Last Updated on March 11, 2020
The Times They Are a-Changin’
Lately, I’ve noticed my smartphone becoming more intelligent. Just a few days ago in fact, my service provider notified me I would now be warned of potential spam callers, with an option to report and block those numbers from further contact. A recent update to my phone even gave me the option to send all unknown numbers straight to my voicemail, avoiding potential spam and robocalls… or maybe even some calls from you.
As awesome as these features are, the sales professional in me cringes just a bit with each new update. As these features become the standard for phone manufacturers and service providers, it’s getting increasingly more difficult to reach prospective clients by simply calling them.
Don’t give up hope, this dark cloud has a silver lining! Text messages are not yet included in this great purge, and that is why I have dubbed 2020 the Year of the Text. It may seem like a big jump for me to go all-in on text messaging this way, so let’s look at some numbers:
- 90% of received text messages are opened within 3 minutes
- 98% are opened by days end
- 67% of people would rather text with a business about appointments and scheduling than communicate via email or phone. (Zipwhip State of Texting Report, 2019)
With numbers like these, I am kicking myself for not going all-in on text sooner.
Reach Out & Text Someone
Wait, wait, hold on…. it’s not that easy. Before you grab your phone and start texting the world, let’s talk about some rules and define a process for using this communication medium.
When sending text messages, your prospect should always go through an “opt-in” process before you begin your communications. This is the same for any outreach in regards to your business. Don’t be that agent that sends spam via text or email. It’s not only ineffective, in many cases it’s also illegal.
Ask a prospect, “Can I text you my number now and follow up with you later.” By asking this simple question, you accomplish several goals:
- You get permission for future contact
- You make text messaging the primary form of communication
- You put your information at your prospects’ fingertips
Respect your prospects. The conversation should feel like a natural two-way exchange. If they express a desire to end the communication, honor that request, similar to an unsubscribe in an email.
Short, specific, and clear messages are the best practice for your text strategy. Keep your messages on-topic, direct, and easily actionable. The less you leave to interpret, the better.
“Hi Lisa, this is Chris. We met yesterday at the grocery store. I would love to continue our conversation about getting your property sold fast. Are you free for a coffee at Roaster Local on Saturday at 11 AM?”
With this initial text message, I’ve reminded the prospect of our first encounter, offered value, and asked a direct question focused on moving a deal forward.
Confirm every communication from your prospects. Confirmation takes moments and can prevent a simple miscommunication from derailing your hard work. If Lisa from the messages above were to reply, my next text might look a little something like this:
“Yes, 10 works for me. I’ll see you at Roasters on Saturday.”
This simple follow-up allows you and your prospect to remain on the same page.
The First Step is the Hardest
Even using the strategies I’ve outlined, oftentimes breaking the ice is the most challenging part of connecting with a lead.
Agent Inner Circle has designed some great, ready-to-use text openers you can start with – just click on the download button below to get them:
As with any lead nurture, you need to remember that repetition and consistency are both key to the conversion equation. Sending one message isn’t going to cut it in most cases – if you don’t get a response off of your first message… try, try again. A staggering 45% of business texts don’t receive a reply, so you really need to be persistent if you want to make a connection with these opportunities.
6 thoughts on “2020: The Wild West of the Text Era”
Very nice and useful.
Thanks Edwin! Glad you found this helpful.
Great info, I agree texting seems to be much more welcome than a phone call..definitely reliant on tech capabilities of the person youre reaching out to of course.
Great point Val! You definitely want to adapt to what your client prefers. I also like to keep in mind what type of media we’re sending at what type of response we’re looking for. (ie, a contract or long questionnaire is tough to do over text.) Really glad you liked this though! Thanks for the feedback.
This is very good information. I would always prefer texting to email until email is absolutely indicated. I appreciate the article.
Thanks Stephen! I’m glad this was helpful. My preferred hierarchy when I’m being contacted is usually – Instant Message > Text > Email > Phone.