  Registration for new accounts and the software is available online.  Users download the PC and MAC software from our website, and can install Voifone™ on their Android devices from Google Play, plus they’ll find the iPhone and iPad versions in the App Store.  I can’t begin to emphasize what a great accomplishment it is to have a fully functional application like this that rivals the big players in the industry.  We’re now on the launching pad and starting to aggressively market our system.
  • SMS International Mobile Marketing:  Our bulk text-messaging service has been deployed and is linked through our website as of this writing.  This week, I’ll be setting up the e-commerce and inviting our first customers to use the system.  This is a very sophisticated text-messaging system that works worldwide.  The purpose is bulk SMS service for companies and organizations.  However, the pricing is so low that even individuals can take advantage of this great service!  Anyone who wants to use it can subscribe to an account by Saturday, May 17, 2014.
  • SMS Domestic USA Mobile Marketing:  We think SMS marketing is the hottest thing in advertising and commercial communications right now, and it’s going to remain that way in the foreseeable future.  We now can boast one of the most sophisticated services in America – and therefore in the world.  And it’s “OURS”!  Final testing of the platform is under way right now.  I expect to deploy this platform shortly after returning from my trip to the Philippines in early June.  All the functions of short-code text messaging, mobile coupons, polling and surveys, bounce-backs, auto-response, key-word marketing and even the ability for our customers to create their own mobile websites from our software is included!  We remained consistent in our aggressive pricing model too.  I believe we are BY FAR the cheapest service at this level of performance in the USA.  In the summer, we’ll begin recruiting USA-based sales agents and turn our International sales team loose on attacking the USA with a marketing blitz to recruit and train a top-notch sales force who will acquire the small-business customer base we need to make ours one of the most popular means of mobile marketing in the USA, and in the world.
  • GroupCaller™ CRM:  Our CRM has been completely dismantled and re-built from the ground up.  It’s a necessary tool for our own company as we grow. The CRM ties all functions and communications with customers, vendors, Associates and others together under one roof.  We went the extra mile and turned it into a full-featured bulk email tool as well.  The pricing of this product is dependent on the size of the customer’s contact list.  Our pricing model is far less than competing CRM’s and we believe our feature set is better also.  As an example, we’re the ONLY provider of a sophisticated CRM that does NOT charge per-month-per-user.  We allow all customers to have unlimited users on their accounts.  For us, it’s all about the database size and bulk email features. But it goes a step further.  The CRM has been designed to promote our other existing telecom platforms.  The bulk SMS system has been fully integrated in the CRM.  Also, anyone with a Voifone™ account can use the Click-2-Call feature of the CRM and see their entire call history logged into the History panel for each contact in their database. Wow! That’s a feature NOBODY ELSE in the CRM industry has!  The system has been developed and is in testing phase right now.  I expect deployment of a trial system to be used only by ourselves by the time i travel on the 21st of this month.  After my return, sometime in June, I’ll roll out the full-featured system and make it available for sale.  This commercial product has the potential of being the most profitable division of our company.  CRM revenue world-wide has been growing at a blinding pace, but nobody else in the CRM industry incorporates all the communications tools under one roof, with one account as we do.
  • Live Chat and Trouble Ticket System:  We have deployed a Live Chat system on our website so users can talk with us at almost any time.  Currently, the system is staffed from 9 am until midnight, 7 days a week on Philippines time.  We’ll add the missing 9 hours with live staff when sales volume and demand for this service increases.  One of the greatest features to our chat system is the fact that we’re able to integrate it with our CRM. This means that, for every registered user who chats with us, the chat transcript is logged right into their Contact account in the CRM.  We’re truly becoming a fully-integrated firm where our service personnel have access to 100% of our contacts with everyone from vendors to customers to sales Associates to Leads and others.  We’re looking forward to fully integrating with our CRM, which I expect will be deployed sometime in July this year.
  • Robocaller:  Our own voice broadcast system is called Robocaller.  Automated voice broadcast has been a part of our development since the beginning.  But this is the first time we have built a fully DIY (Do-It-Yourself) system that allows customers to register, set up their own calling campaigns, and execute those campaigns, all without the need to talk or interact “live” with us.  We’re really excited to deploy this full system.  I don’t think we’ll finish it in time for this year’s massive political robocall season, but look out!  In two years when we have the most intense presidential debate and election of my lifetime, we’ll be ready for all the politicians.  I expect we’ll quickly rise to the top of this service simply due to the fact that our interface is simple and elegant, and our pricing is far less than the competitors.  While voice broadcast calls have been virtually eliminated for purely commercial purposes in the USA, we have found a way to make this service legally available to ALL Associates of the company as one of their primary communications tools with their downlines – and they can use it Internationally (a feature not offered by most voice broadcast systems).
  • Fully Revamped Ecommerce:  We finally broke away from Paypal!  They have a fantastic user-friendly system. But it comes at a huge cost as our volume grows.  They charge us more than 5% for all transactions.  This is OK at small volume but as we grow, it’s much too costly.  Our merchant account through our bank costs about 1.9% plus some other fees.  At small volume, this is even more expensive than Paypal.  However, as our volume grow, the expense is far less than Paypal.  All sales are currently handled through our Back Office.  Those customers who want nothing to do with the opportunity we offer can simply register as a customer, load their Voifone™ account, subscribe or purchase any of our services through the Back Office.  Voifone™ loads can also be paid directly into their online account if they want instant access to the account balance.  When loading funds through the back office, it takes up to 4 hours (during our business hours) to transfer those funds into their account for use.
  • New Website:  Our website is fantastic!  We switched from HTML to a WordPress website and I think you’ll agree it’s a great, functional and elegant looking website. If you haven’t checked it out, please do so by going here:  http://voifone.com .  Our old website, http://groupcaller.com, is offline as of this writing.  However, we’ll bring it back up within the next few weeks just as a place-holder until we can address some of the issues for the Hosted Call Center application.
  • Mobile Website:  In addition to our primary website, when customers find us on their mobile devices, they’ll find a website that has been optimized for their mobile device.  This is a big break-through since so many of our users don’t even have a PC or Mac.  And even when they do, most people now rely on their mobile device for most of their online activity.  We’re on the leading edge of this technology and I expect to stay there ad infinitum.
  • New Branding:  Our branding has changed.  The Voifone™ logo is becoming more and more popular and known throughout the world.  We’re putting the logo to good use.  This morning, i got the new art that will allow us to make nice, embroidered logo T-shirts, polo shirts and ball caps.  We also got the artwork to screen print on T-shirts.  I expect you’ll find a section of the website selling branded logo-wear by this coming fall!

