Text messaging has by far the best engagement rate of any marketing channel.
The reason behind this fact is really a no-brainer. Texting is perfect for short-form, time-sensitive conversations and it tends to already be your customers’ preferred channel.
As a sales leader, text message marketing is easy to track and audit. With the right tool, you can ensure that the message that is initially sent to a given customer matches the goal of a particular campaign you are running - whether that’s an upsell, cross-sell, or retention campaign. Additionally, you can also monitor who is responding to your messages, what actions are being taken (link click, appointment booked, payment made, etc.), and which messages are getting ignored.
Here’s a question for you now - if text messaging for sales is so effective and easy to implement, why isn’t it already part of every sales leader’s toolkit?
Because there’s a very tiny asterisk that comes with statements backing the efficiency of selling through text messaging.
That’s right, it’s subject to a very important condition – PERSONALIZATION.
Sending unsolicited, spammy texts to people who haven’t opted-in for receiving your communications won’t get you good returns. This exercise is neither legal nor ethical, and not to mention extremely pointless from the standpoint of generating a sustainable ROI.
How to effectively sell through text messages?
The answer lies in 4 simple steps-
- Make use of personalized conversations to increase engagement rates
- Run data-backed text marketing campaigns to boost conversion
- Follow up with leads to close deals through text messages
- Utilize text message marketing to up-sell and cross-sell products/services
Make use of personalized conversations to increase engagement rates
Did you know that an average user picks up their mobile device 85 times a day? This means, theoretically, you get 85 opportunities to touch base with the customers through business text messaging. The question is, how to make these opportunities count.
Personalizing customer interactions over text messages rewards you with increased engagement rates. In fact, 88% of marketers feel that they’ve seen a measurable improvement in their business after they started employing customer personalization tactics.
Personalization goes a long way in making sure the customers are warming up to your brand and responding to your messages. Customers who regularly engage with your brand are likely to be more receptive to the offers you present to them and the products/services you eventually pitch to them.
One of the advantages of text messaging in business is you can build relationships with your customers without being pushy. Use these interactions to add value in a way that’s relevant to them. Build rapport to earn the right to pitch. Selling using text messaging becomes quite simple once you’ve laid the foundation with warm conversations.
Run data-backed text marketing campaigns to boost Conversion
Should your salespeople text their prospects?
Should your salespeople text all of their prospects?
As a sales leader, you’re likely sitting on mounds of rich customer data and you need to use that to your advantage., A data-driven sales approach to text messaging is the most powerful weapon you have in your toolkit.
Beyond having the right data, targeting the right customer segments is equally important. Someone who is a repeat customer and who has a very high NPS should not receive the same text message as the customer who has a high risk of churning and just left you a negative review on Google. If the goal is to eventually make a sale with the help of text messaging, arming yourself with the right data about your customers and prospects is of paramount importance.
Follow up with leads to close deals through text messages
Surely, you’ll have a new-found respect for follow up messages after you read this-
ONLY 2% of the total sales happen at the first interaction between the brand and the customer!
Wait, there’s more - 80% of non-routine sales happen only after FIVE follow-ups.
The most shocking part?
92% of salespeople give up on a lead after 4 attempts which basically means that only 8% of salespeople are generating 80% of the sales!
Puts the whole ‘follow-up text messages are important’ thing into perspective, right?
The best follow-up text messages are the ones that serve as a gentle yet meaningful nudge for the customer to pursue the conversation without being pushy.
Let’s take an example of how an auto dealership can use follow-up text messages to close deals and drive sales.
Tom owns ABC auto dealership on Sesame Street. Tom is tired of the low open-rate marketing channels like emails and decides to try his hand at SMS marketing. Tom is a smart guy – he knows he needs customers to opt-in to his communications before he can text them otherwise, he will face legal issues. So, he comes up with a unique idea to get opt-in from prospects passively browsing for options on the website – instead of putting up a generic “Contact Us” form, he has a phone number listed with a message saying, “To book a safe test drive rates and other details, text us at 1234567.”
In addition to what Tom is doing online, he makes sure he’s asking walk-ins for their mobile numbers and consent to contact them after they leave his dealership.
Using an omnichannel approach, Tom has successfully started building his prospect list. His sales team starts nurturing these leads by engaging them in conversations about their requirements, their preferences, and how ABC auto dealership can help them find the best-suited car.
Tom makes it a point that his sales team regularly checks in with the customers to inquire about their car search progress. His follow-up text messaging strategy is based on these 6 fundamental touchpoints throughout the buyer journey-
1. Same-Day Unsold
Within 24 hours of the first interaction with the prospective customer, Tom makes sure to reach out to the customer reinstating the points of their discussion and the offers he presented the customers with. This is to ensure that Tom’s offers remain top of the mind even when the customer checks out other dealerships on the same day.
2. 24-Hour Unsold
In case there are prospects that were not contacted by Tom’s team on the same day as their first interaction, then they are put on the priority messaging list by him on the next day. The text messages sent to prospects within the 24-hour window consist of some of these phrases-
- “Just wanted to check if you had any more questions since we last chatted”
- “I hope you know how much I value your business and I’d love to help you any way I can”
- “I’d love to know what your thoughts are about the offer we discussed”
- “I wanted to reach out to you and let you know that we’re expecting the new model we discussed yesterday to be available for a test drive by this weekend”
3. Ongoing Unsold
Tom knows the importance of persistence in sales. He knows that his team needs to have interactions at 6 different touchpoints before giving up on the conversation. Even if he fails to receive a response from prospects, he insists that his team follows up with them periodically.
While engaging in this kind of a follow-up, he makes sure that his team is reaching out to the prospects with new information or something that adds value to the relationship as frequently as possible. He also encourages his salespeople to check-in with questions like ‘Hey, how’s your car search coming along?’ as the responses give them status updates about the buyer.
4. Management Review
Tom asks his team to discuss their unsold customers with their sales manager. Involving the senior members and having them reach out to the customers sends a message that the dealership really cares about the customer and is ready to do whatever it takes to support them. Plus, the brainstorming session is also a good way to review new opportunities, get fresh perspectives, and formulate new plans to close the deal.
At ABC dealership, it is a rule of thumb that every customer who converts - new car sale, used car sale, or service appointment - should receive a follow-up text message within the next 24 hours. The text message usually thanks the customer for their business and asks about how the customer is liking their new vehicle. The message also serves to remind the customer to reach out to ABC dealership for any help or feedback.
6. Ongoing Sold
Once Tom and his team successfully sell a new or used car to a customer, the customer enters ABC dealership’s CRM and DMS. From there on, it is the responsibility of the team to touch base with the customer over text messages at least every 90 days. These ongoing follow-up messages are usually in the form of birthday and holiday wishes to purchase anniversaries and ad-hoc special offers.
Utilize text message marketing to up-sell and cross-sell products/services
Did you know 49% of customers have purchased something they didn’t intend to after receiving personalized marketing messaging about it?
These types of purchases, known as product/service recommendations, are great opportunities for sales teams to up-sell and cross-sell. And text message marketing, if done in the right manner, is an ideal channel to drive these impulse purchases.
Sending your customers exclusive deals that are relevant to their own behavior and interests is a great way to go about cross-selling. Here’s a simple template to get the conversation started:
The bottom line is, selling through text messaging is not rocket science. All it needs is a dash of personalization, a healthy dose of data, and a decent understanding of your customers!