Many business owners and salespeople dread having to prospect. There are many ineffective and outdated prospecting techniques that people are still using. With the right techniques, your prospecting can guide you to better-qualified leads. Better-qualified leads means higher growth rates.
Hubspot found that in 2020 “the top priority for marketers [was] generating leads.” With an understanding of the strategies involved in prospecting, you can gather and turn high quality leads into clients.
Email follow-ups are a great way for more information to be given in detail and to allow the prospect more time to think through the information displayed. When using email to follow up, you must give the client enough information to be considered helpful but not too much as to where you pull out all the stops in the first follow-up. You want to drive the conversation and get them to buy early.
Follow-up emails can be frustrating. Many people assume if a prospect doesn’t respond the first time that they aren’t interested, however, there are many reasons as to why, besides not wanting your service, a prospect hasn’t responded to your email.
These reasons include missing the email completely, failure of the subject line to catch the prospect’s attention, not a clear enough call to action, not set up to be viewed on mobile, and sent at a bad time/day. The good news is these are all things we can easily fix.
Sometimes emails get buried in our inboxes. Dismissing it the first time doesn’t mean we don’t think they’re important it just means we forgot about them. Sending multiple emails when you haven’t received a response yet is okay. The rule we follow is if we haven’t heard anything within two days, we send another follow-up email. Two days is enough time to where if they did happen to see the email, another follow-up won’t frustrate them. Two days is also a good time for the prospect to contemplate the email and then receive another follow-up with even more valuable information. After the first two-day period, you should extend the waiting period by a few days for each subsequent email.
People are bombarded with thousands of emails from everything imaginable. What would make them recognize you and open your email? You must grab their attention and keep it long enough for them to click-through. From our Follow-Up Success Tips article, ask the client if there is something you can put in the subject line, such as using the word important or marking an email as urgent. These special cues can help you reach the client.
The number of words in a subject line also matters, especially for mobile users. Subject lines with 6 to 10 words deliver the highest open rate [Retention Science], making 8 words ideal. So, create that catchy, noticeable email in 8 words.
Email on mobile
As of now, 61.9% of all emails are opened and read on mobile devices [Constant Contact]. That means your email needs to be programmed correctly for mobile; failure to optimize your email for mobile results in an 80% deletion rate [Constant Contact]. Emails that aren’t formatted correctly for mobile viewing often cut off information completely or appear very zoomed in. These kinds of emails frustrate the receiver often enough to cause them to delete the email without even fully viewing it.
Have you checked if your email is optimized for mobile devices? It could be one of the reasons you’re getting a low response rate.
Time and day to send
There is no exact time or day we can tell you to send your email that will get you one hundred percent results. The first thing we do suggest is asking the prospect when the best time to follow-up with them is. Getting their insights will prove more helpful than anything in getting a prospect to respond to your follow-up.
With the help of research though, we can give you a general idea of when most people open their emails. Research shows that the very best times to send emails is on Tuesdays [Get Response], with weekends having the lowest open rates among the days of the week and Mondays following in second.
For the time frame, it appears it’s best to send emails a little after people get to work, and when they are catching up on emails after lunch. It shows to be around 9-10 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
So, when you do send a follow-up email, it’s best to do it on Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.
Call to action
You need to have a loud and clear call to action. Most times, in a follow-up, this will be for the prospect to follow back up with you, whether it’s via email or phone. Let the client know what you want them to do with the information you gave them. Always leave them more curious than before on a sales pitch. Give them the information they need to know to draw closer to a decision but always be able to add more value after they follow through with the call to action.
The subject line of your emails and the sender name and are the most important factors in getting emails opened and read. Be sure to check who the email is coming from. Making the from more personal increases the chances of getting noticed by a prospect. Open rates go up by as much as 35% by just using an email with your name in it [Pinpointe Markeing].
In 2019, the average open rate dropped to 22.1%. This average means that your company is doing well within its email follow-up and email campaigns if it has an open rate of around 22%.
The most important thing you can do in a follow-up is to continue to add more value every time you come in contact with the prospect. Email allows you to explain clearly and in more detail. It also allows for a more creative aspect. Adding in a creative aspect draws the reader in more. A creative follow-up email catches the attention of your prospects. Remember though this isn’t an email campaign so, don’t go overboard. You want a little flare but not too much to draw away from the information you are relaying and the call to action you want them to take in following up.
