Text Messaging for Prospecting?

The last few weeks I’ve had several requests from salespeople asking for my advice on text messaging and whether or not it should be used.

Some people say you shouldn’t use it, while others say to use it. Here’s my response: I have nothing to lose and a customer to gain by texting someone.  Boom! There it is! Now let me give you more meat to that response.

First, get over the fact about how you don’t want to text somebody because it may cost them. If that’s your reason for not texting, then you are a member of the flat earth society! Those days are long gone and if somebody comes back to you complaining about the cost, then guess what? They must be members too.  That argument died years ago and if the person is on that sort of plan, they are so cheap they’d never buy anyway!

I won’t hesitate to text a prospect once I’ve had a conversation (which doesn’t even have to be in person). Recently, I had a prospect who would not return my call. I didn’t hesitate to text him, and yes it worked in generating a live phone conversation.

Second, the key with a text message is to keep it short and to make sure you include your first and last name. I can’t tell you the number of times I will get a text message from someone with no name or just a first name.  Sorry, but writing “Dave” doesn’t help, I know too many Daves!   If you are not 100% certain the person will know who you are, always include your first AND last name.

Third, keep it short. You need to think and be very careful with auto spell check. We all get in the habit of sending text messages fast, but my rule is, “Don’t!”  Take your time and in the words of Mark Twain, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”  This does not mean you don’t include a call-to-action. That’s the whole reason for sending a text. Make your text about your call-to-action and nothing more.

When sending a text to a prospect, don’t include someone else. Make it one-to-one. When you include other people, you reduce the likelihood of the prospect responding, because they don’t want to get into a text chat with a bunch of people.

Yes, you can include a picture of even a short video, but I recommend only doing this if you know you are communicating with a millennial or someone in a tech role. Does the picture or video need to be related to what you’re texting about? Yes.  Texting a prospect is not the time to be showing a stupid cat video, thinking it is going to gain their attention.

Salespeople ask me how to get cell numbers and I say, “Ask!”  Make asking for their cell number a normal part of prospecting when calling office numbers or with an email.  I’ve even asked gatekeepers for cell numbers and they’ve given them to me. I request by saying, “I know they’re never in their office, so maybe it would be better if you give me their cell number.” No, it doesn’t work every time, but you never know until you ask.

One of the best ways to get the ball rolling with text is immediately upon ending a call with someone, send them a text saying thank you and a quick confirmation as to what your next step is.  This approach generates a fast response from the prospect and opens one more door through which you can reach them.

Are there people you should not text?  Yes, but the number is decreasing significantly each year. Depending on the industry and type of job, there will be some you can’t reach, but my response is, “If in doubt, try. You have nothing to lose and a customer to gain.”

My sense is that texting will grow significantly in popularity as a prospecting tool for the next couple of years and begin to fade due to overuse. Gee, not unlike every other new prospecting tool that comes along.

 

Mark Hunter, your next keynote speaker: 

Mark Hunter, CSP, “The Sales Hunter” is recognized globally as one of the top sales speakers, known for his challenging insights, high-energy, and passion to create change that he delivers each time he speaks, whether it be a sales kick-off meeting, corporate function or association event. Mark Hunter is the author of the best selling book, High-Profit Prospecting. Here’s what others are saying:

Mark presented “Accelerate Your Sales Prospecting” at the February 2015 Institute for Excellence in Sales program in Northern Virginia. He nailed it and gave the 150 selling professionals and business owners in attendance amazing tips, strategies and tactics they could implement that day. The sales leaders at our program universally acknowledged Mark as one of the top speakers we’ve ever had.

  • Fred Diamond, Executive Director, IES Washington DC

At our annual company sales meeting we’ ve never seen a speaker work so hard, with advance preparation, with such genuine style of delivery, and with such hunger for results. If you weren’t on the edge of your seat….you were in a coma. Period! 

  • Mark Allen, Regional Manager, Marlin Companies

Mark’s strategies are innovative, easy to follow and easy to use in the “real world.” He customized his strategies to directly speak to the issues and challenges facing our unique business, and he helped us encompass specific selling examples. This training was very applicable to our sales staff, both at a senior and junior level, as it reinforced important sales techniques.”

  • Danielle Pakradooni, Blue Man Group

Copyright 2017, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.

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4 thoughts on “Text Messaging for Prospecting?”

  1. Your article never mentions asking permission to send a text. I sell text marketing for a living. Text messaging is regulated by the FCC and to send broadcast marketing texts, your prospect must “opt-in” to receive these texts. I know once you talk to someone you have a one-on-one relationship and you are not sending a broadcast text so you are probably good to send to this individual prospect. Still, I would ask the prospect to permission before you start sending texts.

    1. Fernando Ventura

      John,

      Yes, it needs to be by Opt-In. We are always promoting our keyword in buzzcards, flyers, postcards, email, whatsapp twitter, facebook.

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