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  #1  
Old September 11, 2003, 07:49 PM
Boyd Stone
 
Posts: n/a
Default Taking web orders via phone instead of via shopping cart?

Hi,

Today I read one of Gary's letters and it he said we should accept telephone orders only. The reasoning was that prospects are more willing to give credit card information over the phone than enter it into a "shopping cart" online.

Personnally it's just the opposite with me. I detest talking to someone (who usually these days has a heavy accent) saying my name is:

"Boyd Stone"

"Wade Sonn?" they usually reply, or something close to this.

"No, first name Boyd, that's B - O - Y - D, Stone S - T - O - N - E."

"V - O - I - D, S - T - O - N - E?"

"Er, No," I say, "B as in 'Boy,' O as in 'Oscar'" ... etc., etc. Then I'm dreading getting to our street address, which is on Drover Circle. "Grover Circle?" they say. "No --sigh--, D as in 'doggystyle,'" ... [I get less Christianlike the more irritated I get] etc., etc.

Given the above I love typing all this stuff into a web form. I know how to check the security of the order page and I always check to make sure I'm still at amazon.com or wherever before I hit 'Submit.'

But that's just me. Would most prospects rather place a phone order than an online one? Is there any data about this?

Thanks in advance for all replies!!

Best,

- Void Sonn I mean Boyd Stone
  #2  
Old September 11, 2003, 09:03 PM
Dien Rice
 
Posts: n/a
Default Online versus offline

Gary Halbert writes what he knows about. He could be right that you could get more orders. A lot of people are still a bit uncomfortable about ordering things online.

There's this idea that your credit card is safer if you order by phone. I don't know if it's true. I think your credit card can just as easily - if not more easily - be stolen if you order by phone as over the web.

Of course, when ordering products, simply be cautious - either over the web or by phone. Check out how trustworthy is this person or web site. In some cases, you can get an idea. (For example, Sowpub.com has been running for over 3 years now - so you know that this is a trustworthy operation.)

While what Gary Halbert said may be true, there are advantages to an all-web-based business. One big advantage is that everything can be automated.

Create or obtain the rights to a downloadable product (such as software or an ebook). Create a web site that will sell it. Then generate traffic - such as through search engine positioning or pay-per-clicks or through affiliates. And voila! You have a fully automated money-making machine.

Of course, some of these money-making machines will only generate a few dollars every month, while others will generate thousands every month. It depends on a whole lot of factors - the size and passion of your market, the strength of your whole sales message, the appeal of your product, how much competition you have, and the amount of qualified traffic you can direct to your web site.

Offline you can have a fully automated business too - but you still have to employ others to help you do it. In my mind, that makes it a little more complicated to do things in a fully automated way, but it's still doable.

I think which is better depends on who you want to reach. Some markets are easier to sell to online than others!

For example, if you want to sell cars - cars sell better offline than online. You can test drive a car offline, that's pretty hard to do online!

On the other hand, software targeted at niche markets is probably much easier to sell online. People can try out a trial version, something which they can't usually do if it's sold offline (due to the higher costs).

So which is better depends on the product you are selling and your target market.

- Dien Rice
  #3  
Old September 11, 2003, 10:29 PM
Garry Boyd
 
Posts: n/a
Default I'll take all methods

As a seller of hard goods, my basic business model is mail order. Orders come from my catalogue order form, telephone sales, adverts and my web shopping cart. Some of my older customers write me once a year and reorder, with a personal handwritten letter.
Many people will look at my web site and then phone me to make the order. They dont trust the internet. Some of them happily fill in the form, safe in the knowledge that they are on a secure server. I doubt they give much thought to what happens to that number once it is in the secure server database. Anyone can buy a secure certificate and take credit card numbers.
Whichever way someone chooses to order, I offer to supply on a nett seven day invoice, in case they do not want to give a credit card number out. This implies a trust in your customer, I almost never get burnt by one off purchasers. I have seldom seen this offered by info product sellers. I guess they fear buyer remorse.
Cutting off a sales channel based on a theory is just daft. The more ways of purchasing you give, the more you sell.

