4 Things That Made Following Up With Prospects That Disappeared So Much Easier For Me

You’ve been there. You spent a bunch of time with your prospect – discovery calls, demos, sending info, writing the perfect email, etc. Maybe you even sent a proposal. Your prospect told you they had the funds, were the decision maker and wanted to “go live” by a certain date – and then just like that, poof. They disappear.

When this happens your instinct might be to call multiple times, leave voicemails and to send a “last attempt” email with *gasp* a pick 1, 2 or 3 call to action (with #3 being some version of your prospect being run over by an animal).

Before you send communications that end up in the digital trash, I have an idea for you.

How to get a response from prospects that disappeared

Step 1: Getting your email opened

Your first challenge is getting your email opened. Unless you’re a colleague, friend, or Madonna (who stopped sending cold emails after Lucky Star), your prospect might not remember who you are.

Here are four follow up subject lines that typically have a 60% open rate:

  • Do you still adore me?
  • Did I lose you? (Hat tip to John Barrows)
  • Do you remember me?
  • It’s because of my receding hairline right?

Step 2: The greeting

Your prospects are secretly begging for communications that aren’t boring.

One way to avoid being boring is to use words that are unexpected. So instead of starting your email with “hi”, use a greeting that’s different.

One interesting sidebar is that according to the cofounder of OkCupid, Sam Yagan, men who begin their online dating messages with “howdy” have a 40% higher success rate than singles who open with “hi” or “hey”. When it comes to greetings, the more unique the better.

Like this:

How-do-you-do?

How’s it going?

What’s up {name}?

Howdy

Happy Friday

Greetings

Salutations

So here’s what we have so far:

Subject: Do you still adore me?

How-do-you-do Beth?

Step 3: Your first sentence

Your prospects are fatigued by constant interruptions, cold emails, automated 7 touch follow-up sequences and random phone calls asking for time. Technology is making it easier to exhaust people. So you need tools that will help you win your prospect’s attention and pull them through your message.

Humor is one of the best tools you can use to break through and pull people through your message. (Spoiler alert: your prospects don’t suddenly lose their sense of humor when they come to work.)

The key to humor is the element of surprise. (Putting on lab coat.) Unexpected associations and surprise generate a laughter reflex in our brains, which in turn produces a cognitive reward by stimulating the released dopamine. Dopamine is the major component of “reward” pathways; it reinforces pleasure-seeking behavior and influences our happiness. (Taking off lab coat.)

When your communications evoke a smile and make people happy you become more likable because you become associated with the feeling of happiness.

All things being equal, people choose to be around people they like. How many people that you don’t like do you hang out with? Ok, but take family members out. Now, how many? Exactly.

One way to be more likable is to create “smile moments” by poking fun at yourself (aka self-deprecating humor).

Like these two sentences inspired by Jon Buchan:

I wanted to follow up in a way that shows I’m not salesy, manipulative or gross. Instead, I wrote this email. 

Step 4: Remind them of their desired outcome

Next, remind your prospect of their desired outcome.

Like this:

I haven’t heard from you over the last few weeks, which is perfectly OK. But based on our previous conversation, you expressed interest in increasing your demo to win conversion rates by November 1st. 

Step 5: Give them an easy way out

Your next few sentences are going to use self-deprecating humor (in this case a girl that left me for another boy on prom) to give prospects permission to say no. (Giving people permission to say no takes the pressure off them as well as for yourself.)

Like this:

Not a problem if you have too much going on and want to push this out a bit. Or if you’re having second thoughts. Having second thoughts is something I can handle because a girl I asked to prom (Lisa) changed her mind and went with another evil (OK maybe not evil but not as cool as me) boy.

Should I hold a spot on my calendar for your kickoff? 

Step 6: Sign off

In the spirit of being unexpected end your email with something like this:

Have an absolutely splendid Friday,

Josh

Step 6: The P.S. line

End by creating another smile moment that ladders back to step 5.

For this smile moment, I’m going to use an “oddball” image of me and prom date. Why an oddball image? (Putting on lab coat.) According to science, novelty makes brains perk up and pay attention. In other words being different wakes people up. (Taking lab coat off.)

Like this:

P.S. Here’s a pic of me and my prom date. (Jealous Lisa? )

Putting this all together

The three things that make following up easier for me are to:

  1. Be unexpected
  2. Remind your prospect of their desired outcome
  3. Be funny
  4. Give prospects an easy way out

Here’s the email:

Subject: Do you still want to go to prom with me?

How-do-you, do Beth?

I wanted to follow up in a way that shows I’m not salesy, manipulative or gross. Instead, I wrote this email. 

I haven’t heard from you over the last few weeks, which is perfectly OK. But based on our previous conversation, you expressed interest in increasing your demo to win conversion rates by November 1st. 

Not a problem if you have too much going on and want to push this out a bit. Or if you’re having second thoughts. 

Having second thoughts is something I have experience handling because a girl I asked to prom had second thoughts and went with another evil (OK maybe not evil but not as good as me) boy. 

Should hold a spot on my calendar for your kickoff?

Have an absolutely splendid Friday,

Josh

P.S. Here’s a pic of me and my prom date. {Jealous Lisa?)

One last thing . . .

If you enjoyed this article, you will love 5 Things Worth Sharing This Week. It’s my FREE weekly newsletter where you’ll learn things like ‘How a 3-minute conversation turned into $45,000’ and ’How to ask for referrals without feeling salesy’.

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