You had a great initial call. You followed up a day or two later … followed up again in a week or so … and then followed up third, fourth, and fifth times after letting even more time pass. Unfortunately, your prospect seems to have fallen off the map. No matter how many times you try to reconnect with them, they’re just not biting.
What happened? Did they realize they really didn’t need your product or service after your first meeting? Did they get wrapped up in another project and your proposition got shoved to the back burner? Or did something else entirely happen? Without a response, it’s hard to know why your prospect went cold and consequently what to do going forward.
Losing a prospect to ambivalence and trying to get them back is one of the most difficult parts of selling. A few months ago, I dusted off a special email template reserved for just these occasions and sent it to 14 prospects who I had not been able to connect with after our first meeting. Some had been in the pipeline for over two years.
I needed to make one last ditch attempt and see what came of it. Here’s the template:
Subject line: Giving it one last try
In the rare opportunities I have to work on client acquisition, I have not had much success reconnecting with you. It might just be that you don’t have any interest in talking with me -- and that’s okay. I just need to know whether or not to keep trying. So, to make this nice and easy for you, you can reply with a simple keystroke. Just reply with either A, B, C, D, or E and I’ll know what to do, but please do reply so that I can stop emailing you if you’re not interested.
A. Stop emailing me with attempts to connect but continue to send invites for events.
B. Don’t send me anything, remove me from your list. We don’t currently and won’t ever need your help.
C. I want to talk, we need some help, but the timing isn’t right. Keep trying.
D. I would like to schedule a time to talk. We need some help. Please send your calendar link.
E. I forgot who you are. What’s this about?
To my delight, I had already received eight responses by the following morning! I was thrilled that my secret weapon for breaking the silence continues to produce.
Why does this email work so well? There are several reasons. First, it’s quick, straightforward, maintains a light tone, and sets the reader up for an easy reply -- just one keystroke and I’ll be out of their lives forever (if that’s what they want). In addition, the email allows them to be honest without worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings, and they don’t feel pressured to commit to anything. Finally, it’s different.
Since my initial experiment, I’ve sent this email out several more times. Most people respond with “C” -- they want to talk, but the timing isn’t right. I’m always glad to get this response, as it prevents me from misinterpreting their silence as disinterest. I then thank them for their reply and ask if we should set up a meeting 30, 60, or 90 days out -- whatever works best with their schedule.
I’m sure that with a little customization, this template can work for you as well as it’s worked for me. Just keep the subject line in mind: “giving it one last try.” This email isn’t meant to replace diligent follow-ups -- you should only deploy it as a final resort. It’s best used after a few months of silence, or after 10 attempts with no response.
How do you deal with prospects gone cold?