As salespeople, we send a lot of emails, make a lot of phone calls, and are constantly forced to send follow-up communications when our prospects inevitably ghost us. But when is it the right time to follow-up on unanswered emails? After years of analyzing sales emails, we put together the following 3 suggestions to help you maximize positive email response rates.

First, let us explain the methodology:

We always start prospecting by using our TrueLeads Chrome Extension to find contact information for top prospects that we identify on LinkedIn or LinkedIn Recruiter. Our TrueLeads product allows us to find contact info for over 220 Million prospects and candidates so it’s a great place to start. From there, we use Google’s G-Suite and Gmail as an email provider and MixMax to track our email open rates, click through rates, and follow up reminders. Below are 3 of our most important lessons we’ve learned:

Follow-up with a Purpose:
One trend we noticed was that follow-up emails similar to “just following-up” OR “just checking in” received very low open rates and terrible response rates. The reason for this is “just following up” emails don’t provide any additional value to the prospect and do nothing to make the prospect excited to respond.

Instead, when following up, always add an additional piece of information that’s specific and relevant to the prospect or their company. This can be related to a recent news event at their company or can come in the form of insights or analysis about their industry or competitors. Adding a small piece of additional value can be the differentiator between you and every other salesperson vying for their attention.

In addition to providing value, be very clear about your “ask” and get to the point. For example, if you’re hoping to set a meeting, propose times that might work and details about whether you’re asking for an in-person meeting or a phone call. We found that follow-up emails with clear “asks” received much higher response rates than vague, long-winded emails with no clear next steps.

Eight Days of Separation:
We’re often asked, “when is the ideal time to follow up?” Well, the answer, it turns out, is eight days after your initial email. Eight days of separation provides your prospect with ample time to respond to your initial email but doesn’t let so much time pass that they forget your original message. As salespeople, we want to avoid being viewed as “annoying” while still being assertive and staying relevant – that’s where 8 days come in.

We found that sending our initial emails on Tuesdays and Wednesdays received the highest open/response rates and also allowed us to follow up eight days later on the following Wednesday and Thursday. Remember, every situation is different; depending on the details your ask, eight days might not be most effective. With that said, after a full analysis of our email history, eight days was best for us.

Make it Easy for Them to Say Yes… Or No:

In sales, your favorite answer should be YES and your second favorite should be NO, because everything else is a waste of time. Your emails should be written in a way that makes it easy for your prospect to say yes or no, quickly. If the goal of your email is to set up a product demo, you should open with relevant/personalized value, then make your specific ask (to set up a demo in this case), and if you don’t receive a response, your follow up email should always include an “out”.  This can come in the form of “if you don’t feel this is a fit or timing isn’t right, please let me know and I’ll advise our team not to follow up moving forward.” Based on our analysis, adding this “out” lead to more positive responses than adding nothing at all AND it reduced the amount of non-responses we received which ultimately saved us time.

Proper follow-up is the biggest differentiator between mediocre salespeople and rainmakers. Persistence, Tact, Finesse, and Timing make all the difference in your follow up efforts.  Remember to 1) Keep your message personalized, relevant and concise with a clear ask; 2) When it comes to timing, strike the right balance to ensure you don’t come across as annoying, while also staying relevant and top of mind (for us this was 8 days); 3) Make it easy for your prospect to say Yes or No, because everything else is a waste of time.

Good luck and remember to Always Add Value.

Thanks for reading!

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