A few weeks ago, my team sent out an email campaign to a list of targeted prospects who we’d identified as “interested” in our services. It was a simple nurturing email that was designed to check on the prospect and evaluate where they stood.
The email was helpful and casual, highlighting an anecdote that was relevant to their situation. But that doesn’t mean every prospect was happy about receiving it. In fact, one person fired back a snarky response that caught me off guard. For a moment, I felt the urge to hit reply and send an equally snarky reply, but I resisted that temptation and took the high road instead.
Here’s why: Trading snark for snark would have undoubtedly killed the relationship. Showing patience and understanding, however, could have the opposite effect.
With all the emails people receive today, you’re bound to get complaints. But before responding to those complaints, it’s important to consider the context.
If you’re using an email nurturing strategy, it’s likely that you’re consistently sending emails. And if you don’t have a list of contacts who already know you, these people may not readily appreciate the great content you’re sending. Add in the fact that nurturing emails are often written in a more personalized style, and it’s possible that prospects will assume you’ve written them a 1:1 email.
One email like that isn’t likely to elicit an angry response from a disinterested prospect. But frequent emails asking for a meeting or sharing a specific article might cause confusion and, in extreme circumstances, anger.
Those are natural reactions.
It’s your job to help those prospects understand why you’re writing them. After all, you chose them to be part of your email list for a reason. Tell them why.
At the end of the day, that’s really the purpose of lead generation — to start a conversation.
While you’d obviously prefer that conversation to begin on more positive terms, it’s still an opportunity you shouldn’t ignore. The sheer fact that the prospect responded proves your emails caught their attention and they read what you sent.
Use their response as permission to respond with a polite, friendly email that genuinely apologizes for any error. Then, wait.
If the prospect replies, you can gauge that response and determine if it’s worth trying to set up a phone conversation. Either way, you’ll likely avoid losing the contact entirely when they discover there’s a real – and reasonable – person behind the automated emails, which most certainly would have been the case if you hadn’t taken the high road.