Breakup Email: The Hail Mary in Your Sales Outreach

What should you do, when after multiple touches and attempts, your prospect hasn’t responded to any of your emails?

You bring out the Hail Mary play.

We’ve all been there. You have a prospect who you think will be a great fit for your product and all you want is that 15-minute slot on their calendar. You have tried emailing, calling, and even sent a tweet and LinkedIn InMail their way. Your email tracking software tells you that your emails are getting delivered and opened.

Still, no reply. All quiet on the prospect’s front. 

Ready to give up and move on? Not yet. It’s time to get personal and unleash that little weapon from your arsenal called the breakup email.

What Is a Sales Breakup Email?

A sales breakup email is the final email you send to your prospects to tell them that you are “moving on” as they haven’t responded to your previous emails.

But sales reps are not exactly known for giving up now, are they? So, we asked top sales reps what kind of breakup emails they sent.

Here’s How Top Sellers Send Breakup Emails

We asked 8 quota-crushing SDRs to break down their cold email outreach for Klenty’s SDR X Factor series. Based on what they said, we saw 3 broad strategies that they use to get replies from their hail mary card aka breakup emails:

1) Temporarily Distancing Yourself From the Prospect:

As per the scarcity principle, things become more desirable when they become less available. Robert B. Cialdini, in his classic book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, writes: “The idea of potential loss plays a large role in human decision making. In fact, people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value.”

The breakup email uses this principle to persuade your prospect to hit reply.

This is how Aamir Sohail, a top-performing Sales Development Representative (SDR) at Vervotech, applies this principle for his breakup emails:

  • He frames the subject line as, “{first name}, here’s my last email.” 
  • The first line of his email copy will be, “There is a very thin line between persistence and pestering. I don’t want to cross that line. So, this will be my final email for some time now.”

2) Getting Inputs From Prospects Through Breakup Emails:

Sometimes, being direct helps. Asking the prospect why they haven’t replied to your cold emails will help you tweak your outreach.

Among the 8 quota-crushing reps we spoke to, 2 said they use the 1-2-3 email format. This involves listing out 3 options and asks the prospects to just reply with numbers 1 or 2 or 3. Given how easy it is, you might get that long-awaited reply.

  • For Alastair Chamberlin, SDR Manager at Zinc, the 3 options would usually be: 
    • Are you interested?
    • Do you want me to stop emailing?
    • You’re interested, but the time is not right.
  • Nikita Solberg lists out 3 objections in their breakup email: 
    • We already have a solution in place.
    • We don’t have the budget for it.
    • Not interested.

3) Placing the Prospect in Nurture Sequences instead of breaking up:

What if you can break up without actually breaking up? Metadata’s SDR Manager, Ashley Dees, does exactly this. 

Instead of sending a breakup email to a prospect who hasn’t replied to any of her cold emails, she places them in a nurture sequence. 

Here, they would receive 5 to 6 emails with content that’s not directly linked to Ashley’s company or product. she says. The content in these nurture sequence emails could range from articles, LinkedIn posts, and guides that are relevant to the prospect and their role.

This way, the prospect won’t be annoyed because you don’t ask them anything, you give them enough time to consider your solution, and builds credibility as you consistently provide value to them through the emails in the nurture sequence.

Look into these 3 strategies, and see which one suits you best. Now, let’s dive into how to actually write breakup emails.

A Pro Guide on How to Write a Cold Email in 2023

How To Write a Breakup Email?

An effective goodbye email contains three components: head-turning subject line, a concise email body, and a compelling call to action. Here’s how you can craft each of these components:

1. Subject Lines for a Breakup Email

You are making a painful and important decision to part ways with your prospect. There is tension in the air. And you want your prospect to notice it.

If there is one place where you can go overboard on emotion, it is the subject line of your breakup email. Channel that inner drama queen as you write this subject line.

The worst thing that can happen at this stage is for your prospect to ignore this email and bring your last-ditch attempt to a premature end.

