Like all things worthwhile, landing sales meetings via cold emails requires persistence, adaptation, and clearly defined processes that can be studied to understand why certain things work and others just don’t. The following tips are sales follow up strategies I use to increase the likelihood that a cold email exchange will end up in a sales meeting.
01. Respond Anyway
This may sound like a time-sink, and it can be, but I’ve found that responding to as many emails as I can, including “dead end” types of responses, can lead to either an acknowledgement from the prospect, or even follow-up questions.
Both responses often yield an additional meeting or two within the month, or even a few months down the road. Be persistent, even in the face of rude responders. Most people get it, and many even respect it. And, if you build out some simple “canned-responses” to address key reasons why folks may not be interested, you can always just copy/paste pre-built retorts down the line and save yourself some time.
02. Always End On a Call-to-Action
You can even try something like the following–these are just a “starter-pack” pulled from the “canned-responses” we discussed earlier:
Hope you’re well. I wanted to follow up on our conversation to see if now was a better time to put 20 minutes on the calendar to discuss YOUR COMPANY and PROSPECT COMPANY NAME.
A quick reminder about what we do: We _____ X for PROSPECT INDUSTRY companies. If still interested, let’s schedule that short phone call to discuss. Are any of the following blocks convenient?
Wednesday (XX/XX): XX-XX
Thursday (XX/XX): XX-XX
Friday (XX/XX ): XX-XX
It’s great to connect with you. REFERRAL NAME referred me to you. My name is NAME and I am the owner of SENDER COMPANY.
We provide XX … We have the ability to take on all XX … And, if you already have XX in place we can work alongside them, too, to supplement their efforts.
Just thought I could save you all some time and reduce XX related frustration. If you’re interested, I’d love to schedule some time for a quick call this week or next?
Does Friday work?
The best way to ensure constant use of this tactic is to build out a custom canned responses document (similar to what I mentioned in the last point) that caters to the types of responses your outreach is getting.
03. The Importance of Being Referred
A couple of things can happen when someone is referring you. It either means that, a. they actually can’t help you (if you get a lot of these with a specific title it could be part of a bigger problem), or b. they just want to be rid of you and they’re passing the buck.
Regardless, we can apply the same tactic throughout, which is to forward the thread to the referred person in question and incorporate the referee to leverage this internal baton pass to our advantage.
It can be hard to manually remind yourself to check back in if referrals are slow to respond, so try building out an automated “referral campaign” to use with automated tools. If you don’t have automated tools at your disposal, create a referral folder within your mailbox labeling with “month” tags, letting you know when you should check back in.
04. Slowly Letting You Off the Hook
When someone responds with: “check back in X months” – do it. They’re operating off of the assumption that you won’t. Much like the folders mentioned before, make custom sub-labels for “check back-ins” and set dates on them. Remember to check these labels at the start of every month. Consider adding a recurring calendar reminder too.
05. When Words Aren’t Always Enough
Another good practice is to get a few “one-sheeters” built out that cover typical services, costs, etc. and to incorporate their use in canned responses for when a prospect asks for more information. This also provides a great touch point to reach back out to a quiet prospect, and it can sometimes be exactly what someone needs to hear in a tough time.
06. Are They Really Dead?
Running low on prospects? Sort through your past sends for folks who’ve never responded to you. Try using an intro calling out this fact to them (remind them you’re a human being).
If you get an automated response from someone stating that they’ve retired, or left the company to pursue another opportunity, there is a good chance someone else may be referenced in the automated message. These often contain at least one, if not more, email addresses for similar titles at the company. Cross-reference these to see if you’re already sending to them, and if not, send away and refer to the automated-response to see if you can get one of the other folks to respond.
07. But, I’m Already Doing All of This!
If you’re frustrated, doing all the right things, but still aren’t getting results, don’t fret. Just use one of your lifelines and phone-a-friend.
Try bouncing ideas off of another team member, someone with whom you can discuss reports, templates, or sending times. Consult online resources to verify that you have the correct data. And, you can even try asking your clients–see what won their attention in the first place.
To Wrap It Up
Even though much of lead prospecting can be empirical, much of it is data driven, so clearly document what works and what doesn’t.
And finally, don’t panic. Stick to the plan. You’ll be shocked at just how effective these 11th hour tips are at yielding you more sales meetings.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like “How Many Follow Ups Does It Take To Make a Sale?”
Also, if you’re really in need of sales meetings check out our “Ultimate Guide to Triple Your Sales Meetings” below to learn more about our own strategies that have yielded us thousands of opportunities.