How To Send Sales Breakup Emails That Aren’t Ridiculous


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It’s been 12 years since Aaron Ross published his prospecting masterpiece ‘Predictable Revenue.’ In it he popularized the idea of using ‘sales breakup emails’ to engage prospects that aren’t responding.

The ‘sales breakup email’ is a brilliant idea, but the sales landscape has changed a LOT in the last 12 years. And it’s a good idea to re-evaluate tactics that make you look desperate may not reflect well on your brand.

In this article we’ll look at why most breakup emails are used in an absurd, ham-fisted way. 

And look at an elegant alternative that makes more sense, and positions you for more business long term.

sales breakup emails

What’s A Sales Breakup Email? 

 A sales breakup email is the last email in an outreach sequence. The idea is to nudge prospects who are interested in your solutions to take action.

A typical breakup email template might say:

Hi {FirstName},

I’ve reached out a few times about how we can help you {engage with influential business leaders on LinkedIn}. 

I understand you may be busy, and hate to bother you further if this is of no interest at all.

Hence this will be my last follow-up.

If you change your mind, do hit reply and let me know.

There are lots of different breakup email templates. But they all tell the prospect this is the last time you’ll be contacting them.

The idea is to make them feel bad about not replying. Or by making them feel like an opportunity is being lost.

And in doing so, they act on your message.

Why Do Salespeople Use Sales Breakup Emails?

Lots of salespeople swear by breakup emails – they love them! 

Why? What’s the attraction?

You wouldn’t think it, but when breakup emails are done well, the response rates can be very high. Done well, they WORK.

(Note: they’re almost never done well).

Think about why someone might not respond to your prospecting email.

  1. They’re not interested and never will be.
  2. They’re interested, but just got a bit busy.
  3. They are interested but not in the near term.

The idea behind an effective sales breakup email is to capture potential interest from prospects who fit into categories #2 and #3 above.

The interest is there, but the timing isn’t right. Which is something a salesperson can work around.

Why Sales Breakup Emails NO Make Sense

The most common use case for a breakup email is one where it makes ZERO sense.

It happens when you send out a last email in a sales cadence to get some interest from a potential customer. If they feel bad about not having replied already, they might engage since they know this is your last message.

This is So Dumb

Think about how this looks from your prospect’s point of view.

First, you send them a series of cold emails that they never asked for in the first place.

And since they’re not interested enough to respond you’re ‘threatening’ to not contact them any more.

Oh no! How will they survive without your unsolicited messages?

The logic behind this ‘last try’ method is absurd. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t be embarrassing yourself with breakup emails like these.

It’s Juvenile: The whole premise of telling a cold prospect you’re not going to contact them any more feels like a kid threatening to take his ball and go home. It doesn’t leave a positive impression.

Bad Sales: Why would you tell someone you want to work with that this is your final email? Cold prospects need to be nurtured for extended periods of time. Telling them you won’t contact them any more is counterproductive.

It Ignores Timing: A common situation happens where your prospect is potentially interested in your solution. But it’s not an immediate priority so it gets ignored for now. Breakup emails effectively inform your prospects that their timing concerns are irrelevant to you. That you are only interested in working with them if their timing aligns with your own.

What To Do Instead

Instead of sending breakup emails, send messages that add value. Acknowledge some of the pain points they’re probably experiencing. And offer expert advice to relieve their pressures.

After a couple of tries it should be clear your prospect isn’t going to respond right now.


If they didn’t reply it’s because you didn’t provide enough value. Or the timing isn’t right.

Wait for 45 to 60 days and reach out again. Ideally, offering even more value than before. 

If the timing is good then they’ll respond. If not, then wait another 45 to 60 days to reconnect.

At NO POINT do you want to close the relationship. As a salesperson your job is to be persistent and make the relationship happen.

When it’s the right time they’ll let you know.

As long as you keep the lines of communication open, you always have the opportunity to work with a potential customer. 

This is why you never want to make breakup emails a part of your prospecting cadence. They might work in some instances. 

But the damage to your sales process as a whole is incalculable.

Where Sales Breakup Emails Make Sense

There are a few instances where a ‘soft’ breakup email makes sense.

Imagine you’ve been speaking with a prospect for a couple of weeks and suddenly they ghost you.

Now you’ve got a problem.

They’re sitting in your CRM. And ostensibly they are part of your active pipeline.

But if they’ve ghosted you, they aren’t really an active prospect. You need to remove them from your CRM. But it’s hard to do so because they aren’t communicating their intentions any longer.

In situations like this there has been some ongoing communication. So it’s not unreasonable to expect prospects to let you know where they stand.

And for this a SOFT breakup email works well.

You have a relationship and you’ve done some work on their behalf. So asking for a quick reply is hardly unreasonable.

If they’re still interested, they’ll reply.

And if they don’t, you know where you stand. You can stop allocating time to them. And mark them as inactive contacts in your CRM.

The main thing is to keep things open for future opportunities to work together.

Here’s a sales breakup email template that accomplishes all of the above.

Hi {First Name},

I contacted you a few times about sorting out your {their goal / problem}. Is {value proposition} still a priority for you? 

Here’s a {resource} you might find useful to {solve problem / achieve goal} 


Let me know how I can help.

Best regards,

Note that the template above DOESN’T say you won’t contact them any more. 

Instead, ask whether their problem is still a priority and offer some VALUE to HELP them.

Breakup emails have strong response rates because they rely on making prospects feel bad about going silent.

If you really want to make your prospects feel bad, keep stacking value in your communications. The more you help them, the harder it is to keep silent.

Do You Use Breakup Emails?

How about you? Do you use breakup emails as part of your prospecting cadence?

How about prospects that suddenly go silent?

I’d love to hear about your experiences with breakup emails. You can contact me on Linkedin or send me a note on our contact page




Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Sales Higher. He knows any company can THRIVE with enough qualified sales leads. So he’s spent the last decade helping companies meet engaged prospects and win new deals.

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