10 tips for tenacious follow up on emails

(Part 3 of 3)

This is the final article in the editing consultant’s prospecting emails series.

Part 1  introduced Rapid Context Setting. Part 2 covered Matter of Interest and very briefly Compelling Offer and Clear Next Step (call to action).

For those of you familiar with AIDA you’ll recognise that basic structure. If you want to know more about Compelling Offer and Clear Next Step please get in touch.

Moving on.

You’ve written this great email. You’ve sent it to your prospect. You’ve waited for a reply. Nothings come back. What do you do?

The first thing to appreciate is that a non-reply is not the same as flat out rejection. A flat out rejection is the reply that tells you to ‘sling your hook’.

The second thing to appreciate is that if your prospect is a corporate decision maker they’re going to be really busy. They may have read your email, thought “this looks interesting” and filed it for action.

You’ve got to give the prospect chance to respond to your email. But if they don’t here are some tips on the follow-up.

  1. Remember the shelf-life of an email is about 3 days. If you’ve not had a reply within that time … take action.
  2. Start by following up with a phone call … not another email. If you don’t have a direct contact number for the prospect, call their office and ask to be put through.
  3. Be prepared for the prospect to answer the phone, because they just might. You don’t want that to throw you out.
  4. If they don’t answer you have a couple of choices. You can leave a compelling voicemail, or not. Make sure you practice any voicemail messages at least three times before you make the call.
  5. You may call back again and ask for the prospect’s Executive Assistant. Be prepared to engage them and explain why you need to talk to their boss.
  6. Scripts are useful. Write down what you want to say. Make it it sound like you’re speaking, not reading a script.
  7. Remember to keep your messages client focused. It’s not about you … it’s about results and a business proposition. And sound like a business peer, not a sales person.
  8. Have a second, and third, voicemail message up your sleeve. Keep calling every 2-3 days and keep it light.
  9. After the third message stop leaving voicemails. If the prospect wanted to talk to you they probably would have by now. There’s a line between being persistent and being a pest.
  10. It’s now probably two-weeks since you sent your original email. It’s time to send a closing email with your contact details and a ‘lifeline’ for the prospect to get in touch if they change their minds.

That’s it. If you’d like to learn more about working on outreach emails with me please get in touch.

The bottom line

Think of the outreach email as the start of a campaign to connect with the prospect. You have to be active in following up. Think about what else you might combine with emails to get yourself on their radar.