An Oldie but Goodie: Turning the ‘Out of Office’ Reply Into Contact Gold

I thought I’d put social media aside for a minute and move back into some real hard-core lead generation.

I was reminded today of one of the oldest tricks in the book for outbound calling: The “Out-of-office” reply. This is a very simple trick: When you know someone is out of the office, always call and email.  What you get is the following:

  1. Voice mail: “Hi, this is … . I am out of the office until … . For immediate assistance, please call John Doe at XXX-XXXX.” Boom, you have a new contact in that department. Yes, for higher level contacts you get the admin, but for functional contacts, you got yourself another person to call.
  2. Email: If you check out the sample below, you can see that an out of office reply can be contact gold. Although that contact will never email you back when you return to the office, you get a reply. The result is:
  • You typically get a list of contacts and their contact information. These people always work directly with your contact and will be useful as you navigate the account.
  • You get a direct phone number and/or other contact information from their signature.

Simple, yet daring….


Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

  • Which is why I block out of office auto-replies 🙂

    Not so much from ‘you’ – the real sales person –

    But the same thing holds true for spammers – bingo – they get a confirmed email address

    And second – if you are away for a few weeks – autoreply sends one reply ber new email address – that can be manipulated.

    As a spammer – Isend 1 million emails to you with forged sender address – the forges sender address being the address that I want the SPAM to go to – voila – you just deliverd it all for me ….

  • Well, the spammers win with the “out of office” reply too. GTK Elliot.

  • Which is why my OOO says ‘ I will be out of the office until dd/mm/yy. Please refer to your other contacts in the organisation.

    Please feel free to send me a text message if its urgent. I will respond to this message, as required, on my return.’

    What this does is 1) give a return date, 2) give real issues to other people in the team 3) give a way for the boss to get hold of me by text (or anyone who actually knows my number, althoug its not in the message to avoid scammers/spammers and 4) set an expectation that I might not reply due to the passage of time

    I find this to be very effective.

  • Jen Thomas

    Elliot Ross — you said you know how to block Out of Office replies.

    Do you know how to make a rule to move them?

    I tried to make a rule based on ‘Out of Office AutoReply’ text in the subject, but it doesn’t work (maybe because that text is aut-generated & not really part of the subject?)

    I have scoured the internet and many blogs in vain … thanks in advance for your help (or even confirmation that it’s not possible).