Editor’s note: This week we’re bringing you some of the most popular posts we’ve ever published. Below is our most-read article: Four Email Templates to Keep in Touch.
By Matthew Bellows, CEO at Yesware
Earlier this year, I wrote about Four Winning Approaches to Writing a Cold Email. Now that you’re building a relationship, it’s important to keep in touch. We’re all busy and sometimes we’re not sure how to circle back and reapproach someone we’re in the process of getting to know. To make this easier, think of “Keeping in Touch” in these four frameworks:
- Adding Value
In all cases, your email should be as specific, detailed and genuine as possible. This means that you need to find a way to get through your prospect’s personal spam filter, provide an actionable and useful solution to your prospect’s problem, and do so in a genuine and honest way. No bullshit. Don’t try to be anyone’s best buddy. Just be yourself, be honest, and be clear.
If this isn’t the first “Keeping in Touch” message you’re sending, make sure to switch tactics. So if you sent a Congratulating email before, send an Adding Value or Off-Topic one now. Mixing up your approach is the best way to demonstrate your depth as a resource and as a person.
Here’s a Congratulations email to follow an Adding Value opening:
Last week I sent you an article from The Economist on [changing industry dynamic] because it seemed to speak to your situation. This morning I found out your team has announced a whole new product line! Congratulations to you and your team on the launch. I know how hard it is to build something from scratch. In looking over the materials you posted, I had two questions:
1. [A genuine non-self-serving question about how it works]
2. [A question about how it could intersect with your company’s product]
I’m asking you this because my company makes [XXX] and [YYY]. I’m always trying to find new applications and to learn new approaches for our work here.
Interested to hear your thoughts,
Three quick notes on this template:
- I always use “you” and “yours” when talking about the prospect’s company. These pronouns personalize the email. When talking about the other company employees, I always say “your team” because a) they are all on the same team and b) from the reader’s point of view, it’s a bit flattering to hear that someone outside the company might think that these unrelated departments are all part of “my team.”
- This approach is easily adopted for press coverage, new customer announcements, new exec hires, etc. Keep the format, completely change the content in those situations.
- It might be tempting to end with “Let’s schedule a call to discuss,” etc. Don’t do it. Let the person get back to you via email if they want. If they do, you are building communication. If they don’t, there are more templates below.
Here’s an Adding Value template to follow a Congratulations opening:
Your news last week made an impression on me – I’ve found myself thinking about your company a fair amount since then. Here’s a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article that thoughtfully describes some of the same opportunities that your announcement addressed [link]. Am I reading this right? [Question about how the article impacts Sarah’s company]?
Hope you find it interesting!
Notes on this template:
- Yes! It’s short! Congratulations emails run the risk of fawning/ass-kissing. The goal here is to Add Value, ask a question in case the prospect wants to engage, and then get out of the way.
- Keep it relevant. The only way this approach will work is if you can connect the dots. If you are working too hard to cram the Congrats and the Value together – stop and find something else to say.
Here’s an Adding Value template to follow an Off-Topic opening:
Note: Remember that the Off-Topic approach is the riskiest one. It’s inspired by something timely and personal that the prospect puts out in a public forum. Now you have to pull back to prove your professional value while dispelling the fear that you are a stalker.
Hope those restaurant recommendations for Houston served you well. I’d love to hear if any of them worked out. I’ve been doing some thinking about your company, and I was wondering if you know [high-value contact of yours]. She’s the SVP at [potentially interesting customer/prospect for William]. I’d guess that with their [new office in China, interest in injection molding, etc.] and your accomplishments in the same, you guys might enjoy talking.
Want me to make an introduction?
Salespeople don’t do enough trading of introductions. It’s an incredibly effective way to add value to a prospect’s professional life. It costs nothing. Done properly, they can be beneficial to both parties. There are very few people who won’t respond, at least with a “no thanks”, to this type of email.
Finally, here’s a Getting Back in Touch template in case it’s been a while:
I hope this note finds you well. You guys have been busy since we last talked! I saw your announcement of [X] and [Y]. Congratulations! Things have been going well over here too – we released [new feature of relevant product] and have been getting great feedback from our customers.
Are you going to be [at industry event or in city of Sam’s HQ] in two weeks? I’m heading out there, and I’d love to catch up with you about [your announcement Y]. I have a thought about how it might dovetail with some of the R&D work we’re doing here. Let me know if you’ll be in town.
All the best,
Note: Compared to the templates above, this one goes right for the meeting. I’m imagining that you’ve been out of touch because the prospect isn’t hot, or the fit isn’t great. Often times it’s better to just find out interest level for sure by asking about a meeting opportunity.
If you’ve been out of touch because you forgot to follow up… you should be using Yesware. Recovering from a negative response to this email is easy. After the trip/conference, its “Sorry we missed each other. I had a great steak at Abe’s! Maybe next time.” and you are back in touch. And if your dangling of R&D previews works, you’ve got another meeting for your trip.