All that said, the most important piece of contact information that any of us possess is the phone number. It is the key that unlocks a potential conversation or personal message.
Many people would argue that the email address is more important than the phone number. While it is important, try emailing someone for whom you have no other information – no name and no phone number. Then get them to respond to you. It can happen, but only if they have a real strong need to do business with you or learn more about what you offer.
On the other hand, try phoning or texting someone for whom you have no other information – no name or email. It can work, and you may actually get to talk with them. Then, you can bluff your way through learning their name and asking for the email address to continue your dialog with them online if you prefer.
In short, nothing substitutes for a phone number, and everybody has one. They might not have a facebook or twitter account, they might not have a website, and they might not ever check their gmail account for messages, but their phone will ring – even if they let it go straight to voicemail or ignore it.
Younger people tend to communicate by texting rather than actually placing a phone call, but the phone number is required for texting. It still is a must-have!
So, as important as the phone number is for us to have and as crucial as it is for our potential customers, clients, and strategic partners to have from us, why do so many people make it difficult?
Rather than being the most prominent and easy-to-read piece of information on a business card or website, the phone number often looks like an afterthought. It is written in a tiny point size, in a light or dark color that makes it hard to distinguish from the background, or it is omitted altogether.
Another interesting thing about phone numbers is that even when they do appear on business cards or websites, they often don’t show the area code. This is fine for a local audience – when no one outside their immediate market will ever see their card or need to contact them. Otherwise, the area code needs to be determined before a call can be made. The ten-digit phone number (including the area code) needs to be a must for doing business today.
Check your business cards and website – and anyplace else your phone number appears. Make sure it is legible – no script or fancy typeface – and large enough to be seen. Make sure it stands out from the background and surrounding text. Make sure that the reader’s eyes can find it. Give people the ability to reach out to you by phone or text. Set the example.