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How to Write a Follow-up Sales Email that Closes the Deal

When it comes to generating revenue, everyone in the sales world knows following up with prospects is everything. But the method in which you follow up can make or break you. It’s often easier to get a prospect on the phone for that initial call, than to get them to respond the second time around. That’s why when you go to write that follow-up sales email to send to your prospect after an initial phone call, you have to make sure you do it right.

The Scenario

You manage to get a prospective client on an initial phone call. You give your “30-second pitch” about what your company offers and how it can help solve the prospect’s problems. The prospect gives you a “maybe” or a “touch base with me later this week.” Sound familiar?

What’s next? You have to write a killer follow-up email that will grab their attention, touch on pain points they have, and trigger a response to move forward with a deal. Not as easy as it sounds!

Let’s walk through how to create an effective follow-up email that performs.

How to Create a Killer Follow-up Sales Email

The way you engage with your client is crucial. It’ll either push the deal forward, or result in radio silence. More importantly, if you’re sending follow-up emails time and time again that have a track record of causing dead leads, you’re missing out on tons of revenue potential. It’s time to create a follow-up template that you know will perform well.

1. Create an Attention-Grabbing Subject Line

In your follow-up sales email, the subject line needs to be perfect. Either it’ll catch your prospect’s attention and cause them to click to open the email. Or, it’ll read as spam or “just another sales email,” causing them to drop it in their trash bin immediately.

Your goal is to create a subject line that is extremely relevant to the prospect. However, keep in mind that some prospects will answer the phone when you make that initial call, and some will not. It’s important to have a plan for both scenarios.

Spoken to Prospects:

If you manage to get the prospect on the phone the first time around, make sure to take notes. Jot down their business goals, pain points, and other challenges they’re looking to solve by speaking with you. Then, touch on those goals or challenges in the subject line. For example,

  • How we Can Help you Improve Sales
  • Let’s Have a 10 min Call on [business goal]?
  • [Name], Quick Question
  • Ideas for Improving [business challenge or goal]

Directly referencing their business pain points that they mentioned during your first call will likely catch their attention immediately. It also shows you’re not wasting their time, and you want to talk about a topic that matters to them.

Unspoken to Prospects:

Unfortunately, some prospects won’t pick up the call the first time around. Calling as quickly as possible after receiving the lead can help your chances of them answering, but you still need to be prepared for no response. 

If you get no answer on your first call attempt, your goal is to set up that initial phone call with an effective email. Directly reference the prospect’s quote request in the subject line. Even better, if there are any specific details about their quote request, you can include them to make it more personal. For example,

  • Follow Up to Your (product/service) Quote Request
  • Quick 10 min Call to Help You with (product/service)
  • [Name], Quick Question
  • Understanding Your Options (Product/service)

Sometimes, prospects prefer a digital follow-up to their quote request rather than a call. They may answer a personalized email quicker than a phone call. So stay persistent.

A few other tips about subject lines to keep in mind:
  • Keep your subject line to 7 words or less. When subject lines are lengthy, you’re more likely to lose your prospect’s attention. Keep it short and relevant, so they can read it quickly when it hits their inbox.
  • Use their first name. People like to be spoken to directly. When someone sees their first name in their inbox, the email registers as more personal.
  • Ask for a small commitment. You probably realize that one subject line asks for a 10 minute phone call. This tends to be effective because it asks your prospect to commit to something very small. Your prospect is busy, and likely doesn’t want to carve out time for an hour phone call with someone they don’t know. Start with asking for 10 minutes, and you may be surprised at how long they actually stay on the phone!

2. Email Body: Stick to Concise, Personalized Copy

One of the most common mistakes that sales professionals tend to make when writing follow-up emails is sending a long-winded email jam-packed with information about the company, service, or product. It’s crucial to always remember your prospect’s time is short and valuable, especially when they are higher up in the sales funnel. If you try to occupy too much of their time, they’ll likely skip right over your email and move on with their day.

Successful sales emails don’t need to be long. They just need to spark interest and trigger a follow-up conversation. Trust us – once you’ve captured their interest, they’ll give you more time on the phone.

Keep your email copy short, to-the-point, and personalized (rather than generic). All you need to include is:

  • The context for your follow-up
  • How you will help solve their business challenges, and
  • What sales professionals call “clear next steps.” Also, remember to keep the message personalized rather than generic. 

