Over two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and our constant reliance on them provides various ways— beyond just talking—to connect with the world around us.

In fact, one of the smartphone's most basic components, its text messaging capabilities, can be key to connecting with your prospects.

And, these days, with less than one-third of smartphone usage actually involving talking on the phone, there's no better time to brush up on why you should text your prospects—and how to do it.

Unlike driving while texting or walking while texting, texting while selling is not dangerous; to the contrary, it can be invaluable in helping sales teams meet their numbers. By texting prospects during your sales process, you're 40% more likely to convert them into clients.

Here are a few of the reasons why.

  • The ability to personalize your interactions: Impersonal mass emails or cold phone calls tend to make prospects feel like just another number or a target for meeting a sales quota. SMS has the potential to be much more personal, enabling you to build a bridge of camaraderie and familiarity with your prospects. The more casual, conversational tone of text messages makes it much easier to build relationships.
  • Making your point immediately: The average human attention span is eight seconds, and the fact that we're busier than ever with more content channels to distract us doesn't help. If you are looking to convert prospects into clients, keep your message short and simple. Long messages laden with fluff are a surefire way to lose a prospect's attention. SMS messages help convey your point quickly, without bogging down your prospect.
  • The ubiquity of mobile devices: Today, Gen-X and Millennials together make up nearly 70% of the working population. These generations are accustomed to quick dialogue and easy access to whatever they need at the tap of a finger. For them, texting is a natural means of communication, and chances are they'll be much more comfortable talking with a salesperson via SMS than by telephone. However, Gen-X and Millennials aren't the only generations who live on their mobile devices: Mobile messaging is one of the top mediums across all demographics, with 97% of Americans texting on their phones at least once per day.

But before you get out there and fire off text messages to all your leads, it's important to understand the appropriate timing and frequency for this sales tactic.

The following tips and tricks can aid in uncovering the right timing and frequency to make your SMS messages strategy effective.

  • Get ahold of them another way first. Texting before contacting can actually be detrimental to your end goal. Your prospects don't want sales-oriented text messages before they even make an initial point of contact with you. Texting after telephone contact has been proven to improve the conversion rate 112.6% over the average, according to research from Velocify. But what happens when you text first? Your chances of conversion will be 5% below the average rate.
  • Ensure a clear purpose in your messaging. Though it's important to lead off in a friendly, conversational tone, don't go overboard or drag out your communication with a series of meandering and ambiguous messages. Get to the point as soon as possible. Your prospects are likely not looking for your friendship, so no need to go overboard and try to carry on a long and aimless conversation.
  • Maintain solid boundaries. Yes, texting is more conversational and informal, but this is not a conversation with a good friend of many years. Steer clear of swear words or anything else that can be misconstrued as offensive or lewd. A good guideline is that if you would not say it to your boss, then you probably should not text it to a prospect.
  • Smoothly integrate SMS messages into your sales strategy with emails and phone calls, but keep your prospects' preferences in mind. You may have a prospect who prefers most long-form communication to take place via texts, as opposed to email or phone. For such instances, you must be agile and adapt, even though it's not your go-to practice. Tuning into your prospect's' preferred means of contact and adjusting accordingly will set you apart from the rest.
  • Don't go overboard. Remember that making an impact takes time and consistency, just as with any other medium. Even if you don't receive responses right away, fight the urge to send multiple text messages.

Above all else, your prospects don't want to interact with robotic, overly persistent salespeople. Using text messaging as part of your outreach strategy not only humanizes the sales process but also furthers your company's brand image as personal, easy to work with, and quick to respond.

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How to Text Your Sales Prospects to Increase Conversions

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image of Cameron Weeks

Cameron Weeks is a co-founder and the CEO of Fathom Voice, a rapidly growing company providing Cloud-based communication platforms to sales and support teams worldwide.

Twitter: @cameronweeks

LinkedIn: Cameron Weeks