You’re on a high because you’ve just sent an amazing sales email and you’re getting some great response!
However, there are still people in your contact list who still didn’t hit that reply button.
Did your email go through?
Have they seen it?
Did you not put the correct email address?
These are the questions that are probably swirling around your brain.
So, to stop yourself from having an anxiety attack, the simple solution is to send a follow-up email.
But how do you do that?
Frankly, you can probably go on Google right now and steal some templates that you can just copy paste.
There’s nothing wrong with that, unless the person you’re sending the email to saw the exact template of course… Oops!
If you want to go on another route and write one yourself, this post will give you valuable tips on how to craft that sales email follow-up!
1. Change it up!
For my first tip:
Avoid sending identical emails.
This advice may seem like an obvious thing but so many sales people keep on doing this.
I see sales emails in my inbox all the time that are sent to me repeatedly with zero alterations.
Same sender, same subject line, same content, same call to action… just different dates.
Some pop up in my inbox a few weeks after the first one while the worst offenders are from people who send identical emails consecutively.
If you send a sales email, don’t just send it again as a follow up as if you never sent the first one.
When you do this, your email will look spammy.
Yes, you heard that right.
Instead of the recipient sending you a response, your emails might just end up swiped to the spam folder.
Keep in mind that 54.68% of emails are spam so you definitely don’t want to be lumped into that statistic!
So, even if your offer is the same, you have to change it up.
Reword it, rephrase it… try a different approach.
You cannot just keep sending the same email over and over again to the same person hoping that it will elicit a response this time around.
A follow up email should be crafted in a different manner.
This brings me to my second tip…
2. Get straight to the point
Follow up emails are called follow up emails because that’s what they’re supposed to do:
I know I’m repeating myself here but I have to underline this point.
Since you’ve already sent a previous email, the purpose of this email is to act as a reminder for them to take action.
This means that it’s super important to get straight to the point.
Don’t open the email with some fluff or irrelevant details.
In the first sentence of your email, use clear language that you’re following up by, yes, using the words:
Don’t reinvent the wheel.
Just start with “I am writing to follow up…” Or “I haven’t heard back from you that’s why I’m following up…”
The recipient will appreciate it more if you just tell them what you want to say.
When you’re saying what you mean, it also helps keep the message short and simple.
This allows the reader to read your email in one glance and digest it in a couple of minutes.
If your email is too long, some recipients may think it’s tiresome to read and will put it off for another time.
This becomes dangerous because when an email is put off, the chances of it being forgotten also increases.
3. Remind them of your proposal
While it’s true that your follow up email should be short, don’t make it too short that you’re missing any important info.
Many sales people are guilty of just saying “I’m following up about my last email. PERIOD.”
About what exactly?
Who are you again?
Do they know you?
It’s very critical to remind the recipient of what you emailed them about even if it’s just one sentence.
For example, you can say something like:
“I am writing to follow up on XYZ Tech’s social media management proposal that I sent last Monday…”
In one sentence, you communicated that:
One, it’s a follow up email so you’re not spamming them
Two, what company you’re from
Three, what your offer is about
And four, when you sent the last email
Just in case they missed your last email or they’ve already forgotten about you, they can instantly remind themselves what you’re talking about.
You can also send the follow up email in the same message thread or attach the original email.
This makes it easier for them to take another look rather than making them sort out their inbox to find your previous email.
The reality is, not many people will bother to do that.
By not giving them a hard time, you’re also making it easier for them to respond to you.
4. Don’t assume too much
This happens a lot.
Even I am guilty of this.
When I don’t instantly receive a response immediately, my brain goes into overdrive.
Is there something off with what I’ve written?
Are they not interested?
What did I do wrong?
Are they too busy?
Or Am I just being ignored?
We start making assumptions and even start creating exaggerated scenarios that most of the time are borderline illogical.
This becomes a problem when your preconceived ideas start to reflect your emails.
Don’t start pouting or sounding put off for not getting a reply.
Maintain a friendly attitude.
In the first place, you are the one who needs something from them and not the other way around.
Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes for a moment. Maybe the person is really swamped with a lot of work or personal demands are preventing that person from sending you a reply.
Be understanding and not accusatory.
5. Sweeten your offer
One of the probable reasons why you’re not getting any response is that your offer is not attractive enough.
