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How to Write Sales Follow Up Emails That Actually Get Opened (Templates and Tips)

Illustration of an email inbox with unread message icons and closed envelopes
Be sure you tailor your message to the reader to make a connection and avoid getting ghosted. [Studio Science]

Don't waste your time on generic sales emails. Get templates and tips for crafting compelling messages.

“Just wanted to check in…”

I don’t know about you, but emails that start this way almost always go straight into my trash folder, and I know I’m not alone. If you aren’t taking the time to personalize your follow-ups, you may be leaving money on the table. Wondering where to start? We’ll walk through effective follow-up techniques, how to craft a compelling email, and templates you can use.

What you’ll learn

Engage and close prospects from everywhere

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What is a sales follow up email?

A sales follow up email is one that you send after interacting with a lead. Follow up emails help you continue a conversation and continue building a relationship with the goal of closing a sale.

The core content of a follow up email will vary depending on your prospective buyer’s needs, interests, and behaviors. For example, if you need to educate a lead about your brand, you may share more details about your company or send along thought leadership content. When trying to convert a lead, you might suggest the next steps or ask to schedule a meeting. Once you’re close to closing a deal, you can send the proposal with clearly defined next steps. 

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What are the benefits of a follow up emails?

Email is a fast and convenient follow up method. It allows you to efficiently send information so prospects can learn more and get back to you at their convenience. This approach (often seen as less pushy than a call) is often effective because it respects your prospect’s time and busy schedule.

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How to write a sales follow up email

We’ll look at different sales follow up email templates below, but the typical formula includes:

  1. Intent/recap: State the reason for your follow up. Briefly share what you know about their company’s needs or recap your most recent conversation. 
  2. Value add: Position yourself as an industry expert who understands their business challenges and wants to help. This could mean sharing an article that demonstrates your thought leadership or attaching a whitepaper to your email that frames your product as a solution. The goal is to align this valuable resource with needs expressed during the prior interaction.
  3. Call to action (CTA): Propose a next step with a clear CTA. Your CTA should prompt an action from the customer and keep things in motion. 
  4. Subject line: Weird for this to come last? Not really. The content of your email will often dictate the best subject line, so save this for your final task. Do all you can to make it stand out in your prospect’s inbox. More on this later.

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5 follow up email example templates and subject lines

If you want to create the perfect follow up email, you don’t have to start from scratch — you can use these templates to get started. Be sure to customize to fit the prospect and keep in mind that you’re trying to grab someone’s attention while they scan a busy inbox, so don’t neglect the importance of a strong subject line. Aim to write one that’s clear and relevant.

We’ve included subject line options for each template, many of which have worked well for my sales follow up emails. I’ve also sprinkled in some subject line advice from John Barrows, CEO of Sell Better by JB Sales.

1.  Personalized sales follow up email after an event

Trade shows, networking events, and conferences offer great opportunities to meet prospects. Right after a meeting, jot down some notes about your conversation on their business cards. Then continue the conversation within a week by sending a follow up email. Here’s a template for inspiration:

Hi, [Name],

I’m so glad we got to talk at [name of event]. Thank you for [taking the time to stop by our booth/learn more about our company]! 

I remember you mentioned [reference a specific part of the conversation — a challenge or goal]. So I wanted to share this with you [include information about your solution/product and briefly explain how it can help them]. Let me know if you’d like to [CTA: meet to discuss further/set up a demo/jump on a call] so I can answer any questions.

I look forward to talking soon!

[Your sign-off/company links]

This email template works well, because:

  • It’s personalized and thoughtful. 
  • It jogs their memory about who you are.
  • By sharing key details from your conversation and tying them to how you can help them, you show that you value their time and would make a good partner. 
  • It recommends a clear next step. 

Now, let’s talk about subject lines for this type of email template. Experiment with the options below, adjusting your email copy as needed, and see what works best for you. 

  • [Their company name] <> [Your company name]
    This builds further awareness of your company while the name is still fresh in your prospect’s mind. Plus, it suggests you have a mutually beneficial partnership to explore.
  • Let’s do lunch (on me!) This is a great way to follow up with prospects after a good conversation at an event. It helps you build the relationship in a casual, positive way and offers them a tasty perk. Keep your email short and focused on scheduling lunch. Beyond that, briefly reference something they said when you last met and how you can help to pique their interest.
  • Can I be honest?
    This can be a good way to get a conversation going in a relatable and helpful way. If you use this subject line, the body of your email should share an interesting thought and relate to a conversation you had with the prospect during the event. For example, you might say something like, “Most people think [XYZ] is the only way to tackle [a problem they’d mentioned], but I’ve found that [solution/idea] actually works better. Here’s why.”

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2. General sales follow up email after an event

In a perfect world, you’d get to chat with every person who stops by your booth or attends one of your company’s networking events, but that doesn’t always happen. That’s why it’s helpful to have a simple template you can use for general event follow up emails. While you may not be able to reference specifics about the prospect, you can still make your email relevant. Collect business cards or email addresses of interested people at your booth and recap the event, sharing relevant content or news, in your email.

