You’ve done your research, found the perfect gift, and sent it with the perfect gift invitation message – Well done! Now, begins one of the most critical phases: the follow up after sending a gift to your prospect.
Putting the recipient at the center of your follow up.
You don’t have to look far to find a sales trainer who tells you to talk about what matters to your prospect. In fact, people rarely want to hear about who you are; they won’t tune in until you mention what matters to them. But what really matters to Sam, the Director of Product at a Cloud Computing company? I bet it isn’t his backlog, roadmap, or project management software.
It’s probably his favorite sports team, his daughter’s ballet talents, or his recent family vacation in Venice.
Whenever you’re following up, remember that you’re speaking to a person, not a persona. Your goal here is not to sell before your first meeting, you’re looking to start a conversation. For now, you’re building intrigue.
For example, if you’re reaching out to a Red Sox fan, ask them if they saw the home run Martinez smashed over the Green Monster last night. Similarly, if you notice your recipient is a soccer fan, open your outreach about the upcoming Premier League match and ask them who they’re rooting for. Give them something to respond to that they actually care about. The bottom line is, people do business with people they like.
“Your goal here is not to sell before the first meeting, your goal is to start a conversation.”
Pro Tip: Add the recipient’s #5to9 interests in the subject line. i.e. “Hoping the premier league starts up again soon” once or twice in follow up. As a recipient, it’s nice to know someone actually cares about your interests. It means they went the extra mile. However, you don’t want to continue to use that interest, again and again, to open the door with recipients, it will feel insincere and they will feel bombarded. Instead, keep it natural. A good rule of thumb is to mention the interest in the subject line of the first followup (if not used in the digital invitation) and then once again if something relevant happens in that area. For example, if your recipient is a Patriots fan and the Pats win a big game, one that fans will want to write home about, mention that in your subject line. This goes without saying, but be sure to know a thing or two about the subject you’re mentioning.
Remember you are not selling in your subject line. Every part of an email has a purpose. In your subject line, your ask is for the recipient to open the email. Your opening line is meant to ask your recipient to read further. The CTA in the email is to get the recipient to accept their gift.
I want to re-emphasize here that you are not selling in your email, your email is to get your recipient to the next step. Robert Cialdini’s Commitment & Consistency principle demonstrates an interesting behavior in human psychology: if you can get a person to say yes to a small request, they’re more likely to say yes to larger subsequent requests.
When to Follow Up after you’ve Sent a Gift
Once you’ve sent the first follow up email, you should follow up at least five additional times. The best cadance will leave breathing room for your gift recipient to take action and ensures you aren’t too overbearing. To give your prospects time to accept the gift but keep the invitation top of mind, your remaining follow up steps should happen roughly every 2 to 3 days.
Pro tip: If the recipient hasn’t responded via email, switch up your follow up. The second time you reach out, call them. If you don’t hear back via phone, send them a LinkedIn message. Doing the same thing over and over won’t help your outreach. It’s important to vary messaging, provide value in new ways, and find them where they are. While a lot of us rely on email, we can’t assume everyone does.
James Pollard uses switching up outreach as a qualifying process:
“One effective prospecting tip I’ve been using to great effect is to combine phone and email together,” says James Pollard of The Advisor Coach. “If I call someone and that person doesn’t answer the phone, I send an email right away.”
“I’ve found that a large percentage of people will respond to the email when they won’t pick up the phone or return my call. This allows me to further qualify them.”
The Gift Invitation Has Been Delivered
When you send a physical invitation it’s important to make sure the right person received it. Alyce will notify you when a physical invitation reaches the recipient. The next day, send out your first outreach via email ensuring they received the invitation and that you’re excited about the selected gift for them. If sending a digital invitation, there is no need to follow up the next day, hold off a few days on follow up.
If in two days they still haven’t viewed the gift, this is a great chance to follow up to confirm they received the invitation – tailor your message as a gentle reminder that you’ve sent them a gift.
It’s important to know when to insert an ask – you won’t want to insert an ask here, you’re checking in and simply looking for a response. Again, be sure to include their unique gift link in all follow up emails before they’ve accepted the gift.
Pro tip: Include the unique gift link in as many follow up moments as possible ( before accepting a gift ). A gift link is a unique link made specifically for the recipient. It can be found in the gift details on the dashboard, see “gift invite URL” in the image below. Including the URL to the landing page gives the recipient easy access to the gift and your calendar ( if you required a meeting ). Make it easy for them to see what was sent!
A recently published LinkedIn pulse article by Gong, says the CTA should sell the conversation, not ask for someone’s time. While time is a finite resource they wish they had more of, interest is not finite. Leave them with a “Are you interested in learning more about [solution]?” instead of “Do you have time next week to meet?”