Here’s an example of effective follow-up copy:

Hi Joe,

Last Monday we chatted about how [your company]’s program can help solve [prospect’s business challenge or goal]. Have you given our conversation any additional thought?

After reviewing your business goals again, I have some additional ideas I think can help your team. How does a 10 minute phone call sound – say, Wednesday at 10am?

Notice this email is just 4 sentences long. It reminds the prospect about the prior conversation and what was discussed. It also mentions the prospect’s specific business challenge and “clear next steps,” or a proposal for a 10 minute call, at a specific time and date. This is important because it asks the prospect to commit to a plan, rather than a vague request such as “Call me if this is relevant.” With clear next steps, you are much more likely to get that next call set up.

What to Avoid in the Follow-up Email

There are several things to avoid when you go to write that follow-up sales email. Tons of research in the sales industry has shown to be ineffective and result in dead leads or dropped sales opportunities. Let’s review some of these factors to avoid.

Revealing your cards too soon

In sales, effective engagement requires building rapport. Generally speaking, people buy from people they trust. That’s why typically, prospects aren’t ready to close the deal immediately. They want to be sure your team is trustworthy and can add value to their business goals. Once you build a connection through several engagements, the prospect will be in a better position to give you a “yes.”

Remember that this follow-up email is just your second point of contact with the prospect. Chances are, you haven’t yet built a connection that will lead to a sale. Avoid “revealing all your cards,” or trying to directly sell through the email. For instance, don’t send your pricing or a custom quote just yet. Instead, focus on ways you can help solve those pain points. Leave the numbers to the lengthier phone call.

Including too much information

Believe it or not, people’s attention spans tend to last for 8 seconds or less. Additionally, when it comes to business professionals and decision-makers, you have to remember they are busy (just like you!) and likely have a million tasks flying at them at once. Sending your prospect several paragraphs about your company or product/service is just going to cause them to zone out or think “I don’t have time for this!”

On later phone calls, you’ll have the opportunity to hone in on the details of how your company can add value. In the follow-up email, it’s best to stick to the 30-second pitch.

Waiting to hit on relevant points

Along that same train of thought, your email needs to “cut to the chase” within the first few seconds of the prospect reading it. Even if the prospect opens your email and begins reading it, if it doesn’t feel relevant to them, they will likely exit the email. Then, you’ve already lost their interest and likely the sale!

Hit on the prospect’s pain point within the first sentence of the email. This will catch their attention, causing them to read on and consider your “clear next steps” at the bottom of the email.

Avoiding clear next steps

As mentioned, it’s important that your call to action includes clear next steps. You can consider your follow-up message a win if it results in a “next step” in the process locked down.

However, if you use a vague request or “put the ball in their court” to come up with a plan, they’re more likely to get on with their workday and forget about your request. Instead, propose a time, date, and length of time for the next phone call. If the request doesn’t work for their schedule, they’ll likely counter with a time that does work.

Emailing too often

In sales, it can be extremely difficult to get even a single response! While being persistent is important, there is a limit to how many emails you should send after that initial phone call.  You don’t want to overwhelm the prospect or seem too desperate to win their business.

If you are consistently getting radio silence on your attempts to engage, send no more than 4 emails within 10 days. Remember to keep them short and to-the-point, and keep adding value through your messages. If the prospect continues to ignore your messaging after 10 days, it’s time to add the prospect to a nurture campaign and wait a month or two to reach out again.

Sending the same email twice

If you do not get a response to your first follow-up email, do not send the same message a second time! Whether the prospect opened and read your email or not, there’s a reason they did not respond. Different messages work for different prospects, so it’s time to switch it up a bit. If you do not get a response to your first follow-up email, after two days, come up with another concise, personalized message with a different subject line and try again.

A Sample Timeline

We mentioned that timing is important in your follow-up email strategy. Avoiding emails can make you fall off your prospect’s radar. However, emailing too often can overwhelm them and lead to radio silence. 

To turn a good sales team into a great sales team, it’s important to incorporate a follow-up email timeline into your selling system. Each sales team will eventually find that perfect timeline that works for them. However, if you’re looking to improve your follow-up strategy, here’s a sample timeline you can use –

For email templates to use when following up with prospects, take a look at 2 tried-and-true templates here.

If you’re looking for a reliable source to get a consistent flow of prospects delivered to your inbox, 360Connect can help. We help our clients by sourcing true-intent, active prospects for them, so they can focus their time and effort on selling. To get started, let’s talk!

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