8 Tips to Re-engage Old Leads

Every sales professional has hundreds of prospects who either didn’t answer their calls or emails, told them to get lost, or actually started going through the process — but ultimately, didn’t convert but we need to re-engage those old leads to turn it around. 

Most salespeople want to forget these folks, but that would be a mistake. Getting traffic and leads is the biggest pain of 63% of businesses, so anyone source you can take advantage of needs to be used. Yet despite this, 44% of salespeople give up after hearing 1 rejection from a prospect. 

The problem with that is that most businesses need ~5 follow-up contacts to successfully convert. 

We’re not here to shame anyone. Plus, even if you’re doing things 100% by the book, leads in your database can still plateau. Without proper nurturing, leads can lose interest, feel their needs are not being met, or simply forget about you. 

That’s why we’re going to show you how to re-engage these old leads with some action-worthy tips of what to do, and what to avoid.

What not to do

One of the worst things you can do is not take old leads as seriously as the first time around. Just because you’ve already been in contact with them doesn’t mean that you can afford to get complacent. If you’re going to reach out to old leads at all, put the same amount of care into it as you would if it was the first time. 

To help you with that, here are some common mistakes to avoid

  • Being too casual
    Don’t try to reconnect by posting on their LinkedIn pages or comments. Proofread any content for language and grammar. 
  • Taking past contact for granted
    Your re-outreach needs to be just as professional as the last. Answer any questions they have as if it’s the first — no “I told you that 3 months ago.” By re-hitting the main points, the lead may begin to remember why they liked your product the first time. 
  • Ignoring past conversations
    But that said, don’t ignore the fact that you’ve conversed in the past. Remind them of your old conversations before you try to sell them anything; and if there was an issue that ruined your last conversion attempt, discuss how you’ve fixed it. 
  • Beating around the bush
    There’s definitely an intro phase to re-engaging old leads, but it isn’t long-term. Don’t take a month to get to the point. 1) Get their attention; 2) tell them why you reached out; 3) ask them for the sale. 
  • Forgetting your research
    Again, just because you’ve talked to them before — don’t forget how you do outreach. Research and understand the lead’s problems. Dig through your previous conversations for any patterns of insight; then, use those insights to draft your initial re-outreach.

With what not do out of the way, here are some tips to re-engage right.

8 tips to re-engage leads

1. Do your homework

Before you start sending emails, do your prep-work. Dig through your old conversations for insight so you can inject a personal touch. If you took good notes in your CRM, take advantage of them. 

Finally, skim your lead’s social media accounts. Have they been posting articles on topics in your product’s industry? If they have, that can indicate interest (a trigger), suggesting that now is a great time to reach out. 

2. Test the waters first

84% of buyers accuse salespeople of being pushy. So rather than going straight for the pitch in your first email, use a “feeler” to catch their interest and open up the channel of communication. That’s just another way of saying to send them something of free, but real, value. A few examples

  • An ebook, checklist, or guide
  • A free webinar or tutorial session
    Schedule helpful webinars or tutorial sessions and invite old leads to participate. 
  • A sweepstake or light contest
    You can send out fun quizzes or questionnaires with the promise of a free reward for completion, or big price cuts and discounts on an essential product for a certain period if the lead completes a simple game. 

3. Send surveys/opinion poll emails

Another way to reach out to old leads is to send simple survey emails or online polls. Focus on asking where you went right or wrong. Include a priority list of reasons as to why they may have abandoned your funnel. 

Keep the options simple and few, and finish with a call to action to keep the conversation going.

4. Leverage trigger events/experiment with timing

As mentioned earlier, scan through your leads’ social media profiles. If you notice any recent achievements or successes, use it as an opportunity to reach out. Skip the sales pitch in this email — congratulate them, keeping it brief and honest. 

5. Test your subject line

If you aren’t getting a response from any of your re-outreach emails, they might not be opening them. Testing out different types of subject lines could help generate interest, so they open your email and see your message. 

Try using a subject line starting with “How to…”, a list of 3 things or that is time-sensitive. Of course, the content of your email should reflect the subject line. You wouldn’t send an email entitled “How to do XYZ with [product]” when your email congratulates the lead on their company’s acquisition of a competitor. 

6. Make an effort to catch up with your lead

Once you have the line open, talk about what’s new with them. It’s been a few months since your last contact — change is guaranteed. Ask soft, business-related questions in a quick email; or, if you think the phone will elicit a better response, pick it up and call them. 

In either case, listen for things like expressed needs, frustrations with a current solution, and their general demeanor — i.e. are they annoyed that you’ve contacted them? 

7. Fill them in with your own progress

If your lead shows some interest, move into the next part: talking about what’s changed with your product. Talk about what’s different. Focus on new features, discounts, and new processes, and make sure to highlight what benefits those bring to your client.

8. Set up a drip campaign

A drip campaign can be set up using marketing automation software. You create, schedule, and send a series of emails that are designed to speak to the interests of your leads. This is more on the marketing side of things, but it could work to attract old leads’ attention.


Reigniting the interest of old leads in your company is something every salesperson should be doing. It’s an already-established list of people who have had at least some contact from you in the past, making it a step up from emailing cold leads

Try these tips out and let us know how they go. You won’t convert every old lead, but you’ll recover at least some. 

James Meincke

James is the Head of Marketing @ Demodesk, the intelligent meeting platform for remote sales. Previously he was the Director of Marketing at CloserIQ.