As a sales professional, you know that it’s not always a ‘yes’ answer from your prospects. Moreover, when you do end up getting a ‘yes’ it’s almost never a ‘yes’ right off the bat. In fact, 92% of salespeople give up after hearing four ‘no’s’, but 80% of prospects say ‘no’ four times before they say ‘yes’. That is why not utilizing follow-ups to your sales emails can have a hugely negative impact on your lead generation and sales process.
In order to land more deals, you need to be serious about following up with your leads and make these follow-ups a permanent part of your sales process.
With the growing sophistication and knowledge of today’s buyers, simply sending a quick “just checking in” message won’t cut it. Your follow-up sales emails deserve as much thought as your initial outreach to prospects. Unfortunately, many sales agents have a hard time sending effective follow-ups that avoid spamming prospects’ inboxes while still grabbing their attention.
It is critical to put significant thought into every part of your follow-up emails. Your subject line, what you say, and when you send it all play a huge part. An effective follow-up can reopen the door on shelved opportunities, keep you at the forefront of your prospect’s mind, and propel you into your next sale.
Source: Propeller CRM
The Power Of A Follow Up
As you can see, properly following up with prospects is one of the most integral parts of the entire sales process. Unfortunately, many people do overlook this or don’t realize the importance.
Actually, only 8% of sales professionals are doing the proper number of five effective follow-ups. This means that the math works out to suggest that 8% of salespeople are closing 80% of the deals! If you don’t push through and give up before that crucial fifth follow-up, you’re cutting yourself out of the bulk of your sales potential.
The key is finding that perfect balance between following up effectively with attention-grabbing follow-up emails and hurting your chances by driving your prospect nuts with incessant emails. The good news is, you can confidently spread out your timing and follow-up every three to four days without being overwhelming.
Email follow up can also be a powerful lead generation tool. Utilizing effective and creative strategies can often also reopen the door for previously blocked opportunities. An email that a prospect finds extremely useful at that moment in their day can reignite interest in your product or service and prove how you can help provide a solution they desperately need.
So, up your sales process by testing out the following strategies that have been proven effective to increase the number of conversions generated from sales email follow-ups.
Strategies For Effective Follow Ups
One of the key takeaways from the following strategies is you have to shift your focus. From presenting the follow-up in words like ‘I wanted to check in’, or any other ‘I want’ phrase, to the focus being on the prospect. Don’t make the follow up about you, it should be about your prospect. How can you offer them a solution to a problem they may not even realize they have yet? If you avoid using ‘I want’ statements and utilize the strategies below, your response rates and deals closed will quickly increase.
“Whenever you’re trying to engage with a potential customer, don’t just contact them and ask if they’re ready to buy, instead, present them with a taste of cheesecake.”
-Steve Florio, former CEO of Conde Nast Publications
Strategy #1 - Leave A Lasting Impression After Your First Meeting
It is imperative to start your follow-ups shortly after your first meeting with your prospect. But this is where the key here is to totally make the follow-up about them.
The first thing you want to do is thank them for their time because you know how valuable their time is. Time is money and they took the time out to let you get your foot in the door. Make sure they keep it open. After thanking them for their time, describe concrete results that your contact with that prospect helped you achieve, and express why that result is meaningful. For example, simply explain that meeting with them allowed you to learn more personally about their business goals, some of the pain points they are encountering, and now allows you to create a personalized strategy to help them relieve those pain points.
In return for their help, we can provide our prospect something valuable in the form of a relevant resource (think, a link to an industry-related blog or news site) to show our gratitude and demonstrate that this is not a one-way business relationship.
Sharing industry related news that is useful to your prospect shows that you aren’t just trying to sell them something. You truly want to help.
Close this initial follow up by again thanking the prospect for their time and simply ask how they would like to proceed. Also, state that if they have any follow up questions you are readily available to help. This makes your prospect feel like they still have some control of the conversation and makes it easy for them to follow up with you.
Strategy #2 - Share A New Piece Of Content
Once you have made that initial follow-up after your first meeting or call with your lead, this is where creativity and a little extra effort will push you ahead of your competitors. Wait three to four days and send your second follow-up email.
A great way to do this is to be helpful, but not pushy, with a follow-up email that features a piece of content your company has produced and recently released. You may not even include A direct ask may not even be included in this message. But, offering a piece of content that your prospect can learn something from or enjoy reading will propel you into a position where you may not even have to ask again.