Hi, [Name],

We both attended [event name] but didn’t have a chance to connect. Hopefully, we can another time! Until then, I wanted to share something that may [solve a relevant problem/help them in their role or industry]. 

[Share some industry news, event takeaways, thought leadership content, or a company white paper with a link or an attachment so they can explore it further.]

What are you currently doing to address [topic/challenge/news mentioned above]? If you’re free for a 15-minute phone call in the next week or so, I’d love to chat with you about this. If not, let’s connect on LinkedIn [provide a link to your profile] and stay in touch. 

Thanks again for stopping by!

[Your sign-off/company links]

This email template works well, because:

  • It’s honest and helpful.
  • It tees up a meaningful topic ahead of a potential sales conversation.
  • It suggests two possible next steps so the lead can show their level of interest.
  • It offers an option to stay in touch while delaying a conversation, so you can gently nurture the lead via social media and email if they aren’t yet ready to talk. 

Here are some options to consider for your subject line when following up with general leads after an event:

  • X questions answered after [event name]
    If you didn’t connect with this lead personally, you can use the name of the event you both attended as common ground while offering them new, valuable information about your product or service.
  • X takeaways from [event name]
    This subject line and content promise can help you follow up with leads who attended the event and those who may have missed it. It can position you as a thought leader in your industry and provide an opportunity to introduce new people to your brand.
  • Looking for input…
    Getting feedback is always a good idea, especially after a sales event. And asking someone for their thoughts shows that you’re willing to listen and you value their insights, which is a great way to foster a relationship. In this type of email, you won’t necessarily lead with your product or service. You’ll use it to gather information, connect with people, and start conversations.

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3. Sales follow up email after a conversation

You should get in the habit of always following up after a conversation with a potential customer. If it’s within a few days, use your follow up email to recap your conversation and confirm the next steps, even if the next step is just, “I’ll reach out again in a month when things have calmed down for you.” Then set a reminder to follow up.

If it’s been a longer time since you’ve spoken, weeks or months, remind them of your last conversation, share something helpful, and suggest a reason to reconnect. Here’s an idea to get you started:

Hi [Name],  

It was great talking with you [yesterday, last Thursday, last month, etc.]. I wanted to follow up about your [question/comment/challenge] regarding [topic]. [Provide brief info to refresh their memory about you and your company, connecting the dots between product and topic if appropriate].

Is now a good time to reconnect? I’m happy to provide any details you need from our end, and feel free to send me information about your challenges ahead of time. Hope to talk soon. 

Have a great day!

[Your sign-off/company links]

This email template works well, because:

  • It’s sincere and personalized. 
  • It helps you to re-establish rapport and position yourself as someone who can help solve their problem. 
  • It is assertive but not pushy.

Once you’ve written the email body to follow up after your sales conversation, try out one of these subject lines:

  • I thought about what you said…
    This adds a personal touch to your message. Reading this subject line may make them curious about which of their problems or insights gave you food for thought, making them more likely to open and read your email.
  • X options to get started
    This actionable subject line works great if your conversation reveals that the prospect may be ready to move a deal forward. It tells them what to expect from your email and keeps the sales process moving in a clear direction.

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4. Sales follow up email after a trigger event

Trigger events are behaviors that tell you a lead is interested in what your company offers. These are things like signing up for a newsletter, downloading a white paper, or opening an email and clicking its link. This behavioral data can be tracked and scored by your marketing and CRM platforms, which may nudge you when leads engage. 

Keep track of trigger events to see what your prospect is interested in, and consider when it makes sense to follow up via email. Introduce yourself if you haven’t yet. Then offer content that may interest them, invite them to a webinar or in-person event, or suggest a meeting or demo. Here’s an example:

Hi [Name],

I hope you’re doing well — thanks for [note trigger event]. We work with [name a couple of similar companies] to [explain how your solution helps], and many of them have been asking us about [topic relevant to their trigger event]. Is this [pain point] affecting you too? 

I’m happy to share how we’ve helped clients [achieve a solution to the pain point]. Are you open to scheduling a phone call soon, perhaps [day] at [time]? If that doesn’t work, let me know when is better for you. In the meantime, I’ve attached a case study that shows how we [explain successful outcomes/highlight impressive results].

Talk soon,

[Your sign-off/company links]

This email template works well, because:

  • It allows you to show immediate credibility.
  • It focuses on your prospect rather than starting with your company’s solution.
  • It shares helpful content while suggesting a concrete next step. 

Consider the following subject lines for following up via email after a trigger event:

  • Can I help?
    Emails often ask the recipient for something. This one can stand out by offering something. If you see that a prospect has recently looked at your website, opened an email, or downloaded an asset, you know that they are at least somewhat interested in your industry or what you offer. They probably have questions. This is a great time to offer help by getting to know more about them and their concerns.
  • Meeting invite with [company name]: [date]
    Trigger events indicate a prospect is intrigued by your offering. Why not spur their interest further? Take a chance and send a meeting invite. If your product lends itself to a demo, suggest that too.
  • Are you going to [name of event]? This is an intriguing subject line because it builds awareness about an event the recipient may not have been aware of. It’s a chance to provide more information and include a link to register for the event at the same time. 
  • [Goal/solution to a problem] e.g. “Speed up your production with fewer mistakes”
    This may be a good option if your lead is fairly new as it will help you gauge their interest without scaring them off. Based on what you know about their company, consider their likely issues and goals. Using a subject line that focuses on achieving a goal and overcoming a challenge will show your lead that you understand what they’re going through and how you can help them. 

