Startup Journal: The Plight of an Inside Salesman
Meet me. I’m Foster - franchise consultant, youthful ego, and banter-loving salesman/account executive at Text Request. If you ever thought I was annoying on the phone, put yourself in our developers' shoes for a minute.
If he had a nickel for every time I walked into his office and annoyed him with questions about the release date of such-and-such feature, or reminded him about a bug that the newest account discovered, he would no longer be working at Text Request.
He'd be relaxing in a hammock next to Richard Branson on Necker Island. But as a salesman - not a bad guy, just a salesman - I also get questions all the time.
Questions and Comments I Get All the Time
"So, why should my business text?" Every member of our company has a different answer. Seth, our implementation expert and Grand Abbot of customer service, would probably point to customer satisfaction.
I work on the exact opposite end of Seth - sales. Oh, dear me, what a terrible word! Except, if you run a company, you should probably be concerned about sales as much as service.
Another comment I hear all the time is: “We don’t need texting.” Well that's just not true.
You need to communicate, don't you? People communicate through text, so if your business needs to communicate, it needs to text, too.
Besides, your customers are all over this playing field. Do you want to join the game, or keep warming the bench?
You've got to meet customers where they are! Meet them in the middle by communicating the same way they want to.
Making Money for Your Business
We all like money - money's fun. But you have to reach for it.
Many companies rely on potential customers to start conversations with them. Ask yourself this question: do you want to give your potential clients a reason to delay contacting you?
How many times have you said, “Oh, I’ll make that important phone call later. I’m too busy right now."? Your potential customers do this every day!
We’re all human. We drop the ball. In my case, if that ball involves cleaning my house, fixing my AC, or anything else that causes me to take money out of my pocket and give it away, I kick that ball under the sofa and leave it.
When people tell themselves that they will contact you later, they won't. They're human. Sometimes you’ll get lucky, though. They might remember to contact you in a month or so.
But imagine if you posted a number on your website that potential customers could text, and wouldn't have any hesitancy about being left on hold or taking time out of their day.
The customer - obviously on their smartphone, just look at the person next to you, and notice that glowing screen in their hand - can click this number on your mobile website, and instantly text your company.
What's your revenue goal next month? What if that same revenue was tacked onto what your company already made this month?
Do you want consumers' business now, possibly in a month, or never?
It's your choice. Hopefully the answer's obvious.
Text enabling your website is a lead-generator and a business-booster - one that I've personally seen bring in thousands of extra dollars a month for dozens of businesses. But, of course, what you do is none of my business.
Actually Reaching People
My business is getting ahold of people, leaving voicemails, sending emails, and beating my head against a desk (literally - ask the guys) every time a receptionist tells me Mr. Big Shot isn’t available. Even though he told me the day before that I could call him at that exact time.
Ironically, your receptionists feel much the same way I do.
How many voice mails do you leave? How many emails do you send? And how many of these messages get answered?
Statistically, somewhere between 20-30% of emails are ever opened, and fewer voicemails are listened to. If you’re counting on these methods to reach your leads and turn them into paying customers, good luck!
In contrast, over 99% of texts are opened. 95% of those are read within 3 minutes of being sent. If you aren’t taking advantage of this lovely thing, which everyone is doing over 85 times a day, you’re going to get left with your voice mails - in the trash.
Besides, texting is as personal as it gets these days. Want to grab a beer? Send me a text. Need more chips and salsa for the party? Text please. Can Bob ride with Dan to school tomorrow? Text, text, text.
Everyone is doing it! You might as well make money off of it, and leave everyone happier in the process.
Texting is the most used form of communication in the world. Use it to engage your audience, and unleash a broadside of communication that your customers willingly receive.
--- Foster Benson, Account Executive