“A lead, a lead, my kingdom for a lead!” If you’re finding your prospecting efforts aren’t paying off, it might be time to review your follow-up activity.
Chasers are actually a crucial part of the prospecting process, but it’s hard to know how to play it. So friends, Romans, countrymen … lend me your ears as I tell you why follow-ups are where the magic happens, and how to reach the sweet spot between being persistent and being a pest.
“Wherefore art thou Romeo?” Well, he didn’t follow up his email, and now Juliet’s off enjoying a less tragic romance with the competition.
Follow-ups are a crucial part of the prospecting process, and you’re killing your lead rate if you bring down the curtain after just one email. Did you know 80% of prospects only say “yes” after the fifth follow-up email? And with 70% of unanswered emails never getting a chaser, we cry havoc thinking about all the opportunities that’ve been lost because there wasn’t a follow-up plan in place.
“The course of true love never did run smooth.” So how do you chase a prospect, without being annoying? It’s a fine line to walk, and if you’ve ever been prospected to in the wrong way (multiple emails, in one day, persistent phonecalls and needy voicemails – everything shy of a quill-and-ink sonnet) then you’ll know what we’re talking about.
Sopro’s 2023 State of Prospecting report found that an initial email, followed by three chasers is the sweet spot between being persistent and being a plain pest.
But it’s not a case of sending the same email four times. Each contact point needs to offer something different. Here’s the ideal sequence, in four acts:
Your initial cold outreach: If you’ve been following our advice, it’ll be brief, conversational, and relevant to the recipient.
A polite reminder: Include a simple follow-up message, reminding them of the benefits. Focus on helping, not selling. Make sure to include your first message in the email chain.
Another follow-up: Forward the previous email chain, and reaffirm why they should want to speak with you. Ask them for a referral to a more relevant person, in case that’s the reason for the radio silence.
The finisher: “Parting is such sweet sorrow”. Bid farewell to your prospects by letting them know you’d love to speak with them, but you don’t want to become a pain so this is the last email you’ll send. If they want to engage, this is their last chance.
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.” As we’ve seen, chasers really are a crucial part of the prospecting process. But we need to be realistic. Sometimes, you can sing and dance your heart out, and you just won’t get the part. Accepting that you’re not your prospects’ top priority is all part of the sales game, but being passionate, authentic, and committed goes a long way.
Don’t be afraid to vocalize your feelings if you think a partnership between your business could be the next Romeo and Juliet (without the gruesome ending, obvs). As long as you’re polite and genuine, it’s more likely to help rather than hinder. It also makes you appear more human, which is bound to increase the chances of a reply.
Before you start reaching out, establish a clear process for your follow-ups. Decide how many chasers you want to send, and plan what you want to say for each.
Timing is everything, so a general rule is to send the first follow-up email four to six days after the initial one. This is respectful of their time, but still soon enough after the initial email that they’ll remember it. As you start to send more follow-ups to non-responsive prospects, the more important it is to space them out – you don’t want to come across as too keen and become an annoyance.
Remember to be personable, conversational, and authentic in your chasers. Your follow-ups should be just as personalized as your initial outreach. Mention something they’ve previously spoken about, or do some research and find some relevant information to tactfully place in the email. If you are visiting their city, you could ask for a restaurant recommendation, or if you live in the same city, a quick comment on a local event shows you’re human and will likely inspire a response.
“Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing.” Keeping on top of your chasers can be overwhelming, but the rewards are pretty great if you do it right. Outbase can help you to set up your email sequence before you start outreach, meaning you can sit back, enjoy the show, and focus on what you do best. See how it works.