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Sales follow-up e-mail: Templates, examples, and tips
You’ve met a promising contact or hope that you have found a new potential customer: Then don’t let them slip through your fingers! Even if an initial contact was not successful, you should not throw in the towel just yet. From everyday office life, you probably know how often an e-mail can be overlooked amid the flood of messages. That’s why it’s worth checking again, and writing a sales follow-up e-mail. You might well prompt your contact to make a first or renewed purchase after all.
Far too often, even experienced salespeople give up too early – for fear of being too persistent or because they are concerned that the effort might not justify the reward. After all, writing and organising e-mails takes a lot of time – time you could be spending with other contacts. Here’s a trick to make your life easier: Use sales follow-up e-mail templates. This way, you will always have formulations and structures at your fingertips; you only need to enter individual contact details and facts.
We have put together several templates for different purposes for you to use.
What are follow-up e-mails good for?
Let’s assume that you’ve made a promising contact at a trade fair or an informal networking event. During your conversation, the person was very interested in your offer of products or services. He presented you with his business card and said that you could get in touch with him anytime. You’ve already tried to reach your new contact by phone or e-mail, but you didn’t get any answer. However, this should not prevent you from trying again. It is not uncommon to need several attempts to turn a contact into a customer. Effective sales follow-up e-mails can increase the likelihood of a response.
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Tips for successful follow-up e-mails
Everything starts with the subject line. This is the first and sometimes the only thing the recipient of your e-mail will see. If you are not already convincing here, the e-mail will most likely end up in the trash. The aim is to pique the interest of the recipient. Rhetorical questions, for example, are suitable for this. However, subject lines that address the recipients’ concrete problems or goals are also particularly apt. Make it clear in the subject line that you have a solution to offer. In this respect, the follow-up e-mail differs only a little from the cold e-mail you write to try to make first contact.
Otherwise, the wording of the subject line depends heavily on the level you are at. Is this the first attempt or have you already sent several e-mails without success? After a few unanswered messages, you can ask yourself if it’s worth trying something new. Good subject lines for different situations can be found in our model sales follow-up e-mails.
The following applies in terms of content: as short as possible, as detailed as necessary. You can assume that your contact doesn’t want to spend much time wading through e-mails. Long messages are a deterrent. But if you get to the point within a few sentences, your message will be like a breath of fresh air among the pile of unsolicited e-mails.
Clear instructions make it easy for potential customers to reply to your message. You want people to answer you directly. If, on the other hand, the reader still needs to think long and hard about how best to write back, he or she will put off dealing with the e-mail and then forget about it altogether. You can achieve rapid feedback with clear questions or instructions (without issuing commands).
In addition to the content, the time of sending is also decisive for the success or failure of your message. If the e-mails come too thick and fast, the messages can be seen as annoying; if spaced too far apart, any interest sparked will already have disappeared again. As a rule of thumb, wait three to four days between two e-mails. The gaps can grow from e-mail to e-mail. This will give the other person enough time to write a reply, if that is what he or she had in mind. The best time for sending depends on the recipient’s habits. It is difficult to make hard and fast rules here.
Many e-mail programs or newsletter services offer scheduled dispatch. Formulate the message in advance and send it automatically at the desired time.
When sending sales follow-up e-mails, you can do a lot wrong, but also a lot right. Creative ideas and honest offers will set you apart from the crowd.
|Use creative ideas||Write standard e-mails|
|Formulate appealing subject lines||Use a subject void of meaning|
|Keep it short and sweet||Write in a verbose style|
|Create simple response options||Leave the recipient at a loss|
|Space the e-mails sufficiently apart||Bombard the contact with e-mails|
|Use correct spelling||Write texts containing careless errors|
|Treat people with respect||Consider your own message as the most important thing|
|Also try telephone calls or face-to-face meetings||Put all you hope in success from e-mails|
|Start multiple attempts||Give up too soon|
Sales follow-up e-mail examples: 6 models
The sales department relies on follow-up e-mails in various situations. You should also design your e-mails according to how the contact process has progressed up to this point.
Successful sales can be achieved with follow-up e-mails above all if they address the specific customer directly. So take the following models as your starting point and customise them as best you can.
After a personal meeting
You have met a potential customer who is interested in your offer at a trade fair or in another context. You have received their contact details, and now it is up to you to turn the initially expressed interest into a sale.
Subject: Thank you for meeting me, [name of contact]!
Dear [contact name],
Thank you so much for taking some time to meet me at [event]. As discussed earlier, [product/service] can help you meet the following challenges:
- [Point 1]
- [Point 2]
- [Point 3]
Do you have any further questions about how [your company name] can support you? When would be a good time to tell you more about what we can do for you?
