Q: What’s a salesperson’s least favorite word?
(Psst: It’s a trick question.) The answer isn't a word -- it's silence.
A silent prospect leaves deals in indefinite limbo. You obviously can't mark the sale as closed-won, but it's human nature to hope that maybe it'll close.
Silence isn't the only thing salespeople don’t love hearing, of course. “Maybe” comes to mind. When a prospect tells you they’ve gone with a competitor or decided to delay a purchase decision, you can move on, but “maybe” creates the same uncertainty as silence.
Silence or a "maybe" followed by silence could mean anything.
- Did you lose the deal?
- Is your prospect avoiding your email or have they just not read it yet? (If you don’t ever want to wonder if a prospect’s opened your email again, HubSpot Sales will take the guesswork out of the equation.)
- Did they go on vacation and forget to set an out-of-office reply?
- Is your contact writing back to you at this very moment? (Probably not.)
Enter the breakup email.
Breakup emails are designed to provoke a response from a prospect whom you haven’t heard from in a while. According to Katharine Derum, senior sales manager at HubSpot, her team sees a 33% response rate to their breakup emails.
These emails enable you to close the communication loop, either confirming a prospect won’t be moving forward or that they’re still interested, but have just been busy. When crafting a breakup email, keep the following four things in mind.
4 Breakup Email Templates to Close the Loop on Deals
1) Continue to emphasize that you're here to help.
Prospects have no incentive to speak with a sales rep who’s only interested in the deal for quota’s sake. Reinforce that you’re reaching out for a reason -- to help their business.
This email is all about the prospect. You’re reaching out because when you last connected, it seemed like your service could be of use to your prospect’s business. Are they still interested in improving their bottom line? Probably.
2) Keep it simple and short.
It’s a safe assumption that your prospect is busy. You don’t need a flowery introduction or build-up; just get straight to the point.
Being direct puts the deal in your prospect’s hands. You’re still here if your prospect needs you, but you don’t want to be annoying. If the deal is closed-lost, it’s time to professionally wrap the relationship and move on.
3) Close the loop.
By removing all emotion from the email and proactively assuming the deal is lost, Enns says, you trigger either relief or want in your prospect.
If they’ve closed with somebody else, your email gives them an out -- you’re assuming things didn’t work out, and your prospect can write back a one-sentence reply affirming that’s the case.
If, however, your prospect is still interested but has just been slow to respond, the idea that you’ve moved on will create a sense of urgency in your prospect. If they still want this deal to happen, they’d better get moving.
4) Add value before walking away.
This template packs a one-two punch: It's written as if the relationship is already over, yet still provides value and an easy way to reconnect with the salesperson should the prospect's interest be stoked.
The matter-of-fact tone incites a sense of urgency in prospects who weren't ready to say goodbye. Providing additional resources and the option to get back in touch on their timeline will create a positive impression on prospects -- goodwill that might not reap any immediate benefits but will only help your brand.
Breakup emails serve as a valuable way to jolt a relationship back into motion, or put it to rest for good. Whatever your prospect says, you can move forward knowing exactly where you stand.
Have you ever successfully used a breakup email or have a sales email template you want to share? Let us know in the comments below.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.