Thursday, September 8, 2011

Are You Unknowingly Referring Your Clients to Your Competition?

Recently in one of the many Facebook groups in which I participate, I was walking one of the members through a somewhat involved process. It got to the point where it was just going to be easier to pick up the phone and talk them through it rather than try to type out line after line of instruction in messages. I clicked on the person's profile and followed the link to their Facebook business page. Since there was no contact information listed, I located the website link and clicked through to that.

Beautiful work. Awesome images. But how do I find them? Oh, here . . way down in the bottom corner, a tiny "Contact Us" button. I clicked on it and all it lead me to was an email contact form. No address or city . . . what time zone are they in? Is it too early/late to call? Ehhh, doesn't matter . . . no phone number listed, either. 

I went back to FB and mentioned this to the individual and left my phone number so they could at least call me. When they called, one of the first questions I asked was "Why don't you have any contact information listed?" The reply? "I don't like to be bothered on the phone. I just want to deal with people through email."

Bothered? Really? Isn't this your business we're talking about? Aren't clients the reason we even have a business? Without them, we don't have much of an income.

If you are running a photography business and using your home or mobile phone as the business number, why not just leave a professional sounding message that identifies your business, thanks the caller for their inquiry and invites them to leave a message so you can return their call at your earliest opportunity? That way, it doesn't sound like they've called a personal number and gives them the impression that you as a businessperson care about them as a client. While a contact email does essentially the same task, it does not offer the personal voice contact that happens during a phone call.

It started me thinking about other ways that people unknowingly drive business away. Beautifully designed postcards, websites, product brochures . . . all lacking easy-to-find contact information.

If you look at product catalogs you receive in the mail (let's say Victoria's Secret, but any mail-order catalog works) what is on each and every page?  

Website. Phone number. 

So . . . now you've gotten them to your website. If it's a national chain, what else is prominent on the first page? Yup it's a . . .

Store locator. 

Why? Because customers want to know where to find you! Even though many of us do not run retail establishments, prospective clients still want to know where to find us!

Think of it this way . . . if you were going to invest serious money in any product or service, don't you feel better having contact information? A phone number to call and an address to visit all instill confidence in a prospective client. To me, a website with nothing other than an email contact form conjures up visions of a photographer wearing dark glasses and a trench coat with a camera and a laptop in a graffiti-filled alley whispering "Psssst . . . over here. Wanna buy a CD of pictures?" 

It amazes me to see so many websites without as much as an address or contact phone number. Sure, some people will fill out an email contact form, but what about those who want to talk to you and are in the market for your product or service RIGHT NOW? You know what happened to them, don't you?

They went to one of the other websites in their search results; one with full contact information listed.

Yup. They called me. 

- David Grupa

PS - Thank-you for the indirect referral!


  1. You are awesome- just needed to say that! Oh, and great post. ;)

  2. Oh wow, what an eye opener for to check my site. Thanks David!