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It isn't easy to schedule a meeting with your dream client. If you are in an industry where you must practice competitive selling, you are not the only B2B salesperson asking for a contact’s time. Between you and the many other B2B sales teams calling on your potential customer, your contacts are overwhelmed and overrun by the immense cold outreach each day.

At some point, you may be frustrated by contacts who avoid engaging with you. Because you are discouraged, you turn to a strategy you've seen other salespeople use. That strategy is the breakup email. Deploying this will lower your status, causing decision-makers to recognize you are not the salesperson they're interested in.

What Is a Breakup Email?

A breakup email is a way to provoke a client to engage with a salesperson. By threatening to break off all communication, the salesperson attempts to manipulate the contact and get them to respond. This weak tactic has resulted in breakup email templates.

What Your Breakup Email Says About You

When you call on decision-makers, you want to project that you are an expert and an authority. You want your contacts to see you as someone who can help them improve their business and their results. There is no effective sales strategy where the salesperson picks up their toys and goes home because they are losing.

B2B sales are increasingly consultative. Pursuing and winning large deals doesn't benefit from cute emails or breakup messages. Your communications create an idea about who you are and your ability to help clients overcome their pain points and produce the strategic outcomes they need. Sending a breakup email undermines this in several ways, including the following:

  • Diminishing Your Position: The breakup email positions you as someone who lacks the maturity of a business advisor and a potential strategic partner. When you make calls and send emails to decision-makers, they have little interest in what you say if it cannot help them. Your contacts are running a business.
  • An Ultimatum with No Penalty: B2B salespeople who send breakup emails that offer an ultimatum need to know that your contact is not harmed when you give up your pursuit. When they need to buy whatever you sell, there are plenty of salespeople who will be happy to add them to their sales pipeline. Also, I question how many salespeople would turn away a client to make good on a promise in a breakup email.
  • You Are Manipulative and Self-Oriented: This weak tactic is supposed to cause the person to feel some obligation to engage with you. If you need to manipulate your contact into engaging with you, you have little chance of becoming consultative or offering worthwhile advice.
  • You Lack Intestinal Fortitude: When what you sell will cause your prospective client to work with you and your company over a long time, you project that you are someone who gives up. It shows that you don't have the grit to persevere when something is difficult or when you didn't get what you wanted when you wanted it.


The Patient, Persistent, Professional Prospecting Pursuit Plan

There is no reason to give up on a qualified lead. If the company buys the products and services you sell, then there is no reason to give up on a prospective client unless you are certain you cannot help them improve their business and their results. You will never win a client you give up on, especially if you believe a deal must be on your timeline.

It might take you years to acquire a first meeting and create an opportunity. But the lifetime value of that client may be millions of dollars of revenue for decades. The salesperson who wants to add the contact to their sales funnel now will lose to the salesperson who patiently persists over time, never giving up. Before you decide to force a deal or give up on it, remember these facts:

  • You Are Prospecting Anyway. You will always need to prospect. What difference does it make if you contact a decision-maker who engages, then disappears, or a new contact you have never pursued? If the contact disengaged, it says something about your sales approach and your sales process. The likely reason the contact went dark is that you didn't create enough value for them to invest more time with you. Before you accuse your contact, consider yourself and what you offered them.
  • Your Timeline Isn't Your Prospect's Timeline. The decision-makers you call on are busy taking care of their priorities. You can do the right thing with cold outreach, and you can do it well, but timing plays a role. When the conversation you want to have with a contact isn't a priority for them, they aren't likely to engage with you. Sending them a breakup email will likely be accepted as a gift.
  • The Long Game Wins. In consultative B2B sales, you are always better off playing the long game. Winning eventually is better than annoying a contact, giving up, or sending a juvenile email built on manipulation.

Breaking Up with Your Breakup Email

Immediately breakup with your breakup email. Instead, if you email your dream client, send them a powerful insight and tell them you will call them. Let them know that if they need to improve some result that you can help them with, they should call you on your cell phone and that you will try them again later.

Never let your contact believe you are discouraged by not getting what you want when you want. You want them to believe that your pursuit will only end when one of you dies. And, if your contact happens to die, pursue them for three more weeks to ensure they didn't fake their death to get rid of you.

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Post by Anthony Iannarino on February 20, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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