A sales follow-up email is an easy method to contact potential customers and to try to sell them things. So why don't most of them work well (i.e. lead to sales)?

The reason why is that most of them try too hard to sell. This may seem strange to say because the purpose of them is to convert a potential customer into an actual one. And it is, but not necessarily straight away.

Ask yourself how many times have you bought something directly after receiving an email from a company you've had little contact with before? If you are like most people, the answer will probably be never.

That's not to say that you can't promote your company's products (and try to get a sale) in a sales follow-up email. You can. But it shouldn't seem as the only or main purpose why you are sending the person the email.

A good sales follow-up email is used to build up both a relationship and trust. There are various ways you can do this, but one of the best is to provide the potential customer with something which they'll be interested in or useful.

After you have had some engagement with the person, you can then start to push for a sale.

In this online exercise (with a quiz at the end) on writing follow-up emails, I'll show you three examples of different types of sales follow-up emails you can send to potential customers. I'll also show you vocabulary and phrases you can use in your own follow-up emails and explain what the purpose of them are.

To find out what makes a good sales follow-up email, read my 'How to write a sales follow-up mail' article/guide.

To both see an example and learn how to write a follow-up email to existing customers, do the online exercise on 'writing a sales follow-up email to people who have bought things from you'.


Exercise & Examples:

Below are three examples of follow-up emails. The first two are emails for potential professional/business customers and the last is to a potential non-business/normal customer. Look at all three emails and think about what they are trying to do and how they are doing it.

From the context, think why the vocabulary/phrases in bold are being used. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Email 1

Hi Sally,

Thank you for speaking with me yesterday. I was wondering whether you've thought of any more questions about our service that I could answer for you?

I appreciate that you are very busy, but if you could reply to me (either by email on mwallace@pudseyinfo.com or by phone on 01262 3417197) it would be much appreciated. If you're too busy, I'll contact you by phone in a couple of days.

Regards,

Morven Wallace
Sales Executive
Pudsey Info inc.

P.S. Samsang plc has just purchased the same service that you are interested in buying.

Email 2

Good Morning Jeff,

I hope you are well. We spoke about a month ago about your interest in improving your customer services department's computer system.

I've been thinking about your particular situation and I've pulled together some articles and information on improving customer service performance which I think will be of great benefit to you. One of the articles I found is on best practices for tracking customer calls (see below):

www.ionsystems.com/guides/call_tracking.html

If you'd like, I can send you the rest of the articles and information by email? Just give me a call (on 07956 45274906) or send me an email (to i.flynn@ionsystems.com).

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Ian Flynn
Sales Manager
Ion Systems inc.

Email 3

Hi Peter,

You recently downloaded a 'buying car insurance guide' from our website (loanfinder.com). I'd just like to confirm that you've received it and found it very useful?

We've also produced a number of other guides for buying other types of insurance products (life, home etc...). Click here to see the guides.

By the way, have you heard that we've got an excellent offer on car insurance from Live Safe (only available on our website)?

If you buy before Tuesday 25th May, you'll get a 15% discount. Plus, we'll add a further discount of 10% onto the offer. So that means that you're going to save 25% on any insurance product you buy through our website for Live Safe. Click the below link and take advantage of this superb offer:

www.loanfinder.com/offers/live_safe.html

If you haven't received your guide or have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me (Gary Tate) by email (gary.tate@loanfinder.com) or by phone (0895 657 1004).

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Gary Tate
Sales Executive
Loanfinder.com

P.S. To receive advice and hear about insurance promotion and offers, follow us on facebook or google plus.

Now do the QUIZ below to make sure you know how to write this type of email.


How to write a sales follow-up email after a customer order How to write any good sales follow-up email article


Quiz:

Below is a definition/description of each of the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Now choose the word/phrase from the question's selection box which you believe answers each question. Only use one word/phrase once. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, this icon will appear next to the answer. Click on it to find extra information about the word/phrase (e.g. when, where and how to use etc...).


1.

When you want to write about a new topic at the very end of the email (after you've written your name), you start by writing

     

P.S.:
(abbreviation) This means 'postscript', although it always shortened in email or letter writing to 'P.S.'. It is always used at the end of emails (after you write your name and job title) to introduce a new topic in the email that you've not written about in the rest of the email.

