The following was my answer on Quora:
Follow up. Follow Up. Follow UP.
Thank you Monica for asking me to answer this question.
Let’s assume that the sales professional and the client or prospect have exchanged business cards. On said business cards is the email address.
Let’s consider what sort of emails a sales professional would send:
- Thank them for the connection. Short sweet, to the point. (Reminds them that you connected).
- After a meeting: you send an email with bullets on
- What was discussed.
- What actions each party promised to make.
- Confirm follow up actions you will take or information you promised.
- Confirm next steps: when you will follow up and how?
- Schedule a meeting
- Reinforce the mutual benefit to be gained with focus on the reader.
Almost all top sales professionals would not rely solely on email. It is another touch point. It is not a license to spam.
A savvy sales pro would think of it as a form of keeping in touch but stays on topic.
Close the email with the next step: usually promised in person.
Email shows the ability to stay true to one’s word.
Email can be used to provide information or articles the reader expressed interest in.
CRMs (Customer Relationship Management) tools have email features that allow sales pros to track the relationship, record notes, follow up when promised. They also indicate the last time you touched base. Act accordingly.
If the recipient responds, even with a simple “thank you” it would indicate you are not lost in the SPAM folder.
The recipient will usually respond with agreement on next steps.
They may respond with a referral to someone else in their buy cycle. Leverage that name, cc the referrer as acknowledgement that you did act on their recommendation. Then refrain from including them in every other communication.
Email invitations to events, open houses, etc.
From the beginning, a sales pro can establish the rules of engagement. What sort of information they are interested in (i.e. sales, announcements)
People are adverse to unsolicited email, keep that in mind.
REMEMBER: email should never replace face to face communications.