Upward Trend

The numbers speak for themselves.  We’re growing rapidly and the call volume show exactly what is happening.  Let me show you the call counts that really begin to tell the tale of what has happened in the past several weeks as we began to aggressively market and deploy Voifone™.   Following are the call-count stats showing the the number of calls made by our users only on PAID calls (free call volume is NOT included here):

Calls per month, 1st 5 months of 2014

Calls per month, 1st 5 months of 2014

I expect when I show you this same graph for the entire 3rd Quarter, you’ll be amazed at the growth pattern.  We’re seeing it now and I expect the numbers to increase rapidly through the rest of this year.

Here’s another interesting graph.  It shows the site visits.  We have been at somewhere between 0 and 15 visits daily “forever”.  Now look what has happened – we’re averaging more than 200 hits a day on average and register on average 5 to 10 new users every day!

Vists_2014

At the current rate, since we’re only at May 12 as of the date of this writing, I expect by the end of May we’ll see yet another increase.  at the present rate, we’re getting an average of 127 hits daily (biggest day was 318 hits).  What a difference from only 5 to 15 hits a day a few months ago!

Stay tuned. More is coming.  This blog is designed especially for owners, officers, managers and PRG Members of the Company.   There’s a lot happening so I need to get back to work!

Voifone Launch for 2014!

After the 4th Quarter 2013 push for development of the all-new Voifone™ we’re starting out 2014 with a bang! Get ready for

VoiFone logoThis product forms the basis for our global communications platform and is the first of several applications to roll off the assembly line complete and read to go.

Beta Testing

We’re currently in the phase of beta testing this service.  Basically, Voifone™ is an International VoIP phone service available on virtually all platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android, iPad, Tablets and even Blackberry. We provide the best prices and highest quality service of any of the many providers.  Beta Tester positions have been filled. However, you can go ahead and register as a Beta Tester because we’ll be replacing those who are not actively engaged in testing our service during the next week or two.  There are a number of benefits to beta testing our services, so please look into it.

Most Systems Functional – Time To Start Using!

The basic services for Voifone™ are available and in use every day now.  The most popular platforms are, in this order:

  1. Android
  2. Windows
  3. Mac
  4. iPhone

To get started, first register as a Beta Tester.  You’ll get an email with download instructions and your login credentials.  If you’re lucky enough to be one of the original 50 Beta Testers, we’ll also load a balance on your account so you can make many calls worldwide for free!

New Calling Plans Coming

We currently offer the lowest per-minute calling plan in the industry.  We’ll be adding flat-rate unlimited calling plans to North America plus other destinations in the next few days.  Please keep your eye on the Buying Page for more information.  Also, log into this blog frequently to stay up to date.

 

Revenue Growth Despite FCC Disaster

Well, I’m happy to report that DESPITE the fact our call center was forced to cease operations and we spent more time preparing to sell than actually selling in the past Quarter, we STILL increased our revenue!  Here’s a quick snapshot of the 2 Quarters of revenue we had in this, our first “real” year of selling:

2013-Q2-Q3-Revenue

Once again, the sales totals aren’t nearly enough to support our expenses (yep, we’re STILL operating at a substantial loss), but we’re going in the right direction when we take the eagle’s eye viewpoint!  So we posted an increase of 14.8% in the 3rd Quarter over the 2nd Quarter. Now if we could just add about 3 zero’s onto the right side of these number’s we’d REALLY be talking about an exciting year!  But instead, we’re dealing with a very tough problem.

As of this writing, I’m very optimistic that before the end of this 4th Quarter, we’re going to once again EXCEED the 3rd Quarter totals. But I think it’s going to be a wide margin of increase.  I’m shooting for something like a 400% or 800% increase over the 3rd Quarter numbers.  Now THAT would be exciting, right?

Here’s a look at the month-to-month volume since we started revenue at the end of April this year:

2013-MonthlyRevenue

Notice the nose-dive after an exciting start in the 2nd Quarter.  Why?  Because I discovered right at the end of June we weren’t NEARLY well prepared enough to support any kind of sales growth.  The reason?  Not enough trained support staff. Essentially ” I ” was the support staff.  There was just no way I could keep up with even a small amount of sales.  It was very time intensive to take care of new Lead Generation customers, and in the end, we had only ONE customer that was profitable for us.  (The only one doing a lot of business with us – a large insurance marketing organization in Calfifornia called Freeway Insurance.) But we added a total of 4 full time support staffers in July and August.  The first one moved back home to Indonesia at the beginning of September so he missed all the recent fireworks and excitement of closing down the call center.  But 2 of the other 3 are still on full time staff and the 3rd one is waiting to return after furlough.

Even with our new strategy of direct-selling our “Worldwide Contact Center”, we need a good support staff. In fact, I’m pretty sure the support reps are going to be vital to our growth.  We have to manually set up each and every new customer and test their account before they can use it (with the exception of VoiFone CARD customers – they can use their service the moment they pay for it).  We have made the setup process far more efficient than ever before in the past two weeks. By next week, it should take only 5 to 10 minutes to set up a new customer, including the  initial phone call to show them how to use the system.  The goal is to make it so one support rep can set up 5 to 10 new customers every hour.

It seems clear to me that we’re going to KEEP the call center. But it’s going to morph into a support center, not a sales center. That’s fine with me!  In fact, I know the staff is anxious to return to work and very excited about their new positions as support reps.  The technical side of what they’ll do is not very difficult so it shouldn’t be hard to train them.

Randy continues to express his firm conviction that there’s a huge market in the Philippines for the kind of service we have created.  I think it’s very ironic that we, as an American company, will likely generate the first REAL success for ourselves  out of a foreign country.  But that’s OK.  We’re designed as an International company, so I guess it’s altogether appropriate that we kick off our growth from a foreign land!

FCC Implementation Today – Wireless Consent Rule – Our Solution?

OK, today’s the day. The new Wireless Consent Rule went into effect today.  I have been sweating bullets since the last blog entry figuring out exactly what we’re going to do about it. This article describes our new direction.

The Solution

The legal research was completed and so was the analysis of “Voicemail Marketing.”  It’s a no-go.  It’s a non-starter. The numbers don’t add up for that type of marketing and there’s just too much risk, legally and business-wise. After careful consideration, research, consultation with counsel (Scott Coombs, Esquire) and much prayer, I decided on the following course of action:

  • Discontinue cold call lead generation with our call center.
  • Replace it with our own “Worldwide Contact Center”: Phone • SMS • Email • Chat services all wrapped into a single application.

So, two weeks ago last Monday I furloughed the call center staff and began the process to fully develop VoiFone and prepare ourselves to aggressively sell something we can already do (Phone • SMS • Email • Chat). To do this, we had to figure out exactly how to market and sell this new product (ie make it into an exciting and a viable service that LOTS of people would want).  The rest of this article brings you up to speed on how soon the new services will be fully implemented and our sales efforts will begin.