Examples of breakup email subject lines:


2. Email Body for a Sales Breakup Email

While keeping the emotional tension from the subject line alive, there are a few key points to be made here:

  • Set the context by explaining that you have reached out a few times
  • That this may be the last time they will hear from you in a while
  • Reiterate the value that you are still willing to provide

The content of the email can be constructed using various techniques. Here’s how:

9 Sales Breakup Email Templates To Get Started

#1 Remind Them That You Have Reached Out a Few Times

It is important to set the context and remind them that you’ve reached out to them multiple times and still haven’t gotten any response.

Breakup Email Template:

Hi {Prospect name}
I’ve reached out to you a few times recently to reconnect, and I haven’t heard back from you. Thank you for the opportunity. Can I put it on hold for now?
Best, {Your name}

#2 Reiterate the Value That You Are Still Willing To Provide

This may be the final opportunity to remind your prospect what you do and how you can help them. Sell the sizzle one last time.


Hi {Prospect name}
I’ve reached out to you a few times recently to reconnect and I haven’t heard back from you. I understand you’re busy, so if exploring a partnership with {your company name} isn’t a priority, please let me know so I can stop bothering you. However, when we spoke last, you mentioned a few key areas that you were looking to improve: 1. [Specific goal #1] 2. [Specific goal#2] 3. [Specific goal#3, etc.] Are these still priorities for you? If I don’t hear back from you, then I’ll assume this isn’t the right time to continue our conversations and that something has changed since we last spoke.
Best, {Your name}

#3 Ask Them Why They Didn’t Respond

Indicate that you are stopping your follow-up. At the same time, instead of another sales pitch, if you ask them why they chose not to respond, they are often willing to provide constructive feedback – This can be a great conversation starter, and will help you improve your cold emailing game.


Hey {First name}
This is my last email, but I’d love your feedback so our product can get better. What’s the main reason you didn’t want to hop on a call with us?
Best, {Your name}

#4 Make Them Choose the Reason

This is similar to the previous breakup email, but instead of making them write a reason, you make them choose one.


Hey {First name}
This is my last email, but I’d love your feedback so our product can get better. What’s the main reason you didn’t want to hop on a call with us? A. It’s not a priority right now B. Call us next quarter C. I’m not interested D. I was busy, call me sometime this week Just choose A, B, C, or D, and you’ll never hear from me again unless you want me to.
Best, {Your name}

#5 Let Them Know That You Value Their Time

Another theme for your Goodbye email is letting your potential customer know you value their time. Hence you are stopping your follow-up to give them some space.

Breakup Email Template:

Hi {FirstName},
I have written a few times on how we can help you do {value proposition}. 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 for now. If you change your mind and want to see how we can help you with {value proposition}, do hit reply and let me know.
Best, {Your name}

#6 Take the Deal Away

Your prospect has not replied but has not unsubscribed either. By taking the deal away, you can actually make it look more attractive and push interested prospects in getting back to you faster.

Leslie Venetz, the founder of Sales Team Builder and 3x Head of Sales with over a decade of experience in sales, gives 2 options for this breakup email template:

  • Soft blowout. This breakup template aims to build FOMO in your prospects by letting them know that you’ve other clients lined up.


Hi {FirstName},

Since i haven't heard from you, I am going to move forward with onboarding another client this Friday. If I've made a mistake, please let me know before EOD Thursday

{Your name}

  • Hard blowout. If the prospect still ignores your email after the deadline in your “soft blowout” email, go ahead with this template. But, Leslie warns that you should stop chasing them after sending this “hard blowout” breakup email, remove them out of your email sequence, and place them into a nurture sequence.


Hi {FirstName},

I am sorry we didn’t have an opportunity to work together at the
moment. I hope you understand it was my best intention to get
you the information you needed to partner. I look forward to
staying in touch and wish you success.

{Your name)

#7 Be Humorous

Nothing makes for a memorable goodbye than some humor. Get your prospect to chuckle and create a strong last impression. It increases the chances of a reply – when they realize what a fun conversation they could be missing.

Breakup Email Template:

Hi {First Name},
I’m pretty bummed that I haven’t heard from you. I’m gonna be pretty moody for the rest of the day with only my pup to comfort me, but I’d much rather be telling you why {Product/Service} would be great for {Company Name}. So, if you feel like being a good Samaritan by cheering me up, you could ping me.
Best Wishes, {Your name}

#8 Bring Your CEO Into the Conversation

Your prospects would definitely think twice before ignoring an email from someone as influential as the CEO of your company. So, get your CEO’s consent in advance, draft an email, and ask them to send it from their email addresses.


