I am often asked whether it’s appropriate to use text messaging with a customer or a prospect.

Times are changing, and as much as I would have said never a few years ago, today I’m saying that using text messaging is appropriate — but with restrictions.

Here are 6 tips:

1. Text messaging an existing customer is definitely appropriate if you know they’re comfortable with it and they have your name/phone number in their phone.

2. Never — or almost never — use text messaging to reach a prospect.

I say almost never because there are rare exceptions when all other methods have not been successful. You must know positively that the person you’re trying to reach is an avid user of text messaging and you can keep your text short.

Remember, the person you’re sending it to is not going to know who the text is coming from, so you must identify yourself — first and last name!

3. Never send any text messaging to any customer who you do not know 100% for sure they use text messaging for business.

Many people only use text for family members and friends, and they would view a business text as inappropriate.

4. Always be uber cautious about how you respond to any business text.

It’s far too easy to respond to a message too quickly, without taking the time to think through fully what you want to say.

5. Never use text messaging for anyone if you are not comfortable with it.

Gaining experience in texting people by texting customers is not the way you want to learn.

6.  Remember the person you’re communicating with may want you to use text messaging, but in the end, nothing beats a live phone call.  That’s why they call it text messaging!

I hope you find these 6 tips helpful as you navigate the best ways to connect with your customers and prospects.

Copyright 2014, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

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