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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California


Written correspondence prior to making phone contact can dramatically increase your chances of getting through on the phone and uncovering new opportunities. Here are some guidelines to follow:


Prospecting letters do have their limitations. The biggest challenge with letters is getting opened and read before getting pitched. Many salespeople will hand-write addresses on envelopes and use a stamp rather than a postage meter to increase the odds that their prospecting correspondence will get read.

Many salespeople do like to use letters prior to calling. If they get an executive's assistant on the phone and the assistant asks, "Who is this, and what is it regarding?," they have an easy response: "This is Dan Taylor of XYZ Software, calling to follow up on my letter dated November 18. Is Steve available?"

This sounds like a good tactic, but in fact, of the possible responses, most are not favorable. The options, starting with the only good one:

So although letters can be effective, they face multiple barriers: getting opened, read, passed along, saved, and so on. Letter campaigns take time, can incur expense in processing and tracking, and usually involve a delay before follow-ups can be done.


Our experience has been that email is the least effective way to make an initial contact in writing. Simply put, if an executive (or their assistant) doesn't recognize the email address of the sender, the chances that the message will be opened and read are small. The title of the email becomes extremely important: It must be scripted very tightly to generate enough interest, perhaps even indicating that some research about the target company has been done, although space is limited.


There are two trends that make text messaging an increasingly valuable prospecting channel:

The Familiarity Factor Is Key With Text

We talk to strangers on the phone, email strangers, and meet strangers in person, but rarely text strangers. This is why more than any other prospecting channel, familiarity is critical for prospecting via text. The probability of your text message converting – compelling a sales prospect to take further action – increases exponentially if your text comes after prior contact through another channel.

Text messaging works best as an integrated part of a larger prospecting system and strategy rather than a stand-alone channel. According to a marketing study that covered 3.5 million sales lead records from more than 400 companies, a text message sent alone converts to further engagement at approximately 5%. That same message, sent after a phone contact increases the response rate a further 100%+. Why? Once you cross what one expert calls the Familiarity Threshold, your response rate increases very significantly.

You can amplify that impact even further when your text message follows an email contact or social media interaction. You gain even more traction when you text following a positive in-person networking interaction. The better the prospect knows you, the more effective your prospecting text message will be. The less they know you, the more likely you will cause offense. People are averse to getting random text messages from people they don't know – especially salespeople.

Structuring Effective Text Prospecting Messages

It is difficult to make an impact in 250 characters or less. For your text message to be effective, you’ve got to engage your prospect and get them to take action in a blink of an eye. Packing your message into a small space requires you to be thoughtful, creative, and focused. There are several keys to structuring effective text messages:

Finally, as with all prospecting channels, know your numbers. Track the number of texts you send each day, response rates, and conversions into appointments and, ultimately, sales.

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