Being successful in the realm of sales emails requires more than a good deal or a cleverly worded introduction message. If you want to get better results and close more sales, you’ll need to master the art of the sales email follow up.
Did you know that about 80 percent of prospects will say “no” or dodge your message before they ultimately say “yes?” Don’t take a “no” response or a no-response to your first email as the end of the line. If you follow up politely, and in a way that’s compelling to your recipient, you’ll stand a much higher chance of eventually converting them.
The Art of the Sales Email Follow up
Sales email follow-ups are basically second, third, or fourth (plus) chances to land a sale or move a deal forward. Depending on your goals and the structure of your campaign, you could be trying to get a sale over email, secure a new meeting, or just have them open your message.
Whatever the case, you’ll need a few things working in your favor:
- A snappy subject line. People won’t open your email unless it has a unique, compelling subject line. Most sales email follow-ups will fail at this stage, so make sure your subject line is concise, relevant, and highly polished. For help see our post on sales email subject lines that work.
- Personalized, original, relevant content. The body of your message also needs to be personalized and, in some way, valuable. It might be a special offer, an important extra detail, or just a friendly bit of insight, but it needs to be relevant and helpful.
- A call to action. What is your prospect supposed to do next? Sometimes, you’ll want them to download some kind of content. Others, you’ll want to schedule them for a phone call. Whatever the case, it needs to be clear and easy for them to take action.
How to Send a Polite Sales Follow-up Email
If you’re too aggressive, too nagging, or too impersonal, recipients will delete your email before they even open it. There are a few important protocols you’ll need to follow to make sure your sales follow-up email is well-received:
- Time it appropriately. First, get your timing down. It’s typically more valuable for salespeople to follow up quickly, but if you haven’t gotten a response from a recipient, it’s better to wait. Bombarding your prospects with email after email is only going to annoy them. Accordingly, after a meeting or introduction, send a follow up right away—but remain patient if you haven’t gotten an initial sign of interest.
- Be direct. Don’t try to pretend that you’re sending an email for the first time with your follow up. In most cases, it’s better to acknowledge that you’ve already sent a message. Also, be direct in your body content; your recipient is busy, so don’t waste their time.
- Send something different. Remember, your prospect is probably getting hundreds of emails a day, and at least some of them are coming from companies like yours. They’ve seen all the usual gimmicks, so make sure you’re sending something unique. The more personalized you can get, the better.
- Acknowledge the person’s time. Like I said, your recipients are busy, and they’re going to respond to your sales email follow ups more favorably if you acknowledge that. Work in a short “thanks” for their time, and you’ll find yourself held in higher regard.
- Provide some details. The more specific you are, the better. Instead of saying “we can help you close more sales,” say “on average, we help our clients increase close rates by 22 percent.” Instead of saying “we have a great deal for you!,” say “we’re offering a deal that will save you $500!”
Sales Email Follow-up Templates
As I stated in a preceding section, the quality of your sales email follow up subject line is going to play an important role in determining whether or not your email is opened and read. I’ve written a separate guide on how to write a successful sales email subject line, and there’s an entire section specifically dedicated to sales follow-up email subject lines, so I won’t go into too much detail on subject lines here. Instead, let’s get into the core content that will make your sales email follow-ups more successful.
We’re going to explore 7 situations where a follow-up email is appropriate, and provide 3 distinct email templates for each occasion. Subject line options will be included in brackets.
1. Following up after a no-response
You sent an introductory email, either completely cold or as part of some marketing campaign, and this person didn’t respond. What do you do? Just give up? No. Depending on your initial email, you can follow up with something like these.
[Following up on (special offer here)]
I just wanted to follow up with you on the special offer we sent your way. For a limited time, we’re offering a deep discount on our top product. You can save $250 if you act now.
Of course, if you have any questions, we’re available 24/7—just reach out to me directly, and we’ll talk about your options!
[Did you know (surprising fact here)?]
It may not seem like it, but 35 percent of customers in your industry are dissatisfied with their current service. What does that mean for you? It means you have a major competitive opportunity, and we can help you seize it.
Drop me a line—I’d love to have a chat with you about finding new leads, and making sure your existing customers stick with you for the long haul.
Hope to hear from you soon!
[You’re busy. We get it.]
We sent you an email last week about [topic], and I wanted to personally follow up with you to see if you got it. I totally get it—your inbox is flooded right now—but our latest piece of content offers some truly unique insights. I’m adding the link here in case you get a chance to read it.
If you do have an opening in your schedule, I’d love to have a conversation with you. Are you free this Friday for a quick 15 minutes?
Let me know!
2. Following up after multiple unsuccessful (no-response) emails
After one follow-up email and still no response, you’ll need to change tactics a bit. These email templates represent some alternate angles you can take.
[Check out our latest whitepaper! (or other form of content)]
I didn’t hear back from you on my last email, but I wanted to share something cool with you—it’s our latest whitepaper, which covers our latest findings on growth in the (____) industry. Give it a download! It’s completely free.
If you find it useful, I’d love to have a conversation with you about it. Just reach out whenever you’re ready!
[Do you have time for a quick chat?]
I haven’t heard back from you in a while. I was hoping we could connect for a quick chat? I only need 15 minutes of your time. Are you free this Friday?
[Can you help me find the right person?]
I’m hoping to find the person in your company in charge of (subject), but I’m afraid that might not be you. Could you point me in the right direction? I have a compelling offer that could (insert impressive statistic here).
3. Following up after too many unsuccessful emails
You’ve sent multiple emails like the ones above, following up gently, and none of them have gotten a response. Don’t give up hope! But do be prepared to give it a rest. If you email someone five times or more, you’ll run the risk of irritating them—and causing them to hit the “block”, “spam”, or “unsubscribe” button. These emails will help you end your attempts politely, and could help you reclaim your recipient as a customer in the future.
