The way people are buying things is changing. Shoppers today want to do things on their terms and in their timeline. This holds true in senior living as well. While the senior living sales process may have been fairly one-dimensional a generation ago, today buyer wants to do things the way they way they're used to. And this includes the way they communicate.
Besides being a method that most prospects prefer, SMS also has incredible benefits from a sales standpoint. Prospects open and respond to text messages 3X MORE than they do to emails. If you want to keep up with the times and improve your bottom line at the same time, you’re going to want to include SMS in senior living follow-ups going forward. Here are 4 ways to effectively get started using SMS in senior living sales follow-up.
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Leverage Automation Tools
Once again leveraging technology and automation is the fastest way to revolutionize your sales process. This includes adding SMS into your process. Marketing automation software, like Hubspot, now has the capability to include text messages in their automated response sequences. This means that in addition to automated emails, and task remin ders to call prospects, you can also automatically send personalized text messages to prospects.
Marketing automation tools allow you to customize the text, insert personalization tokens from their contact records, and even send the text from your company number (or any number you choose).
"Prospects who are sent text messages convert at a rate of 40% higher"
Use a Cloud-Based Phone Provider (that integrates with your CRM)
In addition to leveraging a marketing automation tool, you’ll also want to make sure that the phone system you use is cloud-based and integrates with your CRM. At NextWave we use JustCall but there are a number of “softphone” systems to choose from. The benefit of this is that all your phone interactions can get recorded and logged in your CRM with that prospect's contact record. Your calls can be automatically recorded and saved to the contact’s record to be listened to at anytime. For phone calls, this can be hugely helpful when working on a team or when you need a reminder of your last conversation. For texts, you can do the same thing. Everything is logged and you get instant analytics on all your interactions. Metrics like open rates, responses, call times, etc can all be measured when you use a cloud-based phone provider.
*By integrating your phone with a CRM like Hubspot you can record and log all your calls & email exchanges from inside the timeline of the contact record. The ability to do this allows you (and your team) to have full transparency into your interactions with the prospect. It also allows sales managers to listen, coach, and improve upon their phone interactions with prospects
Personalize the texts
Just like any good outreach, you’ll want to personalize as much as possible. In the outreach, you’ll want to include the prospect's name, a reference to the community that they inquired and the purpose of your text, and also how the name of the person who’s reaching out to them (ie your salesperson). While this can obviously be done manually we find it’s much more efficient and reliable to once again leverage technology (even with personalization)
In the past, it was thought that a downside of using technology was that you would lose the “personal touch” - especially in a very personal sales process like senior living. While this is true, and at some point, the prospect absolutely needs to interact with a live salesperson, it’s also true that you can completely personalize your emails and texts using technology. By using “tokens” you can insert fields from their contact record in your CRM into the actual text. (see example below)
*By using personalization tokens you can add things like "Prospect Name", "Sales Rep Name", "Community Name", and personalized calendar links. All these things allow you to completely personalize your outreach while still leveraging automation.
Include a Calendar Link in the Text
Another great practice to implement is to include a meetings link (or calendar link) in your text outreach. This makes it super easy for the prospect to simply click the link and set up a call with you that works for both your schedule and theirs. It’s important to remember that at the end of the day the goal of the initial sales follow-up is to get the prospect on the phone. The more you can remove the friction that allows them to set up a call with you the better. By being able to book a time in your calendar within a few clicks on their cell phone, you’re making this process seamless for them - and they will appreciate you for that.
*Having the ability to insert a calendar link into your SMS follow-up can greatly increase your chance of making contact with a prospect. Always keep in mind that the goal is to get your prospect on the phone, improve your contact rate, and have an actual conversation.
Being able to set an appointment directly on your salesperson's calendar (from a cell phone) simply gives your prospects more options. Now they can call, email, respond to your text, or click and book a meeting with you. You’re allowing them to choose how they want to communicate and giving them the power to navigate the sales process on THEIR terms. While some might feel that using all these various channels of communication is “too much” or “too intrusive” the data actually shows the opposite. You’re simply giving your prospects more choices in the channel they prefer to use to communicate with your company and allowing them to interact on their terms. Ultimately they will appreciate you for it and it will enable you to stand out from the competition.
*The argument for utilizing SMS in your sales process is clear to see when you look at the data.
Get Started Building Your Senior Living Lead Response Today!
Hopefully, you were able to take away some tips on how to get started using SMS in your senior living follow-up process. We believe that including SMS is a great addition to your lead response system, and the data shows that it’s extremely effective in getting in touch with more prospects. To see more email and text templates and to learn more about building a senior living lead response system from scratch download our free 50-page e-book below!