Just Checking In: 16 Stronger Alternatives That Win Responses and Sales

“Hey there, I’m just checking in on our last conversation…”

“Hey there, I’m just checking in on whether you saw our proposal…”

“Hey there, I’m just checking to see if you had a chance to review our…”

Okay. We get it. You’re just checking in. But here’s the thing—so are hundreds of other salespeople. 

There’s no question that following up is one of the most important parts of the sales process, but you can kill a follow-up by “just checking in.”  

But if “checking in” with your prospects and leads is all you’re doing, you’re killing your chances for success week after week. The best alternative? Personalize your follow-ups and provide real value to your audience.

Here’s everything you need to know about it, plus 16 better ways to check in with your leads and prospects.

So, What’s Wrong with Just Checking In?

It’s a simple enough way to grab your lead’s attention. It’s easy to do. It’s short. What’s the issue with just checking in?

So, What’s Wrong with Just Checking In?
  • You can annoy your prospect: Office workers receive over 70 emails, chat messages, text messages, and phone calls daily. Remote workers receive six times more emails than their hybrid counterparts. And the more buying power someone has, the higher that number goes. Your leads are overwhelmed—they don’t need yet another meaningless check-in.
  • You blend in with (literally) everyone else: Like we said, “just checking in” is easy and straightforward. It requires very little effort, so most sales folks resort to it. If you’re one of them, nothing about it is compelling enough to spark a response over all the other check-ins in your lead’s inbox.
  • It’s unactionable: Your generic check-in doesn’t give your prospect the next step they actually want to take. It doesn’t fulfill their need—it adds more work to their plate to respond instead.
  • It’s repetitive: How many times can you say “just checking in” before it stops making sense? How many alternative blanket phrases are there? The magic of sales is in following up, but if you only send broad check-ins, you’ll give up by your second or third attempt.

A meaningful follow-up strategy can transform your sales results. Here are 16 ways to do it without ever writing “just checking in.”

5 Alternatives to “Just Checking In” with Cold Leads

You’ve sent your cold email. The result so far? Crickets. But the opportunity isn’t lost yet—that’s where the power of a mindful follow-up comes in.

Close’s follow-up philosophy is to go for a maximum of six follow-ups after your initial cold email. You don’t yet have a relationship with that person that gives you permission to do more than that. But six follow-ups mean six opportunities—here’s how to make the most of them without the dreaded “checking in” snooze-fest.

5 Alternatives to “Just Checking In” with Cold Leads

1. Ask for the Right Person

One reason your cold email didn’t land a response could be that it didn’t go to the right person. And that ‘wrong’ person is probably busy. Make their job easy by asking for the right person without adding more questions or pitches to their plate.

Example:

Hey [first name],

[Your name] from [company name] here. I’m looking to connect with the person responsible for [responsibility] to discuss how [solution] can significantly [improve relevant metric/solve relevant pain point] for your team.

Could you help direct me to the right contact?

Thanks,

[Your name]

Why this works: With this approach, you’re making it easy for the person on the receiving end to toss the ball to someone else—and give you a better chance of moving the conversation forward.

2. Send a Gentle Reminder

How often have you opened an email, told yourself you’ll get to it later, and then… Never did? Your cold leads do the same. With this approach, you’re floating your first email to the top of their inbox and recapping a simple action they can take to move things forward.

Example:

Hey [first name],

If your inbox is anything like mine, it gets chaotic way too easily. Did this email slip through the cracks?

If so, friendly reminder to [insert call to action from your first email in one sentence].

Thanks,

[Your name]

Why this works: A gentle reminder does exactly what it says on the tin. It doesn’t include a different pitch, links to resources, or walls of text, so it won’t overwhelm your lead—it simply recaps what you proposed in your initial email, giving it a fresh chance to turn into a sales conversation.

3. Answer a Question They Asked Online

The trickiest part about cold emails is that they can feel quite cold. Generic. If your lead receives a dozen cold emails daily, yours might blend in—even if you researched and personalized it to perfection.

The antidote? Answering a burning question your lead recently asked on social media like LinkedIn or X (Twitter) or an industry forum. It doesn’t get more personalized and relevant than that.

Example:

Hey [first name],

Saw your question about [topic] on [platform]. We’ve recently discussed this issue internally, so here are some tips that might help you:

[Add a few bullet points with direct advice or answers to that question/issue.]

Here’s an [article/video/resource] with more on this. Let me know if this works for you.