Preparation For Sales

Although we already had the entire infrastructure required to DO what I mentioned above, it was nowhere close to being ready to SELL. Especially to the consuming public. In fact, what I’m really doing is accelerating the pace of development and attempting to implement a large part of our over-all plan since inception . . . and do it RIGHT NOW rather than wait until sometime next year. Earlier this year we decided to use revenue from Lead Generation through the Philippines call center to generate the revenue and cash needed to complete development of the entire GlobalTmail™ concept. Raising more capital just seemed too difficult. This new FCC rule changes all that and destroyed most of the past 7 months of investment and work (and really, the entire year’s worth of work to date). Well, I’m determined to make the best of this bad situation and find something good from it.  I think I’ve already done that.  We’re in process right now of making it all work out for the best.

Complete The Development of VoiFone

The center piece of our new “product” is VoiFone. We’ve been working on it most of this year but haven’t put in much time and effort until the past 2 weeks. Now it suddenly became the highest priority item.  This is a soft phone designed to work on computers and smart phones.  It’s capable of making calls worldwide to most countries at deeply discounted rates.  It also does video calls, video chat, text chat and has a host of other features.

I instructed the developers to finish the browser version first because that’s the one that fits in with what we’ve already got developed “right now.” The Android and iPhone versions will roll out before the end of the year as well. But I’m insisting on having the browser-based VoiFone this month.  I have been assured it will happen.  We’ll see.

Click-to-Call

In the meantime, we’ll use of the C2C feature that’s already built into our CRM. It works flawlessly and makes calls worldwide. We have several people using it right now as beta testers. They’re also marketing people who are excited about selling our product and are busy recruiting several other people around the world to begin selling for us as soon as the compensation system is set up and operational.  We currently reach more than 200 countries for phone calls and text messaging.

Create VoiFone CARD

Another vital part of the product mix is our virtual phone card. In non-USA countries, phone cards are often the only way people can make phone calls. We’re going to issue our own for the Philippines and for the USA. But they’re “virtual cards” and not plastic or paper. Essentially, all we have to do is have an inbound toll free phone number and issue PIN’s to people who want to make calls. Our programmer has told us that he’ll have it ready to use next week.  We have already tested it and it works just fine.  In foreign countries, many people don’t have bank accounts or debit/credit cards so they wouldn’t be able to use our primary services anyway. But I have been assured by Randy, our Philippines Sales Manager, that the masses in his country would be very interested in buying and using our VoiFone CARD product. So we’re creating it and should be selling it before the end of October.

Develop SMS Billing Module

Coincidentally, we had just recently completed the SMS (text messaging) module that works through our CRM. This module has to be upgraded so it has a complete billing system plus ecommerce that allows customers to add funds to their SMS account, see a history of the text messages they send, track their usage, and add more funds when they get low.  This sounds simple but in reality it’s very complex. The task was assigned to our existing CRM developer, Biztechnosys, from India. They’re working on it daily right now.  We’re testing the SMS system daily. If any reader of this article wants to participate as a beta tester just let me know and we’ll activate an account for you and pay for your first text messages.

Create  MLM/Network Marketing Back End

Randy Albalate convinced me that the MLM/Network Marketing system would be the most effective way to sell this new product mix (VoiFone). I have hired another offshore company to develop the back-office and compensation plan calculation software to handle this.  After intensive research, I found a company willing to provide this entire system for a tiny fraction of the cost of most of their competitors. It’s supposed to be ready to use within a week. I’m not sure that’s true, but I’m corresponding and working with them daily. India just had a 2-day holiday at the same time as our Columbus day, so we didn’t really see any updates since last Friday (it was as 4-day weekend for them). Tomorrow or tonight I expect an update. They have plenty to do, but they have assured me that they’ll come in “on time and within the budget.”  I’m counting on that to be TRUE!  But I’m not going to hold my breath. I just hope they get it done before the end of the month.  Randy has already been out making presentations to his contacts in the MLM marketing community and also to potential commercial and residential customers in Philippines.  He tells me there’s LOTS of interest, so he’s as enthusiastic as I have ever seen him.  It’s gratifying to see that there’s a very real possibility of finishing this year with a bang instead of a fizzle!

Set Up International eCommerce

The eCommerce section will likely be the most difficult. It’s already worked out for our phone calls.  In other words, we have a system in place right now where our customer can log into their account, use a debit card, credit card or Paypal account, add funds, and get instant access to more calls.  This works “perfectly” right now!  But we have to build a system for the SMS module.  That’s in process. My developer reported yesterday that they have already been in contact with the SMS carrier and they’re working out the details.  I expect they’ll have the SMS billing system ready by the end of the month or first week of November.

The most difficult part of eCommerce is getting the MLM Compensation Plan to update the existing billing systems for calls and SMS while at the same time instantly updating all the commission and bonus accounts for sales people. We expect to attract thousands of sales people from all over the world who are looking for a better way to make money. Randy is expecting rapid growth right after we bring the MLM compensation plan online.

Upgrade Image & Publish New Website

We need  a new image to go along with the new product.  I hired a full time web developer who has just completed his first full week with us.  The first thing he did was provide a completely new logo design for GloblaTmail.  It’s great!  here it is:

GTMAUSA_NEWheader-signupLink

This the first logo people have seen where strangers can actually pronounce it correctly. I have to believe it’s a major upgrade to our image!  Here’s what he created for our VoiFone image…. cool!

VoiFone logo

I’m beginning to think this FCC disaster isn’t so much of a disaster as it’s the “right thing to do.”  I’m catching the excitement Randy has been talking about since I told him we’ll go ahead and pursue this with all our energy.  In fact for most of the past 18 months, this is a project lots of us wanted to start. We just couldn’t see how it could be our primary sales product until NOW.  Now we have no choice – and I’m becoming cautiously optimistic that we may have found something that’ll really catch fire.  Sure hope so!

Create Full SEO Marketing Campaign

We’re not going to rely on “JUST” the MLM and Network marketing crowd to make this project a hit.  There are millions of people all over the world looking for exactly what we now sell every day of the week. That’s the main reason I hired Nestor Tolentino. He’s a very talented web designer and SEO expert from the Philippines. In fact, he lives only about 30 Km from our Morong, Rizal call center.  So I expect I’ll meet him on my next trip to the Philippines.  Don’t know when that’s going to be yet, but if sales really take off I expect I’ll make a trip there to “support the troops.”

