"The Navigator" News Blog

How to Sell by Text: Navigating Modern Sales Communication

“Troy, all these gosh-darned younger buyers want to do is text!”  That’s a complaint I hear quite frequently when I speak at conventions.  And it’s true. Sales communication methods have undergone a significant transformation. The rise of younger, tech-savvy buyers is one of the Four Key Trends in selling – and it has brought about a preference for text messaging over traditional communication channels like calling or emailing. While this trend might pose challenges for some seasoned salespeople, selling by text messaging is a powerful tool can help you win new customers – and keep the ones you have.

Here’s the key to remember:  this trend isn’t going away.  The people who are moving into positions of buying authority came of age when they were marinated in technology, and communications technology in particular.  The rotary phone isn’t coming back.  Will some of these buyers be open to more traditional means of communication, such as incoming phone calls or even walk-in cold calls?  Perhaps, but that’s probably not the way to bet.  Sales is about meeting customers where they are – and where they are is in a place where your texting skills aren’t just an asset, they are mandatory.

The Shift Towards Text Messaging

As technology continues to shape how we communicate, the preferences of buyers are shifting, and sales professionals must adapt accordingly. Younger generations, raised in an era of instant messaging and social media, have developed a strong affinity for texting as a means of communication. It offers them a level of convenience, efficiency, and informality that traditional methods often lack. Sure, there’s the old joke about two people sitting next to each other on a couch, texting each other instead of talking – but texting is our reality.

Embracing the Change

For many seasoned salespeople, selling by text might seem daunting. I’ll be honest – I’m not the biggest fan of thumb typing, either.  However, the benefits of integrating text messaging into your sales approach are undeniable. Texting allows you to meet buyers where they are, respecting their communication preferences and building rapport on their terms. By embracing this change, you position yourself as a modern sales professional who is not only willing to adapt but also committed to providing exceptional customer experiences.  That perception is going to wrap itself around every aspect of your customer interactions.

When I get the question referenced in the opener of this article, my response is, “So, how good are you at writing a persuasive text?”  Most of the time, I get blank looks.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

The Art of Selling by Text

Crafting a persuasive text message requires finesse and strategy. Unlike longer emails or phone calls, texts demand concise communication that captures attention and drives engagement. Your texts need more “power per word.”  Here’s a roadmap to writing compelling text messages:

  1. Know Your Audience: Just as in any sales interaction, understanding your audience is crucial. Research your prospect’s needs, pain points, and preferences to tailor your message accordingly.
  2. Personalization: Start with a personalized greeting to show you value the individual you’re reaching out to. Reference past interactions or shared interests to establish a connection – but again, do it CONCISELY.
  3. Get to the Point: Text messages have limited space, so cut to the chase. State the purpose of your message upfront, whether it’s introducing a new product, requesting an appointment, addressing a customer need, or offering a solution.
  4. Highlight Value: Clearly articulate the value proposition of your offer. Explain how it can solve a problem, enhance efficiency, or fulfill a need. Keep the benefits concise and compelling.
  5. Engage with Questions: Engage the recipient by asking open-ended questions related to their needs. Encourage them to share their thoughts, challenges, or goals, fostering a two-way conversation.  Once you get a two-way conversation going, you can request an appointment.
  6. Concise Language: Use concise and direct language, avoiding jargon or unnecessary filler words. Each word should contribute to the message’s impact.
  7. Embrace the Informal Tone: Text messages are inherently more informal than emails or calls. While maintaining professionalism, feel free to adopt a slightly casual tone that resonates with modern buyers.  That said, don’t tell them how you ‘wnt 2 b’ in front of them.  “Informal language” still uses WORDS.

Overcoming the Challenges

For sales professionals accustomed to traditional methods, the transition to text messaging may present some challenges. Here are a few tips to help navigate those hurdles:

  1. Training: Invest in training programs that teach the art of persuasive text messaging. Equip your sales team with the skills they need to excel in this new communication landscape.
  2. Practice Makes Perfect: Encourage your team to practice crafting persuasive text messages. Provide feedback and offer guidance to refine their approach over time.
  3. Feedback Loop: Foster a culture of learning and improvement. Encourage your team to share their experiences and insights from text messaging interactions, enabling everyone to learn from each other.
  4. Measure and Adapt: Use analytics tools to track the effectiveness of your text messaging efforts. Analyze response rates, engagement levels, and conversion rates to refine your strategy.

The bottom line is this.

Mastering the art of persuasive text messaging is a critical skill for modern sales professionals. By adapting to buyers’ texting preferences, you can build stronger relationships with buyers and drive higher engagement. Embrace the change, refine your strategy, and equip your sales team with the tools they need to succeed in today’s dynamic sales landscape. As the saying goes, “Adapt or be left behind.” I don’t want to be left behind – do you?