Last week I received a second follow-up email from a company cold pitching me their services. He had originally reached out to me from LinkedIn (side note: we are not connected on LinkedIn and he used it to find my email) and while we always try to respond to everyone that reaches out to us, ones like this sometimes receive lower priority… especially on particularly busy weeks. So admittedly I didn’t respond immediately. Fast forward and I receive a follow-up about a week later which is totally normal. But what sparked me to write this particular blog post was this second follow-up email. In this email, he essentially demanded a response from me. It rubbed me the wrong way but I decided to respond letting him know we were all set at the moment… my nice way of telling him to stop emailing me. Only to receive another email saying it sounds like we might be interested in the future and he’ll make a note to check-in with me later in the year. Cue a major eye roll.
Now don’t get me wrong, we are HUGE supporters of following up. We do this regularly whether it’s with a prospective client, influencer for a campaign or a media contact. Following up is KEY when it comes to business and we can tell you we totally get how frustrating it can be when you don’t receive a response back.
But here’s the thing, following up is an art form. You have to appropriately gauge their interest, how many times to follow up, what to say in your follow up… you know all the things. There’s not really an exact science to it and it takes some intuition but there are some best practices you can follow and that’s exactly what I’ll be talking to you about in this post!
Type of Lead
This is the main factor that will determine how you should follow-up. It doesn’t matter if these people are new business prospects, influencers for a campaign, a media contact, or anything else. The principles and best practices will stay the same.
Cold Leads: These are people that you are just contacting out of the blue. You have no connection to them. You have no idea if they are remotely interested in what you’re offering them. So this means you need to treat these leads very differently than a warm or hot lead.
When it comes to cold leads, you need to remember one important thing… They owe you nothing! You are reaching out to them completely cold meaning that unless you write a bomb digs pitch for something they are interested in, you may not receive a response. Because of this, it’s first insanely important to research who you are pitching. Are they your ideal audience? Would they potentially be a good fit for what you’re offering?
So you wrote a bomb pitch but still didn't receive an initial response? It's ok. People get busy which is why we alway follow-up. But since these are cold leads, we only follow-up one time a week after our initial email in a very low pressure way. Something to the effect of, “wanted to see if you had any questions or would like to discuss more” type of follow-up.
And if we still don’t receive a response, we move on. No response is a pretty clear indicator they are probably not interested.
Warm and Hot Leads: These are people that have shown interest in whatever it is you have to offer. So this means you can follow up more than once in our opinion but you do need to use your judgement based off the conversations you have with them.
We typically stick to following up once a week later and then if we still don’t hear back and it feels appropriate, we’ll follow up again after another week has passed. Sometimes there will be correspondence between these follow ups that will continue the conversation and require additional follow ups. This is where your judgement will come in!
Who Are You Following Up With?
This is where the language you use will come into play. We take a much more laid back approach to our contacts and follow ups because we personally don’t like when we feel pressured into responding. Had that person that followed up with us last week read some of our blogs, he would have maybe approached us differently and that’s my exact point with this tip.
Make sure you’re speaking their language (along with yours!). Some people will respond better to a light push or a little more of a shove. Do a little research and digging to make sure you can be as effective as possible while still being true to yourself.
One instance where we’ll be a little more “pushy” is if we have a hot lead but our design or social media slots are booking out and we have several potential leads. We’ll let each know that we have X amount of spots left or give our next start date and let them know we work on a first come first serve basis. We don’t want to push anyone into making a decision but we just like to give them all the info they need to make the best decision for them.
Like I mentioned before, you’ll have to use your best judgement. The more you follow up, you’ll learn what resonates and what doesn’t with your leads. But I hope this is a good starting place to help you get a process down so you can start getting more responses!
Do you have any great tips for following up? We’d love to have you share them in the comments!