You can take a sneak preview of the new website right now.  Those who have seen it really like it!  And so do I.  It’s a great improvement over what we have right now.  But it’s not ready to use yet.  I think it’ll take most of the rest of this month before we can move it over to the main site (http://groupcaller.com) and make it available to everyone.  The new MLM Compensation Plan is supposed to have the same look and feel of this website, even though it’s being developed and hosted in India.  Users won’t see the difference.  It should be a seamless experience for them, and most people will think it’s all just part of one big website when in reality, this “website” is scattered throughout the world, on several different servers in different states of the USA, and in Philippines and India as well.  What a world we live in!

Working Night And Day

I don’t have much time to post articles in here because it’s taking all my waking time to transition us from primarily a call center operation to a Worldwide Contact Center.  It’s an exciting time in the company and I have never been as optimistic as I am right now!  Check back here next week and I should have an update on the progress.  My birthday is October 22, next Tuesday.  I’m telling all the developers what I want for my birthday – PROJECT COMPLETION!

Q3 Looked Promising – Until The SMACK-DOWN

Yep. July and August were pretty much “bust” months from a sales perspective as I mentioned in my last post.  But September started out great! In fact, we were on a roll and I had enough business lined up to beat our Q2 sales volume. I was looking forward to showing a great report for Q3 next week.  Things can change so quickly in the business world.

Suddenly, almost 2 weeks ago, I got the bad news:  New FCC regulations ban about 85% of what we do. Most of the past 2 weeks since I discovered this draconian new edict, I have been scrambling trying to find a replacement to the business model I have been building for years.  Whatever solution I find must be “legal”, must “work” for us and our Clients (ie it must actually generate low-cost leads) and it must be profitable.   I have a pretty good idea of what to do, but as of this writing I’m still not certain. Before announcing a final decision on our answer to this new regulation, I must wait for a formal legal opinion from our attorney, Scott Coombs.

The Looming Threat

October 16, 2013 a new set of regulations promulgated by the FCC will tighten the noose around the neck of ALL companies using automated dialing equipment to make outbound phone calls to cell phones, whether residential or business phones.  As of that date it is illegal to call cell phones with automated equipment without “express written consent”. Most call centers with outbound call functions are affected. We have about 2 weeks remaining to modify our business model to conform with the new regulations. If we continue operating “as is” without modifying our business model, we’ll face severe penalties that could spell extinction for this company. Obviously, I can’t let THAT happen.

What Are The Changes To The Law?

You can read some of the detail for yourself in one of many good articles I found online describing this upcoming change.  There’s also a link in this article to the law itself.  There’s a lot of detail in the new regulations that doesn’t really affect us.  But there are a couple of major items that will destroy us if we don’t prepare for them and change our business model to meet the demands of the government.

First I’ll just give you the overview of the primary sections of this new rule that directly impact everything we’re doing.  Essentially, anyone using autodialing equipment to make calls must obtain express written consent before making any call to any wireless phone or device.  What this means is that before October 16, it’s perfectly legal for us to call all business phone numbers with our GroupCaller™ predictive dialing system to solicit business from them (because calls to business phone numbers have been exempt in the past from the rules for predictive dialers and voice broadcast calls). This is currently what we do to find new clients.  On October 16, we must remove all cell phone numbers from any dialing list for ourselves or our clients (in addition to removing all DNC numbers) because we DON’T have express written consent from owners of those cell phones.

Also, before October 16, it’s also perfectly legal to call any residential phone number with our automated system as long as we’re calling with a “live” operator. After October 16, all cell phones must also be removed from the residential listings unless we have the specified “express written consent” of the call recipients. Why is this important? Because fully 85%+ of all phone numbers we call are cell phones. By calling only land lines, we’ll never have enough phone numbers to call for most of our Clients. We could still use our system to call our own prospective Clients, but the list will be about 85% smaller due to the large number of cell phones listed as a business phone of most small companies (like insurance agents).

So, How To Get Express Written Consent?

Web forms. This is how the biggest call centers and online marketers build their marketing (calling) lists. As a smaller company, we must buy our lists. To replace the list of approximately 272,000,000 residential phone numbers and 19,000,000 business phone numbers we maintain “in house” will take a long time and a lot of money. And it’ll be impossible in the short term. There are companies out there who DO have thousands of lead-capture web forms that harvest hundreds of thousands or millions of name/address/phones each month. But we don’t.  Those companies merely have to modify their online forms with some new language. No problem. For those of you who have followed our progress since 2006, you know that our ultimate plan (what I have always referred to as “Phase II” of our marketing strategy) involves a massive web presence that allows us to do just that. But during the past 18 months, we have prepared to build that online presence from the profits earned from the outbound call center lead-generation activities of  GroupCaller™.  Now, suddenly, the time is upon us where we “must” develop our online presence “right now”. But we can’t do it in 2 weeks. Or 2 months. Or even 6 months. It’ll take 1 to 2 years, and that’s only “IF” we can afford a large enough team of SEO/SMM/SMO marketing experts to do the work.

Cell Phone Scrubbing

We’ll still be able to use GroupCaller™ to call land lines (business and residential). However, we’ll only reach about 15% of of the phone numbers previously available to us.  We have to begin scrubbing all wireless phone numbers out of our system. Fortunately, Jeff Wilson, our CIO was able to figure out how we can do that. Mostly online cell phone scrubbing services charge about 1/2 cent per phone number in the database for the scrubbing. This may not sound like much but it completely eliminates our ability to make money. As an example, in the most recent cancellation I mentioned above, the new campaign we were supposed to start last Friday had about 240,000 phone numbers to call.  Scrubbing it for cell phone numbers would have reduced the list to about 36,000 numbers – WAY to small to run a successful campaign for them, and the scrubbing would have cost us about $1,200.  To put this into perspective, the Client was paying us $1,600 for the campaign. Of course the $400 remaining isn’t nearly enough to pay for labor, VoIP expense, management expense and all the rest that goes into running a campaign. So the bottom line is, we CAN’T pay another service to scrub for cell phone numbers if we wish to make a profit.

The Solution: Voicemail Marketing.  “Maybe.”

I say “maybe” because the legal research isn’t yet complete that tells me whether or not it’s legal to do what I’m contemplating, AND I haven’t fully tested the concept to make sure it can be profitable. I have given the project of determining whether or not my proposed solution is “legal” to Scott Coombs, an Arizona business and bankruptcy attorney. He has served as my primary legal counsel for almost 30 years now, since 1984. After studying the situation and looking at all the stats, there might be one and possibly two similar solutions.  Both of them rely on manually dialed calls which are generally exempt from the new regulation.

