How Often Should I Reach Out to My Prospects? It Depends

Jan 22, 2020

The first rule of real estate is “location, location, location.” Anyone who’s ever been in the market to buy or sell a home has been told this by a family member, friend or agent. But when you’re buying a house where exactly is the best location? The answer: It depends.

Truth told, there are many variables when you decide to buy a home, most notably price and cost. You may want to live in a certain location, but the price of the houses there may not fit your monthly mortgage budget. So you have to look for a different location.

Another example: let’s say you want to buy a house in a historical part of a city. The prices may be cheaper for the houses, but there may be a lot more maintenance and cost that goes into it.

In marketing, the question often arises, “how often should I be reaching out to my prospects so I can close a sale?” The answer here is the same as buying a house: It depends.

Some of the factors determining your approach to outreach are sales goals, clearing the shelves, price of the product and the length of the sale. The following are some points to keep in mind when determining how often you want to reach out to potential buyers based on your approach to the sales process.

The Hunting Approach to Sales and Frequency of Contact

In this approach to the sales process, the service or good could be a one-time acquisition or it could be purchased several times. When gaining leads, the company looks at the population of prospects, and then answers the question, “who am I going to go after?”

Next, they determine the outreach approach based on the “target’s” buying journey and how they gain information. And then they hunt.

With this approach, what one hopes to achieve is an initial buy and then the possibility of repeat customers. Because of this, they need to determine how often to reach out and provide prospects with pertinent information to get them to buy. This approach may be applicable to both business-to-business (think Dunder-Mifflin) and business-to-consumer relationships.

Groupon is a good example. If you’ve ever given your personal email address to Groupon, you’ll soon find that emails show up as frequently as daily. And there’s a reason. It’s because the sales and buying opportunities change daily, and the buyer has to act fast or could miss out on the deal.

Another example is if you have an Amazon Prime account. Emails show up almost daily, because the discounts and shipping options change daily as well.

But what about other sales and discounts that don’t change as frequently? In this instance, too many emails can sometimes be annoying because the offering isn’t necessarily changing that often.

In these instances, it’s important to assess when the amount of outreach becomes an annoyance. What you want to avoid is prospects hitting the “unsubscribe” button and losing their business or never getting it in the first place.

Examples of companies that may reach out too often are online meal kit delivery services, movie theaters and car rental companies. The questions to answer here are: is the meal kit option changing in the next month, do I need to rent a car this week, and are the movies switching out today? If the answer is, “probably not” then it’s important to watch how often emails are sent.

The Gathering Approach to Sales and Frequency of Contact

In this approach, the company is trying to build a relationship for the long-term. They start with some of the same steps as the hunting approach determining      the appropriate population, looking at their “options” to start a relationship with and how they gain information. And then they date.

In the gathering instance, the cost of the good or service is usually (but not always) much more expensive than the hunting approach. As such, the language used in these company’s messages is also different, focusing more on the benefits of the product (a new HVAC unit), the return on cost (a car) and a tie to an emotional state (a diamond ring).

For B2C relationships using the gathering approach, outreach is common but usually not as frequent as the hunting approach. Sure, there may be a sale on a certain model of new car, but chances are that sale isn’t ending tomorrow. And, a bachelor looking for an engagement ring is probably going to take his time to find the right one; not because he got an email every day for a week.

When gathering customers, the time it takes to sell the good or service, or close a deal, can take a lot longer than the hunting method as well. So, determining the cadence of outreach to prospects is also important for the company to note. For example, if a company knows that a buyer isn’t going to make a decision in the near future, then daily emails are probably not a good idea.

Determining cadence of outreach is particularly important when developing B2B relationships, because these deals can cost millions of dollars and take m onths to close, and when that money is on the line, the buyer values a long-term relationship and is gauging what can be expected.

Something to consider here is the level of the individual that the outreach is being sent to and how often messages are being sent. For example, overwhelmed by the amount of email in his or her inbox, if sent too often, a message has a good chance a C-level executive will delete it. Or, these people may have a separate email box for those messages and they end up eternally ignored.

If you have a good email address for someone at this level, then don’t bother them too much with your messages. Consider who’s making the buying decision and dating you in return probably an influencer at a lower level in the organization who’s more likely to read and receive your invitation to engage. So perhaps more of your energy and messaging should be focused at this level.


Where have we gotten with the answer when determining how often to reach out to your prospects? It depends.

When buying a house, once you get past location, logic and good advice tell you to look at what you can afford, the most (and best) house you can get for your money, and the community amenities around it.

When determining your email and outreach campaigns, use logic and good advice to determine the type of relationship you want to develop with your prospect,
their journey to making a decision, and then how often you need to reach out.

There’s really no right answer for the question about frequency just a better answer depending on your good or service and the relationship you hope to make. But whatever you decide, keep in mind what it will take to keep your buyer(s) engaged and avoid hitting the unsubscribe button.

Chris Currington

Christopher Currington has more than 20 years of experience in public relations, marketing content development and change management communications. Most recently, Chris worked as the director of PR at Lumeris, a start-up and sister company to Essence Healthcare, that specializes in population health management and value-based care. He managed Lumeris' PR and communications through three years of being named Best in KLAS for Value-Based Care Managed Services. He also led the communications and PR efforts behind Essence Healthcare's phenomenal 4.5 to 5 Star rating, for eight years in a row, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Prior to working at Lumeris, Chris was a senior marketing manager for Express Scripts Specialty Pharmacy where he helped to build physician awareness and referrals for mail order prescriptions. Chris has also worked for Towers Perrin (now Willis Towers Watson) in the Change Management, Communications and Measurement line of business. In this position, he worked across offices and with Fortune 100 clients transitioning their health and welfare benefits (to consumer-driven health plans) and retirement programs (to defined contribution plans) and helped thousands of employees make benefit elections through various channels and media. Chris has bachelor's degrees in mass communication, psychology and sociology from UM-St. Louis, an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management and a graduate certificate in marketing.