Slightly related is who the buyer is. I also wholesale to retailers, and despite my best efforts these guys will not use the internet to order or look at product information. Even emailing product data is pointless. They want a fax, that lands on their desk or counter, even though an email would give far higher quality. I've seen the same thing happen to other retailers who try to set up online ordering for their retailers.




Weather instruments by mail order
  #4  
Old September 11, 2003, 10:15 PM
Ron Ruiz
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: I offer both

I offer both kinds of ordering for a $400 course I sell to a niche market.

For that kind of money I mind picking up the phone :-)

Some people want to talk to a real person before investing that kind of money and others don't care.

I find that it runs about 65% who order online and about 35% who order by phone.

In my opinion if you don't offer both you are losing out on some sales.

Ron

> Hi,

> Today I read one of Gary's letters and it he
> said we should accept telephone orders only.
> The reasoning was that prospects are more
> willing to give credit card information over
> the phone than enter it into a
> "shopping cart" online.

> Personnally it's just the opposite with me.
> I detest talking to someone (who usually
> these days has a heavy accent) saying my
> name is:

> "Boyd Stone"

> "Wade Sonn?" they usually reply,
> or something close to this.

> "No, first name Boyd, that's B - O - Y
> - D, Stone S - T - O - N - E."

> "V - O - I - D, S - T - O - N -
> E?"

> "Er, No," I say, "B as in
> 'Boy,' O as in 'Oscar'" ... etc., etc.
> Then I'm dreading getting to our street
> address, which is on Drover Circle.
> "Grover Circle?" they say.
> "No --sigh--, D as in
> 'doggystyle,'" ... [I get less
> Christianlike the more irritated I get]
> etc., etc.

> Given the above I love typing all this stuff
> into a web form. I know how to check the
> security of the order page and I always
> check to make sure I'm still at amazon.com
> or wherever before I hit 'Submit.'

> But that's just me. Would most prospects
> rather place a phone order than an online
> one? Is there any data about this?

> Thanks in advance for all replies!!

> Best,

> - Void Sonn I mean Boyd Stone




Top Secret (and Often Unusual) Stories of who is really making money and how they are doing it!
  #5  
Old September 12, 2003, 01:51 AM
Ankesh Kothari
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: I offer both

I think Scott Haines did run some tests and found out that if you provide more than one of way to order - people tend to procrastinate.

Why? No one knows. But you will need a real good close that promotes a feeling of urgency if you are using more than one way of accepting orders.


Wisdom
  #6  
Old September 12, 2003, 04:15 AM
David Frey
 
Posts: n/a
Default The * Real * Problem with Taking Orders Over the Phone...

As soon as Gary H. said, "Take all your orders
over the phone" it was obvious that he didn't
know what he was talking about.

Okay, before you guys freak...let me explain.

If you're selling high priced products (which
I do) its important to allow that option. In fact,
on one of my JV sites, I don't even allow an
online order. They must give me their information
so that I can send them a series of sales letters.
(I do this so I can use a credible expiration
date for my offer and to create a more effective
sales process).

BUT...a large percentage of my sales come
through my affiliate program and the moment you
allow orders to come through that cannot be
electronically tracked (i.e. by fax or phone)
you undermine your affiliate program and your
affiliates and...

...it won't be long before you don't have an
affiliate program.

And for those who don't think that's a big deal,
having an active affiliate program can mean the
difference between making $10 a month and $10,000
a month.




Who is this Guy?
  #7  
Old September 12, 2003, 12:11 PM
Ron Ruiz
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The * Real * Problem with Taking Orders Over the Phone...

> BUT...a large percentage of my sales come
> through my affiliate program and the moment
> you
> allow orders to come through that cannot be
> electronically tracked (i.e. by fax or
> phone)
> you undermine your affiliate program and
> your
> affiliates and...

> ...it won't be long before you don't have an
> affiliate program.

Good point David. If you have an affiliate program, taking orders on the phone would complicate it.

Ron
  #8  
Old September 12, 2003, 03:33 PM
Ankesh Kothari
 
Posts: n/a
Default Problem solved

> BUT...a large percentage of my sales come
> through my affiliate program and the moment
> you
> allow orders to come through that cannot be
> electronically tracked (i.e. by fax or
> phone)
> you undermine your affiliate program and
> your
> affiliates and...

