How to Write a Follow-Up Email After No Response From Client

September 7, 2021 | Productivity

Clients can be unresponsive for a whole host of reasons. Before you assume the worst, allow me to be your voice of reason. There are several scenarios that could be playing out, and they usually have more to do with them than you – it’s not personal, it’s business. Often, improving communication pipelines between you and the client can be as simple as understanding where the other person is coming from and adapting your strategy to help them.

Regardless of the situation, there’s an art to writing a follow-up email after no response from a client. Let’s break these situations together to see what you can do for each type of client. Then, we can delve into what makes a good follow up email for them.

Why is your client unresponsive?


They don’t respect you

Let’s get this one out of the way right from the get-go. Yes, on rare occasions, clients may not bother to respond to you because they don’t value what you are bringing to the table. These types of clients are especially frustrating because the success of any project depends on a mutually collaborative relationship, and for whatever reason, they have chosen to overlook your contributions and let the project be detrimentally affected. Maybe they were forced to work with you and they’re unhappy about it. Maybe you look just like that nightmare roommate they had in college. The why is not as important in this case – there are many reasons why one person might not like another person, and it’s unprofessional to let that interfere with business. Luckily, this isn’t usually the typical unresponsive client.

What to do: Show them your value. You won’t like every person you work with throughout your career. Instead of answering their attitude with mutual unpleasantness, put your professional foot forward. If you see an article that could interest them or have a new idea concerning their project, don’t be afraid to send it their way. Prove yourself to be the thought leader you are.


They hired someone else

Some people don’t like conflict. Perhaps you are one of these people, and avoiding it at all costs will make sense to you. For those of you who believe that everybody is owed the truth no matter how harsh it may be, this behavior may seem inconsiderate. Whichever camp you fall into, you can agree that telling someone that they decided to work with their competition on a project is a difficult email to write. They don’t want you to be upset with them, so maybe they hope you get the hint.

What to do: Give them an out. Until they tell you, you can’t know for sure that they have gone with someone else, but after their unresponsiveness persists, this possibility becomes more and more real. Let them know that if they chose to go in a different direction with the project, there are no hard feelings. In fact, it would be wise to tell them that you would love to work with them in the future if an opportunity presented itself.


The project fell through

This can be just as disappointing as losing the job to someone else, but at least you don’t have the additional pain of knowing your competition is cashing the paycheck that should’ve been yours. Maybe when the project fell through, you slipped their mind along with it, or maybe they’re too distraught and crying into a tub of ice cream to respond to your emails.

What to do: These things happen. Don’t get too hung up on it. Losing a project, no matter the reason is unfortunate, but it does not mean the relationship with this client is over. Let them know that regardless of what happened to the project, you will happy to work with them in the future.


They’re uncomfortable with email

With all the technology surrounding us on a daily basis, it’s hard to believe there are still some people out there who haven’t jumped on the bandwagon. For these people, discussing particulars over email feels foreign and uncomfortable. They’d rather talk things such as design proposals or money face-to-face, or at least over the phone. They could just be waiting until your next meeting with them to answer your questions and get into the nitty-gritty details.

What to do: If email just isn’t working, don’t force it. Pick up the phone. In fact, schedule a time to call them that is on both yours and their schedule. The perfect follow up email won’t help every unresponsive client, especially when the issue is not the contents of the email but email itself.


They’re indecisive

Decisions are hard, guys. When clients begin to feel that every business decision can make or break them, the little things become a big deal. Suddenly, making a choice seems like not choosing all the other options, so they’re thinking on it. Unfortunately, indecision can really bog down the progress of a project, especially when deadlines are approaching.

What to do: Provide some clarity. Perhaps you assumed they understood more of your questioning then they do, or maybe it’s still unclear what the benefits of each option are to them. Always provide the most information possible to your client. Each subsequent email should be more than a check-in; it should add value. It might also help to only ask one question at a time. Asking too many things of them at once can be overwhelming and reduce the chance of getting an answer to any of your queries at all. Keep it simple and concise.


They’re busy

You might assume that a client is spending the same amount of time with the project that you are, but it’s more than likely not the case. They’re busy people being pulled in a hundred different directions. You might have spent all morning working out the details on the breakthrough idea you had the night before, meanwhile they’ve solved three different crises before lunch that had nothing to do with the project they hired you to do. The point is, their priorities don’t always line up with yours. Sometimes emails get lost under the pile in their inbox, or they’re waiting for the right time to reply. More likely than not, this is what is happening with your unresponsive client.

What to do: Don’t give up on them just yet. 90% of emails that received replies are replied to in the first day, and after that the rate of reply drops dramatically. If your email has been lost in the chaos that is your client’s inbox, don’t wait around for them to stumble upon it – follow up.

How to write a follow-up email for every occasion

It’s not always easy to know why your client is being unresponsive. For this reason, having more than a generic follow-up email in your repertoire is a smart idea. There are a variety of clients to plan for. Of course, always have a solid general email for the moments you just aren’t sure what’s going on.

Your General

Hi [Client],

I haven’t heard back from you on [project/opportunity] so I’m going to assume you’ve gone in a different direction or your priorities have changed.

Let me know if we can be of assistance in the future.

Regards,
[Signature]

This email is helpful for a number of reasons. It covers a number of scenarios for writing a follow-up email after no response from a client, including if a client chose to hire someone else or if the project fell through. It also prompts a response from a client who is toiling in their indecision or has just been so busy you slipped their mind. It also keeps the line of communication open by suggesting the potential of future partnerships. In the absence of additional information, this is a safe email that hits all the right points.

