So you know you want to level up, and you've found just the course for it, but you don't know how to ask your boss to pay for it? Use this email template!

Word of caution: before you attempt any of this, make sure your boss knows you as an ambitious, eager employee who's always looking to grow by doing more and reaching further. This will greatly reduce your boss's perceived risk surrounding the return of investment (ROI) that paying for this course for you will have.

If you're sure you are known as a valuable employee, you're looking to level up and you found just the course that will help you do that, you can sell it to your boss by using an email like this:

Subject: improving sales skills

Dear boss,

I just came across this course the other day, that I think looks really good!

It’s called Socratic Selling, and it’s about learning how to use the Socratic method for better sales. It costs $999 per team of up to 10 people, and it would only take one afternoon!

I think this would really help me improve my sales skills and make me a better consultant. Please let me know what you think!


(blank template at the bottom)

Let's go through this email step by step to see why it's a good email.

First of all, the subject. Remember these words are going to appear right next to your name in your boss's inbox, so this is where you want to describe what success looks like.

So the subject should not consist of dry nouns, like "sales course" or "workshop investment". Instead, it should communicate the end that you want to achieve: namely getting better at something specific that is relevant to your job.

Your boss needs to associate your name with this end, and not with this specific ask – that they may or may not grant, after all. They need to remember you as the one who wants to improve, not merely as the one who asked them to spend money on something.

Then, the first line of the email. The only function of this line is to introduce what you're going to ask from your boss in the second, main paragraph. So you're opening a little bit of a story loop, introducing some questions and raising the level of excitement.

The second paragraph is the meat of your ask. As tempting as it may be to write multiple sentences here in the hopes of better selling your course, I would urge you to keep your ask short and to the point. That way, it's immediately clear what you're asking, and your email is not a time suck for your boss.

So you're only going to use two sentences:

In the first sentence you mention the name of the course you want to take, followed by what it will teach you in one single sentence. The key here is that you immediately relate it to something that is relevant to your job.

The key is that you relate it to something that is relevant to your job.

So you don't say something vague like "it will help me improve my communication skills". Instead you're going to say that you will learn X which will help you improve Y; where Y is some end relevant your job.

E.g. "It's called Lead by Example and it's about learning how to use FB Lead Ads to improve the ROI of our marketing campaigns."

This way you make it immediately obvious to your boss how this investment is going to pay off, instead of just looking like an expense without a clear return. Don't forget to turn the title of the course into a link your boss can click for more information.

In the second sentence of the main paragraph, you want to list important details like total cost per person, how much time it will take and when the course will take place (if relevant). Don't expect you boss to find this out by following the link, but make life easier for him/her by listing this information upfront.

This way, your boss will have a clear picture of what your question is, what it will cost in terms of money and time investment; and how you envision it paying for itself in the long run.

In the last paragraph you want to do two more things. Firstly, you want to emphasize again that you're looking to improve yourself in order to be more valuable for the company. Again, you want to make it crystal clear that you're not asking for a gift here, but that this is an investment that you expect will pay off for the company.

Finally, you're going to close with your call to action (CTA). This will make it clear that this email is not just an FYI, but that you'll actually want a response; and that you will follow up on your ask if you don't hear back.

If you write your email like this, not only will you be way more likely to get a positive response, but even if your boss doesn't think it's a good idea to invest in this course for you, you will still make a good impression.

Because asking like this, you will come across as someone who

  • is eager to learn
  • shows initiative
  • writes clear emails
  • has the interest of the company at heart

And that will never hurt you.

So good luck!

Subject: improving [specific skills]

Dear [your boss's name],

I just came across this course the other day, that I think looks really good!

It’s called [name of course + link], and it’s about [learning how to do X to improve Y]. It costs [price per person/team], and it would only take [time investment].

I think this would really help me improve my [specific skills] and make me a better [your job]. Please let me know what you think!

[sign off]