We all know the phrase “Hi, just checking if…” very well. This is the most popular follow-up in sales – it is so popular that it is ineffective. And it may be because we have seen it so many times before that we rarely get an answer to it ourselves.
So, how to write a follow-up that will not only help us “check”, but will also contribute to effective sales? When to send a follow-up? How to stay in touch without imposing yourself? And why aren’t they responding again?!
To understand the key steps in creating an effective follow-up, read the following tips. At the end, you will find 12 ready-to-use templates.
But before we begin, let’s determine the most important thing: You should never feel bad when sending another email. Just learn to do it right. A follow-up proves that you care, and increases your chances of winning a sale. Some people close even more than 75% of the deals thanks to it.
Make sure that you should already send a follow-up
It is easy to miss an email response if your inbox is full of messages. So, before starting to write a follow-up, make sure once again that the customer has not sent a reply.
The second key issue is: when to send the follow-up. If we have already managed to establish contact, we should always act as quickly as possible, but without overdoing the frequency of the messages.
Here are the suggested time frames for a few example situations:
Thank you for your email or meeting. We have attached the promised materials.
After sending an offer.
Research shows that 35-50% of sales are won by the company from which the customer hears first. – source: Fronetics
Continuation after no response to the offer.
Every 3 months
To maintain the relationship.
Create a strong subject line
The right subject is essential: if it is not encouraging enough, the recipient will not open the email. In addition to being ‘strong’, it must also be as short as possible. Most people read emails on mobile devices – so limit the number of characters.
Here are some examples of email subjects that can increase the open rate:
1. A closed-ended question (one that can be answered yes or no)
e.g. Do you have time for a short call tomorrow?
2. A compliment (doesn’t everybody like them?)
e.g. Great presentation at the Pipeline Summit!
3. A subject containing the name
e.g. Martin, how do you increase the effectiveness of the team?
4. One proving that you have done research
e.g. And you know that you are running a start-up when…
5. One interrupting the silence
e.g. Are you still interested in our offer?
Specify the reason for contact
Saying what you want to get from the person you are contacting will help you create an effective CTA (call to action).
Here are some examples of the reasons for sending a follow-up:
1. Acquisition of information
When we want to clarify something or ask about the status of the decision.
2. Arranging a meeting
When, after an initial conversation, we want to propose a face-to-face meeting or an on-line presentation.
3. Summary of a meeting
When we want to sum up an already held meeting and propose further steps.
4. Maintaining the relationship
When we want to congratulate the customer on the success we have heard about, or ask for feedback and propose optimization.
In the introduction, refer to a specific situation
We much better remember messages that build a relationship and refer to a personal context – and it is worth starting the email with just that. Not only will such an email get etched in the customer’s memory, but it will also make it harder for him or her not to respond to it.
Here are some examples of how to begin a follow-up well:
1. I got your contact information from our common friend…
2. I heard your presentation at…
3. Last week we had the opportunity to meet at the conference…
4. A few days ago we spoke on the phone about…
State the purpose of the message clearly
Always bear in mind that your interlocutor is probably very busy. Respect their time and tell them clearly why they should devote it to you. State the exact reason for contact and never create a mysterious background to the topic of the proposed meeting.
“Hi, I would like to talk about your business” really does not contribute much.
Instead, say: “Hi, I would like to present a strategy for communication on Quora that will help you position your product.”
Another example: “We are organizing a meetup I would like to invite you to – the workshop section will focus on the improvement of the indicators on which you are certainly working at [company name].”
P.S. We really organize such meetups.
Add other people to the message (CC)
This point applies when more than one interlocutor was involved in the conversation at any stage. In such as case, all these people (especially the decision-makers) should be added to the CC field of the email.
A study published by Yesware shows that recipients respond to emails 12% more often if other people have been included in the message.
– source: Yesware
If others know that some activities are under way, it is more difficult to ignore them. What is more, if there are other recipients in the CC field of the email, we automatically assume that the matter is important. So, there is a good chance that at least one person will get involved in the thread, including the decision-makers.
Follow-ups in sales – 12 effective examples
Let’s move on to concrete examples. Here are 12 ideas for reminder emails that you can use right away and suggest to your team. Treat them as a strong starting point – in each case it is worth editing them a little bit, adjusting the style and form of the message to the individual customer or industry.
1. Application: After downloading content
Did you find our e-book [name of the material] useful?
I’ve noticed that you recently downloaded our e-book [name of the material]. People who download it are usually interested in [reason for downloading in relation to the features of your product].
I am not 100% sure if our platform will address your needs, but, in order to better explain how it works, I have attached a case study on a company in your industry:
[link to the case study]
If the material turns out to be interesting, maybe I could propose a short on-line presentation during which we will verify together whether this solution will work in your company?
2. Application: After a meeting
I thought this too might interest you
Thank you very much for devoting your time to today’s meeting. It was really nice to learn more about the specific nature of your business and talk about your experiences in [the field].
