How to Perform Lead Follow-Up After No Response

2023-08-07

Following up with leads is a critical step where plenty of sales reps miss the mark. But did you know that you’re supposed to follow up even when you don’t get a response to your initial outreach? It depends on the target, of course, but it’s generally a good practice to include “no response” responses in your follow-up, as well. 

As part of our support for outreach campaigns, the team at Smith.ai has collected these tips to help you handle no-response follow-up. 

Why follow up when you don’t get a response?

This is a common question. Sales reps assume that no response to an initial outreach is a “no,” but that’s not necessarily the case. It could be a matter of someone not seeing a message, a voicemail they missed, or any other number of things. And even if they are just ignoring your message, perhaps reaching out again will make them reconsider. 

Follow-up emails have a higher reply rate than initial emails, to the tune of 40%. That means if you get an average reply rate of 5% for your first contact, your initial follow-up will have a reply rate of around 7%. 

When should I follow up?

You don’t want to wait too long, but you also don’t want to come off as pushy or needy. At most, experts recommend waiting three days before following up on initial contact that doesn’t get a response. A week could be too long, but within a day or two could be way too soon. 

When you do follow-up, work on keeping the conversation open and going. Don’t send breakup emails, no matter how tempting it could be. Leave things where they are and come back later to try again. 

How to succeed with no response follow-up: some tips 

So, now that you understand the importance of all follow-up, you need to work on mastering yours. Here are some tips that can help you along the way:

  • Don’t follow up too quickly, but don’t leave them waiting too long. 
  • Revisit your initial email and ensure you included a close or CTA. 
  • Do not just resend your first message. 
  • Write an honest subject line in your emails. 
  • Don’t be passive-aggressive or pushy in your opening. 
  • Keep emails short (100 words or less for initial messaging). 
  • Include a call-to-action (CTA) that’s relevant and creates urgency. 

The most important tip? Don’t assume that people aren’t interested if they just don’t respond the first time. They may have gotten busy after seeing your message or perhaps it didn’t end up in their inbox. Perhaps a call went to voicemail and someone hasn’t gotten to it yet. Whatever the case may be, never assume that no response means “no.” 

For now, assume that no response just means, “not yet.” 

Be gentle, but firm 

Tone is easy to misinterpret, especially with follow-up. If you aren’t careful, you could risk being pushy or sounding like you’re just trying to get a conversion, and that’s the last thing that you want. People like gentle reminders, and especially when it benefits them in some way. 

You can even send a simple follow-up that says, “Hello again, I don’t want to take up too much of your time, but I’d love to get your feedback. Given your expertise and position, it would be a big win to gain some insights, so we appreciate you sending your input by the end of the day on Friday.” 

This is a much better response than just saying something like, “Please submit your feedback ASAP.” For starters, it’s less demanding and more explanatory. It also highlights why you want feedback from this individual, making it more likely that they’ll feel valued and respond. 

Short and simple 

Another tip we mentioned above that we want to expand on is the length of your messaging. If you’re writing emails, you want to keep it to 100 words or less, and make sure that every single word counts. Use simple language and a style that’s relevant to your prospect. What you’d say to C-suites is different than a sales email to a B2C customer, for example. 

Make sure that you inform the prospect that you are:

  • Following up on your last message
  • Asking for X (whatever your ask is – a consult, a membership, a purchase, etc.)
  • Providing time-bound requests 
  • Making it clear why you’ve chosen this person to contact 

The quicker and more directly you can do all this, the more likely it is that your emails will get read in the first place. And since they’re getting opened and read, they’ll be more likely to get replies than the messages that aren’t even getting seen. 

Give prospects an “out” 

Sometimes, people don’t reply because they’re not interested or they can’t help, but they don’t know how to say as much. Rather than leaving your email or phone call at an “all or nothing” point, give people a chance to say no. You can even offer them assistance in doing so with lines like:

  • Is there someone else that I should be reaching with this information? Please let me know. 
  • If you’re too busy to provide feedback on our project or need more time, don’t hesitate to let us know. 
  • If you don’t know [decision maker] that well and don’t want to make the introduction, I understand. 
  • If you have already gone in another direction, please let me know and I’ll take you off my list.

Doing this allows you to put the objection right in people’s hands. They will either follow through with it or stop and realize that you may have more to offer than they anticipated. Either way, you win by improving your lead targeting. 

With more leads, comes more communication – are you ready?

At Smith.ai, our virtual receptionists can provide support for your outreach campaigns, but that’s not all. We can also offer a 24/7 answering service so that you never miss an opportunity, along with assistance for lead intake and appointment scheduling. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai.  

Tags:
Business Education
Sales Tips
Written by Samir Sampat
Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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