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Your sales folks don’t easily take ‘No’ for an answer, do you? Why should you, though? Prospects rarely reply or respond positively the initial few times you reach out to them. 

Whether it’s for setting up a meeting or for gathering some information, this only makes being persistent all the more necessary. In fact, data shows that 60% of customers say no 4 times before saying yes, whereas 48% of salespeople never even make a single follow-up attempt.

You definitely don’t want to be a part of the 48%! So, what’s the solution? Follow-up. And, what better than the most relied mode of communication - the email? Yes, follow-up emails are the best way to get your prospects’ attention.

Now, What’s a Follow-Up Email?

A follow-up email is an email sent to a potential client you came in contact with at a business event, through a mutual contact, a cold email, a cold call, or during a demo. This email outreach strategy acts as a prompt or reminder of the previous communication you both had.

I know that following up when the prospects didn’t reply during your initial attempt can make you feel a little awkward, as though you are bothering them. But believe me, in the sales world, it is necessary because it is a crucial touchpoint in the sales process.

To tell the truth, you’d be more awkward when your teammates get more leads due to their endless follow-up and you don’t. Believe it or not, sending more emails increases your chances of hearing back from the prospects by as high as 25%. But, 70% of the salespeople don’t go beyond one.

The intent behind every follow-up email is to generate a reply, say for setting up a meeting, making a sale, or getting more information related to the prospect.  So, it's important to make it eye-catching and ensure there’s some value addition to the prospect. This not only increases your chances of getting email opens but also of getting replies.

How to Write a Follow-Up Email

Now that we’ve seen what follow-up emails are and also established the need to write them, let’s see how to write a follow-up email. Here are some tips that will make your email outreach successful

1. Use an Engaging Subject Line

Write a follow-up email using an engaging subject line

Where does your attention go first when you open your inbox? The subject line, right? Your prospects’ do too. Hence using a strong and compelling subject line in your follow-up email can save it from reaching the trash along with other unsolicited spam in their inbox. It never hurts to put some thought into writing one, especially when 47% of email recipients open their emails based on the subject line.

Also keeping it short, fun, and distinct can make it on top of your prospects’ priority list. Anything between 4 to 7 words tends to get high open rates says Mike Madden in his blog. Concise subject lines are also comfortable for those who read emails on their mobile devices.

Addressing recipients by their first names in the subject line adds a personal touch to the email. Since the preview text is visible go for a crisp synopsis of the email there. Moreover, do not forget to conduct A/B testing on the emails, as that will ensure the most impactful emails reach your prospects’ inboxes.

You can base your subject lines on the examples given below:

  • [First name], Here are the next steps
  • [First name], Need our input
  • Pleasure catching with you [First Name]
  • Let’s go over this again, shall we?

2. Provide Context with an Effective Email Opener

Provide context with an effective email opener when composing a follow-up email

Your prospects receive lots of cold emails every day. And let’s say this is your first follow-up email to them or that it’s been quite a while since you last spoke. How do you get them to recall you?

Simple! Start your email by providing a context such as a meeting you had with them, an identifier of some sort, or a reference from a previous email or phone conversation. Even if the recipient is unable to remember at first, your emphasis on the initial communication helps jog their memory. This in turn makes it easier for them to recognize you and react positively to the email.

Here are some openers you might want to use in your follow up email:

  • I’m reaching out to follow up on the email I sent you a few weeks back [mention the topic and when you sent the mail]
  • We met last week at the [mention the name of the event, conference, or the location]
  • I just wanted to follow up to see what you thought about [mention the topic]
  • XYZ [mention the name of common connection] suggested I reach out to you regarding [mention the pain point you want to address]

3. State the Intent and Value Proposition Clearly

Write a follow-up email by stating the intent and value proposition clearly

The email should effectively communicate the purpose of your follow-up. Hence avoid any form of ambiguity. Be direct, concise, and to the point. This will create an impression that you value the prospects’ time and want their attention. A great way to do this is by watching your word count. Yes, keeping your email length anywhere between 50-125 words can increase email open rates by as high as 50%.

Also, make it a point to keep the email tone positive as data shows that emails with warm tones have 10-15% higher response rates than the ones with neutral tones. Doing so will most likely lead to the prospects responding positively to your request for a meeting or giving you the information you need.

Also, remember this is an important email and you cannot waste it with a lazy follow-up. Along with the intent, you must also state the value your product adds to the prospect and how it will address their pain points. Additionally, including success stories, statistics, free demos, and trials, makes the email opens more worthy of your prospects' time.

Let’s take a look at some ways you can explain the intent while adding value:

  • As we discussed here’s some information about how [the product name] can help you solve/ eliminate [prospect’s pain point].
  • [The product name] has helped our customers [state the benefit gained]. We can help you solve/eliminate [prospect's pain point] too. Try the 14-day free trial to experience the change firsthand.


4. Conclude the Email with a Call-to-Action

Conclude the email with a call-to-action when writing a follow-up email

You’ve garnered an email open, set the context, and also explained the purpose. Now it’s time to wrap up the email, but not without a call-to-action! You can explicitly ask for what you want and conclude the email.

A right call-to-action should state the next steps the prospects should take to move the conversation forward. And your email is successful only when they take the action you want them to. So, make it easy for them to respond.

Suppose you want to set up a meeting with them, suggest a specific date and time like:

  • Can we get on a quick 20-minute call at 4 pm on Tuesday?
  • Are you the right person to talk to about this? If not, could you point me to the right person, so I can set up a 30-minute product demo call?

If you want them to take it forward you can use something like:

  • What are the next steps from your end?
  • Just a little confused. Will your next action be ABC or XYZ?


Seal the Deal with Outplay

Follow-up emails don’t stop with one, it is a continuous game. You need to constantly keep following up with your prospects. The aim should be to engage them by providing value, keeping you on top of their minds, and building a relationship.

Also remember, while email is an important follow-up method, you should not stick to one outreach channel. Diversifying your communication channels in addition to emails can help in better prospecting and nurturing. 

You can experience the power of email and other prospecting channels with Outplay, our new-age sales engagement platform.