How to manage replies from prospects
You’ve got a reply from your prospect? Congrats! It means you’ve achieved the main goal of cold mailing: spark interest and get the attention of your leads and so that they want to talk to you. However, a reply is all you have at this point, even if it is positive. You haven’t closed a deal yet; this is where the real selling process starts.
Every reply (even if neutral or skeptical) is important. Since your prospect read your message and spent some time to write back, you should act on all of the replies (excluding really negative and aggressive ones as you don’t want to make them angrier).
The strategy should be different for each individual, but we prepared some common guidelines.
- Once you receive a message, reply ASAP while the prospect is still fresh and interested. If you wait a few hours or days, they might forget about your original message, lose the interest or get distracted by other things going on.
- Use multiple follow-ups and be persistent. Make them frequent at first, then less frequent over time. To save your time, use an email automation tool (for example vocus.io) to schedule follow-ups. After receiving an initial reply, you should follow up until you either convert your prospect or they say they are no longer interested. People often shift focus during their workday, so you might need to send several follow-up messages before scheduling a meeting, even after receiving an initially positive response. Remember that until your lead becomes a client you need to continue to build a relationship with them.
- Address clearly and completely each of your prospects’ questions or concerns. Be honest with them, even if it means you’re not meeting some pain point of theirs. Some objections are not easy to answer, but omitting them will most likely result in losing your potential customer. The lead will assume that there is something you’re hiding from them and won’t want to move forward.
Things that will help you succeed
If you addressed all of their doubts and the lead still doesn’t reply, this likely means you haven’t resolved all of their apprehensions. Try to add more details in your next follow-up to make sure you’re covering everything.
- Use a meeting scheduler. Once your prospect has agreed to a meeting, using a scheduler, like Calendly, will save your time and streamline the process. Instead of exchanging messages back and forth, your meeting scheduler will simply show your prospect a list of times available so they can select a time with one click. Since every back and forth message is a point at which your lead can change their mind, you should look to reduce them to a minimum in order to increase your success rate.
- Use a CRM to track every touch point you have with your prospects. Otherwise, you might lose some important information and history of communication with them. You should set up tasks for each prospect to help keep you organized and moving forward. For warm leads, tasks should be scheduled for a few days from now. For less interested prospects – a few months.
- Check the timing of your messages. It is still as important as it was during your outbound campaign. If you use an email automation tool like vocus.io, you can schedule the timing of all your follow-up messages at once. It’ll save time and you won’t have to worry about forgetting to send the next message at the right time.
- Always make your follow-ups personal. It’s worth spending some time to search for information about the particular prospect and company. This is the time to share information that you think would be relevant to the specific lead but wouldn’t fit in your overall drip campaign. When you do your research, prepare multiple follow-ups right then so the information is fresh and ready at hand.
- Know your competition and your market position. You need to be well informed of who your competitors are and how you compare to them. Prospects often ask about these differences as they might be considering buying a similar product from another company or they are already your competitor’s client. Search the web, ask around and prepare a detailed comparison of all alternatives. You can even sign-up for a demo to get to know their product better. Know your competitive advantage and if you’re losing in some aspects, focus on your best benefits or think of answers to turn it to your advantage.
- Prepare saved replies. Collect most common concerns or questions raised by your prospects and prepare answers to them so that you’ll be able to use them each time they pop-up to save time.
Types of replies you may receive
Replies can be also divided into 3 broad groups: positive, neutral and negative, with each requiring a different approach.
Positive replies ? (when prospects are interested in scheduling a demo or express intrigue in your product)
These are the messages with the highest chance of closing a deal. However, that doesn’t mean the warm lead automatically becomes your client. If you focus on lead nurturing, meaning that you work on building a relationship with your prospect at every stage of the sales process, you’re much more likely to succeed. This process should include comprehensive answers to every question, providing additional materials and reminders before a demo.
Neutral/skeptical replies ? (e.g. when a prospect raises doubts, says your product might be interesting but is not sure if it is a good fit for their company, etc.)
These messages are something you can work on as well but you need to put in more effort. Check your prospect and the profile of the company on LinkedIn, visit their website and write personalized answers. A few good ideas are to give an example of a similar company that is already your successful client, provide case studies applicable for the particular prospect and to show some relevant statistics. Don’t forget about sending follow-ups in case your prospect stops replying to you.
Negative replies ?
Don’t ignore these replies without any reaction from your side (except for “unsubscribes” and overly aggressive ones). If someone replies that they’re not interested right now, or they’re now focusing on other business activities, set up a task in your CRM to follow up with these prospects in a few months or a year from now. If your prospects say that they’re already using a similar product, you can show your advantage against your competitor. Maybe they will decide to move to your services when the contract with your competitor expires.