When I was buying print ads I had a rep that would call and leave me voicemails like these:
BEEEEEEEEEEEEP! “Hey, just checking in to see if you were planning to buy more ad space with us. I know you said you had your annual budget allocated already but I just thought that it might be a good investment to put additional budget in another ad with us for next month. Just call me when you can to discuss sizes.”
That’s where the phrase “just checking in” takes me. Oh, memories.
Luckily, not everyone has worked with hungry print ad reps at a local newspaper. But, can you think of a time you responded well to the email, voicemail or text “just checking in”?
We’ve all done it though, right?
“Just checking in to see if you received the proposal.”
“Just checking to see if you wanted a demo or audit.”
In reality, we’re looking for one thing when we use that phrase: an answer. Movement. Progress.
So, how do we follow-up with leads when the sale goes cold (without being passive aggressive)?
Recently, I had a client feeling discouraged because he had great momentum with a top grocery company – we’ll call the company Smamazon – that suddenly went cold after the proposal was sent.
My client was waiting to hear back from from Smamazon after two emails, a proposal, and a voicemail. He was wondering how to follow up without coming across like a pest and asked if he should send an email and “say something like, ‘Hey, just checking in…’?”
Here’s a few templates that work way better for following up with prospects when you need to keep the momentum going.
Hi [FIRST NAME],
At the risk of being a nag/ pest [CHOOSE ONE], I’m floating this back to the top of your inbox.
I know how much you must have on your plate with the beginning of the year, and I hope we
can get our solution presented to you.
If an in-person meeting is tough to schedule right now, would it be easier to hop on the phone? All I need is [NUMBER] minutes, and I can be available at any time that works for you.
Looking forward to hearing back.
Thanks so much,
This exact script may be a little specific for you, but here are the elements you can always use:
HI [FIRST NAME].
At the risk of being a pest / nag / nagging / bugging you / driving you nuts / being overly persistent [CHOOSE ONE] I’m circling back/ following up/ moving this to the top of your inbox/ putting this in front of you again/ cheerfully hunting you down [CHOOSE ONE WITH APPROPRIATE TONE].
I know how busy you are with [FILL IN WITH SPECIFIC DETAIL IF POSSIBLE].
[OPTIONAL: ADD COMPLIMENT LIKE, (By the way, I loved the recent post/ talk/ interview/ centerfold spread in The News Online Monthly about the latest initiative. Very exciting!)]
Would love to make this as easy as possible for you. Would it be better if we [SUGGEST ALTERNATIVE WAY TO COMMUNICATE]?
Looking forward to hearing back. [OPTIONAL, TO OFFER AN EASY “OUT”: If I don’t, I’ll assume it’s a pass for now/ If this isn’t a good time, say the word and I’ll circle back next month.]
Now, you may have noticed the easy out option. If your prospect goes even cooler. I mean, ice cold. Totally stopped responding. Send this ‘close file’ email.
If you’ve sent six emails or more to no response, consider deploying a “breakup email.” This type of message makes it clear you won’t be contacting the buyer any more — unless they respond to your email, that is.
Breakup emails help separate prospects who want to engage but simply haven’t had the time from those who have no interest in a given product or service. Either way, the salesperson learns how to proceed, which is more than half the battle.
According to HubSpot, this sales email template has a 76% response rate. I only pull out this email when I follow up with someone two or three times and don’t hear back. If used incorrectly, it may come off as threatening.
Subject Line: Giving it one last try
In the rare opportunities, I have to work on client acquisition, I have not had much success reconnecting with you. It might just be that you don’t have any interest in talking with me — and that’s okay. I just need to know whether or not to keep trying.
So, to make this nice and easy for you, you can reply with a simple keystroke. Just reply with either A, B, C, D, or E and I’ll know what to do, but please do reply so that I can stop emailing you if you’re not interested.
A. Stop emailing me with attempts to connect but continue to send invites for events.
B. Don’t send me anything, remove me from your list. We don’t currently and won’t ever need your help. ATOMIC BLOG – Inbound Sales Process – Following up when prospect stops responding.
C. I want to talk, we need some help, but the timing isn’t right. Keep trying.
D. I would like to schedule a time to talk. We need some help. Please send your calendar link.
E. I forgot who you are. What’s this about?
What if you’re fairly certain that the prospect isn’t interested, and you just need confirmation? Try this message:
Subject Line: Permission to close your file?[Prospect],
We are in the process of closing files for the month. Typically when I haven’t heard back from someone it either means they’re really busy or aren’t interested. If you aren’t interested, do I have permission to close your file?
If you’re still interested, what do you recommend as a next step?
Thanks for your help.
So, what happens when someone says no?
If you were in their shoes, would you like someone to keep selling you after you told them you weren’t interested? Or, do not have a budget.
No. Of course not. You’d want them to accept it and move on.
Does that mean that you’re done? Not really …
If a prospect doesn’t want to work with us, we still have the opportunity to learn if it was a mistake we made or something about our product or services that needs tweaking. Or, perhaps it’s just not a great fit. So, in pursuit of constant improvement (and general awareness), we simply ask them.