[One last offer—before you go!]
We’ve sent you a handful of special offers and compelling pieces of content over the past few weeks, and it seems you’re not especially interested. Accordingly, we’re going to bring these emails to a halt.
Before you go, we’d love to send you one last opportunity—with the link below, you’ll find (special offer, content, etc.). Check it out, and let us know if you’re interested!
And if at any point you find yourself in need of our services, feel free to reach out! We’ll be here.
Your inbox is probably even fuller than mine, but I’m getting a vibe that you’re not interested in what we have to offer. If that’s the case, I totally get it—just let me know.
If you ever find yourself in need of (product/service), keep us in mind! I’d love to help you in the future.
[It’s not you. It’s us!]
I hope you’re doing well! I haven’t heard back from you in response to my previous messages. I take that to mean (subject) is no longer a priority for you.
I completely understand, and will no longer be sending you emails on the subject. If you ever change your mind, or if your priorities change in the future, be sure to let me know!
4. Following up after a voicemail or sales call
A follow up email after a sales call can be a make-or-break moment. Depending on how the call went, this could potentially redeem an otherwise challenging conversation, or reinforce a great impression. These templates can help you bring everything together.
[Sorry I missed you!]
I left you a voicemail earlier concerning (subject). Sorry I missed you! I hope we can connect soon. Is there a better time when I can reach you?
Let me know!
[One more detail…]
Thank you for the conversation earlier. I’m thrilled we could (details of the conversation here).
I remembered one more thing I forgot to share… we have a (special offer/piece of content) I think you’ll find intriguing. I’ll link it here:
Reach out if you have any questions or if you’re ready to move forward!
[Call me back when you can!]
I tried calling you earlier about (subject). Could you give me a call back when you can? I’ll be available the rest of the afternoon and tomorrow.
Thanks in advance!
5. Following up after an important user action
Let’s say you have a prospect who takes some kind of meaningful action on the web. They downloaded a whitepaper, they watched a video, or they clicked a link in your last email. These email templates can help you turn that momentary interest into sales momentum—and hopefully land a deal.
[Enjoying the whitepaper?]
I saw you downloaded our latest whitepaper. Are you finding it useful?
I wanted to follow up and see if you needed any help with your (strategy). As you know, our company has helped thousands of businesses like yours accomplish (goal).
When you’re done with the whitepaper, give me a call! I’m here to help.
[What did you think of (your latest product)?]
Thanks for your interest in (your latest product)! It’s been in development a long time, and we’re happy to finally roll it out to our favorite customers.
Do you have any questions I can help you with?/How are you enjoying it?
[I saw you watched our video!]
I saw you got to see our latest video on (subject)! We were thrilled to publish it. Did you find it useful/enjoyable?
If you’re interested in learning more on the subject, or if you have any lingering questions, all you have to do is reach out! I’m here to help you with whatever you need.
6. Following up after an initial introduction
If you’ve met someone for the first time, like at a networking event, at a conference, or via a different contact in your network, it’s important to follow up with them immediately. Not only will this reinforce your connection, it will also give them an immediate opportunity to respond to your offer.
[Great to meet you!]
It was great meeting you! I just wanted to send you a quick follow-up with my contact information. I hope we can meet again soon.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about (subject), just shoot me a message and I’ll get back to you right away.
[It’s (name) from (event)!]
How did you like (event)? I found the seminar on (subject) particularly interesting—lots of good takeaways there.
I just wanted to follow-up with my contact information and touch base with you. Do you have any questions about (subject/product) I can help you with?
[Excited to learn more!]
I met you at (event/place), and wanted to follow up with you. I’d love the opportunity to learn more about your business. Is there a good time we could chat, or possibly meet up in person?
7. Following up after a meeting
If you’ve had a formal meeting with this person, your follow up can help you remind them of the details of that meeting, or guide them through the next steps of the process.
Thank you for your time earlier!
I wanted to follow up with next steps, should you decide to move forward.
If you have any remaining questions, simply reach out to me and I’ll do my best to answer them. If you decide you want to move forward, we’ll draft an agreement and send it your way to sign. Assuming everything goes well, we’ll have a kickoff meeting, then (remaining next steps…).
[A brief recap: (meeting info)]
Thanks for meeting me earlier.
I just wanted to send you a brief recap of what we covered:
(bulleted list of highlights and action items)
Here’s what I need from you:
Let me know if you need help with anything!
[Awesome meeting earlier—here’s what’s next]
I was thrilled to meet earlier, and I’m excited to move to the next steps of the process.
I just need a few pieces of information from you, including (data points). Once I have those, I can put together a finished quote for your review.
I’m hoping to get started in the next day or two. Do you need anything from me in the meantime?
Experimenting With Your Own Approach
Hopefully, these sales email follow up templates and examples to prospective clients have helped you learn some of the hallmarks of successful sales email follow ups. However, if you want to make the most of your sales email follow up strategy, you’ll need to run your own experiments—and come up with your own approach. You can start by reading our in-depth guide on how to write a follow-up email. Also, don’t miss our posts on sales email templates and sales statistics, as well as sales prospecting tools!
If you’re interested in learning more details about your sales email strategy, you’ll need an analytics tool like EmailAnalytics. EmailAnalytics integrates directly with your Gmail or G Suite account (or your team members’), giving you details on average email response time, your number of sent and received emails, and even your busiest email periods. With it, you can dig deeper into your email habits and your sales email success, and adjust your habits to improve your results. Sign up for a free trial today, and get the insights you need to grow your sales!
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before exiting it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.