How to Write Breakup Emails for Sales + 4 Breakup Email Templates to Get a Response

Email outreach doesn’t always go according to plan. And you can’t keep wasting time.

So, you craft a breakup email with the specific goal of parting ways with your potential customer—while leaving a taste of ‘what could have been’—hoping they’ll bite at long last.

And odds are, they will bite—because this sales follow-up email works.

What is a sales breakup email, what are its key elements, and how do you execute it? I'm so glad you asked.

What is a Breakup Email in Sales?

In sales, the breakup email is your last attempt to reach a lead or prospect that is not responding to your outreach. Your previous emails have gone ignored, and you can’t spend any more time on this unresponsive contact.

Break up emails can be used for cold emails or warm outreach, inbound or outbound sales. You can use it when you’ve never heard from a lead or haven’t heard anything in a while. And, you can even include it in your sales email campaigns, so your "adios" is automated.

But a well-written breakup email does more than say goodbye. Instead, it can boost open and response rates—opening previously-silent lines of communication and pave the path to more closed deals.

To enhance your B2B break-up outreach, check out our article on 12 B2B Cold Email Templates and learn how a well-crafted b2b cold email template can boost your efforts.

‎What is the Purpose of Breakup Emails—AKA Closing the Loop Emails?

Are you trying to ruin their day and send them to the freezer aisle for a tub of chocolate ice cream like your average breakup? No, no, you are not.

The objective of a breakup email is to increase desirability and get a response.

You want to pull in people afraid of missing out on your value proposition. You are betting on the psychological principle of loss aversion—the human tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains.

And it works. HubSpot sees a 33 percent response rate to their breakup emails.

Ryan Mckenzie, Co-Founder & CMO of Tru Earth, says his team typically gets a 10 to 15 percent response rate from cold prospects—and some of those become customers.

I will frequently respond to a solid breakup email after ignoring previous outreach.

Imagine this: You have been receiving emails about this amazing CRM that will double the speed of your sales outreach, but you’ve been distracted and busy and didn’t really take advantage of the free trial. But then, you get an email from the sales rep that says, “Goodbye from Close! We’ll stop contacting you now since you may not have time to discover our solution that can supercharge your sales outreach.”

Oh, no! The clock is ticking. The opportunity is slipping away. Will you respond?

Of course, if your lead has already decided against your solution (for whatever reason), the breakup email won’t do anything. Also, there is the chance that your product/service is a poor fit for their pain points, and misalignment prevents progress.

However, if they haven’t taken the time to read your past emails, it’s a strong pullwhich increases open and response rates.

With the right approach and certain key elements, that ‘last email’ can get you what you wanted all along—a closed sale.

Oh, and another purpose of the breakup email? You get to close out communication. Rather than leaving a lead or prospect in no-man’s-land, your sales team can mark them down as a won or lost deal, cleaning up your sales pipeline.

How to Write an Effective Breakup Email: Key Elements

An effective breakup email can turn a silent "Maybe" into a “Hey, let’s chat!” into a new customer. Here are the key elements of an effective breakup email:

1. Use a Clear and Direct Subject Line

It all starts with writing an effective breakup email subject line. You want it to be clear and concise—no beating around the bush. You are moving on; they should know it without opening your email.

Consider something like:

  • Goodbye from Steli
  • So long from Close 👋
  • Thanks for your time
  • It’s not you. It’s me. 💔
  • Should I stay or should I go now?
  • Moving on ✌️
  • [Prospect’s name], is this goodbye?
  • Last Attempt from Close

Plus, short subject lines are easily visible on mobile devices. Win-win.

If you're looking for a powerful AI-tool to boost your email open rates, check out Close's Email Subject Line Generator. This innovative tool harnesses the latest in artificial intelligence technology to craft compelling subject lines that grab your recipients' attention and increase the likelihood of your emails being opened.

‎By the way, if you need a guide on how to write cold email subject lines, we have a great article on that as well!

2. Include Personalization to Pull Them in

Email personalization improves click-through rates by 14 percent and conversion rates by 10 percent.

Personalize the breakup email in the subject line, introduction, or email body. You might include your name or theirs, their company name, and even specific pain points you know they struggle with—plus value that speaks to their needs.

Segmentation is key here, and variable fields with automation will help you do this easily without wasting time.

