“The Phones Aren’t Ringing Anymore”

If you work in media sales, and your client tells you that your campaign isn’t making the phones ring anymore… don’t forget to check the phone system.

I have a client in the elective medical field. The practice had been using my stations and web sites for more than two years. It was a nice setup. The commercials would run; listeners would call the clinic, and a substantial number of them would make appointments. Happy patients came out looking younger and thinner, the client bought more advertising, and my kid’s college tuition got paid.

Until one day the client told me that listeners had stopped calling. We discussed, at length, all the possible reasons — the economic downturn, the fact that we’d been advertising the same procedure for a long time, even the possibility that we’d “used up” the station’s audience. For several months, we experimented with different copy approaches and different voices, but nothing seemed to help.

Finally the client cancelled. I understood.

In the course of the conversation, I mentioned that I’d tried to call her a few days before and had encountered an automated phone voice rather than a live person. Rather than wade through a series of prompts, I’d hung up and called her cell phone.

This caught her by surprise — although her staff was leaner than before, there was no reason for a machine to have picked up during business hours. We didn’t dwell on the subject, but a week later she told me that she’d investigated and found a glitch in the phone system. She had it fixed, and the phones were ringing again.

I was mortified. She and I usually communicated by cell phone or email, and when she was out of the office she’d usually call her staff on their cell phones. It had not occurred to me to call in the way a patient would.

Was the phone system the culprit? Maybe, maybe not. There’s no way of knowing how long the glitch had been there, and now that it’s fixed, the client is off the air.

But the next time a client tells me the phones aren’t ringing, I’ll be dialing in. Lesson re-learned.


Click this link to subscribe to Portland’s Finest Advertising Blog.

Request your free copy of my white paper, The Seven Deadly Advertising Mistakes and How to Fix Them here.

Got a question? Call me at 503-323-6553.


Sign up for my blog updates and never miss a post. I'll send you the first two chapters of my new book, Breakthrough Prospecting, as a thank-you.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Your Chance to Be Heard -- Comment Here!