Cold Texting for Sales: Do’s, Don’ts, Tips (& Should You Do It?)

Have you ever received a text message from a stranger trying to sell you something? Who am I kidding, we all have... that’s cold texting, and it doesn’t necessarily have a positive connotation.

If you’re wondering whether you should try cold texting in your sales process, there is some important information you need to consider before doing so.

Let’s look at the legality of cold texting in the US and other locations, including how you can use text messages properly to nurture leads and close more sales.

What is Cold Texting For Sales?

Cold texting is sending an SMS message to a prospect or lead that you’ve had no prior contact with.

Is Cold Texting Legal?

In short, no—totally cold texting is not legal in most places. In the US, regulations from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Agency (TCPA) require businesses to get specific opt-in from prospects or customers before sending SMS messages. Purchasing a contact list for bulk cold texting is also illegal. And in Europe, GDPR requires opt-in before any outreach.

That means cold text messages like this are not legal:

Is Cold Texting Illegal? Screenshot Example of a Real Cold Text Message

That said, not all business texting is illegal. There are some very effective ways to use this form of communication during your sales process (and you can do it without stepping over into something illegal).

Let’s talk about how sending text messages can be a powerful tool for your business and examine how you can do this legally and without annoying your prospects.

Pro tip: You can send SMS text messages (and see complete conversation history with a lead or customer) directly inside Close CRM so your entire sales team can stay on the same page with every prospect.

SMS in Close CRM


3 Benefits of Cold Texting Prospects (When Done Right)

With the right knowledge and process, you can use texting to turn prospective customers into loyal fans of your business.

Here’s what the data tells us about the benefits of SMS marketing and sales:

  • Get more eyes on your message: SMS open rates can be as high as 98 percent, which means more people will read your message.
  • Make the path to response frictionless: It’s easy to respond to an SMS, which is probably why they average a 45 percent response rate.
  • Communicate on a more personal level with your prospects: When using SMS as a 1-1 communication platform, a salesperson can personalize the recipient's message.

But how do you ensure your text messages are sent legally and move prospects through your sales funnel?

5 Steps to (Legally) Send Cold Text Messages to Your Prospects

If you want to use text messages for your initial outreach, you’ll need permission to use their phone number first. Here are three simple ways to do that:

1. Create an SMS Opt-In on Your Website

For new inbound leads coming through your website, capture more traffic by adding an SMS opt-in through any business phone service.

Here are some ways to do this:

  • First, use a chatbot that collects the person's cell phone number or directly creates a text conversation with your sales team.
  • Second, use your inbound forms to collect the communication preferences of your new inbound leads. Add a question that asks them their preferred method of contact, and then collect their contact information based on what they say.

These strategies allow inbound leads to opt in, giving you the legal right to contact them via SMS—while simultaneously turning your cold texting efforts into more of a warm communication medium. By learning how to send auto text that targets leads' needs, you can turn them into customers.

2. Make Your Cell Phone Number Available

If you want to encourage prospects and leads to reach out via SMS, ensure your phone number is available. Add it to your LinkedIn profile, email signature, and anywhere else prospects may find it helpful.

3. Set up a Texting Short Code

Shortcodes allow your prospects or customers to text a short message to your number and automatically opt-in to receive your messages.

The great thing about shortcodes is you can mention them anywhere, online or offline, and get direct opt-in from your prospects before contacting them.

Here are some ways you can use shortcodes to elevate your cold texting strategy:

  • Place the shortcode as an alternative to your website’s chatbot or customer support contact
  • Add a short code to a marketing resource for delivery via SMS
  • Promote your brand on social media with a short code opt-in

--> Did you know Close now supports SMS workflows, making it easier to nurture leads via text? Learn more.

4. Make Sure You're A2P 10DLC Compliant

Sounds like a mouthful, doesn't it? A2P 10DLC is a messaging regulation that requires companies that send SMS traffic to be registered. It only applies to companies messaging U.S. and U.S. territories numbers using 10-digit phone numbers.

How do you get or make sure you're compliant? Contact your messaging carrier or platform. For example, you can contact our support team if you're a Close customer. We'll gather the information required and make sure you're compliant.

Hey you! Don't embark on your cold calling journey without our insights–our article showcases the top 8 sales headsets.

5. Use LinkedIn to Find Available Phone Numbers

While this can be a grey area, another way to get your prospects' phone numbers is to see if they’ve posted their numbers publicly in their contact information on LinkedIn.