In this e-mail, you already refer to an earlier meeting in the subject line. This increases the likelihood that the message will not immediately end up in the bin. In the content, you briefly recall the advantages of your offer in key points, but otherwise it is short and to the point. By asking a specific question at the end, you make it easier for the recipient to answer the question.
After a phone call
You were able to discuss the basic aspects of your product over the phone with a contact, but you have not yet received a final decision. Don’t wait for your interlocutor to get in touch with you, but be proactive.
Subject: Further information about our conversation
Hello [contact name],
Thank you so much for the call [today/yesterday]. It was very interesting to learn what challenges your company is currently facing. I’ve picked out some pertinent information and attached it to this e-mail. [Specific point in the info material] might be of special interest for you.
Please let me know when we can talk again. I’m sure that, together, we can find a solution to your challenges.
Have a good day,
With an e-mail like this, you position yourself as an expert who wants to help the person you are writing to. You also give your contact something tangible. Now he can read what was discussed on the phone again in detail. By referring to a specific point in the information material, you also signal that you are dealing with your contact person’s individual situation.
After a voicemail
You have already tried to reach your new contact on the phone, but only reached the answering machine. Of course, you left a message, but it is still a good idea to send an e-mail afterwards.
Subject: I’m afraid I wasn’t able to reach you
Dear [contact name],
I tried to reach you by phone, but only got your voicemail.
Please feel free to call me back on [your phone number] as soon as you have time, or write me if that is more convenient.
I am looking forward to our communication,
Since you have left a message on the answering machine and you would like to have a telephone call anyway to talk things through properly, you can keep it brief here. You display appreciation for the recipient and you don’t make any accusations. At the end, you offer two options for how the contact should proceed further.
Didn’t get a response?
You’ve already sent an e-mail but have not received a reply. Many leave it at that, but that doesn’t have to be the end of it by any means. Write to your contact again, maybe this time you’ll catch him at a good moment.
Subject: How [offer name] can help you with [objective]
Hello [name of contact],
Are you still interested in moving your company ahead with [product/service]? In my earlier message, I already pointed out the advantages in relation to [function]. But do you already know that we can also support you with [special problem]?
I would be happy to discuss with you how we can adapt [product/service] to your requirements. Please let me know when you have time for a conversation.
You can assume that the first message didn’t convince your contact. Therefore it makes sense to name further advantages of your offer. Make it clear that you have been thinking about the company and its challenges. This is why you highlight a specific objective of the company in the subject line.
After repeated enquiries
You have not received a reply even after several e-mails, but there’s no need to give up yet. Instead of continuing to point out the advantages of your offer, you can now adopt a more personal note.
Subject: I hope that we can have another conversation
Hello [contact name],
We talked some time ago about how [product/service] can help you and your company at work.
Recently, however, we haven’t had the opportunity to discuss the possibilities for [company name] in more detail. No problem: I’m always willing to make up for lost time.
Please call me on [your telephone number] or simply reply to this e-mail.
With best wishes,
In such an e-mail you show goodwill and give positive signals. There’s no need to state any sales arguments now. Instead, try to appeal to your contact person on a personal level.
As a last attempt
It makes sense not to give up directly, but at some point enough is enough: After about five attempts, you can stop sending more sales follow-up e-mails to a non-responsive contact. In your last attempt, you change the strategy once again. Make it clear that you are only trying to make contact one more time. The recipient of the message could actually be suffering from the FOMO effect (fear of missing out): His concern about missing out on a good offer forever might still prompt him to make contact.
Subject: Can we delete your contact?
Dear [contact name],
I’m currently cleaning up my contact list. As I haven’t heard from you in a while, I’m proposing to remove you from my address book. Is that all right with you?
However, if you are still interested in [product/service], simply give me a short indication. Then we can discuss together how to tackle the challenges facing [company name].
Thank you very much for your help!
You make it clear to the recipient of the e-mail that you will not send any further messages to him in the future. At the same time, you give the person a simple way out: All your contact has to do is answer and he’s still in the race. Do not reproach your contact or try to persuade him actively. Instead, thank him for supporting your (supposed) tidying-up campaign.
If you don’t receive a reply to this e-mail either, it is really time to let sleeping dogs lie. If you try to get in touch with him again, you will only undermine your credibility. It’s highly likely that the contact won’t be in touch anyway.
The tone you should use in sales follow-up e-mails has a lot to do with your brand and the tone of your first meeting. You know best whether you should use formal language or a more relaxed tone.