When you’re running your own business, sometimes it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. Plenty of startups and small businesses are run by a single individual and as a result, it’s common to see them using a mobile number as the main contact number for their business in the early days.

Bigger, more established businesses on the other hand, typically use a landline number as the contact number in their advertising or on their registered details. This instantly helps them to appear more professional to existing and potential customers, as well as giving them a local or national presence as desired.

So are these small businesses missing a trick when it comes to appearing professional when they are starting out? Can it affect potential new business opportunities by encouraging prospective customers to head to competitor businesses they perceive to be bigger?

Today we reveal the results of a small psychological experiment we conducted to test this theory. We worked with independent beauty salon and current everreach customer Extensionique, which ran two identical adverts online – the only difference being the contact number.

We recorded all page views and calls over a week-long period and found that customers were six times more likely to call the landline number. Over the week the landline received four times more calls, despite having less page views (and each call also turned into a booking).

To make more sense of the numbers and understand why consumers behave in this way, we consulted Professor Vince Mitchell from the Cass Business School at City University London – and here’s what he had to say:

“Particularly with services such as hairdressers, plumbers and accountants, consumers look for signals to have confidence in the service provider. A landline is one such signal that acts both consciously and subconsciously on the mind to subtly alter our beliefs and attitudes – signalling trust because it implies a fixed presence, that the business is doing well enough to afford a separate business landline and therefore is more likely to have existing happy customers.”

With the everreach service, small businesses get their own ‘virtual’ landline number which instantly gives them the appearance of a professional, bigger business. The call forwarding and management features ensure business owners are able to keep the flexibility of using a mobile phone and don’t require a costly fixed landline installation.

Watch our video and see how Extensionique have benefited from using our virtual phone service: