How to Write the Perfect Follow-​Up Email

BY Jessica Helinski
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Reps everywhere have likely experienced awkward silence following a period of communication with a prospect. What happened? Why did the prospect suddenly stop responding? These moments can be tough because while you don’t want to come across as pushy, you’d like to continue the dialogue. Or, you’d at least like to know why the prospect doesn’t. On the MJ Hoffman and Associates blog, Jeff Hoffman tackles this topic, sharing email tips for getting the conversation back on track.

First, he suggests taking a look back at your last communication with the prospect. Did you clearly include a close? “When we send an initial follow-​up email to fish for a response, salespeople often soften them,” he writes. This is true, as many reps are fond of signing off with a phrase like, “hope to hear from you soon,” or, “talk to you soon.” While polite, these aren’t necessarily calls to action. Each communication should include a close of some kind, whether it’s a clear ask for a future phone call or simply a response to your email. There should always be a request to which the prospect can respond.

Hoffman’s second tip is to always send a fresh follow-​up email. Copying and pasting past sent emails likely won’t entice a response. To get a prospect’s attention, start over. “Try new subject lines, opening greetings, and calls to action,” he suggests. “You never know what’s going to finally move your prospect to respond, so why limit yourself to one email thread that already has nine obsolete messages weighing it down?”

Another suggestion is to not follow up too soon. It can be tough when you’re anxious to keep the ball rolling. But, give the prospect a reasonable amount of time to respond. The reasoning is simple: “Being persistent without insight into why the prospect isn’t responding is not smart. If you’re only waiting a day or two to touch base again after the first outreach email, you’re not giving them time to respond.” Plus, immediately clamoring for a response can make you look desperate.

These are just a few of the tips offered Hoffman to boost response rates after a prospect goes dark. By being patient and professional, you increase the chances of welcoming “a few of those prodigal prospects back into your open arms.”