Have you wondered why inquirers never get back to you? How do you turn an unresponsive “cold” inquiry” into a potential “Warm goer”?
- Did you get some basic interest from inquiries received from your trips posted on ShortTermMissions.com?
- How do you effectively communicate and enlist them for service beyond the first response?
In 2018, the ShortTermMisssions.com team surveyed current posting agencies on ways that work for them. We have compiled some best practices from trusted organizations on responding to inquiries.
- Prompt response. The best time is the same day or at least 24 hours response to their inquiry.
- Brief, but informative information. This can be on particular trip or trip they may be suited for.
- Courteous and genuine interaction. Start a chat to get know them. Some organizations send out a brief 3-5 questionnaire response to return. This is all before an application.
- Respect Preferences. In your initial email response ask how they wish to hear back, text, call – including best number and time to reach them, or email.
- Follow up. After contact, follow up with link to application, testimonies, other similar trips offered. Providing a next step interaction seems to work best for most organizations.
Remember that the first contact gives them not only information on a particular trip, but also and important glimpse into revealing your organization’s heart of ministry, level of competence, accountability, experience and vision for mission. Your response is best received when it is personal, caring and knowledgeable. This is not the time to bombard them or their email with a load of videos, long PDFs or form letters which may end up in their spam folder anyway. (Those in moderation can come later.)
This is an important interaction between you in both representing your ministry and your service need with potential participants to see if you will be able to serve together. Be sure to present your organization and the unique ministry which you offer in a personal, brief, yet informative way in any response is always best the best way.
Ideas that agencies are doing:
- Provide a link in your initial email to your reviews and/or brief testimonies
- Prompt and courteous response, best if in 24-48 hours
- Brief, but informative, to specific trip is their first initial contact
- Some organizations include a picture of the last similar trip with brief testimony of participant, a trip itinerary, or newsletter from trip leader
- a brief questionnaire to send back indicating level of interest and basic questions to get to know potential goer better
- Email is still an effective way to send information and ask for a follow-up call
- Asking inquirer best way, time and number to call is a good practice
- Some attach the application or provide a just a link in email for easy next step
From our survey it was evident that sending large amounts of information do not seem to be as effective. They are often sent to spam mail and then it can also be overwhelming to watch many videos, go through many documents, etc before signing on. Keep first contact brief, informative and inquiring to engage potential and keep the conversation going. And remember followup is also a great idea.
Contact us for more tips and help on responding well and engaging with potential applicants. [email protected]