Cheers,

[Your name]

Why this works: You’re fully focusing on serving the lead rather than fulfilling your own needs. As an option, you can add a sentence to recap your original CTA. If you’ve given them in-depth advice they couldn’t easily get elsewhere, they might realize you and your company could do much more for them and gladly jump on that call.

4. Send Them a Customer Success Story

Let’s say your lead saw and read your cold email—not just once but multiple times—because they do need exactly what you’re offering.

But they don’t trust you yet. They’ve considered other, similar solutions, but they seemed hard to implement, tough on their budget, or just too good to be true. In this “just checking in” alternative, you get to show them how you’ve created success for someone like them.

Example:

Hey [first name],

[Your successful customer] had a near-identical challenge to you. They didn’t just solve it—they got [results] using [your product] in [X days/weeks/months].

You can read their success story and how they did it [here]. I’d love to make this happen for you, too. Do you have 15 minutes to discuss how we can help?

Thanks,

[Your name]

Why this works: You’re giving your cold leads a chance to imagine themselves in your successful customer’s shoes. You get them to nod their heads as they read through and realize their challenges are solvable—and they have an open line of communication with that solution.

5. Send a Breakup Email

Your final email to unresponsive leads should be a breakup email. It’s your last attempt to reach them after your previous emails have gone ignored—there’s no point in spending more time on them.

But the real goal beyond closing out this loop is to increase desirability and get a response. Get specific about the benefits your product can bring to this lead.

Example:

Hey [first name],

I was looking forward to talking with you about [solving pain point/improving relevant metric] with your product].

Since I haven’t heard back from you, I’m guessing this isn’t a priority for your team right now. So, this will be the last time you hear from me.

If your needs change, feel free to reach out. Always happy to chat.

Cheers,

[Your name]

Why this works: This email sparks FOMO. The clock is ticking, and the opportunity to see real results is slipping away. If you’ve done your research and there’s a real product fit for this lead, this email might do the job.

8 Ways to Avoid “Just Checking In” With a Prospect that’s Stuck in the Sales Process

Your prospect seemed to respond like lightning—every email resonated with them, and they seemed keen to move forward.

Then, crickets.

Sound familiar?

How do you follow up with a prospect who’s stopped responding or is stuck in the sales process?

They might be busy, overwhelmed with options, or waiting for another stakeholder to give them the all-clear to move forward. The key difference from cold leads is that, since you’ve already talked to these people and haven’t received a clear no, you should keep following up until you get a response.

Here’s a schedule that’s worked for us:

  • Day 1: First contact
  • + 2 days: Follow up
  • + 7 days: Follow up
  • + 7 days: Follow up
  • + 14 days: Follow up
  • + 30 days: Follow up
  • Still no response? Going forward, follow up once a month

Let’s dive into eight ways to nudge these slow-moving prospects.

eight ways to nudge slow-moving prospect

6. Ask For a Status Update

This is a phrasing alternative to the vague “just checking in.” It’s an excellent way to be more direct and assertive in your follow-up while keeping it friendly and polite.

Example:

Hey [first name],

When we spoke about [your product] on [date], you mentioned you wanted to [speak with another stakeholder/review use cases/some other action]. Could you give me a quick status update in the next day or two? I want to make sure we’re meeting your timeline expectations and moving in the right direction.

Thanks,

[Your name]

Why this works: This email addresses the most recent interaction between you and the prospect, including what they said they’d do after it. It gives them just one small thing to focus on in their response—you’re not asking them for a grand decision, just a note on where things stand.

7. Reach Out When Your Prospect Asked You To

When you last spoke with the prospect, they couldn’t make the next move for one reason or another—having to speak with another decision-maker, being too busy, or needing more time to think.

But they didn’t say ‘no,’ and they gave you an exact time to reach out. They’re interested, so never miss this chance to reconnect.

Example:

Hey [first name],

We spoke about [topic] back in [month]. You weren’t ready to decide at the time because of [reason], but you asked me to reach back out after [X weeks/months].

So here we are! Did you [talk to the key stakeholder/have enough time to think/etc.]? If so, let’s jump on a call. How does [date and time] work for you?

Thanks,

[Your name]

Why this works: This email picks the conversation back up right where you left it off and acknowledges the details of the pause. If the prospect had wanted to decline, they would have—so, turn into an active listener to figure out what they need to move the deal forward.

8. Recap Your Most Recent Interaction

One of the best ways to remedy the potential vagueness of a “just checking in” email? Getting as specific as you can be in as few words as possible.

In this strategy, you recap your last interaction with the prospect—a call or an email thread—and prompt them to take the next step based on that.

