Written by Ari Greenbaum, co-founder of conXpros
If you are not already utilizing text messaging as a means of communicating with your potential customers…shame on you!
I am an “old-school” guy. I fought the iPhone revolution until I finally succumbed somewhere around the iPhone 5 launch. I would see people with these massive devices and laugh as I comfortably tucked my Motorola Razor into my pocket. I Scoffed at their silliness and desire to have the “in” thing.
I have conducted business by phone calls since the mid 90’s. I love the phone. Like the initial wall I threw up at the iPhone, I resisted the shift to email as a means of communicating and doing business for years. I felt that it was impersonal and staunchly supported the idea of making a call and talking with people I want to do business with.
Today, I look back at my stubbornness and realize what a fool I had been. How much more could I have accomplished? How much greater could my sales volume have been? How much less banging my head against a wall could I have experienced to hit my targets? I do not believe in beating myself up about the past, rather learn from it to not repeat the same errors moving forward. Had I known that iPhones put the power of a computer in your hand wherever you were, allowed for learning and multiple means of communication on the go, and made life easier, I would have joined the revolution at the start. Had I known that the business world was shifting, and emails would be a primary means of reaching decision makers when the first email marketing methods were developed, I would have clicked “send” more that I hit dial, long ago.
I recently became more aware of today’s business game changer…texting. Initially, I thought of it like email, an impersonal way of “talking” with people. I still prefer talking with family and friends over texting hands down. However, when it comes to my own business and advising clients of best practices to increase their results, I am all-in on texting as a tool. Were you aware of the staggering numbers of people that open text messages? Have you seen the differences of email opens or phones answered vs text being read and responded to? I came across this article that highlighted some staggering statistics. It suggests that “research shows that SMS open rates are as high as 98%, compared to just 20% of all emails. And, on average, it takes 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text and 90 minutes to respond to an email.” WOW!!!
I am assuming that I have your attention now. If the people you are trying to communicate with are 98% likely to open and read a text message, you MUST add text to your processes. I did not just rely on the data of others to write this article. Rather, we implemented processes within our internal lead verification department where we attempt to contact every lead we deliver to our clients as fast as possible. Since adding SMS messaging to the mix, we have increased contact and response rates by 31%, which is impressive on it’s own. The more impactful metric to me was the massive amount of time it saved our verification team allowing them to accomplish so much more with the “found time”. Because text messages were read and responded to so fast (42%), we were able to cut out additional calls and emails as part of the multi touch-point process we use. We were contacting and verifying at a hugely increased rate. This has been a game changer for us & I am confident it will be a difference maker for you as a home improvement pro.
We have always recommended to our clients that they should use an “any means necessary” approach to contacting leads. We share proven methodology every client derived from feedback and processes from our most successful clients regarding reaching their leads and converting them into appointments and sales. We suggest using phone, email and text as a 3-pronged approach to making contact. Recently I was introduced to an amazing service that is dedicated to helping home improvement pros incorporate text messaging into their arsenal. I was so impressed with the platform that ContractorTexter created, I immediately required our account managers to make their clients aware of the service if not already familiar with it. This article is not intended to be a promotion for their product, but they have created a way to automate texts being sent as soon as leads are delivered to you from many lead services out there. We also integrated into their system due to our belief in the powerful tool it is to aid in our client’s success. So far, so good. For a nominal monthly subscription, the clients using ContractorTexter have had very strong results. They are communicating with and setting appointments with more clients than before. This is something that every business owner can benefit from. Even if you do not use a tool like this, it is imperative that you incorporate text into your processes immediately!
The power of texting can be maximized in the home improvement & home services world. Consider the fact that over 62% of searches and leads are submitted via mobile devices. Just because someone submits their info, no longer is it a safe assumption that they will be available to speak on the phone at that precise moment. Often, homeowners are somewhere that makes a phone call challenging such as at work. It is easy to search and submit info for a project while “busy” at work. However, answering a phone call is a whole different ball game and one that can get them in “trouble” with their employer. On the other hand, it is very easy to fly under the radar and receive and respond to a text! If you want their business, you must adapt to the world our consumers live in.
There are many other applications of text messaging in the contracting and home improvement world. Consumers prefer text over email for appointment reminders and other simple communications. It is a great way to encourage reviews from customers. You can make sure that your holiday messages are being seen. The list goes on… There are many software solutions on the market (SendHub, Textedly, SlickText just to name a few) that can automate much of this for you and allow you to take full advantage of the technology at everyone’s fingertips.
Don’t be like me. Don’t look back 5 years from now wondering why you did not take text seriously back in 2019. Don’t make the mistake that you can learn from. Rather look back and celebrate the success that a simple addition to your processes has afforded you. If you are not already, start taking text seriously. Your customers already are!