By Mia and Andy Torr
Have you ever wondered why some people respond to your follow-up emails and phone calls … and other people seem to disappear into the wind? Remember, connecting with a new contact takes time, effort, and persistence.So what do you do when your follow-ups fall flat? Here are eight secret hacks to improving your response rate.
- Reply to your original email.
- Make it about them, not you.
- Keep it light, brief, and transactional.
- Mention that you’ll follow up again.
- Use short, descriptive subject lines.
- Suggest a specific deadline for a response.
- Use an effective closing sentiment.
- Add unexpected value.
When sending more than one follow-up email, use a single email thread so that your contact doesn’t have to search through their inbox to remember where and when they met you. This keeps the context for your relationship in one convenient place.
Frame your language in terms of what they need. Reference some of the things they mentioned during your first conversation. How are you offering to help?
Remember, everyone is busy! The more you write, the more they have to respond to. Be clear about why you’re writing and what you would like to do. Studies have shown that five sentences is the ideal length of email to generate the most consistent responses.
Tell them in your message that you’ll try to reach them again. This way, if they don’t reply, you don’t have to wring your hands wondering if a second message will feel pushy. You’re simply doing what you said you would do.
Keep it informal, as if you’re writing to a friend. Instead of “Regarding our conversation at the BNI Meeting,” try something like “wonderful meeting you!”
Busy people respect and respond to timelines. Write something like, “I’d love to connect by the end of the week. If we miss each other, I’ll reach out again next week.”
You might be signing off with “best,” or “sincerely.” But surveys show that “thanks in advance” has the highest response rate of all email closings.
Offer help or resources without asking for anything in return. It doesn’t have to be related to your services. It might be a link to a book you talked about, an upcoming event, or (best of all) a connection to another person.
Every follow-up is part of the process of building trust, which takes time. If you lead with “let’s schedule a coffee meeting to review your household budget” then you’re not likely to get a good response. In financial services, building a relationship generally requires more trust (and therefore more time) because the size of the investment is greater.
If you are patient, continue to add value, and focus your intentions on building the relationship regardless of the outcome, your follow-ups will pave your path to business growth.
Andy and Mia Torr are the cofounders of Authentic Networker, an international business network with more than 17,000 members in five countries. Download this article as an infographic at authenticnetworker.com/forum.