Maybe it doesn’t sound that interesting for the person to respond.
Is your proposal too generic? Too vague?
Or is it too common?
So one way to make your follow up sales email work for you is by giving your recipient a reason to be interested.
In other words, sweeten up the deal.
This is a tactic that could work especially if you’re not getting any response after a few follow ups.
One obvious way to do this is by giving them an offer they simply cannot resist…
Either by offering a one-time promotion, a special discount, or a free gift.
Add some urgency to the offer to encourage them to act right this very minute.
But aside from just offering a freebie or a discount, another way to make your proposal more attractive is to add more value.
What else can you say to convince them that you’re the real deal?
Maybe add a link to a recent success story or a news feature of your product.
This section should not be very long. It should just be one or two sentences to support your original offer.
6. Make it for them easy to respond
I really hate it when after reading a long email…
I’m not sure anymore what I’m supposed to do in the end.
This usually happens with sales emails that give too many mixed messages in the body without a clear call to action at the end.
If you don’t want people to feel like this after reading your follow up email, make sure you’re putting a call to action that they will NEVER, EVER miss.
Communicate clearly what you want them to do to respond.
If you’re asking a question, make it a YES or NO question.
If you are trying to schedule a meeting, how about adding a calendar feature they can easily click so it goes directly in their calendar if they agree?
Many email providers like Outlook or Gmail already have this option.
The easier it is for them to respond, the better.
7. Know when to go low-key
I found this statistic on the internet saying that 80% of prospects say NO four times before saying yes.
That’s why if you look it up, many experts and articles recommend that you consistently follow up more than four times.
There are even some timelines recommended for sending follow up emails.
According to my research, many experts agree that sending a follow up email after 48 hours is quite acceptable.
If you still don’t get a response, you’re supposed to send your 3rd email in 4 days, then your 4th email after one week. You can go on once every two weeks or once a month after that.
Day 1: Original sales email
Day 3: First Follow up
Day 7: Second Follow up
Day 14: Third follow up
Looking at the timeline, it does seem quite reasonable…
There’s quite a good gap between emails and this timeline can be a good guide for salespeople.
However, I thought about it a little more, now from the perspective of the receiver.
Do I really want to receive an email four times in a span of two weeks?
Will I be appreciative of this person’s persistence or will I just get annoyed?
After looking at it that way… I was not so sure.
Some people who get this many emails will probably think:
C’mon, get a clue! Not interested here!
However, some people might have genuinely missed the earlier emails and these reminders might just be what they needed to respond.
It can be quite tricky because as a sales person you can’t really be sure what’s going on on the other side.
Look, I do understand the power of persistence.
You have to be visible and all that.
But you also have to know the difference between being persistent and being annoying.
So, how do you find the right balance?
Here’s my take:
Send two follow up emails and if they still don’t respond, pick up the phone or find another medium to communicate.
Also, allow a few more days to do the first follow up and make the 3rd follow up earlier.
The timeline should look like this:
Day 1: Original sales email
Day 5: First Follow up (+ 4 days)
Day 7: Second Follow up (+3 days)
Day 8-9: Phone call or instant message (+1-2 days)
Day 23: Follow-up with a different messaging approach (+14 days)
You might be asking, why wait longer to do the first follow up?
I believe that it’s important to give a person enough time to see, read, and reply to your original message.
Not everyone is hooked on their mobile phones and you’re not the only person sending those emails.
By waiting at least to the end of the week to follow up, this gives them way enough time to either read or decide to ignore your message.
However, after sending the first follow up email, don’t wait another week to send the third one.
Send it after 3 days. Then make that phone call or send an instant message after 2 days of still not getting a response.
If phoning them is not possible, wait two weeks before sending them another message but this time, your email should be fresh.
Don’t send a follow up email anymore, instead, change your messaging altogether.
Your first approach did not work so this is your opportunity to reinvent your messaging or try out a new offer.
The takeaway here is that I’m not telling you to stop.
Just go low key for a bit and revise your strategy.
You can then send monthly update emails that can add value to them to keep yourself visible.
Follow-up emails are very important.
When you follow up with a potential client, it shows that you are really interested in their business.
Don’t be scared to follow up but at the same time, don’t go overboard so you don’t end up in the junk mail folder.
If you want to learn more about how to write sales emails that convert… check out this post!