Olivia C. Watson is the Marketing and Business Development Manager at Ackert Inc. She has experience in diverse industry settings including environmental non-profits, financial services, fashion and SaaS. She is a versatile, creative marketer and B2B business developer with a talent for developing original content and initiatives that drive business growth.Olivia C. Watson is the Marketing and Business Development Manager at Ackert Inc. She has experience in diverse industry settings including environmental non-profits, financial services, fashion and SaaS. She leads the marketing efforts at Ackert Inc. and contributes significantly to the company’s business development. Her written work has been featured/quoted by various publications including Strategies Magazine, JD Supra, PM Magazine, and the American Bar Association.
According to BTI Consulting, it requires up to 14 "touches" before a prospect will engage a firm for a new matter. But most lawyers quit after the first unsuccessful attempt to follow up. Their pursuit is thwarted by that creeping feeling that they are being overbearing. After one email. Their thoughts drift toward questions such as, "Are they receiving my emails and simply trashing them? Did I say something to annoy them? Am I coming on too strong?"
So what action should you take if your unrequited outreach is making you feel like a stalker? First, consider a change of venue.
The Hierarchy of Communication is a concept that can be helpful in situations like these. The idea is to choose the appropriate venue for relationship-building communications. The hierarchy, in order of most to least effective, is:
- Private face-to-face conversation
- Phone conversation
- Voicemail message
- Social media
So, while LinkedIn might be an appropriate place to announce your upcoming presentation, it is not effective for trying to ascertain a potential client's business needs. And if you are trying to initiate further dialogue with a client or collaborate on a meaningful matter, your unanswered emails may be too low on the hierarchy of communication. See the table below to get an idea of which methods are ideal for each desired outcome.
If your desired outcome with a potential client is to get a sense of their business needs and eventually work together, the conversation would ideally happen during a lunch meeting or a phone call. Getting this on their calendar, however, may be easier said than done.
If you've sent a few unsuccessful emails already, try upgrading to voicemail. If you still haven't received a response, let them know you'll be in the neighborhood soon and would like to stop by in person. You can use the email template below to solicit a quick response from your prospect.
If you don't know your prospect well enough yet to stop by their office for coffee, shoot for a phone call. This concise email offers your prospect three simple options for responding, so they can reply with 1, 2, or 3 in less than five seconds. After extensive testing and tweaking, we've found that it has about a 40% response rate.
I’m following up on my voicemail and checking in to see if you’d like to have a conversation about [opportunity you've been discussing].
Let me know which of the following best describes your situation:
- I'm still interested in learning more. Let's schedule a call on _____.
- I'm interested but buried under a few projects right now. Let's revisit this next month.
- Something else?
If you have a prospect in mind who has been unresponsive lately, take 15 seconds to copy this template and send off a quick email. Don't forget to leave them a voicemail too.