Although the real purpose of follow-up sales emails is to sell, the main subject of good sales follow-up emails is normally different (e.g. to give information, check if they have something etc...). 'P.S.' can be used to write about what the real purpose of the email is (i.e. to try to sell or get them to do something), as it is used to write about something which is different (to change topic) from what you've written about in the rest of the email. For example, 'P.S. If you buy 2 books from us this week you'll receive a third book for free'.

A phrase which is used in the same way as 'P.S.' is 'by the way'.

In Spanish: no translation.

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2.

A phrase used to introduce a reason why you decided to send the person the email, is

     

I've been thinking about:
(phrase) This phrase is used to introduce the reason why you are writing to them. It's important that you explain what the reason you're sending the email to the person is as soon as you can in the email.

For me, the reason you give in the email for sending it (e.g. to give information, check if they have something etc...), should be different to what the real purpose of it is (which is to sell or get them to do something). The reason you choose should be something which will encourage the person to read more (giving free advice or help is a good reason for example). You can then talk about your real purpose at a later point in the email.

There are many different phrases which you can use to introduce the reason of the email (e.g. 'I was wondering whether...', 'I'd just like to confirm...'). Obviously, which you choose to use depends on the reason you're giving. For example, 'I was wondering whether you have implemented the new EU standards in your call center?'.

In Spanish: no translation.

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3.

A phrase where you say that you will call the person if they haven't replied to you, is

     

If you're too busy, I'll contact you:
(phrase) This phrase is used to encourage the person receiving the email to get in contact with you. No matter how good a sales follow-up email is, most of the people reading it will not respond. This phrase tells the reader that you will contact them if they don't respond, which should increase the number of people replying. This is very effective if you have the potential customer's phone number (in my opinion it is easier to make sales on the phone than through emails).

This phrase goes near the end of the email and should go after a sentence where you ask them to contact you. You can follow it by saying how you will contact them (e.g. 'by phone'), although you don't have to. But you should always say when you'll contact them at the very end. For example 'if you're too busy, I'll contact you in a couple of day'.

Be aware that this is quite pushy/aggressive, so some people may not like it.

In Spanish: no translation.

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4.

A phrase where you recommend the person to buy the product, is

     

Take advantage of this superb offer:
(phrase) If the main/real purpose of the follow-up email is to talk about a promotion, discount or offer, you can use this phrase. Two of the techniques that advertisers use when writing sales copy (text to make/persuade people to buy things) is to use verbs as they are used in commands/orders (e.g. 'contact us' instead of 'you can contact us' or 'please contact us') and using superlatives (e.g. 'the best', 'the greatest' etc...). This phrase contains both ('take advantage' and 'superb'). When trying to sell things to people you should include these types of words.

In my experience, using these type of words/phrases works a lot better with potential non-business customers than it does with business/professional customers (they are less impulsive when buying things). In fact, this type of sales strategy may annoy potential business/professional customers.

In Spanish: no translation.

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5.

A phrase which is used to introduce a different topic in the body of the email, is

     

By the way:
(phrase) This phrase is used to introduce a new topic that you want to write about in an email. It is used in the same way as 'P.S.', but whereas 'P.S.' is used at the end of the email, 'by the way' is used in the body/main part of the email.

Although the real purpose of the emails is to sell, the main subject of good sales follow-up emails is normally different (e.g. to give information, to check if they have something etc...). 'by the way' can be used to allow you to write about what the real purpose of the email is (i.e. to try to sell or get them to do something), as it is used to change the topic of the email. For example, 'by the way, if you buy 2 books from us this week you'll receive a third book for free'.

The phrase 'by the way' is always followed by a comma (see the above example).

In Spanish: no translation.

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6.

A phrase that is used to recommend the person to do something, is

     

I think will be of great benefit to you:
(phrase) In my opinion, being very direct and just talking about the product/service that you want to sell is normally not very effective in a sales follow-up email. Most people will just not respond to the email. But if in the email you actually give advice/help to the potential customer or give them some useful information (like a free guide etc...), you will not only have more opportunity to persuade them to buy, but they will appreciate you more for the help you've done for them.

You would use this phrase when you are giving them this non-sales advice/help/information. The phrase is just used as a recommendation.

In Spanish: no translation.

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7.

