"Just checking in" emails are the worst. If you're sending an email, it's obvious that you're checking in -- you don't need to say it again. In addition, "just checking in" emails don't provide any value to the buyer. They don't care that you want to get in touch with them, especially if you haven't already provided them with a compelling reason to do so.

But salespeople often send "just checking in" emails because they're so easy. It takes almost no thought or time to write some variation of, "Hi [Prospect], I haven't heard back from you, so I wanted to check in. Cheers, [Salesperson]." (In fact, I timed that and it took 19 seconds for me to type.)Free Download: 25 Proven Sales Email Templates

But the thing that makes "just checking in" emails so tempting to send -- their ease -- is the same the reason they're worthless: They're easy to write because they don't provide any value to your buyer. If they never responded to your first email, chances are they didn't feel it was worth their time. Why would you reinforce that impression by wasting their time even more?

Of course, this doesn't mean that you should stop following up with prospects -- just that you put slightly more effort into it. Below are 30 things to reference in a follow-up email besides the obvious fact that you're checking in.

Alternatives to "Just Checking In"

If they never responded:

1. Send actionable advice.

Your messages should provide value to your prospects. Provide them with a short piece of actionable advice.

2. Send a how-to guide.

Email them a longer how-to guide. And offer to follow up over a phone or video call if they're interested.

3. Point out business weaknesses.

Send them a message about a weakness in their business that should be fixed, and offer assistance.

4. Describe a potential opportunity.

In your research, have you identified a potential opportunity for their company? Let them know. This will help you build a relationship as a trusted advisor with them.

5. Share a relevant industry article.

If you've found an article that's relevant to their industry or profession, send it to them instead of saying "just checking in."

6. Respond on social media.

One important tool you can use to connect is social media. Respond to something the prospect said on social media, then follow up with more resources.

7. Answer a question on an online forum.

Successful sales reps meet their prospects where they are. If they've posted on a forum, answer one of their questions and follow up with more resources.

8. Reference a relevant blog post.

Have they published a new post on their blog? Read it and include a reference to it in the message you send to them. This will further solidify that you're interested in them and their business.

9. Send them a blog post from your company.

On the other hand, if your company recently published a blog post that's relevant to the prospect, send it their way.

10. Recommend an event.

If there's an event in the prospect's area that's relevant to their industry or business, connect with them on that. Even if they already plan to attend, this is another way to rekindle the conversation.

11. Invite them to a webinar.

Invite the prospect to an upcoming webinar or educational event your company is hosting.

12. Send them a customer story.

Pass along a link to relevant press coverage of one of your highest-profile customers. This gives them an example of what's possible with your company.

13. Call attention to a competitor.

Bring their attention to something their competitor is doing well and ask how they plan to address it.

14. Bring up a common challenge your buyers face.

Provide detail about a common difficulty faced by your buyers. And ask if the prospect is experiencing it.

15. Send a "Did this email get buried?" email.

Move your previous message to the top of their inbox by asking if they might have missed your last email. Be sure to include the contents of the previous email as well.

16. Ask if they're still interested in achieving X goal.

Gauge their interest in achieving a goal you might have spoken about previously. Then provide a suggestion for how to get there.

17. Explain a blog post you're writing.

Tell the prospect you're writing a blog post featuring industry experts, then ask to quote them. Remember: You have to actually write the post, of course.

18. Mention a mutual contact.

Let them know you were just talking to [mutual contact], and they said such-and-such good things about the prospect and/or prospect's company.

19. Send a breakup email.

If the prospect has gone completely silent, send a breakup email to close the loop.

If any of these trigger events occur:

1. A Promotion

Congratulate a potential decision maker on a promotion. A former champion could now influence a purchase decision.

2. A Blocker Leaves the Company

Reach out to a decision maker after a blocker leaves the company. The road may be clearer for you to make a sale.

3. A C-Level Executive Is Hired

Reach out to a new C-level executive. High-level changes can indicate a change in strategy.

4. A Funding Round

Congratulate them on a funding round. Having more resources usually means growth, and growth means addressing priorities that weren't previously top-of-mind.

5. A New Job Is Created

Ask whether newly created positions relevant to your product reflect new company initiatives -- strategic shifts indicate changing needs.

6. A New Law or Regulation

Ask how they're planning to respond to new legislation. A new law or regulation could impact their urgency.

If you lost the deal:

  1. Check how things are going a month after implementing a competitor's product
  2. Check how things are going as their contract with a competitor is winding down
  3. Congratulate them on a recent company or personal announcement
  4. Send along an article that reminded you of them
  5. Let them know your team has added a product feature they wanted

6 Times You Should Send a "Just Checking In" Email

Of course, every rule has an exception. If you've already started a sales process, there are many scenarios that could warrant a "just checking in" email. Usually, however, these scenarios have two things in common:

  • Your prospect made a commitment to do something and hasn't done it, or has gone dark.
  • An email or call following up on any of these situations should presumably be focused on that missed commitment -- it's not just a generic check-in.

Any or all of the following situations all but necessitate a "just checking in" call or email:

  1. If they told you to reach back out in X days/weeks/months
  2. If they went dark after a call
  3. If they didn't show up to a scheduled call
  4. If they told you they needed a few days to make an internal evaluation, then went dark
  5. If they committed to signing a contract and didn't
  6. If they started a product trial but you haven't heard back on their progress

If you're more of a visual learner, check out the handy infographic below (made by Visme).

23_Better_Alternatives_to_the_Just_Checking_In_Email_1.jpg

The rule of thumb for "just checking in" emails is essentially this: If you have a good reason to reach out or new value to provide, reach out. If you don't, think of one. And if you can't think of a single legitimate reason to follow up that would be beneficial to your prospect, don't. Spend your time crafting more helpful emails, and your prospects (and your quota!) will thank you for it.

To learn more, check out these email sign offs that put "best" and "thanks" to shame next.

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Originally published Mar 12, 2019 8:30:00 AM, updated March 12 2019

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Sales Emails