The ultimate guide to writing sales follow-up emails

Tired of writing the same follow up email for the 1000th time? I feel you…

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve written the same follow up email to several different prospects (in one day) let alone over the course of my sales career.

Just floating this to the top of your inbox in case you missed my previous email (they clearly didn’t miss it, since you’re tracking the emails and you know once they open it :D)

Here’s another gem:

Wanted to touch base to see if we can get the ball rolling on this

wrote every salesperson ever

It’s painful (quite literally) not getting replies to your emails/messages. What’s worse is the fact that (almost) every salesperson tracks their emails and seeing prospects open emails and not reply is just downright devastating.

And yes! I’ve scoured through a handful of guides on writing email templates over the course of my career. It’s a topic that hits very close to home for me.

My inspiration (mostly) comes from these two sources: 101 sales email templates and Good sales emails.

Now, these two guides are hands down the best sources I’ve found on the internet. Kudos to the guys who compiled this!

It’s helped me a lot, especially on days when I simply couldn’t scribble two sentences without feeling brain dead. Curse of writing the same emails over and over again (sigh!).

It’s what I love and dislike about sales. You need to be consistent in order to succeed in sales, but at the same time, consistency can be mundane. Anybody telling you otherwise is just BS’ing.

So this is where faith kicks in, you have to believe that you will get a reply from the person you’re trying to reach. So keep at it, until you do!

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

Thomas Edison

The fact of the matter is that sales are difficult, even with all the tracking tools out there, letting you know when somebody opens the email. It just adds to the anxiety, was my CTA good enough? Did I send the email too early? Are they going to go ahead with the contract? Oh God, they are continuously opening the emails, there must be something wrong. It’s the damn pricing, I quoted them too much…

Yes, we all go through this plethora of emotions. There is no shame in admitting that, I’m right there with you. Follow-ups alone are hard, follow-ups without any response from the prospect are just damn tough.

Perhaps due to these challenges, 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up.

But, why do salespeople give up so quickly? Well… most of the time, it has to do with the fact that writing such emails is not easy. Besides, toeing the lines between persistence and pushiness is tough. And, many email marketers and salespeople find themselves on the extreme ends of the divide.

All these emails require a lot of imagination and the right oomph! Now I’m a huge believer in “personalized emails” and they work! (source)

However, it’s always good to try both approaches (templates and personalized emails) and see which one works the best for YOU. It’s good to take advice and implement changes, especially if it worked for someone else. The key, however, is to take the learnings with a grain of salt and make sure you “tweak” it to work for you.

So how do you go about writing good follow-up emails?

Well, you start off by setting the foundation that is strong. And that starts at the first touch point with a prospect, make sure you qualify the prospects. I don’t mean BANT or MEDDIC, I mean actually talk to them and understand what’s their “pain point” and if your product indeed solves that pain point. Bridge the gap between what the prospect is looking for and what is the best way to resolve that bottleneck.

The secret weapon here is EMPATHY. Listen to the prospect and guide them accordingly. I can’t state this enough! Listen to their needs and explain how your product can help solve their needs.

It’s about THEM, you, on the other hand, are strictly working in the capacity of a guide. Your job is to make sure that the prospect is well equipped to make the decision that your product indeed is the best fit for them.

Remember, you can’t shove a product down a prospect’s throat. This ain’t wolf of wall street…

Yes, I loved that movie too 🙂 but not very applicable in SaaS. Persistence, on the other hand, can and will pay off in the long term.

So once you’ve qualified a prospect, understood what brought them to your website and what their needs are, it’s time to make sure you write a summary of the call/demo in your CRM asap.

See what tools I recommend every salesperson should use.

That’s why listening is super important in a qualification call, you can use those pain points later on in the follow-ups. Email templates don’t guarantee you a response, sure some are well written and perform better than others but in the end, all that matters is what your sales process is and how comfortable a prospect feels with you.

To give you an example, I always try and connect with my prospects on social media (LinkedIn and twitter mostly), I start following them and keep engaging them on social media, so they know I’m taking an active interest in them and you always stay on their radar.

Pro tip: Never ever stop (altogether) engaging with the posts of your prospects just because the deal went through. It’s crass and a very crappy sales tactic. Be respectful and really honor that relationship with a client.

So the golden nugget here is to make sure you connect with your prospects on mediums other than email and phone.

Coming back to how to write a good sales email. Emails should always be relevant, it should always add VALUE to the prospect’s day. I love the US I love food and since the majority of the prospects I speak with are based in the US, I always try and add recommendations of restaurants to the email. Hell, I’ve even sent them pics of me enjoying some of my favorite food 🙂 again, add value and build a relationship with them other than the fact they are purchasing your tool.

So I’ve compiled a few templates that have worked and continue to work for me.

Follow-up #1

“Hi, Syed,

I wanted to follow up to see if you got my last email.

I know emails can easily fall through the cracks sometimes.  Just floating this to the top of your inbox in case you missed it.”

[I usually write the summary of the initial call/email here (qualification)]

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Follow-up #2

Do not send the same email as you sent the previous time. Key here is to address the recipient’s pain points and emphasize that you can do this quickly and effectively. If you attached the file in the prior email, send them a link instead of the attachment this time. Keep in mind that a call to action (CTA) is one of the most critical parts of your follow-up email.

“Hi, John,

I was thinking a lot about the importance you place on Improving [pain your product solves] which we discussed last Thursday, and it reminded me of the work we did with XYZ company. In their case, we implemented the same tactics as we are suggesting for your organization. [You may want to add references here.]

If you require additional information, just let me know, and I would be happy to help you.”

[Add a call to action like “view my proposal” etc]

Follow-up # 3

If your prospect opened the email, follow-up after two days. Keep in mind that you should hammer your iron when it is glowing hot.

Hi Diane,

Apologies if my level of persistence has become annoying.

Are you still interested in [your software]? Would love to know how you’d like to proceed forward from here.

If not, please let me know so I can stop reaching out.

Follow-up #4

If they spoke to you before and now have gone unresponsive, it’s always good to ask if they still are interested in talking further. 

Hi Mark,

Is this project still a priority for you? I have tried to reach you out to you a few times without success.

If you’ve decided to go in another direction – no biggie! Just please let me know.

Thanks!

Don’t forget to call them in between the follow-ups, there’s always a chance that they will answer and you can skip the wait for a reply.

Follow-up #5

My fifth follow-up is usually just a break-up email. It’s a nice way to say goodbye, in between the emails sent and calls made, if they still don’t respond probably means their priorities have changed.

Hi Jim,

I haven’t heard back from you about [what you spoke about/pain points]. I’m assuming your plans have changed, and you no longer want to proceed with this.

Keep [insert your company name] in mind if you want to move forward in the future.”

[Add proper closing]

Conclusion

So there you have it, some of the follow-up email templates that I use on a daily basis. Don’t ever hesitate to follow-up, most of the times people appreciate you following-up as they have a lot on their plate.

Of course, some people may not like your emails. Well, you can’t make everyone happy. Hopefully, they will reply with a “no,” and you can both move further. Remember, you miss 100% of shots you don’t take. So go ahead and follow-up

There are no “best” sales emails, there are emails that work for you or they don’t. Every product is unique and every sales person’s style of writing email is different than the rest. So my advice? Customize the emails to fit your scenario, make sure you are delivering value to your users and A/B test everything!

Happy Emailing.

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