Texting is an important part of a complex sales cycle. This is because sales is emotional--we’ve got humans spending money with other humans--and the more expensive a product, the more emotion is involved. Additionally, as a salesperson, you need commitment from your buyer to help forecast revenue. Texting helps with both the emotions of a sale and understanding the commitment. Let’s discuss in detail.
The higher the cost of your product the more emotion will be involved in your sales cycle. This is because there are limited opportunities for buyers to spend large sums of money. The typical C-level executive has an average tenure of between four and five years. To make an impact at a company, and expand their tenure, they need to make mission-critical vendor decisions within the first 24 months and see the returns quickly. This means, your typical C-level executive is limited in the number of times they will spend large sums of money with a vendor--especially a brand-new vendor.
Therefore the decisions to buy your expensive product often carries tremendous emotional baggage. For example, a VP of Engineering might ask themselves: “Will buying this vendor impact the way we develop software?” This is a huge question, and there is no way for you the salesperson to understand all the nuances involved. However, the better you can understand some of the emotion and convey your understanding, the better the situation is for everyone. Talking face-to-face and over the phone are good, and adding texting makes it even better.
Besides the emotions involved in buying an expensive solution, your job as a sales professional is to understand your buyer's commitment level which helps forecast revenue. When you’re conducting sales calls where your product is over $50,000 there are going to be multiple people involved in the buying process. Understanding the appetite of your buyer(s) early in the sales cycle is critical for you the sales rep and the buyer. Texting is another way to gauge someone’s commitment and demonstrate your ability to assist in bringing your solution into the organization.
An ideal situation for a complex enterprise sale is to have open communication with multiple contacts in an account. Some who have endorsed your product, some who have committed to being your champions, and executives who have shown you the path to becoming a customer. Juggling all these relationships takes time and skill. It also takes phone, email and texting mediums. Your job is to quarterback the sales cycle. And just like Tom Brady on the football field, you have different signals for different players. By embracing multiple mediums of communication, you allow yourself to become the all-star quarterback.
When it comes to texting specifically, embracing emotion in your messages is important. This means emojis. With only simple text, a message can easily be interpreted as terse when it is not. Emojis allow you to convey emotion without expanding your message and communicate all different types of thoughts, feelings and ideas to your customer.
If you’re selling an expensive product, getting to the texting level should be one of the first things you push for--perhaps on the very first call. Think about it, how many other sales reps are starting a texting dialogue with their prospect after the first meeting? Don’t you want to be that special person? Don’t you want to show your prospect that you know how to deliver this wonderful product to their fingertips? If so, get to texting and separate yourself from all the weak sales reps that roam the earth.
The question then is, “how do I get to that level of texting?” If you embrace the idea that as sales folks we’re paid to find the “no,” then that will put you in the proper mindset to start texting after the first meeting. Typically, toward the end of the discovery call, if there are next steps for both you and the prospect, ask for their cell-phone number. Assuming they provide it, then keep going and ask if texting is okay. Let’s play it out.
David: “...and Jenny, sometimes it’s easiest to text, will you respond to my text messages?”
Jenny: “Yeah, sure”
David: “Okay, I’m going to send you one right now, can you respond via text and confirm you got it right now?”
Jenny: “Yes, I got it. Just sent a reply”
Texting is another channel that helps you embrace the human emotions of sales. It helps you gauge the commitment of your prospect, which helps with forecasting revenue and allows your prospect to understand your desire to give them the product they want. If you are not texting with your customers and prospects today, try it. After all, if we don’t try new approaches and ideas in sales, we’ll be left behind as the world evolves.