Example:

Hey [first name],

Here’s a quick recap of what we discussed [on our call/over email] on [date]:

[Write up to five short bullet points with challenges, presented options, etc.].

Are you free for a call on [suggested day] to move things forward?

Thanks,

[Your name]

Why this works: You’re not relying on your prospect’s memory to keep the conversation going. If they want to keep talking with you, they’ll have all the information they need to form their next questions, secure the budget, talk to other decision-makers, and more.

9. Namedrop—and Be Smart About it

If you have a mutual connection with your prospect, don’t be shy about tapping into that! Ideally, this will be someone who recently interacted with your prospect so you can ask genuine questions about their needs.

Don’t be intrusive or try to deceive your prospect with this—reference a real conversation and show true interest in your prospect’s success.

Example:

Hey [first name],

I had [coffee/lunch] with [name] on [day] and your name came up—good things only! [He/she] mentioned you’re still searching for [type of solution]. I was wondering if [your product] is still one of the options you’re considering.

If so, I can set you up with [a demo/free trial], and we can jump on a call so you can see what you and your team could do with [your product]. Here’s my calendar [link]. Can we make this happen in the next week?

Best,

[Your name]

Why this works: You borrow the credibility of your mutual contact and reference specific pain points and goals you’ve already learned about the prospect. This way, you’re giving them a straightforward next step that will give them enough information to decide.

10. React to Their Achievement or Promotion

Are you and your prospect LinkedIn connections? If not, it’s time to make it happen. When you notice a positive change in their career, like getting a promotion or hitting a company milestone, you can reach out with a purpose.

If you interacted with this prospect in the past but struggled to set up the next meeting, this email is the perfect candidate to get the job done.

Example:

Hey [first name],

Just saw your [promotion/success] on LinkedIn! That’s amazing and so deserved—sincere congratulations. I’m excited to see your next achievements and where this takes [their company] next.

If you’re still up for it, I’d love to chat for [X minutes] next week. Would [date and time] work? Let’s set something up.

Best,

[Your name]

Why this works: Sincere flattery and genuine interest in one’s career and success build rapport. It's as simple as that.

11. Send Them Exceptional Value

Personalization is the way to go to avoid the “just checking in” circle of death. You’ll likely need some support from your marketing team for this one because you need a resource that fits your prospect’s needs just right, but the result—creating mountains of value for your prospect—is worth it.

You can send a relevant blog post, a new white paper, a sample report, a timely ebook, or even a personalized video that covers the exact issue or situation you discussed when you spoke.

Example:

Hey [first name],

The last time we spoke, you mentioned you were [struggling with X, looking for Y, etc.].

[Your company] just published [a blog post/report/ebook etc.] on this topic, and I instantly thought of you. Here’s the [link] to check it out and implement our suggestions.

[Optional: add one or two brief sentences about the resource, highlighting the outcomes they’ll get from it.]

Let me know if it helps! I’m always happy to jump on a 10-minute call.

Thanks,

[Your name]

Why this works: This email focuses exclusively on the challenges your prospect told you about and is going through. You aren’t asking for anything in return—just genuinely serving them and earning trust points, with a gentle nudge towards a call as an option to pick your conversation back up.

12. Show Them How You Helped Similar Customers

You know your ideal customer like the palm of your hand. You know what keeps them up at night and how your product or service solves their challenges.

You’ve seen it happen time and time again—but your prospect probably hasn’t. Summarize the results your customers have seen using your solution to strategically show them exactly what’s possible. Aim for success stories of customers most similar to them, their industry, and pain points.

Example:

Hey [first name],

I understand that dealing with [pain points] is [tough/overwhelming/add a relevant descriptor]. The best news is that [your company] has helped companies with those exact challenges:
  • [Proof/testimonial]
  • [Proof/testimonial]
  • [Proof/testimonial]
  • [Proof/testimonial]

Thanks to [your company], these companies thrive. Are you up for a [X minute] call next week to discuss how we can make this happen for you?

Best,

[Your name]

Why this works: It’s hard to argue with so many tangible results presented all in one place. If you share just one, it can feel like a fluke, but when you show your prospect there’s a pattern of success with your product, you make it harder to resist moving forward.

13. Ask Them About Their Goals or Pain Points

The last time you spoke, your prospect couldn’t stop discussing what their company wanted to achieve, or the pain points they’re trying to solve. They’ve gone MIA since. Is it possible their pain points magically disappeared? Did someone wish on a star and all their dreams came true?

Fun, but unlikely. So it’s worth gently asking them about it to pick your conversation right back up.

