Here at Kayak, we have a pretty open stance about ethics when it comes to sales and marketing – we prefer an inbound, attraction-based approach where prospects seek us out based on our being helpful and valued. We’re simply not in the habit of thrusting ourselves into the faces of prospects.
A side effect of that philosophy is that we tend to get really, really annoyed with people who try to take shortcuts when they’re attempting to earn our business. Which brings me to a particular pet peeve: salespeople trying to solicit me through the contact forms on my website. I suspect I’m not the only one who dislikes being approached this way.
I get that there are desperate professionals out there who have quotas they need to make in order to keep their jobs, but if you’re one of them I can promise you this isn’t a tactic you want to stake your living on. You may think that the law of averages will bring you enough customers to make it worth your while, but the percentage of people willing to respond to an offer that comes through a contact form is both minuscule and dwindling. And there are better options available.
Let’s take a look at a few reasons solicitations are the exact wrong way to use a web contact form…
A Contact Form Isn’t an Invitation to Throw Your Best Sales Pitch
At Kayak, we have contact forms on our website so people can quickly and easily contact us if they have questions, to download valued content, and to learn more about our services. In other words, they are there to help our website visitors and facilitate the process of getting to know new prospects… not to serve as a catchall for uninspired pitches.
That’s obvious, but it also underscores a bigger point: When you try to sell me something through one of those forms, you’re interrupting my work and interfering with my new business processes. A good salesperson knows you want to catch prospects when they’re in a pliable mood, not when they are trying to focus on something else.
Believe me, doing this is so uncool, you’ll burn bridges before building them.
Soliciting Through Contact Forms Starts the Relationship off on the Wrong Foot
A lot of the contact form solicitations I receive aren’t transparent. That is, the person behind the message doesn’t come right out and say, “I would like to offer you such and such…” Instead, they dance around the subject and pretend to be interested in my company or our services, attempting to schedule a meeting in the hopes that they can trick me into whatever they’re selling once they have more of my attention.
Frankly, that’s a pretty terrible way to build trust. How can I believe anything you say if you aren’t even honest about the reason you contacted me in the first place? And if I can’t trust you, how in the world would you think I’d possibly consider buying something from you?
There Are More Ethical Ways to Find Opportunities
The irony of all of this ‘deception’ is that I’m not difficult to reach. Almost anyone can chat me up in any number of social media platforms, become a friend or contact, and then get my undivided attention via an authentic conversation. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll buy from you, of course, but it could certainly improve your odds. Heck, I might even refer you.
That’s something you’ll never earn by trying to sneak into my inbox through deception or aggression. Why not just take a moment to do things the right way and tilt the odds in your favour?
Finding customers over the Internet can be a challenge, but looking for shortcuts is just going to set you back further. Marketers who try to reach me through my website contact forms are just showing me they don’t really know what they are doing… and that they aren’t anywhere close to being ready to earn my business.
For those who get this, feel free to reach out in social.