Hello [Prospect name],
My name is X, and I'm the CEO of [Company name]. [Sales rep name] said you recently had a demo of our product, and I wanted to personally reach out to see how you think it went. Your business is important to us, and I'd like to help you in any way I can.
Thanks, [CEO name]

#9 Lure Them in With Some Value

When you are ready to provide value, even when you are parting ways, you grab your prospect’s attention. It gives them a glimpse of your future relationship with them if they give you a chance–one that’s built on value and mutual trust.

Breakup Email Template:

Hello [Prospect name],
I’ve reached out to you a couple of times to talk about
{specific goal} over the last month. Since you haven't
responded yet, I suppose you are busy and I totally get it. But here’s a little something for you. I stumbled upon a couple of resources that might help you attain {specific goal}. And
since I witnessed how enthusiastic you were about attaining {specific goal}, I couldn’t help but send these along
your way. - {Resource 1} - {Resource 2} - {Additional resources if any} Hope you find this helpful. Feel free to email me if you have
any questions regarding these resources or our product in general.
Best Wishes, {Your name}

3. Call To Action (CTA) For a Breakup Email

The call to action on a breakup email plays the role of keeping the door open – should the prospect choose to reciprocate and reply back.

CTA examples:

Tips to Craft an Effective Breakup Email

The breakup email is a tricky one. One needs to use just the right bit of emotions without sounding desperate or pushy. Here are some tips to help you nail your breakup email:

  • Know when to throw in the towel

Sending breakup emails to every prospect who doesn’t respond after 2 or 3 follow-ups is definitely not the way to go about it, according to Paul Castian, host of The Sales Playbook Podcast.

Instead of looking at the number of times you followed up, look at the relationship you’ve fostered with them so far. Were they ignoring you from the start? Did they ghost you after a meeting? Or did they go missing after they gave you hope? Depending on this, decide when to throw in the towel.

For instance, if they haven’t replied at all, you can send the breakup email after the 5th follow-up email. If they are ignoring you after a meeting, you can send the breakup email after the 10th follow-up. In any case, do not send a breakup email unless you’ve followed up with them at least 5 times.

Paul Castain's Tweet

  • Keep it light and positive

Just because you reached out to a prospect doesn’t mean they owe you a reply. “Never, ever, ever guilt the prospect. Hey, why aren’t you calling me back? Or, Why didn’t you read my white paper? Or seem needy or creepy. All of this repels and looks hungry and weak: never do it”, says Justin Michael, founder of HYPCCCYCL, in “59 Practical Prospecting Tips For The Recession“. Your prospects may have countless reasons for not responding, but they don’t owe you an explanation.

  • Don’t burn bridges

Not wanting your product isn’t the only reason why prospects ignore your emails. Sometimes, they ignore you because they don’t have the budget or an immediate requirement for your product. So, always leave a door open for them to re-engage with you. Include a line or two in your breakup email saying that they can reach out to you any time, even if you are parting ways for now.

In Short

Silence is the worst answer a salesperson can get. 

Yes is obviously the answer you are hoping for. Hearing back a no is still fine, because you can close the file, move on to the next prospect and eventually close more deals. What leaves you hanging is the silence. 

Sending breakup emails helps you break the disquieting silences of your prospects. Good breakup emails could be the secret sauce that helps you book more meetings and crush your quotas. Use it well.


What is a sales breakup email?

A sales breakup email is the final email you send to your prospects when they’ve not responded to your previous emails. Through this email, you convey that you are moving on unless your prospects want to re-engage. The aim behind these emails is to either get a response from the prospect or get them out of your sales funnel for good. While breakup emails can get up to 76% response rates, not knowing when to throw in the towel can do you more harm than good.

What should I include in a sales breakup email?

Breakup emails are the last attempt to win your cold prospects back. Hence, to ensure it hits the mark, you should include the following:
• Set the context by explaining that you have reached out a few times
• Inform them that this may be the last time they will hear from you in a while
• Reiterate the value that you are still willing to provide



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