8 winback email templates to help you recover lost leads

It happens to the best of us.

A red hot lead gets in contact with you. They’re extremely excited, viewing every page on your company’s website, asking informed questions, and taking full advantage of your free trial.

But then, right when you think you’re about to close the sale, nothing. Radio silence. And no matter what you do, you’re unable to re-establish contact.

As a salesperson, lost leads are just part of the job description—but that doesn’t mean you need to be happy about it. In this article, we’ll share eight proven winback email templates you can use to recover lost leads. Sound interesting? Then keep reading!

Related: Charlene “Ignites” DeCesare on what to do when sales prospects go into a “black hole”

8 Email Templates for Lost Leads

These templates come to us from expert salespeople and have been proven to re-engage lost leads and drum up new business. Have a look and feel free to adopt, modify, and experiment with the scripts in your own sales efforts.

1. The No Pressure Approach

This template comes to us from Sherry Holub, the creative director at a digital design and marketing agency in Southern Oregon called JVM Design. This script is all about relating to the lost lead. It’s written in a very conversational tone and makes it easy for the recipient to respond because no pressure is placed on them. Think of it as a “soft reminder.”

Hi [Name], 

If you’re anything like me, you get busy and then elect to put some things on the back-burner.

Back around [date], you reached out to us about [purpose of original email] for [company name]. I haven’t heard back from you, so I’m guessing you’re busy doing your thing.

We’re not going anywhere, so we’ll be here if you need us and if anything with the project has changed, I’m happy to hop on the phone with you to discuss the new details. We could easily help you move this to the front burner and help you [problem to be solved]. 

[Your preferred closing statement]
Your Name, etc. 
Links to schedule call (optional)

We suggest sending this template to leads who originally reached out to your company with an interest in your products and/or services, but never progressed to a conversation with your sales team. In many cases, these leads just need a gentle reminder that you exist.

2.  The Objection Identifier

Sometimes the best approach to take is a blunt, straightforward one. This is especially true if you sell in the B2B realm. Your buyers don’t typically have any time for nonsense. This template, sent to us by Stacy Caprio, the founder of Accelerated Growth Marketing, addresses objections the recipient may have, and offers a way to solve them

Hi Stacy,

I have tried reaching out a few times—although unsuccessfully—about [reason for reaching out]. I haven’t heard back which means one of a few things:

1. You’re not the right person at [X Company] to talk about such things. 

2. You just haven’t been able to find the time to respond, but have been meaning to. 

3. You already have too many [solution you’re offering] and just can’t fathom another one. 

4. You have taken a bunch of meetings in the past full of empty promises and overpriced solutions. 

5. This just isn’t an active initiative for you and you’d prefer that I reach out in a few months. 

I’d consider it a personal favor if you’d so kindly let me know which of the above is true, or if there’s something else that I neglected to mention. 

By the way, if it’s 2, 3, or 4, we should absolutely try to find a time to catch up. 

– Your Name

This template is great for B2B customers or high-level decision makers such as C-suite executives. These folks are typically very busy and a straightforward email like this will likely work best.

Related: Why “What could have changed your mind?” is the magic question in follow-up emails

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personal email sequences

3. The ‘Y/N?’ Email

Marc Afzal is a real estate investor. As such, he’s constantly speaking with folks about selling their homes. When a potential lead doesn’t email him back, he uses the following template:

Hi [name],

I know it can be frustrating finding the best solution to selling your home, so I am always straightforward with clients like yourself who have inquired about selling their property but have not moved forward.

Have you given up on selling your home?

You can simply reply with Y for “Yes” and N for “No” to make it simple, I know you are probably very busy and I do not want to continue to email you if these emails no longer pertain to you.

Thank you in advance for your response.

[your salutation]

As you can tell, this script is very considerate of the recipient. It goes out of its way to ensure that replying is as simple as possible. Marc doesn’t even ask potential leads to fully write out the words “yes” or “no,” only to respond with a single letter.

This script also makes it clear that the sender isn’t interested in bothering the recipient. If they aren’t interested, he’ll stop contacting them.