First, and the one I think has the best chance of business success, is to manually dial all phone numbers available to us, whether business or residential, land line or cell phone, and deliver short, 30-second messages to the voice mail of those phones.  Manually dialed calls are generally exempt from these new rules. Our statistics show that 53.42% of the 1,429,813 calls we made between June 1, 2013 and today (763,806 calls) were NOT ANSWERED.  Of the remaining 666,007 calls, 14.89% were human-answered. So as a company, we actually spoke to 99,168 people during the 3rd Quarter of this year.  The rest of those calls, 566,839 went to voice mail and answering devices. Of course all this was done with our powerful GroupCaller™ that pushes an amazing number of live calls through to our agents. Knowing that the conversion percent of people we speak to who actually become “leads” is small, generally around 1% to 2% of those we actually talk to, it’s pretty clear that by manually dialing, we’ll never reach enough people to conduct a viable marketing campaign for ourselves or for our clients. But there is one method that may still work:  Leaving voice messages.  This is what I’m hoping the attorney will approve. We did a highly successful voice broadcast campaign that relied heavily on leaving voice messages several weeks ago. It was the most successful campaign I have seen since the early 1990’s or late 1980’s. This is the source of my optimism. People got their voice mail and returned the calls.  I encourage leaving voice messages on voice mail after manually dialing because I know we can build specialty software into our VoiFone™ product that will allow the agent to click a button to leave the voice message, and then immediately begin dialing the next number while the system completes the message. This can increase the efficiency of each agent by 200% to 400% regarding the number of messages they can leave in a single day.

Second, we could do the same as above, except don’t leave a voice message. Instead, the agent would simply leave a short message of 10 seconds or less asking people to call us to get an important message about “____” whatever we’re promoting (insurance, making money, getting leads, etc.) This would be much more difficult to produce a profit for ourselves but it “may” work.

The bottom line is, I can’t determine whether either of these will work economically until I know whether we can do it legally. So for now, we’re wrapping up the campaigns with our 2 remaining active clients and waiting to hear back from our attorney. If I get a thumbs-up on the first proposal above, we’ll set up some tests and try to determine whether or not we can make a profit by manually dialing through a newly modified VoiFone™, and whether the response rate is high enough that we can truly service our clients.

What’s Next?

Regardless of the solution to this legal issue, it’s imperative that I raise additional capital, and come closer to the original stated goals in our PPM (Private Placement Memorandum).  Please refer me to anyone you may know who would like to become an equity stake holder in the long-term vision of this company.

I Never Said It Would Be EASY . . .

. . . and I was RIGHT! Creating a company capable of grossing several million dollars a month in sales volume is NOT easy. I have accomplished this task 3 times in my life, first at age 29 – lost it at age 30. Next was age 35, lost it at age 38. Next was at age 41, lost it at age 48. Each loss was due to government intervention, not business practices. And each success came at the end of many years struggling to build the infrastructure.

Years Of Preparation

Each time I achieved affluence and success, a company grossing from 1.5 million to 3.0 million monthly, it took many years of preparation and hard work on that ONE project before I finally achieved what most people assumed was an “overnight success.”  Yeah. Right.  All “they” saw was the time when I went from barely surviving to doing millions of dollars a month in volume over a span of usually less than 6 months. That’s spectacular. Unless you know the years of preparation that went into preparing for that growth and volume.

Just like in the past, it has taken years to build the infrastructure for this company. The difference is this is a much bigger infrastructure than anything I attempted in the past, so it takes longer and costs more.  Frankly, this company was designed from the very beginning to be the biggest project of my life and the crown jewel of my entrepreneurial career.  At this stage, when looking at the big picture, looking back on all that has been accomplished, I can’t help but believe we are well on our way to realizing our goals and achieving some of the first milestones.

We started programming for this GlobalTmail™ / GroupCaller™ / (and more!) project in March 2006. We had completed sufficient development for “live” beta testing of the first module (the call/contact center GroupCaller™) in the late spring of 2012. That’s 6 years to have a beta version ready to go. Keep in mind, GroupCaller™ represents only about 10% of the total business model we have presented since the beginning.  Now, it’s about 15 months AFTER we started beta testing the GroupCaller™ module, and I can state with confidence that Version 1.0 is fully developed. But just like any software/hardware based firm, we don’t stop at 1.0. That’s the beginning. There are many improvements we’ve identified and are working on.  Although I CANNOT point to sales figures yet as proof of the success of our concept and formula, I “CAN” point to other indicators that tell me we’re very much on the right track. Most importantly, we have identified a need that is NOT being well-served in America.  We’re exploiting that weakness right now, which is the generally very poor quality of lead generation available to insurance agents (and many other industries) in the USA. Our ability to generate high-quality leads has been well documented and proven by our customers and by our statistics; now the task is to get the word out, close more sales, and build our list of satisfied customers.

Disappointing Summer Season

We started the summer with such high hopes and expectations. Now fall is settling in and I am forced to concede defeat in this Summer’s marketing battle. But progress in the over-all war to conquer our own sales and marketing milestones is undeniable. This Summer’s battle of which I write is that contest that pits “us” against “the market place.”  We failed to present our product (GroupCaller™ lead generation services and Hosted Call Center services) in a manner that compels our prospects to pay us for our services, not just once, but over and over. Why? There are a multitude or reasons, such as my failure to fully delegate ALL support duties quickly enough to keep the sales ball rolling. In other words, it’s impossible for me to run the company, continue development, provide customer support AND make sales. Although April-June saw a spectacular growth in sales, it took me almost all of July and August to bring our staff up to a point where they could actually deliver our services without my help.  I’m still not completely satisfied that the staff can handle all support and service delivery tasks without my help, but I’d say were 70% or more to that goal. Because almost all my time had to be spent on issues related to delivering our service, I had nearly NO time to devote to marketing and sales. In August, I started shifting my focus to marketing and sales, which underscored some weakness in our ability to deliver timely service to customers. So August was devoted mostly to fine-tuning our services plus developing a new sales model, which is presented in this article.

During the 2nd Quarter of 2013 (April-May-June), we had terrific sales growth!  I revealed in in my last post on June 14.  I intended to keep that web page updated often but I didn’t.  We aren’t yet getting sufficient revenue to justify daily, weekly or even monthly updates, so I’m only updating it Quarterly. You can look for the next update to those charts at the beginning of October. I can already tell you it’s either going to look like a disaster, or, depending on what happens in September, it might just look like the most spectacular chart you’ve ever seen!  I have reason to believe the latter, as you’ll see if you keep reading this article. Our revenue for July and August dropped to nearly zero for each month. Now we’re in the first week of September. How do we reverse the trend? Keep reading . . .

How Have We Survived?

