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How to Make the 'Just Following Up' Email Less Dreadful

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Most sales and business professionals have had the disappointing experience of placing a sales call or sending an email pitch only to hear crickets from the prospective partner or sales lead. You might have thought it was a more-than-qualified lead or invested greater-than-usual effort into the process of securing their interest. But, even though you thought you’d caught a big win, they aren’t responding to your bait.

At this point, you have to figure out how to re-engage your sales target, which typically involves sending the dreaded “Just wanted to follow-up about…” email. This is a point of contact that could make or break your relationship with your potential client, seeing as 80 percent of sales are made on the fifth to 12th contact. So, it’s crucial you avoid some basic mistakes in your follow-up email. 

You can start by following these four essential tips:

1. Provide background information.

No matter what you’re selling or what field you’re in, it’s safe to assume your prospective client is busy. This means your client will be distracted, and may not remember who you are or what you discussed previously. It’s possible they are being wooed by other sales reps, or that your business deal is low priority on their “to-do” list. If this is one of your first follow-up emails, be sure to provide some background information about who you are and what you discussed previously (so you don’t lose their attention).

Related: 4 Hacks You Should Know Before You Craft Your Next Email Subject Line

2. Add value (or make the “next step” easier).

Your prospective customers and clients want to feel like you have their best interest in mind. Be creative in ways you can add value for them! Share resources and information relevant to their industry through LinkedIn or Google Alerts, or let them know a new way they could use your product and service to further their business goals.

Make it easy for your client to say yes by simplifying the sales process. Maybe they're dreading how to pitch your product or service to their superiors—so, offer to follow up on their behalf. Or, maybe they are wondering how you compare to your competitors and would benefit from a cost-analysis comparison chart.

Related: Are You Getting Email Marketing Right? Use These 4 Metrics to Find Out.

3. Include a "benefit" or "why" statement.

As is the case for most pitches, it’s important to reiterate your benefit statement. Why does your client need your product or service? More specifically, why are you the best option? Why now (did they mention a deadline or corresponding goal)? Personalize your pitch whenever possible, but keep it short and confident.

4. Not including a call to action

One of the biggest mistakes for any follow-up email is not including a strong call-to-action. Leaving the email open-ended with phrases like “let me know what you think” or “keep in touch” aren’t a strong enough incentive for your client to respond. You’re more likely to get a response when you ask pointed questions like “What day and time works best for you next week to discuss this further?” or “Based on the deadline that you mentioned, you’ll need to start our service by the end of this month—do you have 30 minutes to sit down and chat later this week?”

What are some of your tips for following up via email with prospective clients?

Related: 4 Ways to Make Sure Your Email List Doesn't End Up Dead


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