Why Saying “Call Me” Doesn’t Work

I got a direct message through Facebook last night. It was a message from a friend who also is a marketer but a bit more of an old-school salesman. It's not too odd because as online marketers, we're always trying new tools and methods. Especially when it comes to acquiring new customers.

I'm not going to beat him up over the message. What really stood out was the Call To Action (CTA). “Call me” and his number.

So why doesn't “Call me” work? I mean, sales people have been using it since the phone became popular. Because at best, it only nets the 3-5% who are Ready Willing & Able (RWA) to act now. It loses out on the 95-97% who might be RWA in the future, but aren't there right now.

Notice I said act. I didn't say buy. That's because those people who call are just willing to respond.  Only a small subset will be RWA to buy.

I figured it was an automated message. Not just because of the content, but the timing as well. It arrived at 11:54p est. That guarantees it gets put aside for “later.” And even with the best of intentions, later rarely happens.

You have to remember, the internet is 24/7. People will be there at all times. And as Murphy's law dictates, it will be when you're not available.

I asked him about why he used “call me” as the CTA vs. getting them into a funnel. He said,

“I think that too many people think that they can do everything online these days… but I believe in relationships and actually getting to know people.”

I get the idea of being personal. Email can be personal as well. Its purpose is not to replace the conversation, but to start it. If they reply to your email, you don't just let the next message handle that. You give them a personal reply. And segmenting allows you to send messages tailored to their specific interests.

Email's purpose is not to replace the conversation, but to start it #MoreSales via @rob_calhoun

Click to Tweet

But email marketing has several distinct advantages over a phone call.

1.) You're not wasting time with tire kickers and brain pickers.

You filter and find RWA's and only invest your (limited) time with those who will bring a return on that investment.

2.) You have control over the contact process.

Calls can come in at any, all, and especially the wrong times. You often even get them at the same time and somebody gets put aside. You're in the bathroom; you just got pulled over for speeding; you're at your daughter's recital. The “wrong” times are many and varied.

3.) You can follow up again & again on their terms.

How many times can you follow up with phone calls without being a pest? With email, you are (or should be) giving something of value. Then you leave it to them to take action.

Have you ever got a phone call when you're in the middle of something? Your calls hit other people's bad timing too. But an email allows them to get to it when they can focus on that task, reading and acting on email.

While sales can be made over the phone, beginning relationships and finding who is ready for a phone call is better handled by email. You can scale far beyond even the ability of a team of operators standing by. And then easily work the numbers instead of playing “a numbers game.”

Would you like to stop playing games and get customers now?

What are your thoughts?

About The Author

Rob Calhoun

+ Rob Calhoun Helps small to medium businesses succeed by building systems for them that help them get new customers, retain customers, and re-energize past customers. Rob helps clients and marketers maximize the return they get from their online marketing efforts.


  • Mark Reynolds

    Reply Reply June 7, 2016

    Good read my friend. Very precise and directly to the point. Articles should be written this way so that readers can easily understand the message of the article. Thanks for this mate.

  • Muhammad Imran

    Reply Reply June 23, 2016

    Thanks for nice article Rob. I’ll consider these tips.

  • Daniel J. Chappell

    Reply Reply July 25, 2016

    Customer focus and experiences are key drivers for any business. In a world filled with increasing noise and clutter, basic principles will prevail. Great, simple article

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply July 29, 2016

      Thanks Daniel.

      Just a suggestion, if you are using a slider, try to make all of your images a consistent size. That will keep the page from bumping up and down when a visitor is trying to read what you have.

  • Nancy

    Reply Reply April 18, 2017

    Sometimes it is very difficult to know what to do because letting a message with a “call me” on it might seem …desperate? too old school? I don’t know…trends change every day and it becomes very tricky to understand clients and what they expect, plus, everybody is different and expect something different. At least that’s what I believe.

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply April 20, 2017

      Nancy, There was a time when “call me” was the ONLY option. But the dirty little secret is: people haven’t really changed. Even then just as now, things happened and that call was buried under the ever growing list of priorities. You could say that now people have more and more coming at them from all angles.

      Maybe so. But the bottom line is if you don’t make it easy for them to do RIGHT NOW, the chances of it getting done goes down drastically. Make it easy for people to take action and do it immediately, and you’ll see higher conversions. The technology is there, use it!

  • Debbie Gartner

    Reply Reply May 27, 2017

    Interesting perspective here. I actually prefer phone calls and find it’s both more effective and efficient. But, I think it all depends on your business. For mine, I had an assistant who answered the calls, so that factored out the aspect of being on the other line. And, then she filtered the customers so that are our in person appointments (for the estimates) were much more effective.

    BTW, I despise email. I prefer text over email. and, I have found that it often takes longer to write an email or text than to talk. With talking you can get to the heart of the issue or question and solve it much better and faster. And, voice to voice is more “3 dimensional” vs and email which lacks tone.

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply June 1, 2017

      It’s true that having a person (aka gatekeeper) to screen and prioritize your calls helps. But doesn’t solve all of the problems like after business hours interest or scaleability dealing with increased or fluctuating volume.

      You may despise email, but it’s not about you. It’s about your market. And keep in mind, I explicitly said

      Its purpose is not to replace the conversation, but to start it. If they reply to your email, you don’t just let the next message handle that. You give them a personal reply.

      Your reply can be “Let’s discuss this further in a call. Here’s a link to shcedule a good time on my calendar that works for you.” Thus moving them from email to the phone, but only those who it appropriate to do so. If you simply have everybody call, your phones could be ringing off the hook with people who just waste your time while people who are Ready Willing & Able (RWA) to buy now aren’t getting through.

  • Carolyne

    Reply Reply June 19, 2017

    Lessons learnt, in my country anyone prone to using call me is never refereed serious. Serious people in business try to use alternative avenues in communication if the recipient to available at time of call instead of leaving a message on ‘Call me” . We try as much as possible to avoid or call later as the timing may differ and people have series of activities running so chances of forgetting are adequate.

  • Patrick

    Reply Reply July 14, 2017

    You’re absolutely right, sending an email gives the recipient ample time to respond and decide what their course of action should be. A “call me” call to action asks for an immediate response, something most people are not ready to give. There can be so many different ways of missing a connection these days, and email is the only platform that offers such a buffer. Another great article, thanks Rob!!

  • Peter Simon

    Reply Reply December 6, 2017

    Hi Rob. I do appreciate your efforts and ways to illustrate the concept. As a business based on calls, we will definitely follow these ideas.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field