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The Call To Action

by David Brock on September 5th, 2014

Today, I received an email.  It was interesting, someone had seen some posts I’d written.  The topic of those posts was aligned with what something they were doing.  The note simply said, “Read your article on ….  Do help us with …..” and had a link.  I followed the link, and it didn’t really tell me what to do or how I could help—I was interested enough to follow the link.  What they were doing was interesting, but I didn’t know what to do next–and it wasn’t interesting or provocative enough for me to take the time to figure it out.

It’s not unusual, I see it in many marketing pieces, I see it at the close of many sales calls I participate in.  There’s no explicit call to action.  There’s no explicit suggestion of a next step.  I suppose the expectation was that I’d be interested and would respond with a suggested next step.  Sometimes, I’m really interested, initiating a response and next steps myself.  Much of the time I may have some interest, but I don’t take the initiative to figure it out.

And that’s the real issue, it’s not my job to figure that out.  If you want me to take action, suggest the next steps.

In too much of our demand generation, in too many of our sales calls, we work very hard to capture the prospect’s attention and interest, but we don’t move the prospect to the next action.  In every interaction with the customer, we want a commitment for the next step.  It may be another meeting with specific objectives.  It may be for the customer to get us some information.  It may be for us to provide more information.

But it’s not the customer’s job to figure it out.

If they are actively engaged, if we are collaborating with the customer in their buying process, they may suggest specific next steps and actions.

But it’s our job to architect each communication, if we want the customer or prospect to take action, with a call to action.  A suggestion for the next steps, perhaps some alternatives the customer might choose.

The call to action is so important for many reasons.  Most importantly, it moves the customer and us through a buying process.  It elicits commitments to the next steps in the process.

It’s important because it gives the prospect of customer an opportunity to choose to be engaged.  If we are doing demand, we want to know who’s choosing to be engaged or not.  We want to focus on those that choose to be engaged.

We don’t have to get the call to action right.  But we do have to do something that gets the customer to agree to a next step.  They may respond, “I’m not interested in doing that, but I am interested in…..”

In the very least, give the customer the option, “Please keep me informed.”

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