You want to grab their attention one last time, right? So, make it personal.

3. Clear, Direct Value Offer

Your other sales emails will naturally have included your value proposition already, but you want to highlight what they’re missing one last time.

Dedicate one or two sentences to the value your solution can provide to their company—and what they will miss out on if they don’t respond.

You can also add value beyond your own solution to leave a lasting impression.

David Reid, Sales Director at VEM Tooling, says this:

“Go beyond the breakup and provide tangible value to the client. Recommend alternative solutions, or suggest relevant additional resources. This proactive approach can solidify your reputation as a reliable and helpful partner.

4. Easy-to-Follow Call to Action

Your breakup email needs a strong call to action. Why? This is your last opportunity to trigger a response.

End positively with your contact info or a call-booking link, saying you’d still love to chat. You are giving them the power to decide when that chat takes place. You might also incorporate demos or trials into your CTA.

Here are some examples to consider:

  • If you ever want to discuss how we can achieve [X result] for your team, let me know.
  • Do you want to continue the conversation? If not, I’ll stop reaching out.
  • You can sign up for a demo here—otherwise, I’ll let you go!
  • Let me know if I can help you in the future.

CTAs like these may be just what a prospect or subscriber has been waiting for!

Best Practices for a Sales Breakup Email that Pulls Prospects Back in

Many of the best practices that apply to any other sales email also apply here.

Keep it Short and Direct

Concise. Clear. To the point. These qualities keep your message direct—and stress your value proposition.

You don’t want to waste any more of their time (or yours). You are just saying goodbye while emphasizing your value and leaving a note of "hope to hear from you."

That shouldn’t take many words.

How to do that?

  • Keep it organized and skimable.
  • Employ active, not passive, voice.
  • Use one word instead of three.

Consider aiming for no more than five sentences in total.

Getting the Timing Right

Don’t send the breakup email too early or too late—or too frequently.

Likely, the goodbye email will be part of an email sequence that you can automate within your CRM. Close helps you automate and optimize your email sequences to make sure you get the timing right for your audience.

In general, this is our follow-up philosophy:

  1. Send the first email.
  2. The next day, at a different time of day: Send Follow-up #1.
  3. Two days after your first follow-up: Send Follow-up #2.
  4. Four to five days after your second follow-up: Send Follow-up #3 AKA The Breakup.

So, from start to finish, there might be about a week between your first email and the breakup. But your sequence may take longer! It could depend on various factors, including your industry and how many other viable leads you have on your list. You just don’t want to waste time when you could direct your energies elsewhere.

Also, be conscious of busy periods in your target customer’s industry that could impact their responsiveness. Are you targeting accounting firms? They won’t be responding on April 14. Likewise, if you know of any major projects they’re facing, delay sending the breakup until you can catch them at a good time.

Just don’t overdo it. Using breakup emails too freely and too frequently will diminish their power.

To learn what works best, you will want to test and iterate.

Testing and Iteration

Effective sales emails don’t just happen.

You need to test and iterate to maximize response and click-through rates. By using email reporting solutions—or a CRM— you can conduct email A/B testing to find the right tone, timing, and tailoring necessary to appeal to your audience.

Also, consider surveying the people who do respond to your breakup email and ultimately become customers. Ask what hooked them about the "goodbye." Then, do more of that.

Respectful Positivity

Don’t burn the bridge, and don’t bully. A respectful tone will help you maintain a positive relationship with the person who might still become a customer in the future.

You don’t want to sound accusatory or disappointed—this won’t encourage a response. Instead, keep it upbeat but urgent. You weren’t able to connect this time! Maybe they are busy, or on sabbatical, or just aren’t ready to explore your solution at this point. So, you aren’t going to reach out again.

And bonus points for humor! Odds are, they will remember your tone—even longer than what you say.

Examples of Effective Breakup Emails (+ Templates You Can Steal)

Email templates save you tons of time. They can be plugged into your CRM, personalized with variable fields, and set loose.

Let’s look over some examples of successful breakup emails in different sales contexts. Use these as inspiration—or steal them in their entirety.

Note: In case you are looking to craft compelling email templates for sales outreach (which is completely different from breakup emails), our guide on technical email setup provides proven examples and strategies to engage prospects.

General Breakup Email

Looking for a one-and-done template you can use in most sales contexts? This is a great candidate. It’s clear in intent, short in length, and re-states your value.

