Recently, a colleague of mine was looking to engage a prospect with whom he did not have a follow-up call set. He was preparing to reach out to the prospect, but was having difficulty phrasing an email that was not "cheesy". We threw around a few ideas and quickly came to our first conclusion. Whatever you do, do not send a "Just Checking In" email. Then, we chose a better path.
If you are in sales, you have most likely sent the following email:
The "Just Checking In" Email
Subject: Just Checking-In
How are you?
Just wanted to check-in and see if there is anything that I can help you with. Per our conversation on the 20th, I wanted to see if you confirmed the date that your current systems migration is going to be completed by. Do you have 10 minutes this afternoon to speak?
Let me know what works.
Why is it used?
The "Just Checking In" aka "Checking-In" email is used by a sales rep who is looking to get in touch with a prospect prior to a booked phone call, or when there is no future call scheduled on your prospect's calendar. The purpose of this email is to get in front of your prospect and say, "Hey, I'm still here! Update me on how interested you are in doing business together".
This email can be used at any time during the sales process after your initial connect in order to re-engage a prospect.
The problem with this follow-up strategy is that it is selfish. It focuses on what the rep wants, does not contribute value to the prospect and is not solving for the prospect's needs.
Why is it bad?
As HubSpot’s VP of sales, Peter Caputa, states, "our prospects must believe that we care about them, their challenges and their goals, before they'll be interested in hearing about us." Throughout the sales process we need to explore the prospects' goals and challenges so that when we talk about our value add, it is in line with their needs.
When we send the "Just Checking In" email, we are focusing on what we want from our prospect. What we want from our prospect is for them to do business with us today, refer us to their network and do business with us again next year. For this to happen, we need to solve for their needs, not ours.
So cut out the "Just Checking In" email, and solve for your prospects' goals and challenges at every interaction.
Looking at the core of the "Just Checking In" email, we understand its purpose is to engage the prospect, potentially receive an update, book a phone call, or simply check for vital signs. How can we still accomplish these initiatives while focusing our central message around solving for the prospects' needs? Here are 3 simple ideas:
Set up a google alert for your prospect's company name, competition, and industry key words. Throughout the sales process, Google will pull a variety resources that you can use to re-engage a prospect while focusing on their business goals and challenges. Build your email title and body around an emphasis on what your sharing, then ask your prospect to get on the phone.
Leverage Existing Content
Use content provided by your marketing team to further educate your prospect on what they are looking for help with. Provide the article and make a recommendation on how this is relevant and will help them.
LinkedIn Group Recommendation
Head over to LinkedIn and find a group that focuses on the industry your prospect is a part of, a group for people in similar job role or a group of their customers.. You will find great niche content in here that you can leverage to help your prospect. You can also simply refer your prospect to the group of their potential customers as a potential lead source.
"Just Checking In" Done Right
Subject: Potential Lead Source
Are you familiar with the "The Association of Warehouse Managers"? Check out the link HERE, to their LinkedIn group. Per our conversation on your persona and lead initiates, this group looks be filled with your ideal prospects and could make a strong contribution to hitting your Q3 lead goals.
Do you have 10 minutes to connect tomorrow for me to walk you through best practices on leveraging this type of group?
Let me know what works.
This email is very similar to the one my colleague sent to his prospect recently. His email was returned promptly, and they hopped on the phone to discuss strategy that afternoon. During the afternoon strategy phone call, the prospect shared with my colleague that they were nervous to pitch their CFO on purchasing our product. My colleague worked with the prospect through their apprehensions, inspired confidence in their ability to tackle this initiative and ended the phone call having instilled a new fervor into his champion while educating them on a beneficial best practice.