Sales follow-ups are a vital part of closing. This is where you truly make or break the deal. Every follow-up is different due to the difference in clients, so there is no definite right answer on how to go about a follow-up. We can, however, give you some general tips and tricks to help ease the follow-up process and end with a new client.
Ask the client the best way to follow up
Every client situation is different, and that means every follow-up situation can be different too. What works for one client isn’t always going to work for another. Emails, phone calls, text messages, etc. – there are a bunch of stats out there that might tell you one is better than the other for a follow-up. What you really have to keep in mind when deciding how best to follow up is the client.
The client is the only one who can answer the follow-up question with one-hundred percent accuracy. They know what form of communication they use most or what works best to reach them on. Just simply ask before the end of the conversation what form of communication is best to reach them on again. This approach will increase your follow-up percentage by using the best medium and by allowing the client the power to choose how you follow up with them. Asking the client allows them to be better prepared.
Is the client sure they don’t want to commit to your product or service right now? Still, ask what the best way to reach them is in the future. Let them know you’d like to stay in contact and will follow up with them later in the year.
Ask the client what their response rate is
Along with figuring out their best form of communication, make sure you are also setting an expectation for responsiveness. Ask how long you should expect before receiving a response through email, text, or a phone call. You should also ask if there are any special parameters to include in the follow-up, such as using the word important in a subject line or marking an email as urgent. These special cues can help you reach the client much quicker.
If you get the client to reveal how they like to be communicated with, they’ll respond much quicker. By finding their best form of communication and how long it usually takes for them to respond, you can hold them accountable much easier.
Provide valuable information to each conversation
Never call a prospective client just to touch base. You need to add new and valuable information each time you follow up with a client. Each time you talk to the client, you want to be able to bait them into wanting to learn more. Simply calling just to ask if they’ve made a decision yet is not effective.
Follow-ups are where your conversation summary and research come in handy. Explain more in-depth how your company can help them, features you have available that fit their specific needs, value points you didn’t touch on the first time, anything that adds value for your client.
End each conversation with a clearly defined next step
Be sure to repeat back a quick outline of what you and the client just talked about and end the conversation by outlining the next steps in the process. The follow-up should be one that’s adding more information not asking when you can speak to them again. The end of the current discourse is always the best time to ask when the client has time to talk again, considering they are already on the phone and thinking about your company.
Lock them down for the next step by asking when they can meet next. This will show the client you’re excited to close a deal with them.
Summarize your conversation
This tool is to help you and the client. Lots can be said over the phone and inbetween emails. Having a nicely laid out summary of previous conversations can help jog the client’s memory but also your own.
You want the client to remember the key features of the product or service you’re selling, but you also want to remember the key aspects of the client’s business and concerns. Reiterating that you know and understand the client’s concerns and benefits of using your product/service lets the client know that you were listening and are invested in helping them.
If you haven’t received a response from your follow-up message, reach out again. We recommend waiting two days before sending another message. In the second message, make sure you’re still adding value. Focus on a different part of the product/service that would add value to their company.
The third times a charm, right? Give it one last two day grace period if they still haven’t responded. Make sure to again add more value and mention, in a nice tone, how you’ve tried to reach out twice already. End the message by stating how you believe your product/service can benefit their specific company. Clearly state that you are available to answer any questions or concerns they still might have.
Still haven’t received a response? Wait a longer period and try again. Allow time for their busy schedule to die down and your current messages to be considered longer. After approximately a month, reach out for a fourth time, asking if they’ve had time to look over your proposal and lay out some of the basics again, reminding them what you’ve previously discussed.
Remember, each follow-up is slightly different and the only person who knows exactly how the client is going to react is the client themselves. Don’t be afraid to ask them their thoughts on the follow-up process. As you work on your follow-up process here are some helpful facts:
- 50% of all sales happen after the 5th contact, but most reps give up after just 2. [InsideSales]
- 83% of prospects who request information don’t buy for 3–12 months. [MarketingDonut]
- 70% of salespeople stop at one email. Yet if you send more emails, you have a 25% chance to hear back. [YesWare]
- Sales pros who try to reach leads in one hour are seven times more likely to have meaningful conversations. [HubSpot]
- 35-50% of sales go to the company that responds first. [InsideSales]
- 95% of buyers chose a company that “provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.” [DemandGen Report]
- On the phone, your tone is 86% of your communication. The words we actually use are only 14% of our communication. [ContactPoint]
- The ideal voicemail message is between 8 and 14 seconds. [The Sales Hunter]
- 33% of email recipients click on emails based on subject line alone. [Convince and Convert]