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Using Text Messages for Prospecting

Using Text Messages for Prospecting

Material Matters Member News Industry News/Information Jeff Beals

Jeff Beals

Have you ever received a text message like this?

Hi Jeff! I’m Calvin with XYZ. We offer tailored consulting-focused medical insurance plans with competitive rates and nationwide coverage during open enrollment. Would you like a quick quote?

Or how about this?

Hello Jeff. This is Elijah from ABC Bookkeeping. We’re an online bookkeeping service starting as low as $109 per month. Can I call you to explain details?

Or even one like this?

Greetings Jeff. I know that technology integration is a concern for your industry. Our latest product addresses this directly, providing tools and platforms for sales trainers. Interested in a demo to see how it can streamline your processes?

I bet you receive text messages like these on a regular basis. Do they work? Would you respond if you received one of these text messages? I suspect not. And the reason you wouldn’t respond is because they’re “spammy.” They come from unknown senders when you’re not expecting them and they provide little to no value to the recipient.

As a reader of this article, you probably work in a B2B environment or you sell high-value B2C offerings to sophisticated buyers. I’m involved in three businesses; all of them operate in a B2B world. Most of my sales training programs are B2B-focused. I’m a B2B guy.

Spammy prospecting messages sent to B2B or high-level B2C clients simply do not work.

But that doesn’t mean there’s no place for text messages in your prospecting efforts. The key is to use text messages properly and at the right time. Text messaging can be a powerful sales tool.

As a general rule, do not use text messages the first time your reach out to a cold prospect. People have become conditioned to consider unsolicited texts from strangers as spam. It now takes an average of 10 attempts to reach a decision maker at a cold prospect company. Your first attempt is most likely going to be a phone call or email. Since there’s a high likelihood you won’t reach the prospect that first time, you’ll have plenty of additional opportunities.

Here are instances where it DOES make sense use text messages in prospecting.

1. Later in the Prospecting Cadence
Your “cadence” is the frequency, order and channel of your messages to any given prospect. We already established that you generally should not use text messages at the beginning of your cadence. Texts do have higher levels of effectiveness late in the process after the prospect has received emails and voicemails from you.

2. After a First Conversation
Once you have had a live interactive conversation with a prospect, texting becomes a very effective way of communicating with the prospect. In fact, it may be the most effective channel for some prospects. Busy decision makers tend to respond to texts quicker than emails or voicemails.

3. After a Networking Event
If your first interaction with a prospect occurs at a networking event, it is fine to follow up with a text message. If you had a meaningful conversation during the event, the prospect will likely remember your name. Speed is the key. Send that text the next day. Don’t wait a week or two.

4. After Something Significant
If the prospect does know your name, or you have had at least one live conversation, it can be effective to text the prospect after a significant event. You could send a congratulatory text if the prospect’s company expands, wins an award, hires a new person, etc. The event is an “excuse” to reach out and schedule a meeting.

Experience and research tell me that, in most cases, telephone calls remain the most effect prospecting communication channel to reach cold decision makers when you factor the time and money invested and results delivered. However, in the right situations, text messages are even more effective than calls. Good timing is key.

Jeff Beals helps companies find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. Beals is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. When he's not speaking, teaching or consulting, Beals works as executive vice president at NAI NP Dodge Commercial Real Estate in Omaha, Nebraska, and he owns a local media company, which covers business news on both radio and digital platforms. A frequent media guest, Beals has been featured in Investor's Business Daily, USA Today, Men's Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times. 

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