> ...it won't be long before you don't have an
> affiliate program.

One lady solved this problem... using a very simple tactic.

She gave a special code to all affiliates. Those affiliates would give that code to their prospects (in sales letters or ads or whatever).

This code would work as a coupon. Everyone using that code would receive free shipping.

When a prospect would call to order, he would usually give the code to receive free shipping. The person taking the order would write down the code which would later be tracked to its affiliate. And the affiliate would receive the commission.

Simple yet trackable. And it boosted the sales too - many people ordered to receive the free shipping offer. Less procrastination.


More problem solving Wisdom
  #9  
Old September 12, 2003, 04:52 PM
David Frey
 
Posts: n/a
Default Good Idea..But It Doesn't Solve the * Online Confidence * Problem

Ankesh,

That's an excellent idea (as usual you have some
of the best ideas on this board) but unfortunately,
that doesn't solve the online confidence issue.

What I mean by that, if you're an affiliate, you
still have to "trust" that the merchant is going
to give you credit.

With electronic tracking, an affiliate can log
into their account and see proof of the visitor
count they've sent and the conversion rate with
order count. It gives them verifiable proof that
the visitor did indeed make a purchase.

The beauty of electronic tracking is that instills
confidence in the tracking process.

When you take an order offline, you the affiliate,
don't know that it happened. You have to "trust"
that the merchant will tell you about it and
compensate you.

However, to your point. Any merchant could just
decide not to pay their affiliates, but that
wouldn't be smart. They wouldn't have many
affiliates for very long. But without the
"Online Confidence" factor, it will be VERY
hard (nearly impossible) to sign up many affiliates.

I actually took orders over the phone for one
of my products. Once I started an affiliate
program, I got a slew of emails telling me to
they wouldn't sign up until I took off the
phone ordering option.

David Frey
Author, Small Business Marketing Bible


The Small Business Marketing Bible
  #10  
Old September 12, 2003, 08:52 PM
Michael Ross (Aust, Qld)
 
Posts: n/a
Default Oh CRAP

> What I mean by that, if you're an affiliate,
> you
> still have to "trust" that the
> merchant is going
> to give you credit.

That's where the more traditional concept of Drop-shipping came into its own.

There was no concern about the merchant not paying because you kept your share of the money before passing the rest on to the merchant.

Of course, you then had to trust the merchant to deliver.

And likewise, the merchant had to trust that you were sending in all the orders you had received, and you weren't using the merchant's good name to generate orders and pocket all the money.

> With electronic tracking, an affiliate can
> log
> into their account and see proof of the
> visitor
> count they've sent and the conversion rate
> with
> order count. It gives them verifiable proof
> that
> the visitor did indeed make a purchase.

As long as you - the affiliate - can trust that the electronic figures you see are correct.

> The beauty of electronic tracking is that
> instills
> confidence in the tracking process.

Good point. It is not necessarily a more accurate indication. But it instills confidence because it is a third party.

Now it becomes a trust issue with the third party.

> Any merchant could
> just
> decide not to pay their affiliates, but that
> wouldn't be smart. They wouldn't have many
> affiliates for very long. But without the
> "Online Confidence" factor, it
> will be VERY
> hard (nearly impossible) to sign up many
> affiliates.

This is a volume issue.

You will always sign up someone. Maybe many someones. And those who sign up may be more pro-active in selling your product.

By making it easier to sign up and for those affiliates to keep track of their own sales - by using the online tools - you may get more sign ups. But that won't guarantee more sales. It should. Simply because there are more people pushing the product. But it's not a guarantee.

> I actually took orders over the phone for
> one
> of my products. Once I started an affiliate
> program, I got a slew of emails telling me
> to
> they wouldn't sign up until I took off the
> phone ordering option.

CRAP - Customer Requests Are Profitable.

I would like to know the next part of the above.

While you got a lot of people saying they wouldn't sign up until you took off the phone ordering option, how many of those same people followed through with action and actually signed up when you took off the phone ordering option?

Michael Ross
 


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