How to approach potential customers

Knowledge level: Beginner

You’ve built a list of contacts that could be perfect for your business, so now it’s time to get reaching out to them! But where do you start? In this guide, you’ll learn:

How to make first contact with potential customers

What the perfect cold message looks like

The best ways to follow up and get responses

What’s the best way to approach potential customers?

Email allows you to reach a lot of people quickly and easily, getting directly into their inbox. It interrupts their day far less than a phone call, doesn’t have the costs involved with sending letters, and isn’t as easily ignored as LinkedIn DMs.

So with 77% of B2B buyers preferring to be contacted by email, we’re going to focus on this approach. Because we know it works!

What should you put in your initial email?

It all starts with a short, engaging email that peaks someone’s attention. You don’t want to go straight in with a hard sell (yuck!), you just want them interested enough to be willing to hop on a call with you to find out more (it’s on this call that you’ll work that magic sales pitch, not beforehand).

Something like:

Subject: Empire and HyperDrive Construction – quick coffee?

“Hey [Darth Vader],

I hope you’re having a great Wednesday! Sorry to hear about the Death Star being blown up. HyperDrive Construction has excellent experience building galactic space stations without thermal exhaust ports – we’d be delighted to assist with a rebel-proof rebuild.

Are you free this week for a coffee to chat about it?

Best wishes,
Notta Jedeye

Why this email works: It’s short, to the point, and has a clear course of action for the recipient to take. You know what the company does, why they’re reaching out, and what they’re expecting going forward. It doesn’t dump a load of information, but teases the value the company can bring.

How to follow up

The above email is a great opener, but what if you don’t hear back? You don’t give up, because most prospects don’t reply until you chase them!

It’s good practice to pre-plan a sequence of follow-up emails that you can send when you don’t hear back from prospects. We suggest an initial email (like the one above) with no more than three chasers. This number seems to be the sweet spot between being persistent and being a pest.

Each chaser should offer something different, and be gentle enough to invoke a response.

First chaser

This is the nudge. A polite reminder to your prospect that you’ve made contact and you’d love to speak with them.

Keep it simple, reminding them of the benefits that a conversation with you could bring. Include your initial message in the email chain, and focus on helping, not selling.

Something like:

Re: Empire and HyperDrive Construction – quick coffee?

Hi Darth Vader,

Just a gentle nudge to see if you saw my previous email?

I think our X-wing-proof materials would be hugely beneficial to Version 2 of the battlestation. Let me know if you’d like to chat over a coffee this week.

Best wishes,

Why this email works: It’s short, friendly, and polite. It’s still not going in with the hard sell, and references the previous email in case the prospect missed it. There’s also a clear bit of personalisation for the recipient, which adds extra value.

Second chaser

This is where you pivot the conversation and see if there’s someone else you can speak with. Acknowledge that they’re busy, and ask if there’s a more relevant person they could refer you to.

Again, keep it short and polite, while still demonstrating the value you can bring:

Re: Empire and HyperDrive Construction – someone else?

Hi Darth Vader,

I appreciate you’re probably very busy with finding the rebel base, so I wondered if there was someone else I could speak with regarding the Death Star rebuild?

I saw Captain Piett has recently been promoted to Admiral, would he or someone else on the team be best for me to contact?

Best wishes,

Why this email works: It doesn’t suggest that the recipient is somehow rude for not responding, and it also doesn’t ask them to do too much in referring to someone else.

Third and final chaser

This is known as the break-up. You’d love to speak with them, but you don’t want to become a pain, so you’re letting them know this is the last they’ll hear from you, unless they get in touch themselves.

Something like:

Hi Darth Vader,

I’m guessing now’s not the best time, so I’ll stop contacting you before I get force-choked.

We’ll be here and ready to help should you need our battlestation-building expertise, so feel free to reach out if you’d like to chat.

Best wishes,

Why this email works: It’s short and understanding, and leaves the door open for the prospect to make contact again in the future.

Prospecting tip
Set up your sequence of chasers before reaching out!

Establishing what your sequence of chasers looks like before you send that initial email will save you time when it comes to following up.

Have easily edited templates at the ready, with a few different points you can swap out for each contact (like name, company etc).

And don’t forget to decide the amount of time that should pass between each chaser. Six working days is normally a good buffer, as long as they don’t all land on the same weekday.

Sorting these aspects will ensure your follow-up plan is clear and ready for when you start prospecting.

Approaching your ideal customers is easy with Outbase

Outbase helps you craft emails that capture attention. Our clever AI tools act as your personal writing assistant, checking for spam words and making your messages read beautifully.

Choose from 37 personalization options that can be inserted into your emails with one click, so they feel incredibly personal to each recipient. So whether you’re sending emails to 10 or 1,000 people, you’ll be able to make a real connection that resonates with your audience – without all the legwork.

And your follow ups? Sorted. You can set up your sequence from the outset – including the content and the time between sending – so you can sit back and watch those chasers work their magic automatically.


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