Attracting business process outsourcing (BPO) clients is a function of developing an expert reputation and building relationships. In practice, cultivating BPO clients requires the same sort of traditional prospecting and relationship development as ordinary consultancy. What distinguishes the client development process for outsourcing is the underlying requirement that the BPO service provider demonstrates a level of expertise in the chosen business process that instills absolute confidence that it can perform better than the client and can stand in the client's shoes when dealing with customers, employees, and vendors.
Many BPO projects require the third-party service provider to operate as if it is an arm of the client. When a customer calls an outsourced customer service center, for example, he should not be able to tell that the people staffing the center are employees of a consultant, not of the company from which the customer purchased the product. As a result of the agency nature of the relationship between the client company and the BPO service provider, the standards used to vet providers are high, making it more difficult to attract clients from a cold approach than in other consultancy areas.
To attract BPO clients, you must first establish your expertise in the business process you hope to deliver. For example, if you want to convince a company to outsource their accounting department, you would benefit from having all of the credentials of a certified public accountant, and any affiliations or accolades that demonstrate your expert knowledge can only help. This includes holding leadership positions with trade organizations, publishing articles, as well as teaching, training, and mentoring others.
You must also establish the reliability and level of excellence of the system you use to deliver services to attract BPO clients. It is the nature of agency that the client will have a lesser tolerance for mistakes made by a paid consultant than it would have for mistakes made in-house. The best way to demonstrate excellence is to have prior work to show and a list of references. Some of the techniques for establishing an initial referral base are to do a few jobs at cost, apply for government contracts that allow new companies to bid, and partner with established businesses that may need to siphon off work.
The other half of attracting BPO clients is relationship building. Start with people you know and the people they know for contacts and introductions. Use social networking to expand your contacts outward. Network in person by going to trade association meetings and attending events that cater to the business community generally. The outsourcing industry also has a number of BPO conferences that you can attend that enable service providers to interact with companies seeking services.