How to Close a Deal Via Text Message

by Larry Chiang on December 11, 2009

Larry Chiang studies sales and how to close deals. Last month, Harvard Business School’s, Harbus, featured him in a cover story, What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School“. If you liked 9 Things They Don’t Teach You at Stanford Business School, Cut and Paste Other People’s Work and How to Close a Deal Via Voicemail, you’ll love this post: “Close a Deal Via Text Message”.


By Larry Chiang

Text messaging is one of the last bastions of control CEOs, celebrities and you still have. For the most part, the only people who text us are friends and close business associates.

If you’re a Adrian Grenier, a Kevin Connelly or a Larry Chiang :-D, you may have a 100 unviewed text messages in your sidekick, but for the most part CEOs still open and read SMS.

Lets leverage this unsoiled technology tool to close deals. I love sales and talk about it in my book “What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School”. Its also a chapter in my mentor, Mark McCormack’s, book “What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School”. My mentor doesn’t close deals via text message, but I do. Here’s how I stand on the genius of his writing to close a deal over sms:

-1- Ping It.

I ping a number sometimes to yank the leash.

Texting a number to preview the unanswered email works to remind and reiterate. I also text a cell two minutes before I call it. If I’m in a weak position, I call it for three rings and then text a teaser. I wrote about communication 2.0 {here}

Sometimes, I’m texting to only send the subtle message that I could’ve called, so answer the effen email I sent.

Congrats, the majority of your work is done after you get a cell number to text message.

Three tips on getting the number
-a- call the work corporate voicemail after hours once every two weeks or so.
-b- close for it at an event.
-c- close for it over email.

-2- Get in Late / Leave Early with a Teaser.

Timing and repitition are critical in closing a deal over text message. An example is timing the text to land when there’s a lull. Hitting them between the eyes during their commute is good if they’re training it in from CT. Text messages by nature are like good directorial scenes; Get in Late / Leave Early.

Teaser is when you’re teasing with new information pertinent to their agenda. Teasing a person with a special offer or sales pitch makes you look like a non hitter destined for the dreaded do-not-call-me-ever list.

-3- Mentor Via Text Message.

Rise up out of the clutter of people nibbling by mentoring and educating your target via text. My company, Duck9, is built on mentoring people to a higher FICO score using text. Mentor in your effort to close a deal by texting nuggets of knowledge the size of a fortune cookie sized message.

-4- Inside Info.

This isn’t the SEC violational kind but rather the CIA kind. An example is “Hey Elon, I just saw two execs pile into a Tesla here in Scottsdale”

Elon is the founder of Tesla and started zip2 and X.com. It was a company that did self service mutual funds for billionaires.

defaultAshlee Simpson and Pete Wentz at the SKLX Launch Party

-5- Invite Them Out

People love to say no to social events. It makes them feel important. Me, I invite people to stuff because I know that some people need to say no 10 times before they say yes.

-6- No Sexting.

It is self explanatory to not combine sexual undertones with business solicitation. This is especially true if you’re a hawtie. For example, people intermingle business deals with semi-dating after a conference. Quit it by saying no to Sexting.

-7- Man-Charm.

Man-charm is a totally legal tactic in helping close a deal. Man charm is defined as one hetero dude charming another hetero dude. For example, “Hey I OH people talking good things about you here at Arrillaga”.

-8- Trial Balloon.

There’s a technique in sales similar to the “trial balloon” called the puppy dog close. It’s when you ask them to try, use and buy the puppy but offer a liberal return policy. The trial balloon close via text is executed best when timed with one of five deal altering factors that make closing a deal via text more likely:

I. Change in project lead
II. Change in real results
III. Change in perceived results
IV. Change in business size
V. Change in business condition

-9- Learn to Love “No”

Always be closing (A.B.C.) but work with their “No”. Learn to love no because doing what is hard and difficult for others to do is the path to more responsibility. I read more about learning to love no in a really good GigaOm blog post.

Stay tuned. I am taking you behind the scenes when I cover (and crash) Sundance. I’ll cover the four mistakes of actors turned directors and maybe host a Sundance after party.

If you liked this, you may also check:

Larry is writing a sequel to a book he did not write. It comes out 09-09-09. It is called ‘What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School‘.


Larry’s book releases 09-09-09

This post was cranked out in about an hour so email me if you see a spelling or grammatical error(s)… larry@larrychiang com

Larry Chiang is the founder of Deep Underground Credit Knowledge 9 (Duck9). He hacked Fair Isaac’s FICO credit algorithm and battles lies told by the credit industry such as Fair Isaac’s claim that the average FICO is 720. The real average is 535.

Text or call him during office hours 11:11am or 11:11pm PST +/-11 minutes at 650-283-8008. If you email him, be sure to include your cell number in the subject line.

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