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Seeing the list of lost leads in your CRM is so frustrating, isn’t it?

All those warm leads that went silent, leaving you wondering why they’ve stopped responding and most importantly, if you could ever re-engage them.

Well, you’re in luck!

Because today, I’m going to show you 4 creative email strategies to re-engage lost leads.

Curious what they are? Let’s dive in.

#1. Use Trigger Events to Restart the Conversation

In a perfect world, leads would be forthright with their reason for disengaging.

Unfortunately, more often than not, however, it’s your responsibility to ask them for it.

The problem – it’s not always as simple as asking, “Hey, why aren’t you responding to me?”

People don’t want to feel like they’re being sold. As a result, a lost lead will be less likely to respond if the purpose of your outreach intends to serve you.

Being selfless in your emails is a critical first step in sparking a conversation.

Enter trigger events – an effortless and unobtrusive way to re-engage lost leads.

Trigger events provide you with the opportunity to contact a dead lead when the timing is right and with seemingly pure intentions.

As Craig Elias, author of SHiFT!: Harness the Trigger Events That Turn Prospects into Customers mentions in an interview with

“Trigger events are the silver bullets in sales, because they allow you to get in front of the right person at exactly the right time. There are three types of trigger events: executive changes, new funding, and product launches. Each trigger signals a high probability that the company will eventually purchase new goods and services.”

To the lead, your note acknowledging senior leadership changes or congratulating them on their recent product launch shows you know their business and care.

As a result, their defensive walls drop and your chance of receiving a response increases dramatically.

So how can you stay on top of trigger events for your lost leads?

Use Google Alerts to notify you anytime the lead’s name or company gets mentioned in the news.


Leverage LinkedIn’s search alerts to ping you anytime there’s new leadership joining their company.


#2.  Send a Survey to Gauge Their Interest

If the passive approach of trigger events isn’t enough to re-engage lost leads, it may be time to quit beating around the bush.

One idea I love comes from Nidhi Singh, Senior Marketing Communications Manager at EduPristine, an online education company based in India.

Nidhi recommended in a post on Quora that a survey serves as a great gauge for why a client disengaged. Based on their reason, you can judge whether the lead is truly dead or if there’s opportunity to re-engage.

Here’s a stellar example template Nidhi shared:


One thing I’d add to Nidihi’s template is a simplified call-to-action.

Instead of asking the lead to “let me know which one,” I would say:

“Respond back with just the number that best corresponds to your reason.”

It’s a more direct call-to-action and far simpler for the lead. In order to satisfy your request, all (s)he needs to do is send over a single digit – 1, 2 or 3.

According to Nidhi, a survey like this yields an 8% – 15% response rate from otherwise lost leads!

#3. Stir-up an Emotional Response with Honesty and Humor

When it comes to email outreach, there’s a fine line between persistence and annoyance. In your pursuit to re-engage lost leads, you’ll likely toe that line quite often.

One simple way to ensure you remain on the right side of the line: incorporate humor and vulnerability into your message.

After all, the lead is already unresponsive, what do you have to lose?

One idea I love is using a site like Atom Smasher to generate funny, custom images you can send to leads.

Here’s one example:


Why this email works?

For one, the subject line reels leads in and then the image offers a unique, light-hearted attempt to re-engage. Your creativity might be just enough to get a chuckle and a response back!

Similarly, vulnerability has a positive effect on responses as well.

As Jane Alexander, EMEA Sales Manager at SalesforceIQ writes:

“Such an email can be impactful for two reasons. First, it’s disarming, which allows you to move the conversation from standard sales to true relationship-building. Second…it can help you discover some unknown unknowns.”

Be careful though: as Alexander points out, it’s easy to confuse vulnerability with desperation. Instead of saying “I need us to talk or I may not hit my quota this quarter,” say:

“I’m disappointed we haven’t had a chance to connect as of yet. I take a lot of pride in building lasting relationships with my potential clients and can’t help but feel I must have done something wrong. Would you share your candid feedback on our partnership to help me be better moving forward?”

An email like this shows you care and opens the door for a more open and honest conversation.

#4. Generate Curiosity with this Nine-Word Email

(Full disclaimer: I first discovered this idea through this post on Functional Funnels)

Here’s an email so simple, you’ll be wondering: does this actually work?

But it does. And you won’t believe how well!

What’s that email then? Well let me show you:


That’s it! Pretty simple, wouldn’t you agree?

It’s the email’s simplicity that actually makes it effective. Most decision makers often receive long-winded follow-up emails pitching the value of a product or service.

The nine-word email is the opposite of that.

Instead of a long pitch, this email cuts right to the chase and asks a simple, “yes” or “no” question tied to the lead’s business. While you risk some people responding with an inevitable “no,” you also open the door for the curious to say “yes” and revive a conversation with you.

The nine-word email is a great, last-ditch effort to get a response before officially retiring a lead in your CRM.


Nobody wants to have a CRM full of dead leads.

And while you can’t control a lead going dark on you initially, you’re now armed with top-notch strategies to re-engage lost leads. That’s the first step in bringing them on as new clients!