It’s not you. It’s me. This relationship just isn’t working out.
You’ve probably heard all of the breakup clichés. But you might not have heard of the term “sales breakup email”—or considered that you might need to send one to a potential customer you were initially excited about connecting with.
But sometimes, sending that sales breakup email is necessary. When your prospect just isn’t returning your emails and doesn’t seem to be engaged with your brand anymore, the best course of action might be to move on.
It can seem counterintuitive at first to lose the relationship. We get it—why wouldn’t you want to keep trying with a prospect?
Because how you handle a prospect’s lack of interest says a lot about your brand. And sometimes, sending a sales breakup email is exactly what you need to do to get them to engage with you again.
What is a sales breakup email?
The term “sales breakup email” refers to the very last email you send to a prospect that’s gone cold.
You’ve probably had a sales rep send one of these to you at one point or another. Here’s a quick look at one:
A sales breakup email acknowledges that the prospect hasn’t been responding to your emails or otherwise engaging with your brand.
In doing this, the email makes one last attempt to re-engage the prospect. If that doesn’t work, the email recognizes that the prospect isn’t interested in continuing the relationship and formally ends your contact with them.
How do I know a prospect’s gone cold?
Before we get any further into everything a sales breakup email is, what it can (and can’t) do, and how to write effective ones that promote continued goodwill toward your brand, let’s break down what it means for a prospect to “go cold.”
To start, a cold prospect is somebody who doesn’t already have a relationship with your brand. It might be someone you found through a LinkedIn search, from an email lookup service, or a contact provided by someone you know.
In any case, it’s a prospect who doesn’t know who you are. In contrast, a warm prospect is somebody who has engaged with your brand, either by purchasing a product, registering for a webinar, subscribing to your newsletter, or reaching out to you for information.
Should you send sales breakup emails?
In short, yes. Here’s why:
For the recipient, getting a sales breakup email shows that you’re paying attention to who’s interacting (and not interacting) with your brand.
It also demonstrates that you’re humble and emotionally intelligent enough to recognize a poor fit and considerate enough to stop filling their inbox with emails they don’t want.
For you, it’s a way to remove uninterested prospects from your sales pipeline gracefully. Here’s an example:
When you send a cold email campaign, plan on sending sales breakup emails to at least some of the recipients.
You can even automate this step of the process using Hunter Campaigns and have a sales breakup email sent automatically after a specified period of non-engagement from the recipient.
Why sales breakup emails work
A sales breakup email acknowledges that your relationship with the recipient has been stagnant for some time. Whether that leads to them re-upping with you or choosing closure is up to them.
It’s empowering for the recipient and shows that you don’t force yourself on prospects who aren’t interested in what you’re offering.
It also helps you segment your warm prospects who have gone cold. While most people who receive your sales breakup email won’t reply, some might email back with a quick “thank you.”
Count those prospects out of your funnel for now.
Others might email back to let you know that they’re still interested in your offer.
They might tell you that they just don’t have the budget right now and that they’ll be back in touch later, or they might say that they are interested but that they’ve been busy and your communication got lost in the fray.
Responses like these could then lead to calls, consultations, and conversions.
You might also get responses letting you know that the recipient isn’t the right person for you to have sent the initial cold campaign to.
Maybe they aren’t a decision-maker at their company, or the right person to reach is in a different department.
When this is the case, you can use tools like Email Finder to find the contact details of the person you actually need to reach out to.
Finding somebody’s email address is easy with Email Finder. Just type their first and last name and their company’s domain into the tool, and then click the search icon.
You’ll then be able to see their email address.
If you can’t find the email address you’re looking for with Email Finder but have an email address for somebody at your target recipient’s company, you can send an email like this to politely ask for the email address you need:
Top tips for effective sales breakup emails
Follow these tips to make the most out of your sales breakup emails:
Keep it short
A sales breakup email should be fairly short. Keep it focused on why you’re reaching out and avoid going into any long-winded explanations or questions.
Here’s an example of a concise sales breakup email:
You can find plenty of great sales breakup email templates (as well as other types of cold email templates) here.
Leave the door open for future engagement
The most important thing to remember when writing a sales breakup email is that you aren’t metaphorically shutting the door behind yourself and locking it.
Instead, you recognize that the recipient doesn’t appear to be ready to walk through the door you opened, so you’re going to stop trying to get them through.
To put it into more literal terms, your sales breakup emails should always include a call to re-engage with your offer.
It shouldn’t be a hard sell, but a mention that if the recipient would like to catch up later or explore your offer again, you’re always available to talk.
A sales breakup email can be a great place to drop a few links to resources that can help the prospect reach their goals or address a pain point.
Show them that even though you acknowledge they don’t want your services right now, you’re still committed to providing value.
This will leave a positive impression on the prospect and might even nudge them to reply to your email.
Here’s an example of a value-add sales breakup email:
Sales breakup email subject lines
As we’ve mentioned before, your email’s subject line matters. It’s what catches your recipient’s eye and makes them want to open your email—or not.
Your sales breakup email could be a re-engagement and conversion machine, but if people don’t open it, it’s all for nothing.
Effective breakup email subject lines aren’t coy about why they’re in the recipient’s inbox. They address the situation directly, which can force an interested prospect’s hand to re-engage.
Here are a few examples of subject lines that pique recipients’ interest by acknowledging that the relationship has gone cold:
- [Prospect’s name], am I off base?
- Permission to close your file?
- Maybe the timing just wasn’t right
- Looks like this is goodbye, [Prospect’s name]
- Before I go, here are a few free resources
The last example is a great subject line to use if you have a lead magnet that will potentially re-engage the recipient.
By offering something of value, you’re communicating that you care about the relationship and showing the prospect how you can help them solve the problems they’re facing if they choose to work with you.
Here’s what that breakup email might look like:
Keep in mind that sometimes, a prospect just isn’t the right fit, which is okay. Notice how these subject lines take responsibility for the mismatch rather than putting it on the recipient.
They aren’t overly apologetic, but they take ownership of the sender’s role in choosing to stop engaging with a prospect who doesn’t appear to be interested.
After a sales breakup email, it’s over
Your relationship with the prospect might be over, but there are plenty of fish in the (cyber) sea. Focus your efforts (or the efforts of your sales team) on connecting with prospective clients who are a great fit for your offer.
Remember: cold outreach is largely a numbers game, so you’re not going to convert every prospect, no matter how great a fit they are for your offer.
For help with crafting cold emails that connect with prospects and result in sales, check out our blog post on the lessons we learned from sending 12,000 cold emails last year. We made some valuable insights, and we bet the lessons we learned will help you out too.