You’re right. It’s brutal here in the trenches. Too much work (for me averaging about 14 hours daily, 6 or 7 days each week), and very little money. But we survive because I have raised sufficient capital. Capital (or the lack of it) is the reason behind the success (or failure) of most companies. In the spring, Sam (not his real name) invested an additional $50,000 in the company, adding to the $50,000 he had placed with us last year. I have added an additional $80,000 of my own money, which i received through an inheritance. With that money, I bought stock in the company to keep us alive this year. That $130,000 is the reason I’m still able to write to you and the company has survived. Sales have been anemic at best. But there are reasons for it. In part, I have NOT wanted, nor have I tried, to do a complete “roll out” in any sales promotion. The reason is I must first see bona fide results of a successful test. In the meantime, I’m continuing to expend some effort to raise more capital for our survival and also I’m developing 2 “big ticket” items to sell (a “Professional Package” and the “Enhanced VAR – Value Added Reseller”.  . It’s incumbent on me to create cash for this company. We have a full time staff that depends on this company for their livelihood, including ME. We have invested way too much in terms of money, time and effort to let go and give up at this stage, so you can expect I’ll devote whatever time, effort and resource is required to ensure that we ultimately reach the goal I set for us so long ago:  Multi-Million Dollar Monthly Sales Volume.

What’s Going RIGHT?

The Wednesday before the Labor Day holiday I conducted a Voice Broadcast Campaign that got a conversion rate higher than I have seen since before the year 2000. It was initially 1.82% of those receiving the call who responded. It has now topped 2.0% !  You may not recall this, but in the past we have struggled for a 0.1% response rate, so this represents a FULL 2000% INCREASE (20 times higher) than anything I experienced in the past since we began using our voice broadcast system, and is close to what I saw in the best days of voice broadcast, back in 1988 to 1991. This is the best news I have seen! On August 6 we began experimenting with a new sales model. You can take a look at the end product of this sales modal on our website – the Insurance Leads For Sale page. And with that, here’s what’s going RIGHT:

  • Overview Marketing Theory Was Proven CORRECT!  This may sound a little trite, but it’s perhaps the biggest, best news of all!  Please bear with me because it’s going to take a little explaining (and reading on your part).
    • First, I theorized that if any industry REALLY NEEDS leads and needs them constantly, it’s the insurance industry, ESPECIALLY new, independent insurance agents. I was right. There is an abundance of proof available that shows the need is big and getting bigger.  In short, we are already IN the right place at the right time. That’s a big part of the war to conquer our sales and marketing goal which is already won!
    • Second, I had a theory that, if I could show insurance agents that we really DO have leads available, we really CAN get them, and that they’re available for purchase RIGHT NOW, we’d get their attention and they would be more likely to buy from us. I was right on PART of that theory:  We got their attention in a very big way! But the “…likely to buy from us…” part has yet to be seen.  I can still “feel” it coming, though, so I am very encouraged by the results of the past 2 weeks.
    • Third, we definitely chose the right industry (insurance) as our initial target market for our services. One of the reasons we originally chose the insurance industry as the primary industry we’ll target to start with was our belief that insurance agents are WAY under-served when it comes to lead generation. Most companies who sell or acquire leads for insurance agents do NOT provide good leads. The natural result is that most insurance agents still NEED a great source of leads . . . and they’re VERY unhappy with their choices for lead-gen right now, and as a result, VERY skeptical of anyone new (like us). That’s the DOWN-side. But the UP-side is so much bigger, that makes it’s worth putting up with the skepticism.  Once we acquire a reasonable number of regular, repeat customers (like maybe 50 to 100 or more), I predict this company is going to grow like a weed, and we’ll have a very hard time keeping up with the new sales volume. I believe the new growth will be mostly fueled by word-of-mouth (the way it SHOULD be).
  • New Instant Delivery Page & Low $5 Price Attracts Interest:  The Leads For Sale page has attracted far more interest than anything we have done since we first started experimenting with any form of marketing. The mere fact that we have what so many insurance agents need ‘RIGHT NOW’ seems to get people checking out the web page and website. I don’t know yet whether the page itself will be a monetary success. It remains to be seen whether the leads on this page and others like it will generate enough sales to exceed the expense of creating and continually updating it. BUT, it’s very clear that merely HAVING it seems to give us some “street cred.” I have discovered that most people who are attracted to it REALLY prefer to just get “EXCSLUSIVE LEADS” which has been our primary focus anyway. So if this page does nothing more than engage a record number of insurance agents in a conversation about doing business with us, then I think it has done its job.
  • Follow Up After Acquiring Leads:  The “sales model” is a rather simple 4-step process:  First pick a marketing area. Second, cold-call the area to gather Leads and place them on the sales page for that area (Utah, Arizona, Nevada, etc.).  Third, use voice broadcast to announce this page to insurance agents and send them a link (ie this generates leads for us). Fourth, talk to our prospects, answer their questions, walk them through the buying process.  I have also discovered that insurance agents are calling back more than 1 week after having received the voice message from our voice broadcast!  This is BY FAR the biggest, best result I have seen in voice broadcast since the early 1990’s and late 1980’s.  It’s nothing short of a miracle!  We intend to make sure we USE this knowledge by continuing the process, filling up our own pipeline of prospects and beginning to close sales with them each week.Here are the actual results of the voice broadcast to 4,914 Utah insurance agents in a 5-hour campaign on August 28, 2013, the Wednesday before Labor Day:
    Partial call results for voice broadcast to Utah insurance agents

    Partial call results for voice broadcast to Utah insurance agents

    There are only 2 stats in the chart above that show the people who actually received our message:  “AL” and “PM”. The “AL” stat shows the answering machines and voicemails on which we left a recorded message asking them to call if they want insurance leads right away for as low as $5 each. the PM (“Played Message”) shows the the number of times people actually listened to the message after picking up the phone.  (The PU stat shows the people who picked up the phone but hung up BEFORE hearing the message.).  We had 41 inquiries (so far, they’re STILL coming in!) from a total of 1,968 messages delivered. That’s a total of 2.08% conversion rate, which is nearly unheard of these days. It’s 20 times higher than what we experienced in the past. I have to believe we can and we WILL monetize this response rate.  And soon. I’m working very hard to keep that momentum going by following up on the inquiries, but just as importantly, ramping up new campaigns in new areas. Next on deck:  Nevada (Las Vegas). We’ll add Idaho, New Mexico and Arizona right after that – likely all of them next week. Now that momentum has started, I don’t want to lose it.

