You read our article on crushing your sales quotas this year, and now you’re all fired up! You’ve gone out and met with tons of prospects, had great conversations, and gotten their contact information. Now what? The follow-up stage is where so many promising deals go to die, particularly because of email. Email is great because it lets you follow up quickly and frequently, but it’s also extremely easy to ignore. Here’s how to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
Why Are You Sending This Email, Anyway?
Following up for the sake of following up helps no one. Do you need more information before you can prepare a proposal? Are you wanting to know that status of an application you sent? Do you need to meet with them to get to the next step? Emails without a purpose beyond proving that you’re still breathing are not good emails. Even if you’re just looking to catch up, make sure there is an actionable goal attached. If you’ve sort of lost touch with a prospect and are unsure how to reconnect, do a quick search to see what their company has accomplished recently of if they’ve been featured in any news items. This is a great way to get back in touch while showing the prospect you’re following what’s going on with their business.
Who the Heck are You?
Whether you spoke to your prospect last week or last year, everyone is busy. Don’t expect instant name recognition when your email hits their inbox. Skip the small talk and start with some context – who are you, how did you meet them, what did you talk about in your last conversation, etc. The less cold and canned your email seems, the more likely you will be to get a response. Sales is all about relationships, so build off whatever common ground you found the last time you spoke. If they told you they had two kids in soccer camp, ask them how it’s going. If you both love the San Francisco 49ers, talk about last week’s game. Anything you can do to create a bond will be helpful.
What Do You Want?
You already decided why, you’re sending this email (remember step 1?), but you also have to make it clear to your recipient. Don’t beat around the bush, and for the love of Pete please don’t say you “just want to check in.” Recipients will reward your brevity and clarity because it shows respect for their time and a willingness to be transparent. So many sales reps try to disguise the fact that they want to sell a product to their prospects – there’s no need! Your prospects need what you sell. That’s not an excuse to be arrogant but permission to be forthcoming and open. You’ll land way more deals this way than by hiding behind jargon.
Why Should They Open It?
The most carefully crafted email is wasted if your prospects don’t open it. Spend time working on your subject lines and making sure they’re clear and click-worthy. Avoid overused, vague phrases like “Quick question” or “Follow up.” You can do better than that. State your purpose in the subject, and try to create a sense of urgency – you need them to open your email now, not three weeks from now when they’re sorting through a backlog. You can even get crazy and try using no subject line at all.
When Should You Send It?
Now that you’ve crafted the perfect follow-up email, all that’s left to do is press send – but when should you do that? The answer depends a bit on the situation. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to follow up on a meeting or introduction in about 24 hours, when everything is still fresh in both of your minds. If you’re following up on an email you sent, you can stretch it longer. Give contacts one to two weeks to get back to you regarding meeting requests, for example, so they can fit you into their calendar when it works for them. If you’re just trying to keep in contact with a long-range prospect, touching base every three months is appropriate and useful.
A Company Who Gets It
At 360 Payments, we know your time is valuable, and we won’t waste it by talking in circles. Our whole company is built on transparency and fairness, and we’ll put those values to work for you from day one with honest, easy-to-read proposals and statements. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to show you how we’re different.
PS – Here are the marketing trends your business needs to focus on in 2018.
PPS – Make sure these five vendors are working their tails off for you every single day.