There was a time where endless email chains and back-and-forth phone calls were a regular part of the sales process. Waiting a day or two to reply to a lead was normal, if not expected. Not anymore. Today, customers expect sales people to meet them where they are—instantly. Business texting, also known as 2-way text messaging, allows sales teams to do just that.
Why Use Business Texting for Sales?
Unlike text blasts, which enable a business to send out thousands of messages at once, business texting is designed for personalized, 1-on-1 conversations. By text-enabling your business’s existing line, or getting a new dedicated number, you’re connecting with customers through a channel with a 99% open rate. That level of engagement can’t be found in any other form of communication.
Here are a few other reasons that texting should be a tool in your sales team’s arsenal:
- Increase your open rates with each interaction. Email open rates hover around 20% compared to a text open rate of 90%
- Field inbound requests faster. 95% of texts are read within 3 minutes.
- Sales prospects who are sent text messages convert at a rate 40% higher than those who are not sent any text messages. The same research, found that when texting is used properly, as we will demonstrate below, the conversion rate is actually closer to 100%
So how can your business inch closer to to that 100% mark? The key resides in the four T’s: timing, topic, tone, and total.
Best Practices for Driving Sales With 2-Way Text Messaging
When it comes to SMS and sales, there are a few guidelines that, with a little tweaking for your situation, will pay dividends.
1. Timing – When Should You Send a Text?
People generally don’t give out their cell phone numbers without careful consideration. And, on average, Americans check their phones once every 12 minutes. Moral of the story, texting is personal and it’s engrained into our everyday routines. To make sure your business respects those considerations, it’s best not to text a new prospect as your first line of contact. A study of over 3.5 million lead records found that sending text messages to a prospect prior to making phone contact with them decreased the likelihood of ever contacting that lead by 39%.
It can feel slightly invasive to receive a text from someone who you didn’t personally give your number to. So unless a client has given permission to text to your business, or you have previously established rapport, it’s best to tread lightly with SMS “cold calls.”
Additionally, despite the 24/7 availability that texting creates, it’s always best practice to keep your business text messages within typical business hours. Not only is this a courtesy, it’s also practical. You want to send texts at a time when people can take action—buy your product, schedule a meeting, etc. They can’t do that while they’re sitting on their couch catching up on Netflix at 9 p.m. So stick to the universally accepted best times to send a text.
2. Topic – What Should You Be Texting About?
Sales is all about building relationships and creating a strong customer experience. Your texts should anticipate customer needs and always add value. But striking the balance between friendly and direct is delicate. While you don’t want your messages to sound like a chatbot, there should always be a “so what” aspect to your text. In other words, before sending a text, ask yourself, “What action do I want this person to take?” Here’s a good example:
Hi Steven, how’s your free trial going? Are you available for a quick call today? I’d love to show you some premium features that you may find useful.
Notice the beginning of the messages. A good text should always incorporate personalization, even if it’s just someone’s name, as well as your own identification. It should also demonstrate value (answer the “why I’m reaching out” question). However, a well-written sales text message doesn’t make the customer feed badgered.
Imagine if the text had said:
Hey Steven, are you available for a demo of our premium features today?
While this option may be briefer, it comes off as abrasive. Offer value, make yourself available, include a call to action, and speak to your customers like humans. If you do that, you’re bound to see success with business texting.
3. Tone – How Should Your Text Sound?
Business texting is not mass advertising. Your messages are being sent to specific individuals, not to entire groups. You want to avoid generic ad language lacking personalization. Treat each exchange as a conversation and your audience will respond. Deepen the conversation with the interpersonal information you’ve gathered about the client, and use that insight to drive sales.
*Hey Susan! Hope you enjoyed your vacation! If you’d like we’d be happy to schedule another product demo for your whole team. Just let me know when you’re free.*
4. Total – How Many Texts Should You Send?
How many texts you send to your customers completely depends on your situation. There’s no magic number, but there is some data to help support the successful trends in how often you should be connecting with your clients. Research has indicated that sending three or more purposeful text messages after contact has been made with a prospect can increase conversion rates by 328%. In general, it’s regarded as best practice to stay relevant to your audience, so regular texting is encouraged so long as clear value is communicated each time.
5 Examples of 2-Way Sales Messages
In addition to making your business available to consumers via text, there are several approaches you can take to initiate the conversation and engage consumers at various stages in the sales cycle.
1. Follow-Up Texts
Beginning with the basics, follow up texts are a great way to quickly connect with your audience. They can be used to ask questions, solicit feedback, or nudge an on the fence buyer with additional information or deals. Creating a sense of urgency is a classic sales tactic, but sometimes a limited time offer can cause people to freeze up on the phone or in person. With over 95% of text messages being read within 5 minutes of receipt, texting is the perfect avenue for limited time offers. Especially because customers have a moment to think of and draft their response before they type back as opposed to having to form the perfect response the first time. As a result, the response rates from SMS are 209% higher than phone calls when it comes to “available only…” offers.
2. Reminder Texts
Staying ahead of contract renewals or refinancing deadlines is key. Let your customers know their business is prioritized by reaching out to them in advance of these deadlines with encouraging nudges to stay with your product or service. Reminder texts are similar to a “checking in” text by nature, but the added value is clear: we need to you do “x”.
3. Warm Touch Texts
Think of this as the evolved, SMS-adapted, version of the cold call. A warm touch is a method for contacting a lead after some connection is established. Perhaps after connecting on LinkedIn, post-networking event, or following a virtual introduction.
4. Relationship Building Texts
Relationship building texts often times begin with, “Hey, just checking in!” The SMS sales community is split on the efficacy of these texts, mostly due to the question of how much value they add for the customer. We believe the decision should be yours, and based entirely on what’s best for your customers. That’s why our business texting platform has a notes feature on each conversation. Write comments, visible only to you and your team, about if a client would be the type of person who appreciates the occasional drop in!
5. Action-Oriented Texts
As demonstrated above, there are plenty of approaches to take when making a sale. However, one of the most direct approaches involves action oriented offers, or “asks.” Just remember that recipients always have to give you permission to text them before you reach out. Otherwise you risk getting blocked and creating a negative brand image as “spammers”.
How to Get Started With Business Texting
Transitioning your sales team to business texting is seamless. There are few easy and initial steps we’ll walk through that will get you off and running. For some extra help, our support team is available seven days a week to assists! Following along will not only give you the chance to try out the platform for yourself. It’ll also help you better understand how business texting works. So, let’s get started!
- Begin by signing up for a free trial account. Experience the platform and all its features for two weeks with no cost and no commitment.
- Decide how you’d like customers to contact you. We can text-enable your existing 10-digit landline or toll-free number.
- Start connecting with your customers! As we mentioned before, you need to have permission to text someone. Since you are communicating one-on-one vs. sending a mass text message, the concept of compliance is handled a little differently. A member of our team is happy to walk you through the concept, but as a rule of thumb just be sure to only add contacts who have provided their number with the intention of receiving information.
- Begin to manage your conversations. In order to help you stay organized, SimpleTexting has created features that allow you to mark conversations as resolved, schedule messages, and even prioritize conversations based on time received or time waiting.
In an increasingly noisy world, it’s crucial to rise above the masses. Our platform makes it easy to be heard.
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