4. The Content Offer Approach

When it comes to reconnecting with lost leads, you can’t ever go wrong with value. That’s the approach this next winback email template takes, which was submitted to us by Bernard May, the CEO of National Positions.

This template follows this five step format:

  1. Greeting
  2. Pose a question
  3. Provide a solution to the question (a link to a pdf, case study, etc.) 
  4. Give them a preview of what the content will provide them
  5. Close with an offer to connect with any questions

So a practical example would look something like this:

Hi Steve, 

Did you know that most commuters waste over $1000 every year sitting in traffic? Isn’t that crazy?! 

Going electric goes beyond saving the environment—it can also have a huge impact on your wallet. 

We have put together a practical guide to switching to electric bikes in our latest blog post How You Can Get Healthy & Save $1000 a Year.

This is just a taste of what you will learn: 

– How to pick the best electric bike for you
– Tax breaks you get with an electric bike
– The average time savings an electric bike will give you

It is only about a 6-minute read and answers some of the most common questions we are asked every day here at [INSERT COMPANY NAME]. If I can answer any additional questions, please feel free to let me know.

Stay safe in the bike lane!

This template has a high probability of success because it doesn’t try to sell anything. Rather, it reels lost leads back in with the promise of something valuable like access to content the recipient will enjoy consuming.

But of course, if the recipient is interested in making a purchase, the template is sure to invite them to get back in touch.

5. The Short and Sweet Approach

Here’s another winback email template that’s geared towards busy leads. This one, though, is incredibly short and sweet. According to Evan Donahue, the sales and recruiting manager for JMJ Phillip, lost prospects may appreciate the brevity and will be more likely to respond because of it. 

Dear [name], 

We spoke about the [project/problem/solution] [time of last contact]. I’m following up to see if you were ever able to [accomplish project/problem/solution]. Are there any updates on this? 

Best regards,

[your name]

This template leaves a lot of room for customization. For example, if a lead contacted your company because she was interested in purchasing 10 lawnmowers for her landscaping business, you could reply with the following text:

We spoke about the 10 ride-on lawnmowers you were interested in last summer. I’m following up to see if you were ever able to find the mowers you were looking for. Are there any updates on this?

But if a lead contacted your company because they were having trouble hiring the right employees, this template still works perfectly:

We spoke about your company’s struggle to find quality employees a few months ago. I’m following up to see if you were ever able to pinpoint and hire the right talent. Are there any updates on this?

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6. The ‘Need More Time?’ Email

These next two emails came from the Growth team here at Nutshell. Their winback email strategy is to send a series of five automated emails after a prospect’s free trial expires, with each email focusing on a common reason that a lead floats away. Once a lost lead replies to an email, they are taken out of the email series and Nutshell’s sales team contacts them personally.

The first email in the Nutshell winback series speaks to a very common scenario for SaaS companies: The prospect simply ran out of time in their trial before they had a chance to fully explore the product. So, five days after their trial expires, the lead receives this:

Subject: Re: Your Nutshell trial. Did you run out of time?

Hi friend,

Mike here, Head of Growth at Nutshell.

I know how it goes: You thought you’d have enough time to explore Nutshell during your free trial, but life got in the way, and those 14 days came and went. 

If you ran out of time, don’t sweat it. We’d be happy to extend your trial if now is a better time for you and your team to give us a look. Just reply to this email with “please extend my trial” to get our sales team’s attention, or hit the button below.

[CTA BUTTON: “EXTEND MY TRIAL,” leading to the prospect’s billing page]

Even if you decided to go in a different direction in your CRM search, we’ll still send you our latest sales resources every month so you can stay as sharp as our customers. And if your needs change down the road, just drop us a line—we’ll be here when you’re ready.

I hope to hear from you soon!

All the best,

As Nutshell’s Head of Growth Mike Carroll explains, “We already have a value and content based email marketing program designed to delight customers, engage trial users, and re-engage our growing cohort of aged leads. It always worked well, but wasn’t creating the urgency or re-engagement results we really wanted out of a ‘win-back’ email program. 