  • Cleaning Up The Call Center Staff:  Two days ago we terminated more than half of the call center staff due to lack of performance.  We are beefing up the salary and bonus package to attract high-performing agents. Each call center agent MUST acquire a minimum of 3 leads on their shift or they are NOT profitable for us (assuming we can sell all their leads). We have only 2 agents that consistently average 2 leads daily. Two others are consistent with averaging 1 to 2 leads daily. Everybody else is gone. Tomorrow or Monday we’ll begin interviewing new agents. Their new compensation package is TWICE as high as before, but the requirement to earn this salary is far higher. Now, they must endure one week of training with no pay, but only a small food and transportation allowance (100 pesos a day – that’s about $2.40 per day or around $10.00 USD for the first week).  If they show adequate performance (at least averaging 1.5 leads daily) they will have 2 more weeks to prove they can average more than 3 leads daily. During those next 2 weeks, they’ll get half salary.  If they pass this 1st 3 weeks successfully, they will receive the full salary of 16,000 pesos monthly (about $381 USD). We’ll also pay spiffs and bonuses that will increase the earnings substantially for the best performing agents. Our Call Center Manager (Randy) advises me that this will be sufficient to attract very experienced call center agents capable of doing the work we require.  This is great news for our clients!

Back-To-School Time Means Back-To-Blogging For Me!

Now that school is back in session, and now that the results are in for our summer efforts, I’m going to make a bigger effort to keep this blog up to date.  I’ll try to squeeze in at least one article each week, usually on a Saturday morning. My week days are jam packed with keeping this business up and running. Each day starts early, around 6 am, preparing for the days’ sales and development activities. I have no “down time” in the early morning hours, then at 9 am, calls start and I’m on the phone almost continually until the end of the day. After dinner, I’m back at the console, preparing for the next day, updating HTML code, doing correspondence and everything else that must be done to keep this company alive. So it seems Saturday morning is about the only time I’ll have for blog updates (these updates sometimes take 2 to 3 hours to complete so it’s NOT a small task).

I update this blog plus the public blog.  Don’t forget to check both!

 

Launched!

I waited six weeks since my last entry because I wanted to have something of real substance to report. Today, I can announce that we have finally. . . after more than 7 long years of R & D . . . LAUNCHED!

Each day now, we search for new Clients and we find them! We’re in the process of educating people in the direct sales and direct marketing business (starting with the Insurance industry), that the “BEST” way to do Internet Marketing . . . is the “old” way. Many people in direct sales think that cold-call telemarketing as a prospecting tool has gone the way of the dinosaur. Nothing is further from the truth! In fact, the system we developed is incredibly effective (as our Clients are now learning), and it’s powered 100% by Internet Technology!

Daily-Monthly-Weekly Sales Report

I have created and posted online a Daily Sales Report. This was posted for the first time last Friday. We’ll update it daily as payments arrive from customers. This tool is designed for the stockholders of the company, Account Executives and others with a contractual reason or need for the information. Naturally, as a private company, this is considered to be confidential information. But for those of you readers who have waited a long time, in some cases years, for us to finally be “in revenue” the time has come! Those on a “need-to-know” basis will receive password-protected access to this web page next week after I return from my trip to Oregon (leaving later this morning, and returning Sunday night).  “You know who you are!”

These reports are in the form of nice 3-D graphs, very easy to read and will give a clear picture of our current sales position plus trends. I’m adding weekly and monthly reports as the rest of this year unfolds so the reader will be able to see sales trends, which for the next several years, I am quite certain will all be “up”.  Eventually, we’ll add an annual graph as well for year-to-year comparison. So starting out, we have only 1 graph; within a month you’ll see 2 graphs; and by the end of the summer, we’ll add the monthly graph.

For now, those of you who are sharing in the gross revenue of the company, and entitled to a share of this cash flow on a regular basis, will know our sales volume and have an idea of how much cash income you’ll receive as a result.

VoiFone™

I’m sorry to admit that I haven’t done much of anything with VoiFone™ these past 6 weeks. Although this is a vital part of our over-all development schema, the call center and ramping up sales has taken 100% of my time. I have communicated regularly with the development team, but they are not making fast progress. Mostly, I attribute this to the fact that I’m not providing daily guidance to them as I was in the past. They claim the product is 85% to 95% complete. I disagree. There are plenty of features required in the project that I haven’t yet seen. But in fairness, I’ll admit I haven’t really looked carefully at it during the past month. The developers claim that our Browser, Android and iPhone versions are all working well. They admit to some weakness in one of the OS’s but I can’t recall which one as I’m writing this article. I’ll get back to you on that.

Two New Bigger Clients This Week

I have attracted 2 new larger clients this week. I was very surprised at both of them! The first is an insurance company in California that provides leads to hundreds of California insurance agents. They have a continuing daily need for leads. This company agreed to a test and purchased 100 leads at an extreme discount. If they like our services, they’ll continue buying. Sadly, I under-priced the bid for them so we’re likely to lose money on this test, for which we are billing them $1,600. We should have charged at least 70% more than that. The second is a group of insurance agents right here in Salt Lake City! I ran into them by accident. While meeting with my financial planner on a different subject, I learned one of his colleagues has 38 insurance agents working for him in his agency. They all have the same problem: Lack of leads. I showed him how to fix that problem using our Hosted Call Center. I’m leaving town today and he’s leaving next week, but we agreed to meet a week from this coming Monday. He invited me to a meeting with him and all his agents to show them how to use the system. He’s going to offer to pay the License Fee for all agents who wish to use our services; the agents will only need to pay the per-minute and caller ID phone number for their respective accounts. it’s a win-win for everyone! I expect we’ll have a windfall of new Clients in a little over a week as a result of this meeting – which I just acquired yesterday!

Big Things Coming

Watch for more progress the rest of this year. All of us working actively on this project just sort of “feel it coming”.  There’s so much demand for the lead-generation service we  created. I’m still the only effective salesman for the company, but I’m training Randy, Marvin and soon one other Account Executive in the Philippines to take over these duties for me. Once they can effectively make sales, and train others to do likewise, we’ll start into a real growth pattern. While I am still the only effective salesman, our growth will be limited. We’re working diligently to bring the first two Account Executives up to speed so they can run with this ball.

Big things are happening right now . . . stay in touch and don’t miss our progress the rest of this year!

Fastest 1-Month Progress Marks 7-Year Anniversary

Wow, what a month! It has been almost a full month since my last entry. I assure you I’m not avoiding this blog. But it’s true that when I get to the end of each day I’m just exhausted from the day’s events and haven’t felt up to contributing another article. But I can’t wait any longer, so here goes.

Overview Of The Past Month

I don’t think I’ve seen so much progress on “things-that-matter” in such a short period since we first started actively developing the GlobalTmail™ family of products exactly 7 years ago, in March 2006. For starters we now have statistical proof that our GroupCaller™ system is effective as a lead-generation tool. That knowledge has lead to the setup of our first brick-and-mortar call center, located in Morong, Rizal, Philippines. We serviced 2 commercial Clients for the first time during the past month, both of whom experienced successful lead-generation. For the first time since inception we have two full time Support Representatives, a prerequisite to this company’s ability to close sales and service customers. And to cap it all off, our VoiFone™ development team has almost completed the browser-based VoiFone™ together with the Android version of VoiFone™. Both are now working and undergo daily testing by me, staff members and others around the world. They have also started developing the iPhone version which is the next roll-out. I expect to have a fully-functional VoiFone™ for browsers plus the Android version working and recruiting a sizable number of beta users within the next 30 days. Hopefully I’ll be reporting more significant progress on this front in my next article.