You mentioned that a new manager at your company was looking for a way to [name of the problem].
We have recently written extensive material on this subject: [link to the content]
You can forward it to the manager or, maybe, it will be useful to the other members of the team.
Thank you again for your time. Good luck with [the raised topic] and I hope we will stay in touch!
3. Application: Immediately after leaving a voice mail message.
I couldn’t get through to you
I called a moment ago to [the purpose].
In the voice mail message, I mentioned that I would try again on [day], but I’d like to add that you can call me back at your convenience or ask me additional questions by email.
4. Application: After a conference, fair, or meetup
Great presentation at [name of the event]!
Your presentation at [name of the event] made a huge impression on me. Congratulations!
It taught me a lot about [the subject raised].
It seems that our companies have a similar target group. I thought you might be interested in our partner program.
Let us know if you see the scope for cooperation too.
5. Application: A follow-up to the first attempt at contact
[Name], do you have any additional questions regarding my message?
I hope you got a chance to read my previous email and look at our website. So, I thought it was a good idea to contact you again and ask about your observations.
Have you considered my proposal? When would you find 5 minutes for a phone call so that I could answer any questions you may have?
6. Application: A follow-up to the first conversation
It was nice talking to you, [name].
Thank you for the conversation today. I’m glad I was able to learn more about your role at [company name]. I understand very well the difficulties you face every day, and that [the type of a task] is quite a challenge.
As promised, I’m sending materials that may turn out to be helpful to you.
I’m also including information about how our tool can help you with [name of the problem] and to increase [name of the indicator].
If you have any questions, please let me know. I would be happy to arrange another meeting.
7. Application: Repeated contact after a long period of time
Do you have any additional questions, [name]?
During our last conversation, you asked that we discuss again, in a few months’ time, how [name of your company] can help you achieve your business goals.
I thought that the planning of a new quarter is a good time to get back to that subject.
Have you thought about our proposal? I would be happy to arrange a meeting (in person or on-line) and answer any additional questions that may have arisen.
Do you have any plans for this week?
8. Application: The last follow-up after several attempts and no response
Should we delete your data?
We are doing an end-of-the-month cleanup of the system, and deleting the data of people from whom we have not received a return message. Usually, when we do not receive an answer from someone, this means that this person is either very busy or simply not interested.
If you are not interested, can we delete your data from the system?
However, if the lack of response is due to another reason, then what will be the most convenient date for you to be contacted? I would be happy to answer any additional questions.
9. Application: When it is difficult for you to identify the decision-maker
[Name], can I ask you a favor?
I have contacted you several times to talk about what [name of your company] can do for your business. My guess is that you get at least a few messages like this one every day, and maybe you don’t entirely influence the decisions in this respect.
Therefore, I would like to ask you a favor. I would like to talk to the person in your company who is responsible for [name of department/operations] and will be the right one to talk to about [the offered benefit]. Could you tell me who that is?
However, if you are that person, when can I call you to discuss more details?
Version 2, more official:
It has just occurred to me that maybe the issue of [the subject raised] at [company name] is being dealt with by someone else and I am bothering you unnecessarily.
If so, I would be very grateful for the contact information of the person who is dealing with it directly. I do not suppose that I will take more than 15 minutes of their time, and if our approach turns out to suit your company, it may add a lot of value.
10. Application: After a trial account has been created
First steps in [name of the system] – welcome to the trial version!
Thank you for signing up for the best [type of system, e.g. CRM] for [the benefit, e.g., increasing the effectiveness of sales].
I’m your assistant who will help you to take full advantage of the trial period in [name of the system] and show how you and your team can [benefit].
First, log in and configure the basic account settings.
Here [link] you will find out how to do that.
If you have any questions, you can ask them in the response to this email or call me at any time at [number].
11. Application: During the trial period
Make the most of the trial period in [name of the system]
Below is a playlist of short videos that will help you make the most of your trial period in [name of the system].
Below are other useful resources:
a link to the knowledge base
I will be happy to personally guide you through the system configuration process. Do you have a few minutes for a phone call or a short on-line demo this week?
12. Application: During the trial period, email 2
Your sales command center
Let me know if you have any questions about using [name of the system]. I know there are a lot of features, so let me know if I can help.
I will also be happy to show you, in person, how to best configure the system for your individual needs. Will you have a few minutes for a short Skype conversation this week?
Sounds better than “Just checking if”, doesn’t it? Always write follow-ups bearing in mind that they should have a decisive influence on the customer’s decision-making process. Clearly express the purpose of the message, talk about benefits, provide value, propose next steps.
We hope that our templates will help you increase the response rate.
Here is how Livespace can help you streamline the follow-ups sending process:
- CRM integration with any email service
- support for email templates: a ready-made database and the ability to add more by copying and pasting
- planned sending of email sequences
- possibility of setting individual reminders, e.g., about the need to make a call