The Gift Invitation Has been Viewed, but the Gift Hasn’t Been Accepted
If a recipient views the gift, that’s a great sign – you’ve piqued their curiosity! The goal at this stage is to show the recipient the value your company can bring to theirs and the partnership you can build. The purpose here is to get them to accept the gift and book a meeting. You’ve already piqued their curiosity, now encourage them to engage. It may be helpful to send them content that is relevant to their 9-to-5 that shows you’re here to help.
Pro tip: When a recipient views the gift but doesn’t accept, provide value, but no ask.
For example, “I saw this article on the state of swag, and wondered how your company handled swag at events. It says the average company spends [average-spend] transporting swag. I’m excited to show you how we’re hands-off when managing swag for events, making it much easier on our marketing team.”
It’s always nice to remind the recipient that they can exchange the gift for anything else they desire.
Pro Tip: Remind them of the power of choice. If a recipient doesn’t accept a gift after viewing it, it may feel like you chose the wrong gift. Don’t assume you know how they feel about the gift, but it’s always nice to remind the recipient that they can exchange the gift for anything else they desire in the marketplace.
Remember, you’re allowing them to choose a gift from a marketplace full of great items. Give them some time to choose a gift before the follow up; wait a day after they view but don’t accept.
You can even use other research on your recipient to craft a personal response using another 5to9 interest that you didn’t previously mention. Don’t be too eager with personal interests, as I said earlier, keep it natural. Here’s an example of a followup email that uses that approach for when a prospect viewed the gift but didn’t take action.
The Gift Recipient has Accepted your Gift
Congratulations- you have a very happy recipient, and ( if you required it ) a booked meeting! Getting a meeting on the calendar is great, but your outreach shouldn’t stop here. Your goal now is to make sure the meeting happens!
Pro tip: If a gift was accepted but a meeting was not booked, reply with a thank you note, and use the information of the gift they selected to start a conversation. For example, if you send a Google Home Mini and they exchange it for an audible subscription, it’s a great time to ask them for book recommendations.
Pro tip: If a meeting has been set, customize the invitation, and engage with the recipient. You’ll want to customize the meeting invitation with all relevant information including an agenda. How will this meeting take place? If by phone, who is calling who? If in-person, where will you meet? If by video conference, update the link to a private meeting room.
When a recipient has accepted a gift, it’s a great time to show you’re excited to speak with them and open the flow of communication.
Pro tip: Reach out at least one more time before the meeting day to keep them engaged.
You can keep them engaged by sending over an article that relates to them, or asking a question that primes them for the meeting. You’ve already set the meeting, so the goal here is to keep them interested, send an email that purely adds value to them and doesn’t have an ask.
Danielle Tocci’s team primes prospects for the meeting with solutions that speak directly to their role:
We’ve also started closing the prospecting experience with a link to curated content – so if a prospect runs an ABM program, we may end our outreach with a link to our ABM best practices page once they accept their Alyce gift.
– Danielle Tocci, Director of Enterprise Sales, Alyce
Finally, on the day of the meeting, connect with them once more to confirm the meeting, and to make sure they’re prepared for the conversation. Share an agenda or overview of the conversation.
You’ll want to follow up the day of the meeting for two reasons:
- Firstly, miscommunication happens all the time and you want to make sure no wires are crossed. Check in to make sure the day and time still work for the recipient. Confirm who will be contacting who and update the agenda if needed.
- Secondly, Alyce is about being personal, this is not just another meeting, this is a person who you are trying to form a bond with. It would be odd that you make plans with a friend for two weeks in advance and not reconfirm at all before the meeting.
The best follow up after you send a personal gift starts with context.
Traditional direct mail solutions don’t provide any insight into what happens after a gift is sent. Unless someone reaches out to you about your direct mail ( or worse complains ), you’re usually left completely in the dark about if it was delivered, opened, or even appreciated.
Using a digital-first personal gifting platform, like Alyce, will grant visibility into the stages after you’ve sent a gift. This visibility provides the context and insight you need to execute the perfect follow up. Knowing when your invitation is delivered, when the recipient has seen their gift, when your recipient has accepted their gift, and books a meeting illuminates when and how to follow up.
At the end of the day, if you find yourself staring at a blank email wondering how to follow up, remember the 3 R’s:
Be relatable – relate to your recipient, speak to what the prospect cares about personally
Be relevant – make your outreach relevant by explaining how you can help their 9-to-5 pains
Be respectful – Speak to the person, don’t treat them like a persona.
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