Account Executives, Agents & Support Reps Make Sales Possible

As of today, we have one full time sales manager 5 full time Agents and 2 full time Support Reps. The term “Agent” is applied to a call center worker who is finding leads for our Clients. Our Agents are being converted to Account Executives (“AE”).  Their job is to find new Clients and sell them our Staffed Call Center or Hosted Call Center services.  So essentially, the AE’s are our sales staff. We started preparing for that position during the past 3 days.

We weren’t able to aggressively pursue sales for ourselves until we had all 3 staff positions filled and trained:  AE’s, Agents and  Support Reps. The AE’s make the sales, Agents generate Leads for the new Clients recruited by the AE’s and the Support Reps do all the setup and debugging of connection problems for AE’s, Agents and Clients. Without the Support Reps we can’t function at all.

My goal is to begin recruiting Clients with our new AE’s by Wednesday this week and have the Support Reps set them up. While that’s happening, we’re training new Agents to find Leads for our new Clients.

New Philippines Call Center Opening By May 6

Perhaps the most significant and game-changing event of the past month is the fact that our new call center, located in Morong (city), Rizal (Province), Philippines has been leased and is already partially set up. The new equipment has been ordered and will be delivered by Thursday this coming week. The target date for our official grand opening is May 6.

I’ll be leaving Wednesday for the Philippines and will arrive there Friday morning this week (Philippines time). Friday and Saturday I’ll mostly be recovering from jet lag, but Saturday afternoon, I’ll go to our new office to inspect it for the first time. All the cubicles are already installed as of this writing and I expect by the time I arrive all equipment and furniture will also be on site. I’ll be traveling from the Morong office on Saturday to Kalibo where I’ll see Joe Yasul’s office building, meet with our new networking engineer who lives in Kalibo and do a little sight seeing on Boracay Island. We cannot finish the office and network configuration until the Internet is connected at the office. I’m told that cannot happen until Wednesday or Thursday, May 1st or 2nd, due to the lengthy wait for national, provincial and local permits and licensing in the Philippines. That process will be finished by Wednesday this week, at which point we can finally order our Internet service.

So I expect by Thursday May 2nd the network will be fully functional. By Friday May 3rd I expect the new 10-seat call center to be fully functional and ready for staffing. We’ll conduct training at the office on Saturday May 4, and I’ll leave the Philippines on Sunday, May 5, arriving here in Utah on Monday May 6.

May & June 2013 Are “Ramp Up” Months

Watch this blog more often during May. This is the month that we’ll finally start making our sales effort the highest priority in the company. May will be the first month in our history that we have a staff plus other infrastructure that’s fully capable of creating a sales volume. Therefore, I expect by June 2013, we should be closing multiple sales each week, if not each day. This is the first real sales milestone we’ve had – to create a regular and steady sales volume – and it has taken us a full 7 years to reach this event since the inception of development. I cannot over-emphasize the importance and significance of reaching this goal! As we become more skilled at selling, I expect to be posting some of our sales results and other statistics in this blog. So be watching, and by the end of June, I think you can expect to see regular reporting on our sales volume.,

VoiFone™ Behind Schedule, But Quality Exceeds Expectations

While I’m disappointed I can’t promote VoiFone™ as I wanted to on this trip to the Philippines, I’m very excited to announce that the quality of this product is exceeding my expectations! You can expect to see VoiFone™ emerge as a real world-class competitor to Skype and other soft phones when we finish. We’ve got a rapidly growing list of potential users and couldn’t be more thrilled with what we’re seeing. We’re introducing one of the first fully browser-based international phones services on the planet! I expect we’re going to see fast growth when VoiFone™ is ready for public deployment.

New Beta Testers Needed Soon – Will YOU Be One Of Them?

You can expect we’ll issue a call for more beta testers within the next 3 weeks. We’ve been conducting successful tests between the browser-based VoiFone™ and the Android version. The iPhone version will be ready for testing right after I arrive in the Philippines so I expect all three of these versions to be in full test-mode by the time I return. There’s a fair amount of debugging and last-minute development required before we can release these products to the public, but as a reader of this blog, you’ll be one of the first to use it if you wish!  This might be a rare chance for you to participate in a fast-growing communications facility that has a chance to become widely used all over the world. Please let me know by posting a message to me below if you are interesting in being one of the first VoiFone™ Beta Testers.

Up Next:  Reports From Abroad!

I’ll be reporting from the Philippines next week. Be watching for photos and more news of the opening of our new call center!

New B2B Campaign Yields New Campaign Configuration

Randy got back on the job a lot faster than I anticipated. Welcome back Randy! He returned late Thursday night and is back at work today (Friday). He was sorely missed, especially by ME!

Today I’ll be analyzing some of the CDR’s (Call Detail Records) from our first 10 days or so of live calls for one client. We’re also preparing to start up another Client for next week. That will be our first commercial B2B client so we’re configuring some new and different features into the campaign to make it a more professional sales experience for the agents, such as:

  • Voicemail Automation: Often, when calling business phone numbers, we Agents will be asked if they wish to leave a message for the owner/manager. We want them to accept that invitation and leave the message. But it’s too time consuming and tedious to leave the same message a couple of hundred times a day. Instead, the Agent will have a VM (Voicemail) button they can click on that lets the GroupCaller™ system take over, wait for the tone when the call is transferred to VM, and leave a nice, professional message stating a compelling reason for the  the owner/manager to call back. The moment the VM Button is pressed, the system will place the Agent back into the call queue so another call will arrive within seconds. In this manner, the Agent stays busy talking and not leaving messages. 
  • Blended Inbound/Outbound Calling: Of course when messages are left for owner/managers to call back, the Agent must leave a phone number for them to call, and be able to answer the call when it arrives – and if they’re already on a call, it must also deliver a VM recording and ask that party to leave a message.  Call-Backs are a major component in managing sales. Our system automates most of that process.
  • Voicemail Marketing: About half of all calls placed terminate in a voicemail. We’ll leave a compelling sales message on each voicemail asking the called party to call back our Agent. This is a very inexpensive way to deliver a message and illicit a response. Once they call in, the Agent can explain the Client’s business and acquire a new Lead.

We’re very excited to develop this new campaign configuration because we’ll also use it to promote ourselves within a few weeks. It’s perfect for our Account Executives to use while they’re looking for new Clients to use our lead generating services!