I was recently asked what I thought about texting Sales Prospects. Here is my response; it really depends on the industry and the individual prospect.
First some stats*:
As of January 2020, 292 million people in North America use text messages – that’s 80% of the total population.
The country with the highest percentage of mobile users is Russia where 89% of the population sends and receives text messages.
China and India have the most people who send SMS messages – China comes first with 1,081 million people and India second with 730 million.
For prospects who actively text, texting CAN be a HIGHLY effective way to follow-up and keep in touch with them. Some people totally avoid using the phone wherever possible and for them, it may actually be NECESSARY to use texts to interact.
But there are still many industries, especially white-collar organizations in the US, which have not yet embraced texting. Texting a prospect there may be a turn off, or worse yet, may never even be seen!
The same is true of some of the older “C suite” occupants. It doesn’t mean they aren’t a good fit or a strong prospect, it just means that texting might not be their ideal choice of platform. And making the prospect COMFORTABLE it key. Texting them, if they are not used to texting, could be the reason you don’t get an appointment. Why take that chance?
We often talk about how you should ‘mirror’ a prospects tone, speech patterns and speed. This helps create a connection and builds trust. The same applies to your messaging. If they are phone people, pick up the phone to connect. If they are wedded to texting, by all means, text them. If you aren’t sure, pick up the phone and ASK THEM.
I also want to caution Salespeople who use texts, to be sure they are not using it as a crutch. In my training experience, I have seen many people who prefer to use texts for outreach, rather than picking up the phone. Yes, it can be easier, and it can give you a (false) sense of control, but it is NOT an effective way to Cold Call and is especially ineffective for building relationships.
Remember, Cold Calling is NOT about SELLING but about creating RELATIONSHIPS. Interaction doesn’t happen on platforms like texting – at best, it is just a messaging platform. The phone allows you to interact, hear, and really LISTEN to the prospect. And then you can pivot and respond appropriately. There are way too many ways to miss what is being said (or being left unsaid) when texting so keep it to appointment confirmations and quick follow-ups.
Another caution is that it can be very easy to get too ‘casual’ when texting. I know that I personally DISLIKE it when someone I don’t know sends me a text or email with a really casual opening like ‘Hey Nan’ or ‘Hi Nance!’. If you are going to use texts, keep them professional. They don’t have to be FORMAL but don’t get too ‘friendly’ in your messages with the Prospect until you are actually that comfortable in person.
Note that I am not asking or concerning myself here with which communication mode the SALESPERSON prefers. That is not a factor. The goal is to identify the platform or mode that the PROSPECT is most comfortable with and then utilize that. For those of you who are not yet comfortable texting, you may want to consider it. If nothing else, it is yet another communication tool for your toolbelt.
As salespeople, we need to take advantage of ALL the tools available to us. Texting is a valuable one for some – use it where appropriate but don’t rely on it exclusively.
Two of the most important components to the success of your business are your Client Base and your Sales Team. Select these carefully and you will have greater success, both in your day-to-day interactions and your bottom line.
What qualities should you look for when building your ideal Client Base and Sales Team? We each have our own impressions of the people we deal with but here are five key characteristics to look for when pursuing Prospective Clients and hiring Salespeople:
- Young: By this I mean YOUTHFUL. Age is just a number and we all know people who are much ‘younger’ (or older!) at heart than their chronological age. Surrounding yourself with clients and a team of ‘youthful’ energetic people who embrace change easily will foster a positive outlook, companywide.
- Attractive: We don’t mean Miss America here. This too, is not to be taken literally. I am talking about looking for, working with and hiring people who attract other people. People who are socially adept and that others like to be around. Interesting people who, in some way, have a magnetic personality. People YOU are attracted to and enjoy being with.
- Verbal: Being able to communicate is a KEY trait in any Salesperson – period, end of story. Hiring people who speak well and are easily understood check this box. Identifying clients who say what they mean will also make your life easier.
- Intelligent: We’re not talking about IQ here. Your team members need not have a degree from Harvard to deliver excellent sales results. Being ‘street smart’ and ‘getting it’ is what we want.
- Successful: This is not about money, but it does impact the bottom line. Here, we want to look for people who can accomplish what they set out to do. They finish things. They are responsive and take responsibility for their actions and their success.
These five traits create the acronym YAVIS. We can train for skills, but these are innate traits that people are born with. Look for them as you interview clients and prospective employees. You may not be able to consistently find people with all five of these qualities but aim for at least 3 or 4.
Once you start looking for and requiring these characteristics of those you work with and hire, you will find that building your ideal Client Base and Sales Team will bring YOU more success!
Which traits do YOU value most in your Sales Team? Is it the same for your Clients? Let us know in the comments below!
This may sound like a hokey statement but there is truth to it. Read on to see how identifying the real root of a prospect’s objection – the truth – early on, can save you time, money and aggravation.
How many times have you had someone tell you they were interested but they need more information. Interested but they are not ready? Interested but they aren’t in the position to make the decision needed? Interested but they cannot afford it? Interested but, but, but.
Selling is a ‘No’ business – you know you will get No’s. Yet it is the ‘BUTS’ that can waste even more of your time and money. Stalls and objections are common in sales, and maybe never more so than now. My advice is to focus on cutting through the BUTS to get to the TRUTH.
If the truth IS that they need more information, ask them for their email address so you can send them a follow-up package. Ask them what services are of interest and make sure you have prepared materials to send. Set-up an appointment to review the information and then follow through.
If the truth is that they aren’t ready, ask them when they think they WILL need your services. Get out your schedules and set a date – be specific – pick a time, get it on their calendar.
If the truth is that they are not the decision maker, ask for names, numbers and an introduction to the correct person.
But if the truth is that they are just trying to blow you off without hurting your feelings, let them know that you would rather KNOW that now, than to waste more time.
Here is a sample of what you can say to get a truthful response:
“Gee,(or something similar, to soften the statement) oftentimes when I am asked/told this it is because the person is afraid to tell me that they really are not interested. I don’t know if this is the case here, but if it is, that is okay.” (at this point, be quiet and let them respond!).
If this is the case, let them know you appreciate the honesty, schedule a call back and move on. A NO is NOT NOW. Recycle them for future contact, perhaps 3 – 4 months. Things change and you want to be in front of them when they do. The truth will set you free – free to move on to your next prospect – moving you closer to a YES and a real sale!
We all know of businesses that went dark during the pandemic. We hear stories of people who closed shop, who decided to lay low and to wait until ‘this passes’.
As I have said all along, that is NOT a viable business strategy and certainly not the way to generate leads! Leads are the life blood of a business and without them, your business will die.
You need to keep dialing, to keep reaching out and making calls – to stay in touch and keep listening. You need to STAY IN THE GAME.
For those of you looking to polish your skills and stay in the game, you are invited to join me Tuesday, June 23rd at 1:00 (ET) for a one-on-one conversation with Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter on “Selling Right Now”.
During this 45 minute conversation we will discuss the sales stalls and objections we are all currently facing and provide you with the approaches and tactics you need to address and overcome them.
Prospecting is more critical than ever, join us for this free event to see how to stay on track and succeed despite the current challenges!
Click here to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WfbpiY-pQ-mgbNUahoS6og
Many of those businesses who stood by, waiting, will not be standing ‘when this passes’. They will be OUT of business.
We all need to figure out how to survive and thrive in today’s environment, and the sooner you do, the sooner you will see results.
There are no excuses – if YOU pressed pause, now is the time to get back into gear. And for those of you who took our advice and never really stopped – good for you – we will see you out in front of the pack!
Click here to register and join us on the call https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WfbpiY-pQ-mgbNUahoS6og