While the vast majority of people in the United States report they use the Internet, all of these people don’t necessarily “shop” on the Internet. Just because someone uses the Internet does not mean that he wants to buy a book online.
I have found that older people—think Boomer generation—often prefer to phone in sale orders and talk to a real person. These individuals may even find a product online, but they prefer to order the item over the telephone.
Every year Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) puts out a cooperative full-color catalog featuring our member publishers’ books (that is, those members that choose to participate in the catalog). You can view our catalog by clicking here. In the catalog we put contact information for each publisher. This information includes a website, an email, and a phone number. Some publishers opt not to include a phone number. I think this is a mistake.
Having a phone number on your website and in your print advertising material is important. All the larger companies do this. A company that does not provide a telephone number often signals to the world that they are “small”. Even if you are small, you don’t want your customers to know this. You want your customers to think you are a professional publisher, no matter your size.
The other day, I received a call from a gentleman who wanted to order a book that was listed in the 2014 CSPA Cooperative Product Catalog. The gentleman was calling CSPA because the publisher of the book he wished to order had not included a phone number on his ad in the catalog or on his website. I was able to supply this gentleman a phone number for the publisher so he could order the book.
Had Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) not included our phone number on the catalog, this publisher would have missed out on a sale. While you may only sell a handful of books over the phone, don’t rule out this sales avenue. After all, if you are small every sale counts. So, include your telephone number of your website and on all your print advertisements.