“However, capitalizing on our prospects’ intent to try Nutshell and offering them more time to continue exploring in a systematic way has been super successful. With open rates above 30 percent and click to open rates above 10, this focused winback series consistently re-engages anywhere from 5-20 leads per week.

“It’s too early to understand conversion or win rates for this audience, but we’re pretty optimistic because we already know that extended trial users become customers at twice the rate when they extend their trial.”

7. The Warm Goodbye Email

If the prospect doesn’t reply to Nutshell’s first four winback emails, they’ll receive a fifth and final message that’s more about leaving a good last impression than answering their objections. The goal is to let the prospect know that Nutshell will be there for them if their needs change, and will continue to support their success through valuable sales content:

Subject line: We won’t take “no” for an answer!

…but we will take “leave me alone” for an answer. So if you’ve found a CRM solution that better fits your needs than Nutshell, just reply to this email with “leave me alone” and we’ll stop contacting you. 

Otherwise, we’ll continue to send you our latest sales resources, tactical tips, and coaching advice, because whether you’re a Nutshell customer or not, we want you to be successful. 

And who knows…maybe one day, after seeing everything else the world has to offer, something will remind you of that easy to use, orange-colored CRM that you knew from way back when, and you’ll decide to give Nutshell a second chance. You’ll search for the phrase “sneaky powerful” in your email and you’ll find yourself here once again.

There’s the button right there, below this paragraph. All it takes is one click. Whether it’s tomorrow or five years from now, it’ll be there for you to restart your trial. And whenever that happens, we’ll be glad to see you.

[CTA button that says “WELCOME BACK,” leading to the prospect’s billing page]

This goodbye email was written by Nutshell Content Marketing Manager Ben Goldstein, who says:

I wanted to make it clear to the recipient that we’re going to stop bothering them now, but I also wanted to include some memorable details (‘user-friendly, orange-colored CRM,’ ‘sneaky powerful’) that might stick in their heads. You have to assume that the prospect is evaluating multiple solutions at the same time. They might not remember your product’s name, but the language you use might help them remember how it made them feel.

8. The Longtime Subscriber Approach

And finally, how do you reconnect with hot leads who never followed through and have been sitting on your company’s email list for a long period of time? This template from Brett Downes at HQ SEO was specifically crafted for female subscribers in their 20s.

Hi [name]

We’re not asking you to take us back, well not completely. We know we must have annoyed you with all the emails, bombarding you daily. We just thought relationships were all give, give, give. We can only imagine how much that can bug you—believe me we know—we’ve asked all our other subscribers.

We just don’t feel you dig us anymore, and that’s OK. We are too much—we get that. So here’s your chance to say goodbye and we’ll never darken your <mail service> doorstep again!

Click here to unsubscribe

But hey if you wanna stick around and give us another chance, that’s awesome too—we can change—just change your email preferences below

[Embedded Email Options Checklist ]
Email Frequency: Daily, Weekly, Monthly <choose one>
Emails: Company Updates – Sales – Newsletters – Jobs – Infographic <check all that apply>

Thank you, [name]

This template attempts to relate to the recipient and gives them the option to change their preferred email options. The hope is that this will reengage them and open them up to future sales opportunities.

But an unsubscribe is a win as well. There’s no point in having uninterested people on your company’s email list. They’ll only serve to shrink your open and delivery rate and cost your organization more money, as most email providers charge by subscriber count. Better to set these folks free and focus on higher quality leads.

Recover More Lost Leads

If you’re looking to re-engage your lost leads, one of the above winback email templates should do the trick. Choose one that best fits your company and adjust it to fit your unique situation. Then start sending! You’ll be surprised how many leads you’re able to revive.

Now, what do you do with all those lost leads you’re able to re-engage? Hopefully, you’ll prioritize them in your company’s CRM of choice so that you can start turning them into customers. Don’t yet have a favorite CRM? Give Nutshell a try for free for 14 days. Our platform is intuitive, affordable…and sneaky powerful.

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