Example(for goals):

Hey [first name],

I remember you mentioned your team wanted to achieve [goal]. Is this still something you’re pursuing? If so, I’d love to jump on a call [next week/on a specific day] to see how we might help you get there.

Best,

[Your name]
Example(for pain points):

Hey [first name],

I remember you mentioned your team was struggling with [pain points]. Have you implemented any strategies to help you overcome these obstacles? Let’s jump on a call [next week/on a specific day] to go over a few potential solutions for [company].

[Insert calendar link]

Best,

[Your name]

Why this works: It’s short, simple, and focused on what they wanted just weeks ago. If they’re still pursuing that goal and respond to your email, you’ll get to ask about solutions they’ve considered, tailor your next step, and pitch accordingly.

3 Follow-Up Strategies to Skip “Checking In” After a Deal Goes Cold

Some deals just don’t work out the first time around. The prospect tells you they’ve gone with a competitor, your solution doesn’t meet all their needs, or they simply can’t commit now.

The good news? There’s still a way to reconnect with them—here’s how.

3 Follow-Up Strategies to Skip “Checking In” After a Deal Goes Cold

14. Reach Out After They’ve Implemented a Competitor

The fact that a prospect chose your competitor doesn’t mean it’s a permanent decision—nor does it mean they’re 100% happy with what they got. (Buyer’s remorse is real, y’all.)

Set a reminder a few months after they told you they’ve gone with another solution to see how it’s going. This is a no-pressure, exploratory email, so avoid any hard sells and calls-to-action. Use open-ended questions.

Example:

Hey [first name],

It’s been [number of months] since you started using [competitor’s product]. I was curious—how is it going with them?

We’ve spoken with similar customers who expressed some struggles with [X]. Does that resonate with you? If so, I’d love to hop on a call and reconnect.

Best,

[Your name]

Why this works: This email reopens a communication path with a prospect that was a strong fit for your product. Referencing pain points that current customers have expressed to you after switching from a competitor can also help them feel like you understand their struggles (when done tastefully).

If there’s even the slightest chance they’re not satisfied with what they got from your competitor, it also reopens a sales conversation down the line.

15. Check in with Them Near Their Contract Expiration

Do you know the contract length your competitors offer? Your prospect may have told you back when they let you know they had a different solution. If not, it’s worth doing some market research to find out.

Contracts and billing cycles often last a quarter or a year, so use that period as your trigger to reach out to your lost prospect. You don’t need to mention your competitor or their contract—just ask questions to get a feel for their position compared to your last conversation.

Example:

Hey [first name],

It’s been [number of months] since we last spoke. How’s everything going with [the problem they discussed with you]? Any gaps you’re looking to fill?

If so, I’d be happy to jump on a short call with you over the next week.

Best,

[Your name]

Why this works: Just like in the previous example, dissatisfaction with their current solution might spark a reply to this email. If they think there’s a chance to invest their budget into a better option, they’ll take it.

16. Send Them an Update About a Product or Feature They Wanted

“We can’t use your solution because it doesn’t give us [feature]—we can’t function without that.”

It’s one of those sales objections we can’t quite do something about… Until we can. If you spend a few minutes every time you lose a deal to take note of the reason for losing it, you’ll have a list of prospects to reach out to every time you launch a new product or feature.

Example:

Hey [first name],

The last time we spoke, you told me that not having [product capability] is a deal-breaker for you. I have some great news: [explain the latest product or feature that matches their need to choose your solution].

How does that sound? Let’s catch up over the next week. Would [date/time] work for you for a 15-minute call?

Best,

[Your name]

Why this works: You’re giving your prospect exactly what they wanted, but you couldn’t offer the last time around. Prospects whose needs haven’t drastically changed may want to return to this conversation.

The Best Way to Avoid “Just Checking In”? Have a Real Reason to Contact Them

Here’s the thing: “Just checking in” is meaningless. It prioritizes your priorities because it’s about starting or continuing a sales conversation, but it does nothing to meet the needs and priorities of your leads and prospects.

The better way? Have a genuine reason to reach out and make that the center of your email. Think about what they need and what you can add to the conversation to make it happen—a reminder, a hyper-valuable resource, a customized discount, or a success story from a customer just like them.

Following up the right way is the most underrated secret to sales success. Will it throw you outside of your comfort zone? No doubt. But it will get you the results you want because you’ll do what no one else does.

Grab The Follow-Up Formula, our free book with a strong, effective follow-up strategy you’ll want in your toolkit.

Table of Contents
Share this article