Keeping in touch with prospects when there is nothing left to say

Imagine the scene. It was the classic agency-meets-brand love story. You met a prospect at the brand of your dreams. You chanced your arm to set the meeting up and you gave it your all.

The creds were slick, the conversation was flowing, the vibes were good. And then, riding high on adrenaline and positive energy, you jump off the Zoom call with a merry ‘speak soon’… and… nada.

You send the creds as a gentle nudge. The void stretches before you. Tumbleweed drifts across your inbox.

When it comes to keeping new business conversations going, we’ve had a lot to contend with recently.

It can feel awkward picking back up with somebody you met before lockdown (how do you arrange a follow-up meeting without accidentally smelling of desperation or – worse – opportunism?). If you met them post-lockdown and there weren’t any clear actions from the call, it can feel tricky to nudge while striking the right note. Everyone is busy and stressed, and you don’t want to come across as tone-deaf.

Somehow, you need to reignite the flame. But what do you say when you have nothing left to say?

You’re in luck, because we’ve got a series of tips for you – tried-and-tested by our team at Future Factory. Consider this post your confidence boost.

You’ve been doing cool stuff. Share it!

Having relevant new projects & work to share is, of course, the Holy Grail. But if you haven’t got something quite so concrete to show off about, it’s still worth mentioning all the other good stuff: events attended, thought-leadership pieces written, new hires to your team, awards won, or even fresh, thought-provoking conversations with other contacts in your prospect’s sector. Perhaps you’ve gained some extra insight into a challenge they were battling when you last spoke (another good reason to always let prospects speak in initial meetings). New things to share = a good reason to catch up.

Do your homework.

Prospects are busy. There’s no need to be self-flagellating about reaching out (what’s the point in emailing at all if you’re going to apologise yourself out of a meeting anyway?), but having a valid reason for getting back in touch demonstrates empathy, genuine interest, and gives you a little extra ammunition to explain why you’re perfectly placed to support them at this moment.

Look at their LinkedIn (the company page and their personal profile), have a gander on Google, and check out some trade press. What’s changed on their side since you last spoke?

A product launch, new hire, brand refresh, new initiative, or an industry-wide challenge are all valid reasons to get back in touch, regardless of your agency discipline. Refer to your research in your approach and gently connect the dots with where you might have some relevant experience – or even just some thoughts – to share.

Connect with somebody else in the team

If you know that there’s another member of the team you should be connecting with, shoot over a note to your original contact and ask if they’d be open to introducing you. It’s quick and easy for them to reply with a cc’d introduction and it helps you open more doors. As a side note – this is a great reason why you should remember to use introductory meetings to understand who the key stakeholders are.

Use your initial conversation to open new doors elsewhere

If there was a particular aspect of your approach that resonated with your initial prospect, reach out to other people in their sector and see if they’d be open to connecting. In the early stages of a new business conversation, there’s no harm in building a network with other like-minded professionals in that world. You might find that the chemistry feels more natural with teams at other brands.

Offer an informal sounding board

Worried you might have scared them off? Dial down the intensity and offer something explicitly informal for your second meeting. This is especially good if they’ve got some gnarly challenges on their agenda, but they’re scared of committing to any spend at this stage.

Get creative

This is one for the creative agencies, whose outputs might not be best represented in a straightforward black and white email. Rustling up something creative (and personal) to shoot over via email – or even via the good old-fashioned postal service – might catch their eye where blander attempts have failed. If you’re going to do this (and if it’s going to require time or money) it’s worth not spreading yourself too thin, as it’s likely that not every single prospect is going to reply. Why not pick the best 5-10 recent conversations you’d love to reignite, and send them something that only your agency could create?

If you’re struggling with tone, try a P.S.

This is a trusty little trick. If it feels like you’re shoehorning something in… then you probably are. Stick it in the ‘P.S.’ and your email will flow more naturally.

People are isolated, busy, and under a lot of pressure at the moment. That’s more reason than ever to reach back out, maintain strong networks, and keep conversations going. If you’re looking for a signal to get back in touch with someone, this is it. Go get ‘em, tiger.

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