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COVID Changed People’s Relationships With Their Phones. Is Your Sales Team Adapting?

COVID changed our relationship with our phones.

The lock down made telecommunication increase. People began spending significantly more hours more on their mobile devices daily. And as a result, numerous other downstream changes have popped up.

Let’s talk about these trends, how they affect your business’s ability to connect with your customers, and what action items you can take right now to close more deals.

Trend #1 -- People are expanding their texting repertoire

Have you ever pinged your doctor? Only a few years ago, that would have sounded outrageous, unscalable and potentially invasive from a business standpoint. But now these text threads with therapists, healthcare providers, government organizations have become the norm. 

COVID led to people using text to engage with businesses in exciting new ways. Organizations and service providers they may never have texted before are reaching out more personally. And businesses are finding new ways to create value with text messaging, in ways they never imagined when they first launched.

Luma, the healthcare technology company, found in their research that contrary to popular belief, seniors are using texting to communicate with providers. A majority of patients ages 65-84 actively engage with their providers via text and respond to appointment reminders. 

Who else might be texting that didn’t text before? Certainly some of your potential customers.

ACTION ITEM: If you’ve been reluctant to incorporate text messaging into your sales stack, make this year your first foray. Embrace the rising trend of texting between the consumer and the business, and try engaging with prospects in a new way. 

Trend #2 -- The shift in the emotional tone of language

Work emails must walk a fine line between being sensitive and oversharing. It’s critical not to be tone deaf and signal your company’s concern for the recipient. If you don’t at least acknowledge the collective vulnerability that everyone feels, your message won’t work. You have to nod your head to our shared reality. 

Communicating in an age of coronavirus is more personal than it used to be. Now more than ever, people are softening their words to build an emotional connection. Not that the genuine concern wasn’t being expressed before, but the new social contract is reflected in our language.

In short, you have to treat each lead as if they’re getting the personal touch. Your brand’s initial message is critical to begin the process of relating to the person on the other end of the line.

ACTION ITEM: Avoid sending initial text messages to your leads that have pictures or company logos. Text messaging is effective because it is seen as natural and personal. Images can dilute or even destroy this intimacy. During sensitive times where insensitive language can lose sales, go review all of your outreach messaging to assure the right emotional tone.

Trend #3 -- Health related phishing is on the rise

Not every change about our relationship to our phones is a positive one. One trend we’ve seen is that cyber attackers have leveraged the pandemic in their exploits. Webroot, a cyber security firm, published interesting research indicating that the number of phishing campaigns centered on the vaccine roll out has risen significantly of late. 

Although phishing attempts traditionally are happening via email, this kind of attack can show up in the form of questionable text messages or social media messengers. My guess is, you have almost certainly received some kind of spam or phishing via your phone in the last month, right? 

You’re not alone. Many people are getting dubious text messages from a number claiming to be a contact tracer from the department of public health. Yikes! Don’t click on that.

In fact, just the other day a strange number sent me an old picture of my friend and I together at a conference from four years ago. The message said, “Remember this? Miss you old friend. We should catch up.” I have to say, I thought about clicking. But then I remembered that my friend’s number had a different area code. Nice try, phishers.

ACTION ITEM: Don’t include links in your initial messages to leads. You may think that putting a calendar link is more effective and saves time, but our experience proves just the opposite. You're much better off ending your introductory texts with questions like "What time are you available for a quick call?

Trend #4 -- Smaller teams require smarter outreach

COVID devastated hundreds of thousands of businesses. And for those lucky to still be gainfully employed, many sales teams have been restructured or shrunk. Fewer heads now have to achieve more. It’s par for the course during any kind of economic downturn.

The difference is, with the majority of the workforce working remotely, now there’s the fear of prospects falling through the cracks. Which means brands must adopt a leaner sales paradigm if they are to win in this new economy. They need to leverage automation tools for proactive outreach on a large scale. 

This trend is more specific to salespeople themselves, and less about the general public. But the implications still matter for your daily tasks. You have to leverage the right text stack to equip yourself and your team with everything they need to reach out intelligently.

ACTION ITEM: Build up your sales template inventory. Use FranFunnel’s Quick Reply feature to minimize investing time on unproductive and repetitive tasks so you can focus on having real conversations with your leads. And if you’re literally the entire sales department, use automation to scale yourself in the absence of gigantic budget and robust staff.

The types of businesses people now text, the emotional tone of those messages, the potential security threats, and the size and complexion of sales teams having those conversations, are all different than they used to be.

The good news is, COVID also means people aren’t taking social interaction for granted like they used to. With reported cases of covid at an all time high, the need for human connection is at an all time high as well.

Make sure your business is fulfilling that need first and foremost, and making more sales will flow as a natural result.

Scott Ginsberg is Head of Content at FranFunnel. Covid resulted in him adopting a dog, and now his phone is very jealous.

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