An example may read something like:
“Our company recently published a new blog article that made me think of you and our previous conversation. It’s called “[Title & include link],” and I thought it might prove helpful and offer some information for [the pain point you’re trying to solve].”
With this type of follow-up, treat the blog link click as the engagement action. Sharing a piece of content can also be used as a subsequent third or fourth follow up and can include a simple call to action like, “Can we set up a time to discuss?”
Strategy #3 - Spread Excitement About A New Feature
When your company releases something new, don’t just keep it in house (unless required to initially of course). This is a perfect opportunity to get your prospects excited as well.
Every time a new feature of your product or service is released, your company publishes a new case study or has any other exciting update, a door is opened for another great follow-up. You could use the following example, or variation of, to make your relationship with the lead more personal and show you truly are trying to help:
“I’m not sure if you caught this on our website yet, but we recently released a new product feature that [the benefit that is offered]. I thought it would be worth mentioning since you told me you [had a problem this new feature would solve].”
Of course, this strategy works best if you’ve already had the conversation with the prospect regarding what their problems or pain points are that they are trying to solve. If you haven’t had this talks yet, change the follow-up email to a more general announcement that shows your excitement.
Source: AB Tasty
Strategy #4 - Offer A New Call To Action
What works to secure a deal with one prospect may not work for another. Testing new calls to action is a great way to determine if your previous follow-up sales emails were unanswered due to the ask or call to action itself or for another reason entirely.
For example, if you think you may have come across too hard in your first email and may have asked for too much, scale back your call to action in this next follow-up with something less burdensome and straight forward. Try something like:
“If you’re not ready to move forward just yet, could we jump on a quick phone call instead? I’d love to share more on how [our product and service] has made a difference for [similar people or businesses facing a common problem your prospect is facing].”
It is highly effective to have more than one option up your sleeve as a call to action. The key to follow-ups is getting your prospects to take that next step – whatever that may be.
Strategy #5 - Create Subject Lines That They Will Want To Open
For any of your follow-up sales emails, take the time to create a subject line that is personal and is relevant, resonates, and resists giving away all the details.
Before that ‘send’ button is ever clicked on your email you need to know exactly who you are sending it to and think about the goal of your email. Above all, your recipient needs to feel like you knew this email was going to them specifically and it was written that way.
If you can word your follow-up in a way that makes your prospect feel like you truly understand their business goals and paint points in your subject line, you’ve already won. Make the subject line relevant to them, resonate with their issue, and resist giving everything away.
An effective subject line will intrigue and make them want to open the email to know more. It will not detail exactly what the email is offering and leave enough suspense that your prospect has no choice but to open the email and read further. An example that will pique interest reads something like:
- Lead profile: Lisa, Social Media Manager, Small business of 24 employees.
- Previous interaction: Contact downloaded an ebook on ‘How to Generate Leads on Instagram.
- Goal of email: Book a demo of our social media monitoring tool.
Subject line: “Lisa, when Instagram makes it hard, we’ve got your back”
“Relevance + Resonance + Resistance = Response.”
Strategy #6 - Utilize Effective Automation
Now that you have some strategies to utilize for follow-up emails, making sure the follow-ups with prospects don’t fall through the crack is going to be key. Technology now makes following up easier than ever.
You can draft, format, and schedule the sales email follow-ups in advance and create a lock tight sales process. With sales automation tools like Map My Customers. You can send personalized follow-up emails to your prospects. Track when those emails were opened down to the minute. Even view charts and reports on your email activity and response rate.
Utilizing email automation helps to ensure none of your opportunities slip through the cracks.
Strategically and effectively utilizing sales follow-up emails is essential in today’s sales environment. By using several creative strategies, like the ones mentioned above, you can quickly increase your rate of lead generation and deals closed.
“You should never feel desperate following up,” said Joshua Waller, Hustler at ElasticSales. “I’ve never heard of or experienced a deal fall through because I followed up too much. If someone claims that they decided not to purchase because we followed up too much or too frequently, they were never going to buy and just needed an excuse. In most cases, I get complimented for being on top of moving a deal forward.”
Ultimately, there’s no single follow-up strategy that works on every prospect, in every situation. Use the strategies above – or any others you find – and make them your own. Try different versions and strategies to see what resonates with your prospects and gets them to respond. Test sending your follow-up emails at different times, in response to different timings or triggers, and in different sequences.
Only by gathering your own data, being creative, and taking the time to make them personal and resonate with your prospect will you be able to create the follow-up email strategy that actually works for you and your company.