The Give, Give, Give, Ask Strategy: How to Build Trust Using Text Messaging for Business [with Templates]

Think about how you communicate to build relationships — not with leads and customers but with your friends and family. 

First, if you’re like most people, you don’t even “cold call” your closest friends anymore. Instead, you text first to see if now would be a good time to talk.

Second, you likely don’t ask for help, favors, advice, and support in an unbroken stream. You balance communication so it’s a give and take. This makes for stronger relationships and it builds trust between you and the people that matter to you.

The same thing is true when you’re communicating for business. 

I just finished the great book Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount, where he gives us an entire chapter about how to use text messaging for business, saying “Text messaging can play an integral role in nurturing prospects with whom you have a relationship but are not yet in the buying window.”

So what does it look like to include business text messaging in your communication strategy to build trust and nurture relationships? How can we get prospects into the buying window and increase the probability of a response? 

To answer those questions we need to first look to what Blount calls “The Law of Familiarity.”

The Law of Familiarity

The first step to building trust with your contacts is getting them to know you. 

“The more familiar a prospect is with the sales representatives, and/or their company, the more likely he/she will accept and return their calls and open their e‐mails, and ultimately do business with them.”

In short, the more they know you, the more likely you are to get a response. Most sales people that reach out to me go straight for their ask before trying to give and build any type of valuable connection with me. I’m sure you can relate.  

When you give and create a valuable connection first, you can then go for the ask to schedule demos, book meetings, and get answers to your questions — but only if you’ve built up enough emotion for them to be familiar with you and willing to respond to your ask. 

This is why we’re so obsessed at TextUs with using a conversational approach to business text messaging instead of a promotional one. 

Unsure if your outreach is promotional? A simple way to think about it is if you’re asking for something before a contact is familiar with you, it could be perceived as promotional. 

By adopting a conversational business text messaging strategy and building up familiarity before your ask, “it makes the prospect’s decision to give his/her time feel less risky.” 

In the image below we can visualize building emotion over time to increase the level of familiarity with someone.

The Threshold of Familiarity and Emotion

Building your familiarity and emotion are the two key things to keep in mind when starting a new relationship. To begin the process of raising your familiarity, you’ll simply want to make a good impression by being friendly and providing value.


Threshold of Familiarity 

the emotion that must be exceeded for a person to become familiar in a new relationship. 

Once you’ve begun the process of raising someone’s familiarity, you can then work toward building enough of an emotional connection to raise the probability of them responding to you. 


Threshold of Emotion

the emotion that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested.

So, how do you build enough familiarity and emotion with someone to get a yes when you ask to move to the next step in the relationship? 

Give 3x times more than you ask

The Give, Give, Give, Ask Strategy

The Give, Give, Give, Ask Strategy is a simple mental model that helps you raise the familiarity and emotion of someone you’re trying to build trust with. 

The inspiration for this actually came from good old Gary V’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, which applies the same ratio to the way we should use social media. 

It’s something we adopted at TextUs to help understand the rhythm of communication as you’re building trust over time. 

If you go straight for the ask, you’ll probably get a no. But if you give (and give and give) before you ask, you’ll increase familiarity, emotion, and the likelihood of getting a yes.  

So, instead of going straight for the cold call and interrupting someone in the middle of their day, we can now step back and think: “What can I give to this relationship to provide value and help?”

Here’s how to implement the Give, Give, Give, Ask Strategy. 

The First Give

Each Give responds to a need, provides a benefit, and/or increases an emotional response to your outreach.

For the First Give, introduce yourself and your company. You may want to use a bit more formal language until you become more familiar with how your prospect likes to communicate. 

The Give that you provide should be a value-add for your contact — it should be a benefit to them and have very little to do with a direct sell or a direct ask. 

How to Approach the First Give

  • Articles by reputable publications that inform your contact about their own industry
  • How-tos and eBooks that are useful for your contact’s day-to-day workflow
  • A video introduction or webinar recording 

The First Give: Communication Sequence

Channel Action/Content
Social Connect on social media 
Email 1st email attempt to add value
Call1st call attempt to follow up on email
Text Message1st text attempt to follow up and be friendly 
TextUs Template: Email follow-up 
Hey [First Name], This is Amy. I just wanted to follow up on the webinar recording I sent over. Feel free to text me here if you need anything or have questions. Have a great day! Thanks – Amy at [Company Name]

The Second Give

Be a bit more informal in your messaging — you can drop your company from your signature or remind your contact of your previous outreach. Keep it top of mind that they’re already a bit familiar with you. 

Because you have a bit of familiarity established, the Second Give can be a bit more focused on the solution that you provide. But it should still be primarily a benefit to the contact and a value-add — not a sales pitch.

How to Approach the Second Give

  • Case studies that show a solution that’s relevant to the contact
  • Customer interviews that help the contact see how they might use your solution
  • Testimonials from current customers in their same industry

The Second Give: Communication sequence

Channel Action/Content
Email 2nd email attempt to add value
Text Message2nd text attempt to follow-up on email
TextUs Template: Email follow-up (without call or voicemail)
Hi [First Name], I thought I’d shoot you a text instead of calling or leaving a voicemail. Let me know if I can share some tips with you from the case study I sent over. Thanks!

The Third Give

The Third Give is more of a wildcard. If you haven’t gotten any response back from your contact, you may want to provide another valuable resource. Or, you can also look to provide emotional resonance by just making your contact laugh or smile.

How to Approach the Third Give

  • A funny gif or image (make it appropriate)
  • Offer to buy a coffee or another treat
  • A “just because” text to say something kind or helpful

The Third Give: Communication sequence

Channel Action/Content
Email 3rd email attempt to add value
Call3rd call attempt (leave voicemail)
Text Message3rd text attempt to be available
TextUs Template: Call follow-up (with voicemail)
Hi [First Name], I wanted to offer to buy you a coffee. Here’s a link for you: I left a voicemail but thought I’d shoot over text as well if that’s easier to respond… Do you have a few mins to connect this week?

The Ask

At this point you’ve made touch points with someone with social media, emails, phone calls, and text messages. You’ve been adding value and nurturing them to build your familiarity and trust. You’ve held back, waited for the right time, and now you can go for the ask. 

How to approach the Ask

  • Get straight to the point of how you add value
  • Include a call-to-action to connect with recommended times/days
  • Let them know this is a last chance outreach for a period of time

The Ask: Communication sequence

Channel Action/Content
Email 4th email attempt to ask
Text Message4th text attempt to ask
Call4th call attempt (last chance call)
TextUs Template: Email follow-up
Hi {{contact.first_name}}, I’d love to connect for a quick demo about the product info I emailed over! Do you have a fews mins to connect today or tom? Here’s also a link to my calendar to grab a time that works for you:

As your contacts become more and more familiar with you, you may mix up these tactics, tailoring them to your contact’s needs.

Ready to get started on adding texting messaging to your communication strategy? Below are 7 simple text message templates any business pro could use to get started with the strategy above.

7 Text Messages Every Business Pro Should Be Sending 

Download these free text message templates every business pro should be using in their communication strategy in 2020.

Leave a Reply