In a society that cherishes and rewards speed, texting is an awesome tool. We can send and receive information in the blink of an eye.
We can stay visible with a single emoticon. We can confirm an appointment with a single tap. We can make someone smile with a well-picked GIF.
So, the question is asked: to text or not to text as a means of following up with a prospect?
And the answer is . . . it depends. Without question there is a place for texting in sales. Look at this recent data:
- 90 percent of people say they’d rather receive a text than a phone call from a business.3
- 95 percent of texts from businesses are read within three minutes of being sent.4
That is a pretty compelling argument based on customer preferences. Let’s go on the assumption that texting, when done right, enhances the buying experience.
Suppose you are selling pleasure boats, a truly discretionary purchase. You are working with a prospect who is torn between buying something new—at considerably more cost—or going with the cheaper but riskier route and buying used. His last comment to the sales rep: “I need to spend some time doing comparison shopping and seeing what I can find.”
What would a bad follow-up text look like? Something like this:
“I hope you buy from us. We would love your business.”
What a colossal waste of time and energy! Of course you would love this person’s business. You get paid when you get his business. It’s your job to get his business.
Here are five examples of appropriate text messages:
- “Great chatting with you, Richard. Let me do some research for you. I’ll call you at 5:00 with more information about . . .”
- “I came across this really helpful article about deciding between a new and a used boat—a very balanced opinion (include link). I’ll call you tomorrow.”
- “Here are three pictures of the Raptor model you’re looking at. Good-looking boat, my friend!” (include photos)
- Send a video walk-around of the exact boat he is looking at. Narrate it according to what is important to this buyer.
- “I found this article that talks about the dependability of our line of boats. Definitely something to consider if you’re also thinking about buying used.”
In each case your objective is to sustain that Emotional Altitude. Keep your customer emotionally engaged.
Is there a place for texting? You bet. Is there an abuse of texting? Most definitely. The reality is that texting is here to stay; it is part of the fabric of the business world.
Your task is to maximize effectiveness and minimize annoyance. Find the sweet spot and advance the sale!