Hey [Prospect Name],

I was really looking forward to talking with you about [Your Product] that can get you [x benefit], but I haven’t received any response. I’m sure you’re busy, so this will be my last email to you.

If you change your mind and would like to give [Your Product] a try, please let me know.

Always happy to chat.

Best, [Your Name]

Prior Contact Breakup Email

Adapted from a breakup email template by VEM Medical, this example is useful when you have had previous discussions with the prospect and you want to close out the conversation.

Hey [Prospect Name],

I am checking in again before closing out our past discussions. I haven't heard from you recently, and I understand that circumstances and priorities can change.

However, I am confident that [Your Company/Product] will provide considerable value to [Prospect's Company]. Our approach has assisted [similar businesses/industry leaders] in overcoming [particular issues] and achieving [outstanding results].

If you're interested in discussing how we can collaborate to achieve [specified targets], I'd like to organize a call at your convenience. If not, no worries—I’ll take you off my list.

Thanks for your time.

Best, [Your Name]

Inbound Prospect Breakup Email

Inbound prospects or leads have already shown some degree of interest or familiarity with your solution. You can tailor the breakup email to reflect this, re-highlighting your value and showing understanding of the situation.

Hey [Prospect Name],

I still believe in the value our solution can provide for [Prospect’s Company]—we’ve already helped [similar businesses/industry leaders] achieve [x results]. It’s clear that you’re either busy or have moved forward with another solution. Sorry we couldn’t get the timing right.

I’m taking you off my list for now. If you want to get in touch here’s a link to my calendar, and we can explore if this might be a good fit

Best, [Your Name]

Building Credibility Breakup Email

Remember, your breakup goal is to re-engage your audience and continue (or begin) building a trusting business relationship.

You can use this breakup email to establish your reputation and expertise, which is particularly useful in industries where deals hinge on that relationship.

Hello [Name],

Earlier on, it seemed like [Your Product/Service] was an appropriate solution for [their challenge]. I haven’t heard from you in a while, so I assume the timing isn’t right or you have gone in a different direction.

I won’t bother you again, but I wanted to leave you with some information about [something relevant to their goal].

Resource 1

Resource 2

I hope this helps you crush [their specific goal]. I won’t reach out again, but feel free to let me know if you ever need help with [what you provide].

Best, [Your Name]

Potential Pitfalls to Avoid in Breakup Emails

We have already skimmed over some of the potential pitfalls earlier when we talked about best practices. But let’s quickly include a not-to-do list:

  • Do not be vague. Wishy-washy communication won’t pack the ‘goodbye’ punch you want it to. Say what you need to say in as few words as possible.
  • Do not be boring. Make a joke! Use some emojis. You want this email to stand out and leave a lasting impression, so make it interesting.
  • Do not guilt-trip. Passive aggression, accusations, or extreme disappointment won’t leave a positive impression of your brand—and will likely burn the bridge.

Marnix Broer, CEO & Co-Founder of Studocu, says, "Most prospects won’t respond well to guilt-tripping tactics and subject lines like, ‘Am I annoying you?’ And anyone who responds to a guilt trip will likely resent the move once their initial shame has worn off.”

It’s important to keep the email emotionally positive or neutral. This isn’t a high school breakup, after all. You’re a professional—and this is business.

If you’re not sure you’ve hit the right tone and stride with your breakup email, or any sales email for that matter, our AI Email Writer tool can be a valuable asset. This advanced tool leverages artificial intelligence to help you craft emails that are not only effective in terms of content but also strike the right emotional chord with your prospects.

From "Goodbye" to "Hello Again:" Breakup Sales Emails that Work

An effective breakup email will leave a lasting impression—an impression so lasting that the potential customer might finally respond.

Your sales process is designed to convert sales. The breakup email is just one piece of your sales strategy that can turn maybe-lost deals into ‘hell yes, we’ve won’ deals by convincing potential customers to give your solution (and the conversation) a shot at long last.

Nobody wants to miss out. You can bank on that.

Once you’ve crafted, personalized, and iterated your breakup email, you can automate it with a user-friendly CRM. Close may be your best bet (but maybe not, so check out these other options). Our system provides built-in email automation features and detailed reporting—so your salespeople can get back to selling.

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