Email or Phone?

Because we have a very ‘phone-driven’ sales process here at work, I often get asked – do people prefer to get information over the phone or by email when they are researching vendors?

I can speak from experience – I recently got engaged and have been in full wedding planning mode. We’ve just begun hunting for a venue location for our big day!  I’ve contacted quite a few vendors and it was easy contacting them through the emails they listed or the contact forms on their website.  Because I do most of my research at night and on weekends, it was the best way for me to make arrangements for site tours and visits.

Retro-saleswomanOf all the vendors I contacted, one decided to forgo email completely and call me instead.  Because he had called me during work hours, we could not chat long. He gave me a lot of information during our conversation and we arranged for a time to meet in person.  When the phone call ended, I realized the notes I took were scribbles and it took a while to decipher all the information I needed.  When we showed up on Wednesday at the agreed upon time for our meeting, he was not there because he had put the date down for the week after.

This made me realize that while getting on the phone can be a much speedier process for moving the sales process along, it can also complicate the dialogue when key information is missed or not conveyed properly.  I also like to keep my work and private life separate when possible so the phone call caught me off guard!

Of course, not everyone will have the same preferences as me so be sure to have different approaches if possible to fit your customer’s needs. For instance, if your sales process is phone-driven, have a pre-drafted email that you can personalize and send out in case your customer does not pick up the phone.  Maybe funnel them to an email approach where you will continue to gather key information.  If your sales process is web-driven, perhaps arrange for a live agent to be available through chat so your customers can still have the instantaneous feedback if that is what they want.  There is no one size fits all but insisting on one method of communication over another might do you more harm than good!

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