The best sales people text with their customers.

Don’t believe it? Listen to Nick Cegelski and Armand Farrokh talk with president of Skipio Eric Buckley about using text messaging in the deal cycle and you’ll change your mind. Or at the very least have a lot to think about.

Don’t even have 30 minutes to spare? Well, check out these 4 simple takeaways from Eric’s appearance on Nick and Armand’s top sales podcast 30 Minutes to President’s Club.

Start by getting permission

There’s a general understanding among too many people in marketing and sales that sales professionals shouldn’t text prospects and customers. That people don’t want to text.

It’s simply wrong. People would so much rather you text them than call them. You have to get their permission though.

Granted, if you’re texting on your personal phone, you don’t technically need permission. Your iPhone isn’t an auto-dialer.

But you 100% will want to use an automated texting platform that will allow you to schedule and drip text messages and keep your personal number private. (Otherwise you set yourself up for tons of manual work and inefficient communication.)

So how do you get that permission? You ask for it. Here’s a couple examples of how that can work.

You’re already talking to someone through phone or email

Casually ask them if it’s okay to text them. If they then agree, reiterate that permission in your first message to them, essentially asking, “Is texting still the best way to reach you?” That keeps you in the clear.

Inbound leads are collected on your website or through other methods

If your company has lead forms on the website or landing pages, or your marketing team helps collect inbound leads in other ways, make sure people are required to provide their mobile number. Also confirm that when people opt in and consent to communication with your company that it includes text messaging.

Remember that you represent yourself

Your first message to a prospect needs to be an introduction of who you are and why you’re texting. Even if you’ve gotten permission to text someone, don’t make them guess who you are or pick up from context clues why you’re messaging them in this personal way.

Good sales messaging starts with the mentality of why you’re texting.

“I’m not representing a team. I’m not representing a brand. I’m not representing a machine. I’m representing me because I want a relationship with you.”

Why focus on being yourself? Because few things upset people more than robotic, generic messaging. With texting, maybe nothing is more obvious than when you copy/paste a text that you’re sending to 5,000 people on a list. Do not do that. (If you only want to blast information, get short code.)

When you focus on writing and scheduling authentic messages that sound like you, people will want to reply to your texts.

Don’t be afraid of the double text

The fortune is in the follow-up. Don’t be afraid to send multiple texts, even in a short period of time.

Think about this everyday scenario everyone has probably had.

You’ve made plans with someone. You want to send a quick text to confirm: “hey are we still on for coffee today?” If they don’t respond in like 10 or 20 minutes, wouldn’t you follow up again so that you can get your schedule in order? That’s a pretty normal interaction.

If you want to be authentic and you’re automating your sequencing of outreach, you should do something similar in your sales process.

That might look like sending a quick “Can you chat now?” text and then 10 minutes later if they haven’t respond, sending something like “If not now, maybe we can catch up tomorrow.”

Basically, communicate like you like the person! Be casual and direct.

PRO TIP: Texting lends itself really well to getting on the phone. It takes them 2 clicks to get on a call. Use that to your advantage when using texting to set up future touch points.

Be direct to move prospects through the funnel

Text messaging is an incredible tool for continuing to build relationships with prospects.

Say you’ve done a discovery call or demo. Quickly write a quick text and schedule it to send soon after. Maybe that’s later the same day or tomorrow morning. Basically, stay trying to get them to another meeting and to move down into the funnel.

“I see reps … try to sell over text, which is absolutely preposterous. Your goal is to either elicit a response or maybe [get them to] go look back at their inbox. Get them to do one thing very, very, very simply.”

Send simple messages as post-meeting reminders, to review previous conversations, and to share information. Ask quick questions and get insights from your point of contact about how stakeholders/decision-makers feel about things.

Those types of messages get you engaged responses. When you text in that way, prospects are then more likely to reach out to you through text as well. Communication feels more open when it’s personal texting.

PRO TIP: Direct communication includes sending concise text messages. The shorter your messages, the faster they’re read and the faster they’re responded to. Texting isn’t email!

Keep your prospects warm with text messaging

Ultimately, using text messaging in the deal cycle allows you to keep prospects warm. When you have conversations through text you do more discovery, build better relationships, and figure out other points of leverage.

It’s not about actually closing but rather learning everything you need to get there.

“When we’re having active conversations, the likelihood of closing goes up 4x. The [conversations are] over text and not email or phone.”