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how to sell more software by adding 12 characters to your homepage

January 29, 2009

Yes, this is the secret to how to sell more software. I'm the first one to break the sacred oath of profitable software companies and reveal the secret of how just 12 characters can make you significantly more money. Are you ready to hear it? Are you sure.....

OK here it is. Put your phone number on your website. Just like this:


It really is that easy, it WILL lead to more sales. If you sell B2B it will lead to bigger sales as generally people making large purchases like to talk to a human.

Now I know all the excuses you people use in not publishing a phone number. It's all BS. I don't care that 37 signals only does email support. I don't care that you only do this part time and you can't be there to answer the phone. I don't care that you hate talking on the phone.

It's time to suck it up, especially in this economy where people are going to be shopping around. Having a phone conversation puts you in a much stronger position with the consumer than just an email. Just having a phone number clearly available improves your product positioning in peoples mind. It implies you're here to stay, you're approachable, if they ever had a problem they could call. The biggest secret of all is that most people don't call. We still only get a call or two a day on average and often no calls at all and we've been in business 4 years, are linked from everywhere and have a sizable customer base at this point.

So let's go through your excuses.

1) 37Signals only does email support, why should I have to do phone support
Of course this one is the easiest. Because you're not them. You will never ever ever ever be them or anything close to them. You're trying to make a solid living. The chance of you hitting the jackpot is slim, don't pretend it isn't. You can't tell customers to go scratch like they can. Every single potential customer is hugely important to you (or should be).

2) I only work on my business part time and am not there to answer the phone
Umm, so what. Get an answering machine or digital voicemail box. You don't have to answer the phone every time it rings. Let it go to voicemail and respond once a day or when you get home from your day job. It's a big myth that if you have a phone number you need to have someone there to answer it every time it rings. Sure that's better, but having a phone number is still way more important than not having one and at this point everyone is comfortable leaving voicemail's as long as you get back to people in a reasonable time (say 1 business day).

3) I'm a programming dork, I don't want to talk on the phone
If you're reading my blog you're likely trying to be in business. In business you have to do stuff you don't like doing, oh... 75% of the time. That's just the way it is. If you want customers you have to understand your customers and the phone is a great way to do that. If you're serious about having a business then working with people is going to be key to your success and the phone is a big part of that.

Listen, the phone is your friend. The phone is the key you making your business approachable to customers. It's also how you're likely to get some of your best customers, so bust out your website code and throw your number up there. The worst case scenario is you get lots of phone calls and if they're not relevant you can always pull it down. On the other hand you may get great calls that lead to sales and happy customers. It's worth a shot.

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