A prospect recently left a voicemail for me and stated his phone number so quickly that I had to listen to the message three times from two different phones. I didn’t even get his full name. It was David “something or other.” I have no way of finding him on LinkedIn. I will try the two numbers I think he said, and maybe I’ll get lucky.
To sell successfully, we must make it easy for customers to buy. This, of course, means making it easy for them to reach us. If we make it difficult, they’ll go someplace else. Yet, in our email-obsessed world, many professionals don’t even provide clients with their most important piece of contact information—a phone number.
This baffles me, and apparently I’m not alone. In this month’s guest post, Brian Hansford, director of client services for Heinz Marketing, explains why he won’t buy from vendors who make him look up their phone numbers:
“The business world is enamored with social media and texting as channels to communicate and connect. But these social channels often prevent people from socializing and having live conversations. Phone conversations are still important, more so than through any other channel besides face-to-face meetings.
What’s Your Phone Number?
I am amazed by how any professionals, at all levels, don’t use any kind of an email signature … ever. No company name. No email. No social handle. And worse yet, NO PHONE NUMBER.
To me this is lazy and unprofessional. Leaving out email signatures is bad business, and it can hurt a customer’s experience.
Why Don’t You Want to TALK to Me?
If we are so focused on ‘engagement’ and ‘conversations,’ shouldn’t we be able to do that on the phone when needed? Phone conversations are critical for working through opportunities and resolving problems.
Email, on the other hand, can cause communication problems. Most of us have had an email exchange that spun out of control when a simple phone conversation would have cut through the confusion. And what about email exchanges where customers want to buy something or subscribe to more services? If they need to finalize closing details over the phone, an email signature with contact information makes it easy!
If I can’t get in touch with someone because I can’t find a phone number after a series of emails, I will find an alternative option, vendor, or partner. Sure, I could probably find the number on the corporate website or via Google. But why should I have to do all that when I’m a paying customer? Shouldn’t salespeople want to hear from me? And if so, shouldn’t they make it easy for me to reach out?
Do you have your phone number listed in your email signature? If not, why? It’s not hard to set up signatures for replies and forwards, and it’s super easy to delete it from individual messages if you want to do so.
Stop hiding from your customers. After all, if they can’t reach you, they might just find a vendor who makes it easier to connect.”
About the Author
Brian Hansford, director of client services for Heinz Marketing, is a 20-year veteran of the technology industry. Prior to joining Heinz, Brian was the chief marketing officer at Zephyr 47, a marketing-automation agency where he helped EMC Isilon win an 2011 Eloqua Markie award. You can follow Brian on Twitter @RemarkMarketing or Google+, and view his background on LinkedIn.