Sales Call Follow Up Emails Done Right

John Greene


12 min

Inside this article:

No answer

Answer, but declined

Answer, and appointment set


sales call followup email

Sales cold calls are not stand-alone events…

…At least, they shouldn’t be.

If they are, you’re doing something wrong.

As we mentioned before, the chance of making a sale or getting an appointment actually increases with each additional contact attempt.

To the point where just 2% of sales are made on the first contact, while over 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact!

Targeted emails are one key to advancing the process.

In fact, good follow up can significantly increase the effectiveness of your cold calls.

It's important to understand that following-up is not a vanilla process. It varies depending on your industry, your goals, and your call to action. It also varies considerably depending on the outcome of the call itself.

The three most common call outcomes are:

  • No answer
  • Answered, but declined sale/appointment
  • Answered, and appointment set

Here are some tips for sales call follow up emails in each of these scenarios.

No answer

If your lead doesn't pick up the phone, you should always leave a voicemail with a compelling value statement about how you’re able to help someone like them (or how you HAVE helped their competition / other relevant companies) your contact information, and a call back request.

This allows your voicemail and email to work together.

Naturally, for your email to have an impact, it has to be seen. That's why it needs a compelling subject line that practically forces your subject to open it. You could reference the result you got for a business or person like them - "How we helped X Inc. close 30% more sales." You could also reference the voicemail you just left - "Alice, I left you a voicemail." as that is bound to create some curiosity. Or, anything else you feel confident will get opened.

Personalization - both in the subject line - and in the email itself can improve response rates significantly.

As for content, you should indicate that you left them a voicemail (your email might be seen first and help get your voicemail heard), and reiterate your compelling reason for them to call you back. In other words, WIIFT (What's In It For Them). Specificity is key. Vague comments like, "we can help improve your website" aren't going to cut it. Speak to a pain point, or address a specific benefit they want to obtain.

Then let them know that they can reach you by phone, or email. Even if they don't reply, if you follow-up at a later date, they may be more likely to answer your call. And that means your email did its job.

Answer, but declined

Perhaps your prospect was busy, and they didn’t give your “pitch” any real consideration. Maybe they even brushed it off without much thought. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll never be interested… they just may not be interested right now.

Your follow up email should reference and respect that your services aren't needed at the moment, but leave the door open...

You can, using specifics (perhaps those that you were unable to get to on the call), let them know what you can do for them, what you've done for similar businesses (or people), and let them know that they can reach out anytime should their needs change.

An email can also be used to deliver something of value.

For example...

Dear Name,

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today.

I understand that you're happy with your current mortgage at the moment, but if you start thinking about refinancing, this will definitely help:

6 Refinancing Mistakes that Can Cost You (Dearly)

If I can help in any way, now or in the future, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Your report, or blog post, or video, or whatever resource you have to share, might help build your credibility, alert them to something they don't know, or simply get them to reconsider.

Sure, these emails won’t always produce a result, but they will produce some... and those can translate into sales and revenue for your business. In the words of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!”

Answer, and appointment set

In this scenario, the cold call was a success. You set up an appointment to discuss your products or services in the near future.

A good followup email thanks them for their time, reminds them of the details of your set appointment, and gives them a brief overview of what you'll cover. It also details anything that might be needed prior the appointment (something filled out, or signed, for example).

This sets the stage for a successful meeting and a possible sale.

Always remember to be personable and approachable.


Once your cold call is over, your job isn’t done, even if the call is a success. Good email follow up is key. A strong subject line, personalization and emails based on call outcome are critical.

Good emails help advance the sale, by either producing a call-back, improving the chances of a conversation on the next call, or by setting expectations for the next step.

PhoneBurner gives you the ability to send targeted, personalized follow-up emails based on the outcome of each call. Additionally, you can create custom button sets that can automate your workflow and accommodate virtually any scenario or potential call outcome.

What’s your best tip for sales call follow up emails? Tweet us or let us know in the comments below!

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