Avoiding the dreadful “just checking in” mails

“Hey, I’m just checking in..”

We have seen the words…and we have written them, flushed with embarrassment. The curse of the “just checking in” email is widely known, but still it is a practice. A practice which directly opposes what marketing hopes to achieve. The “just checking in” is used by a sales representative who is looking to reconnect with a prospect prior to a booked phone call, or when the rep is looking to re-engage the prospect after the initial contact. In a nutshell, the “Just Checking In” email screams, “Hey! I’m still here! Can you tell me how interested you are in doing business together?”

The Harsh Truth of  “Just Checking In”

Why are these emails so prevalent? For starters, they are easy to write. They do not require any creativity. This deadly combination of lethargy and mindlessness renders them impersonal, and that is a sin in the world of marketing.

The problem with this follow-up is that is selfish. It focuses on what we want from our prospects.

Impersonality and the mindless writing ensure that these emails do not provide any value to the buyer nor does it solve any of the prospect’s needs. We’re checking in for the sake of checking in.  If we want the prospect to do business with us, we need to actively solve for their needs, not ours.

Breaking the “Just Checking In” Curse

1. Hit resend: If the prospect hasn’t responded to your first email, chances are that they experienced an email overload and didn’t even open your first message. You can confirm this using your email client. If they haven’t opened it yet, simply hit resend.

2. Try something different: Why just email? Try reaching out on social media. Comment on Facebook post,LinkedIn blogs or answer their question on an online forum and then follow up with more resources, Your efforts would stand out of the thoroughfare and you would get recognised out of the numerous other reps.

3. Share something valuable: Instead of checking in, send them a short piece of actionable advice.

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Send them a how-to guide and then offer to follow up, or point out a weakness in their business that needs fixing. Share an article or a resource that your company has created which address one of their problems.

4. Ask: Don’t check in, but ask what you can do for them instead.  Did the previous email address their queries? Are they still interested in meeting that XYZ goal? Or bring up a common obstacle that many buyers face and ask if they are experiencing it as well. Follow it up with how you can help them achieve that target or clear the obstacle.

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When to “Just Check In”

The thumb rule for “checking in” emails is essentially: Only reach out when you have a good reason or new value to provide. And if you don’t, then think of one. If your prospect hasn’t replied to your first email doesn’t mean you should stop trying. But if you can’t think of even one legitimate reason to follow up your email, then don’t. Instead, spend time crafting more helpful and personal emails, your recipients will be happy to receive.

Shriya Garg

A book-lover with dual degrees in finance, Shriya has created (and abandoned) eight blogs, started her first company at 12, published two books (first one at 16), edited dozens for others, and worked with five interesting startups in her career so far. Prior to joining ContentNinja, she worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and has a deferred admit from ISB, Hyderabad. She is an SLP Fellow and a Quora Top Writer. When she’s not fielding client calls, she can be found cleaning cat hair from her clothes.

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