How to Follow Up with Inactive Prospects

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Many of you know that two of the keys to making sales are benefit and urgency. Both of those should be used effectively in your marketing, whether you’re marketing to businesses or to individuals.

Phone Not Ringing? Try This Tactic

Phone not ringing? Inactive prospects? Try this tactic.

But what do you do with those leads that have gone cold?  Maybe, for whatever reason, those in active prospects haven’t returned your calls or emails, but they haven’t told you that they’ve gone with someone else or have decided not to go ahead with buying whatever your offer was…

A simple email can help re-activate at least some portion of those cold prospects.  Very few things have a 100% success rate, but if this can help you close one more decent-sized deal, it’s certainly worth a try.  First I’ll share some of the logic and psychology behind the components of the email, then a template of the email itself.

I’ve found this approach works well – it assumes the sale (something that pretty much every sales trainer and sales guru teaches: “always assume the sale”) and that they do want to get started, but gives them some leeway on the time since they’ve been slow to respond. Short, sweet and simple is part of the key to success with this approach.  Plus that way it takes you less time to follow up with all the leads since you’re not writing a long email for each prospect.  And if you’re busy, aren’t you more likely to read and respond to a short email?

Find an article or video that is current and relevant (maybe something about one or more of their competitors if it’s a business-to-business sale, or new news about the product or service they were looking at buying, or maybe an article about fly fishing if you know that’s one of their interests) and send that to them – that shows you’re looking out for them and adding value before they even get started, whether it’s from a business or personal standpoint. After all, people do tend to do business with people they know, like, and trust.  An industry white paper could also be very useful in this approach, especially for a B2B sale.

The part about checking about scheduling resources is useful for multiple reasons:

1) It implies that you’re not just waiting around for them to make up their minds – you’re busy and they’re not the only prospect you’re talking to.

2) It also implies scarcity – you need to schedule them in so that you can help them get the rockstar results they want, and if they don’t get back to you, they may lose the opportunity for you to help them.

The “thanks in advance” is a little overused sometimes, but for a good reason: it does tend to improve the percentage of people who respond.  I started using this after reading Tim Ferris’ book The Four Hour Work Week and have to agree – it does work.

As we wrote about in this post, the subject line should be compelling so that the recipient actually opens the email. If you receive an email from a salesperson where the subject asks about the status, you might be less likely to open it, particularly if you’ve been avoiding them for whatever reason (maybe you didn’t focus enough on the benefits to them during the sales process?).  Too many of these emails could put them right into the “pesky sales guy” status and they won’t reply at all. If, however, the same person sends you an email with “interesting white paper for you” or something that you’d want to receive, you’re probably going to open that email.

The bottom line is that you at least want to get them off the fence.  If they’re never going to buy, you’re better off spending your time with those prospects who are more likely to buy. If they are going to buy, but something has caused a delay, at least you can forecast more effectively.

Here goes:

Subject line: Interesting article for you

Hi (name),

I found this article that I thought you’d like to read since it mentions (competitor, industry news, regulatory change, etc.).

Meanwhile, we also wanted to check to see what time frame you’re looking at to get started so that we can schedule resources appropriately. Thanks in advance!



P.S. Always use a P.S. – that often gets read more than the body of the email (or even before the body of the email) and can help you reinforce your credibility, expertise, benefits of working with you, etc…

P.P.S. Check out the latest tool we’ve been using to increase signups for your email list on your website and help grow your business: It’s a new style of video squeeze page that can make any YouTube video into the background of your email opt-in form. See it in action here:

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