We’ve all experienced the “follow-up” phenomenon that ensues whenever we accept an online offer of free content, or if we click on a “more information” box to investigate possibly buying a product or service.

According to the marketing blog Go-To-Market Strategies, “50% of marketing leads receive no follow-up from sales.”  Given the poor quality of a lot of this follow-up, that may be a blessing. We’ve all gotten time-wasting phone calls and email from people who seemed completely uninformed of the nature or content of our previous contact with the company.

I’m posting a marvelous exception.  I’ll go so far as to say that this is the best email follow-up I’ve ever received.  I’ve posted it below in it’s entirety. (The superscripts are mine, and correlate to my trailing comments.)  See if you can tell why I think it’s so great.

Hello Mike,

It is my understanding that you were previously in contact with Vistage about our CEO/executive peer groups1. I wanted to reconnect to see if you are in a position to start exploring2 Vistage International, Inc. On behalf of Lauren Tighe, Regional Director for the Southwest, I would like to invite you to schedule a brief call3 with her by clicking here to view Lauren’s calendar availability, then schedule a convenient time to speak with her directly and she will call you on the date/time you select.4

Conversely, if you no longer wish to pursue membership information or your situation has changed5, simply respond back to my email with “No Thanks” and I will remove you from our contact list.6

Thanks, in advance, for informing us of your intent.   

Charlie Geist
Membership Support Representative
Vistage International, Inc.
11452 El Camino Real, Suite 400, San Diego, CA 92130

Direct: 858.509.5836

What makes this so notable, and separates it so completely from the usual drivel?

OK, time’s up.

  1. Charlie demonstrates that he’s aware of the nature of my previous contact.
  2. By saying “see if you’re in a position to start exploring…” he acknowledges that an inquiry doesn’t mean I’m ready to take any additional steps right now.  That let’s me relax and receive the rest of his message with an open mind, rather than defensively.
  3. He invites me to schedule a call with a specific person whose title suggests that she’s relevant to my likely purpose.  I can accept this offer by taking an easy step, i.e., clicking the hyperlink to view her calendar.  It’s flattering to be granted access to an executive’s calendar, isn’t it?  Is suggests that my inquiry and I have some significance to this company.
  4. He makes it clear that, after confirming my appointment, I’ll be dealing with a principal, not intermediaries.
  5. He allows that things may have changed since my inquiry, that my situation or needs have changed, but he asks me to take a reasonable step to close the loop.
  6. By inviting me to take a step whose consequences may be beyond what I intend, i.e., removing me from further contact, he increases the likelihood that I’ll send a clarifying reply, e.g., “‘No, thanks,’ to exploring the purchase right now, but you don’t have to stop contacting me.”  That tells them that my interest is probably more than casual, and that it’s probably worth continuing to cultivate me.  If I’ve completely changed my mind, and have no interest in the offering, they’ve made it easy for me to say that, and in the process have probably left me with a positive impression of their professionalism and courtesy that I’ll share with others.  They’ve reinforced their brand.

How many of these did you recognize?

Remember that your goal always is to get a decision, which means making it easy for someone to say “no.”   Once you accept that, it’s easy to close the loop in a way that leaves a beneficial impression, and may even make a friend.

Do you know what it costs you to keep dead prospects in your pipeline? Read our free eBook,"No Decision: The Blind Spot that Prevents Lawyers from Doubling Their Income."