We all know that email is an outstanding platform and that much of the Internet today centers around email, but what about those people who are looking for an answer right now? They don’t want to fill out a form and wait. Those people want to speak to a human being who can answer their individual questions and solve their issue straight away. So it’s important to make sure you match the mode of communication with the type of leads you’re pursuing.
The Immediacy of Phone Leads
It’s very easy and convenient to just put a form in front of potential customers, but certain types of leads really don’t fit a form and often it is the high value leads that require a different approach.
Let’s assume you’re looking for a new house and you go on the Internet. You find a house you like, you read about it and it looks really good. Now, would you want to fill out a form and maybe get a call back tomorrow while you’re at work, or sometime next week?
No, you want to know more about it now. If you fill out a form you never know how quickly somebody is going to get back to you. It makes more sense to pick up the phone and call the realtor right away.
A Case in Point
We’ve done a lot of work with companies that sell heavy industrial equipment. We’re talking machines, compressors and generators that sell for several thousands of dollars upwards to hundreds of thousands of dollars. And, for a good long time we helped them by trying very hard to push potential customers to a form that they could fill out, so that they would give their details and the seller would get back in touch with them.
But the more we spoke to our sellers about the process, the more we found that customers wanted to call. Everybody was picking up the phone. Very seldom were they getting leads coming in off the form. In fact, when they did receive an inquiry through a form, it generally wasn’t as high quality as a phone lead. So, we had our ‘eureka moment’ and immediately started putting phone numbers on all of the listings.
This was a fantastic benefit and we ultimately ended up setting up tracking numbers for all of the listings and saw significant increase in overall leads, inquiries and sales.
Thinking Outside the Check Box
I call it ‘tunnel vision’.
Tunnel vision is what you get when you spend so much time trying to push somebody into a lead form, you forget there are other actions you can do. You forget that some of your leads will be female. You forget about the intimacy of the telephone. You forget that some leads prefer to come in after making an appointment. There are a whole lot of actions that could lead to a sale.
All too often, when people call a phone number, they instantly assume that whoever they talk to is intimately familiar with the offer or the page, or the exact place where the phone number was published. While it would be great if that could always be the case, quite often it is not. So that needs to be on the checklist.
When you publish a phone number and track some elements of it, make sure that you watch the phone numbers, watch the calls and look to see if there are a significant number of hang-ups prior to connecting the call, or shortly after the call is connected. When they stay on the line, what questions are immediately asked? These elements can all have a large impact on conversions.
Trimming the Phone Tree
Phone numbers play a key role because the most qualified customers who have an immediate need also want immediate answers. They want to pick up the phone and speak to somebody who is going to have the information they need.
They don’t want to feel like they have just been sent through to a giant phone tree where they have to fend for themselves. That just feels unprofessional. It feels unwelcoming and it’s irritating!
You don’t want irritated customers before you’ve even had a chance to start talking about the offer, or what your company can do to get their business. You want to make it a pleasant and easy experience to answer their questions, or solve their problems.
In some cases this can be improved or even eliminated by connecting to a unique phone line in the office that everybody knows is attached to a specific offer.
Or you might want to think about creating a voice mail that warmly introduces somebody with a name and invites them to leave their question. Acknowledging the specific offer they saw and saying that you’ll get back in touch with them as soon as possible can be a way of increasing the warm connection, the warm touch between company and the perspective client.
So consider the type of leads you have and the preferred method of contact by your customers. You might be surprised by the difference it can make to your sales.
Jason is a Web Marketing consultant and the CEO and founder of Digital Harvest, a Tampa-based marketing firm that helps companies increase their online exposure and generate more business.