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Autoresponders or How to Screw Up a Brand New Lead

When you subscribe to my posts via RSS feed over there in the right box under my ugly mug, you get each post here at Darren’s delivered to you in your email.

Some of you have taken the time to setup what is called an auto responder. For the uninitiated, and auto responder is a simple email BACK to a prospect, client or customer telling them that you got THEIR message and that you will be back to them soon.

And that’s where the wheels come off the wagon…

Of the thousand or so people who are subscribed to posts via RSS, I get about 20 auto responders back to me when a post is shipped.

Some of the responders I get are OK, but most suck. Now, you know I don’t sugarcoat it here, but I also don’t just bitch without providing a solution. So here goes, what you should have as a proper auto responder follow up message.

The subject line:


More emails go in the trash after reading only the subject line than you can imagine. So, a sucky subject line equals emails that don’t get read. Try something like this:

“A message from Bob Jacamony Painting” or “Thank you for contacting us here at Jacomony Painting”.

That’s it. It lets them know who you are, and you are getting back to them.

The body of the message:

This is where it gets a little complicated. But not to worry, we are going to get it right, I promise. Some people I know format their messages as if they are responding to the specific information request from the prospect. Sometimes that comes across well, but most times it looks ridiculous. Especially if Mrs. Jones sent you a RFI at 2 in the morning and she gets a message back from what appears to be you at 2:15.

So instead, try something like this:

Mrs. Jones (some responders allow you to dynamically insert user info to make the message more personalized) I/we appreciate you contacting us here at Jacomony Painting and we want to answer all your questions promptly.


We usually respond right away, or the very next business day if it is a holiday or weekend. If you don’t hear from us, something must have gone wrong, and we ask that you contact us by phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx or send us a direct email at blahblah@jacomonypainting.com.

If you are trying to reach Bob in sales, his number is xxx-xxx-xxxx, his email is bob@jacomonypainting.com. If you are trying to reach….you get the idea.

You could also use an incentive if you want to be particularly salesy, but I would avoid it.

And to close out the message, include someone specifically the prospect can contact if they don’t hear from you. Something like:

In closing, we look forward to working with you soon! Take care and we will be in touch ASAP.

Darren Slaughter
DarrenSlaughter dot Com
Phone: 215-740-2713
Email: darrenatdarrenslaughter.com

And that’s it. If you have an auto responder that stinks, fix it. If you don’t have one at all think about what happens with your prospects when they don’t know if you got their message. Think they call you back or do they call your competition? Why find out?

2 responses to “Autoresponders or How to Screw Up a Brand New Lead”

  1. Tess Wittler Avatar
    Tess Wittler

    Thank you for providing a nice solution to this problem, Darren. This is something that ALL businesses could do better, not just contractors.

    1. Darren Avatar

      Thank you Tess! Hope you are doing well with all your new shinny stuff! Let me know anytime you are ready to do a guest post or two to let my crew know what you have going on….yeah, as if they don’t know you already!