Be a little assertive

Suppose the situation is more time sensitive. Perhaps your client has been unresponsive for a while, and you need their approval immediately. The possibility that they have had a change of heart is becoming more real, and you need an answer one way or the other on the project.

Hi [Client],

I’m writing to follow up on our last conversation. My boss asked me for an update on your account. I told him I didn’t have one.

I’m not sure if it makes sense to continue the conversation. What makes sense as a next step, if any?

Regards,
[Signature]

This follow-up email takes a more assertive approach. It relays not only that you would like a response but your boss would as well. It also conveys your uncertainty with the situation. Maybe they are under the impression that you don’t need their input on this current step or that they’ve already given you enough information to move forward. Whatever the reason, this will wake them up.

Follow up a phone call

Now, an email for a client that doesn’t like email. Follow up emails don’t always need to follow an email. They can follow a face-to-face meeting or a phone call.

Hi [Client],

I just called to [explain your purpose].

In my voicemail, I mentioned that I’ll try you again on [date and time], but feel free to reach me whenever works best for you at [phone number] or shoot me any questions via email.

Regards,
[Your Name]

When crafting a good follow-up email after no response from client, you should make sure they are aware of how you will communicate with them next so they can be expecting it and prepare for it. You should also remind them that you are available to help them whenever necessary. Your accessibility is just as important as theirs.

Adding value

You want to stay in regular contact with your client. Remember what I said earlier about always adding value to you communication, especially with an unresponsive client? An email like this may help keep you at the forefront of their mind and let them know they’re at the forefront of yours.

Hi [Client],

I saw this [article/video/etc.] and thought it could be relevant to your project. Let me know if you find this helpful or get any new ideas from it that you want to share with me.

Hope to hear back from you!
[Signature]

Follow up to a follow-up

It can take more than one email to get a response from a client sometimes, but be resilient. If a client still wants your partnership on their project, they’ll respond. In the meantime, don’t let them forget about you.

Hi [Name],

I know how busy you must be managing your team. I hope the resource I sent you about [describe what you sent in previous email] was helpful, and that you can share it with the rest of your team. Here it is again [insert hyperlink here] in case it got lost in translation.

Would you have time for a call on [date and time] or [date and time]?

Let me know what works best for you, or if you have any conflicts with those times. I’d be happy to work around your schedule.

[Signature]

Give an ultimatum

If your client has been consistently unresponsive, maybe they need a nudge. You need some closure; it gets lonely being the only one in a conversation, and there comes a point where you need to face the facts.

[First Name],

We are in the process of closing files for the month. Typically when I haven’t heard back from someone it means they’re either really busy or aren’t interested.

If you aren’t interested, do I have your permission to close your file?

If you’re still interested, what do you recommend as a next step?

Thanks for your help.
[Signature]

Cutting the Cord

Sometimes, it will reach the point that you will have to be the one to end this one-sided relationship. After a long chain of unresponded emails, it becomes clear that they’re ghosting you. Now, you might remember the good times and want to believe there is a future for this partnership. Three months ago, it seemed like a match made in heaven, but the honeymoon has been over for a while. At this stage, you should craft an email that will allow you to leave the relationship with some dignity. Here are some examples of a final follow up email after no response from client.

In case you still have a little bit of hope left:

Hi [client],

I’ve tried to reach you a few times to go about [project], but haven’t heard back which tells me one of three things:

1) You’ve gone in a different direction and I should stop bothering you.

2) You’re still interested but haven’t had the time to get back to me yet.

3) You’ve fallen and can’t get up and in that case let me know and I’ll call someone to help you ….

Please let me know which one as I’m starting to worry!

Thank you,
[Signature]

A final farewell:

Subject: Farewell
Hi [Client],

I haven’t heard back from you since our last conversation. We’ve spent a good deal of time together, and I hope I’ve given you some good ideas for your [project].

It seems like you have chosen a different direction or this is no longer a priority for you. I wish you luck on whatever path you’ve chosen for your business.

Please let me know if there is an opportunity to partner in the future.

Thank you,
[Signature]

Whenever you finally turn your prospect into a client, you think you have submitted a great mountain – and you have – but there is still a long way to go. Now, you need to keep that relationship moving steadily forward. Your business depends on them continuing to consult with you and respond to your inquiries, which makes unresponsive clients all the more frustrating. Knowing how to write a follow up after no response from clients can be an invaluable skill to help get your partnerships and projects back on track.

The Automatic Email

Now, all of the above emails work excellently when prospecting or during a project. But sometimes you just can’t make the time to write a perfect follow up email. Even writing your client’s name fills you with annoyance and frustration because they haven’t written back. 

During your proofing process, you can use Ashore to create an automated reminder email. This email is customizable – you can use our template variables which will autofill whenever the email is sent out. This saves you time and mental energy that you can focus on other, more important, things. One of the big benefits from an automated email, even over the personalized follow-ups, is the automation. It gives you and your clients a bit of distance, where they don’t feel like you’re personally nagging them to finish this proof and project. 

Now, what does a good automated reminder look like? Just a note: all of the text between the brackets {} are the variables, which will autofill. 

Subject: Reminder to Review {{proofName}}

Hello {{approverName}}, this is an automated reminder.

Due Date:{{dueDate}}

{% if proofThumbNailUri != ” %}

[image]

{% endif %}

[signature]

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Regardless of the situation, there’s an art to writing a follow-up email after no response from a client. Let’s break these situations together to see what you can do for each type of client. Then, we can delve into what makes a good follow up email for them.

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