Ending the debate: Should salespeople text their prospects?

Ending the debate: Should salespeople text their prospects?

Hit the phones! Hit the phones! Hit the phones!

That’s the message sales professionals have heard for years when it comes to generating more business. Pick up the phone and call more leads. Pick up the phone and follow up with old prospects. Pick up the phone and ask for referrals.

Traditionally, picking up the phone meant dialing a number and speaking to someone on the other end of the line. But in a world where our mobile phones have become a key part of our day-to-day lives, the phone is no longer just a device for speaking—it gives us all kinds of special powers.

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And one of those powers is the ability to communicate through text.

A 2017 report called The State of SMS quantifies the staggering power of text messaging for business. The report estimates that 7 billion text messages will be sent this year, and 90 percent of them will be read within three minutes. And by 2020, 48.7 million people will have opted in to receive text messages from businesses.

If you’re like me, numbers like this catch your attention.

In fact, it’s numbers like this, along with feedback from our customers, that led us to integrate SMS functionality directly into Close. We believe that salespeople should adapt to the times, and the times are telling us that SMS needs to be part of a sales professional’s toolkit.

Here are a few reasons why your sales team should embrace SMS:

SMS creates a personal connection

For years, people thought SMS was too informal for business interactions. But since the vast majority of conversations today happen through text, the reality is that SMS is simply a more personal way to connect with someone—including a professional connection.

You can use SMS to build trust with potential prospects and forge a connection that lasts. The opportunities to strengthen a relationship are varied, and growing by the day, from a simple “Happy Birthday” text to a photo of you and the team working on the client’s project.

An important thing to keep in mind when embracing SMS as a sales tool is your tone. When we interviewed HouseCall Pro, who increased their close rate by 15 percent using SMS, they shared some insight on this topic:

“It’s important to have a different text voice that matches your use of SMS. If you are doing demo confirmation and “transactional” texts, then keep it professional and to the point. If you are using it for post-demo follow up and you’ve built up rapport with the Customer, then feel free to text more like you would with friends.”

You’re not going to want to text someone as soon as they submit their contact information on your website. You’re ideally going to try and schedule a call or exchange a few emails before making the leap into an SMS exchange. Once that initial relationship has been established and a connection created, it’s at that point where you can start to text.

A more unique way to follow up

As mentioned earlier, 90% of text messages will be read within three minutes of receipt. If you’re waiting for a prospect to send you an approval or confirm a meeting time, a simple SMS nudge is a great way to accelerate the process without seeming too aggressive.

Here’s a sample text you could use:

Hey - Just want to make sure you saw the email I sent with my schedule.

It’s short. It’s concise. And it gets the point across that the recipient should probably get back to you sooner rather than later.

Get specific answers quickly

One of the best use cases for text messaging is getting answers more quickly than you could by phone or email. If you’re building a proposal for a potential client and realize halfway through that you forgot to ask them a simple question, no worries—you can send that question via text.

Because we’re all so connected to our phones, it’s likely the prospect will see your question pretty quickly. And since we don’t view SMS the way we view email—as a distraction—you could get your answer in seconds.

That said… With great power comes great responsibility.

You need to be thoughtful about when you're sending text messages as they might set off a loud alert. You don't want to disturb a potential client during the weekend or late at night when they're asleep.

You can NOW track your text messages in your CRM

For years, organizations feared that using SMS for sales would result in a loss of valuable data. With good reason—the information that changed hands was often untrackable.

Not anymore.

Our SMS integration in Close is as straightforward as our built-in calling and emailing integrations. You can send an SMS with one click to any SMS-enabled number within the U.S. or Canada using your existing Close phone number. Incoming SMS messages show up in your Close inbox and activity feed just like new emails, tasks, and missed calls.

Here’s a look at the SMS function in action:

sms in crm.png

Wrapping things up

As more millennials hit the workforce, we’re believers that SMS will become a sales staple. A significant portion of the population already embraces text messaging over phone calls. So if you want to reach the next wave of buyers, it only makes sense to meet them where they are.

What do you think? Are you still not sold on SMS as a sales tool, or have you already embraced SMS for building relationships with your prospects and leads? We’d love to hear from you!

Want more actionable advice on how to engage prospects in the conversation and move the sale forward? Download a free copy of The Follow-Up Formula!

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