Sales Prospects

If at First You Don't Succeed: How to nail follow up to disappearing prospects

31st August 2021

So often you will have a prospect that has happily flown through your sales process without any huge hurdles or objections and then BAM, your latest email is ignored, your calls go to voicemail and before you know it it has been three weeks since your last contact. So when is the right time to call it a day? How do you follow up on ignored messages? Read on to find out how to approach your follow up after a lead has gone quiet. Top tip: Never just forward your previous message. There was obviously something about that message that didn’t trigger a response from your prospect so sending again is a wasted communication.

Why you should follow up after an ignored message at all 

There are a number of possible reasons why your email was ignored. Sending at a bad time, them simply missing it on a bad day or the fact that at the time they just were not interested (which is not to say they wouldn’t be interested in the near future if you stay in touch.) 

Hubspot report that followup emails usually generate a 40% increase in reply rate compared to an initial sales outreach. This means that if your first email achieved a 5% response rate for example, your follow up email would be likely to achieve a 7% response rate. This statistic highlights the importance of follow up emails in your sales process. 

When should you follow up after an ignored correspondence?

As with most things, timing is key. Best practice suggests that you should wait no longer than three days after an ignored correspondence to send your next one, but to avoid messaging on the same day at the risk of seeming desperate. 

Sending a second follow up email after an ignored form of contact can sometimes feel like a waste of time, but often is the case that prospects appreciate your patience and perseverance so we definitely recommend giving it a go. Wait another three days after your last contact and make sure this time that you definitely include a call to action so it is clear to the recipient what you would like them to do. This might be to log in to their free trial account and let you know their feedback or to give you a call once they have received your email. Whatever the call to action, make sure it is clear - confusion is likely to lead to lower response rates. 

Top tip: Don’t ever send a ‘break up’ email. Many sales people make the mistake of sending a closed off email saying something along the lines of ‘I take it you are not interested anymore due to your lack of response’ which is just a huge no no here from us at Meet Hugo. Always keep the conversation open so the prospect feels you are approachable to come back to if their requirement for your service or product changes in the future. 

Avoid being passive aggressive 

All of us here at Meet Hugo can appreciate the frustration when you have spent your time nurturing a lead, delivering a demo and answering prospect questions, to then be ignored after the promise of a sign up. However, being passive aggressive in email to ghostly prospects is a definite no go. If they haven’t got back to you on light-hearted and friendly emails, they certainly are not going to get back to those written in a passive aggressive tone. 

Phrases such as ‘I have tried to contact you numerous times now’ or ‘I thought you said you were interested in our service?’ too often creep into sales peoples emails. The best case scenario to come out of using this tone is that your prospect feels guilted into replying to you, the worst case is that they end up being offended and you push them away. Alternative, more positive phrases to use are things such as ‘I just wanted to boost this email to the top of your inbox’ or ‘it would be great to touch base on this.’

Don’t try to trick them into opening your email 

Just like clickbait is a thing of the past when it comes to successful marketing, using misleading emails in correspondence with potential customers is not the way to encourage a response or a conversion.  Making them think there is a discount to be had when there is not, or that they have missed a meeting when they have not is not the way to continue to build a successful professional relationship. Instead, keep your subject lines friendly, light-hearted and concise. Sometimes, as a salesperson we have to play the long game and it is important to recognise that. 

Switch up your call to actions 

If your CTA isn’t floating your prospect’s boat you need to switch it up. Different things work for different decision makers so make sure you have a selection of CTAs  can reintroduce your prospect into your sales process and if one does not succeed, make sure you switch it up and try a different one the next time. You can’t expect to see progress if you are doing the same things. 

So, it is definitely worth sending a follow up email to prospects who have ignored your last correspondence and even the one before that. Just make sure you keep them fresh, time them well, change up the CTA and make sure your tone remains positive throughout! 

Need help with your sales pipeline for prospects to practice these follow up techniques on? Then sign up to a free trial of Meet Hugo and see what we can do for you.

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