A phrase used to tell the person receiving it what contact they have had with your company in the past, is

     

You recently downloaded:
(phrase) When you start your follow-up email, one of the first things you need to do is to explain the contact the person you're sending it to has had with either you or somebody in your company (e.g. 'I sent you an email about...' etc...) or with your website/company before (e.g. 'you became a member of our....' etc...). You do this so the person receiving it will know that the email is not unrequested spam, but a valid email. So they will read more of it.

'you recently downloaded' is just one of a number of different phrases you can use to do this. Whatever phrase you use to say what form of previous contact the potential customer has had with you or your company, you need to say when it happened. For example, 'thank you for speaking with me yesterday', 'we spoke last month about...' etc...

You can also include your name (e.g. 'my is Chris Smith. we spoke...') and the name of your company, but this is not necessary if you have had direct previous contact with the person before. You can also explain what the contact or action was (e.g. 'I sent you an email about our service agreement last week ' etc...) if you want to.

In Spanish: no translation.

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8.

A politer way of saying 'if you want' which is used to get the person to respond to your email, is

     

If you'd like:
(phrase) For me, sales follow-up emails shouldn't or don't have to only focus on getting a sale straight away. They can also be used to open up communication with the potential customer to find out more information about them and lead to future sales.

A good way to do this is by asking them questions where they have to reply to you. The phrase 'if you'd like...' is used to get the person to respond to your email. Even if they don't reply to you, you will have a valid reason for either sending another email to them or to call them.

One good tactic of using this is offer to send them something for free (e.g. a guide or report). People are more likely to respond if you are giving something away for free and you will be able to find out more about the customer (especially if you give them a choice of things to receive). For example, 'if you'd like, I can send you a copy of our guide on making chairs or making tables?'.

In Spanish: no translation.

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9.

A different way to say 'in addition' and is used to talk about the benefits of something, is

     

Plus:
(conjunction) When you are trying to sell a product or offer to somebody, it is important to talk about what the benefits of it are to the potential customer (e.g. 'listen to music for 12 hours without a recharge' etc...). Talking about the benefits can persuade/convince people to buy. In my experience, you should list more than one benefit and your choice of the benefits you say should depend on what you think is most useful or beneficial to the potential customer (e.g. a business customer will want different things from a mobile/cell phone than a non-business customer).

'plus' is used to introduce an additional/second benefit. You can use 'in addition' or 'also' instead to do this, but for me 'plus' sounds more positive. If you want to add/introduce a third benefit, use 'and' to do this. For example 'if you buy today, you'll get 20% off. Plus a years free insurance and a free pair of sunglasses'.

In Spanish: no translation.

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10.

A personal/less formal phrase which is used to ask how the other person's life is going, is

     

I hope you are well:
(phrase) When I was working in sales, my boss told me 'people don't buy from companies, they buy from people'. What he meant is that if people know and trust you, they are more likely to buy from you. Although I wouldn't agree with this 100%, building up a relationship with a potential or existing customer which isn't just focused on you constantly selling them things, does help. With business customers, I often used to ask them questions about sport or if they were busy or their holiday plans when I spoke to them on the phone or in person.

'I hope you are well' is an example of a phrase which you can use in a follow-up email once you have built up a relationship with the person, but there are many others (e.g. 'how was your holiday?' etc...). Using this type of what are called 'small talk' phrases, not only makes the email more personal (and less like an advert or sales pitch), but makes the email more likely to be read and replied to.

Always use these small talk phrases at the very start of the email. The most important thing to remember, is to only use this type of phrase in your email if you have had some direct contact with the other person in the past. If you haven't, then don't use small talk, it just sounds false.

In Spanish: no translation.

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11.

A phrase that is used to tell the person when an offer ends, is

     

If you buy before:
(phrase) For most people, buying things is an impulse or an emotional decision. So the likelihood that a person will buy something decreases the longer they think about. Advertisers and marketers use many strategies to try to make people buy quickly. One of the most common methods used is limited time promotions or offers (e.g. '25% discount when you buy today').

This phrase is used to tell the person reading the email about a promotion or offer. It is followed by the date when the promotion/offer finishes and then by details of what the promotion/offer is. For example, 'if you buy before the 25th of June, you'll receive a free leather jacket'.

In my experience, using these type of promotions/offers works a lot better with potential non-business customers than it does with business/professional customers (they are less impulsive when buying things). In fact, this type of sales strategy may annoy potential business/professional customers.

In Spanish: no translation.

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Practice

Now that you understand the new vocabulary, practise it by creating your own emails with the new words/phrases.