If you’re connected, and they recognize your name when you reach out, you may be able to use this warm texting method to reach out—though just to be clear, the legality is questionable around what constitutes a true opt-in here.

5 Cold Texting Examples + Templates (for Sales Teams to Learn From)

Wondering what a cold text message should look like for sales teams? Here are five great cold messages that resonate well with prospects and customers.

The Cold Texting Double Opt-In

Cold Texting Double Opt-In Screenshot Example

Source: Textline

This cold text example from Textline shows how simple a double opt-in can be. If your business deals with sensitive customer information, it’s especially important to consider using double opt-in.

The LinkedIn Contact

LinkedIn Contact (Cold Texting Example Screenshot)

Our Head of Content (Ryan Robinson) received this authentic cold text message. The message was to the point, personalized, and felt like a 1:1 conversation with someone in his network—though if you ask him, he's still not a fan of an unsolicited text message.

The Simple Cold Texting Introduction

Simple Cold Texting Introduction (Screenshot Using Close CRM)

Mainly if your opt-in process includes any interactions with a chatbot or other automated messaging, this cold text intro is a great way to show you’re communicating with this prospect directly, personally.

The Qualifying Text Message

Qualifying Cold Text Message Example

This example shows how you can use your initial contact with a prospect to quickly qualify them. As you receive new inbound leads from a form on your website, use SMS to ask them a straightforward qualification question before you move forward.

The Cold Calling Voicemail Text

The Cold Calling Voicemail Text

Are you calling inbound leads and not getting a response? Use this voicemail follow-up technique to eliminate friction and try to get a faster response through SMS text messaging your prospects.

5 Cold Texting Tips to Nail Your SMS Strategy (and Turn Your Cold Texts into Warm Texts)

Ready for some actionable cold texting tips? Make the most of your sales text message strategy with these best practices:

1. Use Cold Texting to Follow Up

The true results are found in the follow-up. If you’re working with a potential customer who seems to ignore your calls and emails, try sending a text message. With a much higher open and response rate, you may be surprised at how much faster you’ll see results with text messages than phone calls or cold emails.

Before launching your follow-up cold email campaign, take a moment to check out our article about 12 B2B Cold Email Templates. Crafting an effective B2B cold email template can drive results.

2. Make Your First Message Short and Sweet

When using text messages for sales, there's a definite limit to the number of characters you can add to the message without scaring your prospects away. But in most cases, you’ll stay far under that character limit.

The right way to use SMS in your sales strategy is to use it as a place to start or rekindle a conversation. That ensures your first text message isn't a sales pitch—it’s simply trying to engage with your potential customers. I do recommend being careful with emojis; while some prospects might be into them, others might find them unprofessional.

3. Offer Relevant, Valuable Information

If it’s obvious you’re only trying to sell something, people may be more reluctant to hand over their cell phone number. So, just like in other forms of inbound marketing, create a hook that encourages people to sign up for your texts. Try our best lead generation ideas to get started down the right path.

Think: What’s the benefit to the customer? Will they get faster responses to questions? Better service? An exclusive offer? Make signing up worth their while from the get-go. For example, if you're texting a real estate lead, you might mention a house down the street just sold for a great price.

4. Use Text Messages as Reminders

Do you have a sales meeting or product demo scheduled with a prospect? Reminders are a great way to limit no-shows, and SMS can be an excellent platform for sending a friendly reminder before a meeting.

However, you should never use mass texting as a marketing strategy. It's not just annoying—it can also lead to legal issues.

5. Invest in a Texting Platform for Sales Teams

Plenty of dedicated texting platforms are available, but you want to ensure you’re using a tool that will integrate seamlessly into your sales team’s current workflow.

In Close, SMS is built-in, meaning you can centralize all meaningful conversations in one place, no matter their format. You’ll also get instant insights into your sales team’s texting activities, plus simple pricing with no hidden fees.

Texting Platform for Sales Teams (Close CRM Screenshot)

Make SMS a Useful Tool in Your Sales Outreach Process (Not All of it)

While SMS is an excellent outreach method for your sales team, you know what they say about too much of a good thing.

And if it's not clear by now, unsolicited cold texting is almost guaranteed to land you in hot water. Use it sparingly as a tool for engaging your existing prospects (warm texting) and moving deals further through your sales funnel.

Remember: sending too many text messages can get your number flagged as spam. Instead of bulk blasting your whole contact list with cold text messages, use them thoughtfully at the right moment and when it makes sense for that particular contact.

Ready to start using text messaging in your sales process? Try Close for free and see how one-click texting can enable your sales team to engage faster and better with prospects.

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