How sales teams convert cold leads with conversational texting

by | May 25, 2021

Successful lead nurturing is a true balancing act. You don’t want to overwhelm and smother your leads — when you keep calling and emailing in the hopes that yet another video or one-pager will make a difference. You don’t want to risk under-nurturing your leads either — when you just forget about them or worry you’ll come on too strong so you do… nothing.

In both scenarios you set yourself up for a mountain of cold leads and unfulfilled goals.

So when’s the last time you thought about doing something with all the cold leads sitting in your database and the abandoned conversations in your inbox and forgotten numbers in your phone? Is it possible to convert cold leads? And is it even worth it?

Are cold leads really a lost cause?

Leads are just like plants: You can give them too much attention or too little. Either way, they don’t stay happy long. But unlike plants that wilt and wither away, there is hope.

A lot of the time, a lead you forget about or who ghosts you isn’t really “dead.” Just because someone didn’t buy from you originally doesn’t mean that they won’t go for it in the future. In plenty of cases it’s not even anything you did or didn’t do. Your initial outreach may have not been the best time for the person at that moment.

“A disappearing act is often the perfect candidate for revival. They may be busy and overwhelmed at work, but remain interested in your product.” — Cara Hogan, InsightSquared blog

All you need to do is find the revivable prospects among the cold ones. That usually means changing your approach.

For so long, emails and live phone calls have been the tools for reaching out to forgotten leads. But when you want to effectively convert a cold lead, shouldn’t the communication be personal, fresh, and quick?

That’s where conversational texting comes in.

Texting is how people are communicating with each other and how they want to communicate with people at a business. According to Harris Interactive, 64% of consumers perceive text messages from a business positively.

When you use texting for sales conversations, you know your messages won’t just be seen and then ignored — you get responses.

So revive and convert cold leads and increase your customer base with these conversational texting tips.

Gather context from past conversations

Before you even consider sending any text messages to all your cold leads, stop to understand the context. You need to know why leads went cold before you even try talking to them, let alone selling.

With any luck, you have a semi-organized CRM, heaps of archived emails, or saved text message histories. (If you haven’t kept great data on cold leads, now’s the time to start. That way you better streamline this outreach process.) Figure out what went wrong so you can minimize the chances of it happening again. Find out when leads stopped responding or when you forgot to follow up.

How you approach starting a conversation with a lead who ghosted you is different than how you should approach a conversation with a lead who you let slip through. This is why generically contacting every cold lead won’t get you anywhere, even if you do text them.

Organize the outreach process

When you first start reaching out to cold leads and restarting those old conversations, it’s easy to start with the oldest and coldest first. The leads you know haven’t heard from you and you haven’t heard from them in a long time.

From there, how you determine who to contact next is up to your data. Find the people who once seemed like prime candidates and really focus on nurturing those relationships again. It’s going to be hard, sometimes awkward, and occasionally embarrassing.

But do yourself a favor and automate as much of your outreach as possible. You want to keep cold leads from going cold again. By creating automatic message triggers and scheduling consistent follow-up, you get more responses. When prospects do respond, that’s your time to manually jump in and keep the conversation going.

Ideally, your automated outreach process will have you sending personable, relevant text messages over 30 to 60 days. This is why you automate the process! It takes time, especially when you have hundreds, if not thousands, of cold leads.

Take Burn Kickboxing. As they got ready to open another location, they created a drip campaign in Skipio, sending targeted messages to a specific group of cold prospects. This renewed outreach (all automated with a special offer) and the conversations that followed ultimately earned the gym $19,000 in new sign-ups. All from cold leads they’d otherwise written off.

By having a clear process to reach out and convert dead leads, you’ll be able to work with these leads in a much more efficient manner.

So what sort of messages do you write in these automated messaging campaigns? Here’s what Skipio customers do to see success with cold lead outreach.

Communicate on their terms

Just like you won’t convert many leads by dropping them into a generic email drip, the same goes for generic text marketing campaigns. You get responses when you send a message worth responding to.

Avoid immediately dropping into “sales mode” or simply handing out promo codes. People shut down when they know you’re just trying to make a sale, especially if you’ve already tried to sell them before. Remember, you’re not just “The Business” reaching out. You’re one person reaching out to another person.

So, for instance, simply ask them what you could have done to win their business. This honest way to gain feedback might not only re-engage your lead but will also help you learn how to better nurture leads in the future.

Reach out purposefully

Your outreach feels fresh and relevant when you asking purposeful, engaging questions. Here’s four in particular that work for different situations.

To ask the right people the right questions, comb through your list of cold leads to identify who might be interested in specific promotions, events, and new features — then start a conversation about it.

The team at Krista Mashore Coaching specifically uses Skipio to target leads who previously no-showed to a demo call. These were people who were once really excited to talk about marketing and real estate, but for whatever reason they never made it to the call.

The sales reps rekindle conversations and get the prospects engaged again, ultimately inviting them reschedule a call. They follow up multiple times over the course of multiple weeks. Every text message is personalized and sent exactly when it needs to be, maximizing the impact of a short message.

After doing this cold lead outreach for just 30 days, the appointments they rescheduled directly translated to $49,000 in additional revenue. Yes, just from a handful of text messages, most of them automated!

Cold lead outreach works… when you do it right

So is it worth it to keep reaching out to supposedly dead leads? Absolutely. All it takes is a change in approach as you optimize your lead nurturing. Don’t be surprised when those old leads start converting!

Make the transition to your new communication strategy as easy as possible by adopting sales tools built to solve these specific problems. The automated features and software integrations of Skipio give you everything you need to revive cold leads with personalized messages. Get a free Skipio trial and start creating your new strategy today.

This post was originally published on August 7, 2018 and was most recently updated on May 18, 2020. Updates included new examples of success from Skipio customers, more recent sales stats, new graphics, and detailed tips for creating a sales-specific outreach process for converting cold leads.