How to Use Text Messaging to Go from Cold Calls to Warm Calls

This post originally appeared on MarTech Series.

Decades ago, the phone ringing created a brief rush of excitement. When there was no caller ID or list of saved contacts, answering the phone before the final ring was a must. While this excitement likely stemmed from the anticipation of connecting with a close friend or family member, businesses jumped on the opportunity to make the 10-digit phone number another touchpoint. Cold calls and robocalls picked up steam in the 1980s and while they had their brief stint of success, their effectiveness is quickly dwindling.

Why? Perhaps partly because we are so used to being inundated by spam calls (4.7 billion robocalls were made in May 2019) that any inconspicuous number that comes buzzing through is an annoyance.

But, phone calls are still an important tool in business communication. Phone calls allow for more personal interaction and conversations, are done in real-time, and are one of the leading indicators for a conversion. While the effectiveness of cold calling is fading, there is still a way to reap the benefits of a phone conversation – start with a text message.

Texting is becoming the way many people prefer to communicate. It allows your customers and prospects to respond on their own terms in real-time, with a real person on the other end.  Initiating a voice conversation with a brief text message, instead of going straight for a phone call, can be a successful strategy for getting your customers or prospects to engage in a meaningful, authentic conversation.

Let’s look at some ways to make texting an effective strategy for your business.

Introduce yourself

When a prospect fills out a website form or stops by your booth at a trade show, that is a great first step toward getting the conversation started. That initial “yes” is hopefully the first of many. But it’s also important to realize this is just a small “yes” — and jumping right into a call can seem too forward or eager.

A great compromise is to use a text to send that first hello. Not only does this start the flow of communication in an easier and less disruptive way, but you can then jump right into the meat of the conversation during your first call.

Looking for an idea of what that first text could look like? Try this:

Hi {{contact.first_name}}, this is Nate from TextUs! Great to meet you at last week’s conference. I know you were interested in learning more — let’s set up a quick call for this week. How about Wednesday?

Follow up on a Voicemail

Look at your phone right now. Do you have any pending voicemails? If not, congratulations because up to 70% of people don’t listen to their voicemails. Trying to sell a product or service is hard enough, but if the prospect isn’t even listening to your message, it’s impossible — and it might have nothing at all to do with his or her interest level. Imagine all the great potential customers or prospects that are passing through your fingertips because they simply aren’t listening to their Voicemail. Stop wasting time calling endlessly to someone who won’t answer or respond by sending a text first to get the green light to call

Here’s an example of how to approach this:

Hey {{contact.first_name}}, Just left a voicemail. I’m free now to talk — a good time to call?

And if it’s not a good time…

Schedule a Call

Instead of calling a customer or prospect unannounced, without any context or understanding of their own busy schedules, reach out first via text message. With all the calendar apps out there today, it’s easy to schedule something right in a text message without sending follow-up emails or calendar invites. Scheduling a call through text first accomplishes a few things:

1) It brings you top of mind instantly. People are much more likely to check a text right away than answer a call or respond to (a likely buried) email.

2) It puts scheduling back on their terms. No more back and forth suggesting times and dates, or calling them at a bad time.

3) It puts your contact info right at their fingertips. If they want to schedule a meeting with you, they have all the information they need right in the text.

Here’s an example of what this looks like:

Hi {{contact.first_name}}, Let’s set up a time to chat about this. Here’s a link to my calendar: Let me know what looks good, and I’ll coordinate.

Send a Reminder

You finally got that coveted call scheduled — yes! But then the phone rings into infinity. If you’ve been there (and you most likely have), you might suspect this is the end of the road. You probably used to send a “sorry I missed you” email which had a 50/50 chance of getting answered. Subvert the whole process by sending a personal text message reminder before your scheduled call:

Hey {{contact.first_name}}, just a quick reminder that I plan to call at 3 pm (in about an hour). Is that still a good time to talk?

Share relevant resources prior to a Meeting

You’ve spent a lot of time building great resources to share with potential customers and candidates — but getting that collateral in their hands can be a challenge. Prep them by texting a quick link to a blog post, video, tutorial, etc. By loading them up with resources in advance, you’re setting up a more meaningful phone call. Not only will they better understand the product, service, job, etc. you are trying to sell, but it will also help frame the conversation and give them time to think of questions.

Here’s an example:

Hi {{contact.first_name}}, Thought I’d send along with this link to our 101 Texting Templates for Sales. Don’t let me forget to chat about this with you tomorrow at 3 pm.


Text messaging is a great way to build authentic, meaningful relationships with customers and prospects – the type of relationship they are looking for. Best of all, it does all of this via a medium that is easy to use and familiar. When real-time communication is simplified it becomes much less cumbersome for potential customers to interact and much easier to explain how you are trying to help them. Text, then call for maximum conversion potential.