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5. Sales follow up email for when you don’t get a response

If a prospect doesn’t open, click, or respond to your first email, don’t lose hope. There could be many reasons for this, and it doesn’t always mean they’re not interested. Persistence and understanding are key. Try reaching out again. Keep it short, positive, and helpful. Use this template as a jumping-off point:

Hi [Name],

I know how busy you must be with [job function tasks]. Hopefully, the [asset name] I sent about [topic] was helpful. In case you missed it, I’m including it again here [link/attachment]. Feel free to share it around if you find it helpful!

Any chance you have time for a call on [date and time] to talk more about I can help? If not, let me know what works best for you. I’m happy to work around your schedule.

Looking forward to connecting,

[Your sign-off/company links]

This email template works well, because:

  • It’s gracious and not accusatory or guilt-inducing.
  • It reminds your prospect that you aim to be helpful.
  • It suggests a next step while offering flexibility on when to take action. 

When a lead has ignored your emails a couple of times (or more), it may be time to offer your last attempt to help. Being direct may spark their interest, initiate FOMO (fear of missing out), or signal to you that it’s time to spend your efforts elsewhere. Try these subject lines to determine which direction it’ll go:

  • Did I lose you?
  • Is that a no?
  • Have you given up on [initiative]?
  • Still looking for [product or service]?
  • Reaching out one last time. Let me know if I can help.

Now it’s time to determine how to improve your follow up game. Read on to learn more ways to boost your email performance.

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How to boost your follow up email performance

Even seasoned sales pros have room to grow. After 10 years in the industry, I’m still learning new ways to improve my follow up emails for better results. Look at important metrics, including open rates, click-through rates, and direct responses, when evaluating your email performance. And try these tips:

  • Write an attention-grabbing subject line: Doing so can improve your open rate and get more eyes on your emails. Keep it short and benefit-oriented so the reader knows they’re getting something out of it.
  • Make sure your content matches your subject line: A decent open rate and a poor click-through rate usually mean your email doesn’t deliver what your subject line promises. For better results, make sure your subject lines and content are aligned. 
  • Personalize your content: Using a template is a great guide, but don’t just copy, paste, and send. Personalize each email. Tailor them to your recipient’s industry or company, or reference a recent conversation you had. If possible, mention mutual connections or similar clients you’ve helped.
  • Offer help and value: If you make their lives easier by offering valuable thought leadership or recommending solutions to one of their biggest pain points, they’re more likely to consider what you have to say. Plus, this is a great way to build rapport.
  • Ask for input: This tactic can show your prospects that you value their opinions and feedback. It also prompts them to respond and engage with you. Try asking them to confirm they’re experiencing the same challenges that the news is reporting, for example.
  • Experiment with send times: Unfortunately, there is no perfect send time. If you’re not seeing desirable open rates, try mixing up the day and time that you send emails. Paying attention to how these affect your metrics can be hugely helpful. For example, I never send emails on a Monday. I’ve seen that Tuesday mornings work best for follow up emails, and when I want to schedule a meeting, I send invitations on Thursday mornings for the following week. 

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Common follow up email mistakes to avoid

To ensure a better follow up email, avoid these pitfalls:

  • Don’t try to trick people: Always make sure the body of your email relates to the subject line, or you’ll lose trust and kill the relationship before it begins.
  • Don’t address your email to the wrong person: This often happens when automation software either pulls from the wrong field or is working with poorly organized lead data. Always test your emails before you send them to catch mistakes when possible. When using a template, don’t be sloppy. Change people’s names when copying and pasting. 
  • Don’t be pushy: Being overly salesy or aggressive at any stage of the sales process can bring your deal to a screeching halt. Be kind and empathize with your customers instead.
  • Don’t be long-winded: Respect people’s time. You’ll see better results when you get straight to the point and offer a clear call to action.
  • Don’t overwhelm: Data is your friend, but you need to wield this not-so-secret weapon wisely. Trigger events can excite us. But just because someone clicked on a link doesn’t automatically mean they want to schedule a demo. Reach out in baby steps to understand where your prospects are in the process and meet them there.

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Keep the conversation going

Bottom line: In sales, following up is a must — a constant must. Use the above sales follow up email techniques to guide your leads through the sales process. Rather than pushing them forward, consider their needs and their readiness. Ask yourself what can help them most at that moment and which next step makes sense on both sides. By responding to their interests and considering what they need, you will naturally keep the conversation going toward a deal.

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Erin Hueffner, Writer, Salesblazer
Erin Hueffner Writer, Salesblazer

Erin Hueffner is a writer from Madison, Wisconsin. Her career spans two decades in tech, journalism, and content marketing. At Salesforce, Erin’s work focuses on sales fundamentals and best practice content for Salesblazers. Erin has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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