By Michelle Glennie, The Partner Marketing Group


Some of you may recall the original Solution Provider program that Microsoft launched about 15 years ago. Remember the paperwork you needed to fill out just to join the program – it was about 20 pages long and made you roll your eyes? Fortunately we have moved on but the lesson we learned at the time is even more relevant than ever before – especially when it comes to asking prospects and customers to part with information. Don’t kill your prospects with lengthy forms!


Only ask you what you need to know

I get really annoyed with forms that ask for my date of birth or my gender. Unless you’re the IRS or my doctor, why should you care whether I’m male or female, whether I’m 20, 30 or 100 years old? All you really need from me, surely, is my name, my contact details and maybe the name of my company.

If I’m providing you with my personal email address it should be a good clue that I’m not really serious about buying or I don’t actually want to be contacted by you. Carefully consider what you really need to know when it comes to asking prospects for their contact information. Don’t waste their time.

And it would really be quite polite of you to give me a way to select how I’d like to communicate with your organization. Don’t ask me whether I want to:

  1. Receive daily emails from you – a definite NO.
  2. Receive special offers just because you’re trying to close sales – most definitely NO.
  3. Or one of my personal peeves – whether I’d like to buy the same marketing list you’re flogging to everyone else – heck NO!

How about asking me the following:

  1. If this is an SOS and I need help. Can we contact you at the following number? OR…
  2. Would you like to receive our monthly newsletter (at least I know it’s monthly and should be newsy with potential interest to me) OR…
  3. Are you interested in pricing promotions (if I need to spend my budget or save money I may be interested) OR…
  4. Would you like further information on our services via email or phone call?

Finally, test, test and test your forms again. Make them a snap to fill out and make sure they work. If your form goes to an inbox, ensure that the person delegated to monitor that inbox responds in a timely fashion. If you’ve said, we’ll respond within an hour or 24 hours, make sure you live up to the expectations you set.

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