Client not responding? Here are 8 follow up emails to send

August 6th, 2020 by Practice Ignition Team 15 minutes read

You’ve just been talking to a new client and you’re really excited about their project. You know you’re going to be able to deliver some great results for them – and you can see they’re excited, too.

But your excitement turns to confusion, and then annoyance, and then panic, when you realise it’s been several days and you haven’t heard back from them. Not a word. Not a peep.

We’ve all been there before. You have a great kick-off call with your new client and as the call ends, they say they’ll be in touch later on this week once they’ve had a chance to sign off on your proposal.

Amazing. But then, something strange happens.

You give it until the end of the week, but no email comes through. You check again on Monday morning, but unfortunately, there’s still no sign of them. You send off a lighthearted follow-up that afternoon but to no avail—it just disappears off into cyberspace.

When this happens, you can’t help but panic.

Was it that joke I attempted to crack on the call? Was it my background on Zoom?

And nowadays, your panic might not be limited to poorly delivered wisecracks or calendars that are *ahem* not to everyone’s tastes.

Wait—have they suddenly fallen ill?

When a client doesn’t respond, it can lead to endless doubts and questions. That’s why you need to follow up with them, so that you can figure out exactly what’s happened and help get them back on track with the original plan. But how can you follow up without sounding rude, desperate, or downright annoying?

Below, we explore when to send a follow-up email and give you a number of potential templates to use according to a variety of different circumstances.

Why don’t clients respond?

Hearing radio silence from a new client is unnerving to say the least, especially when you’re a customer-centric organisation. This rejection, even if it is only temporary, might well sting.

So first things first, relax.

Remember that no matter how excited a client is to work with you, they’ve also probably got 1,001 other things going on. Your email might’ve got lost in their inbox or perhaps they’re busy dealing with other pressing matters.

This happens. As damaging as it is to our ego, we need to remember that we’re not always priority #1.
0720 Client Not Responding supportingimage1

This sort of “It’s not me, it’s them” mentality is quite comforting, but of course, this might not actually be the case.

Maybe they’ve discussed your impending projects with their colleagues and have identified a couple of potential roadblocks. Maybe they’re awaiting sign-off from their manager. Maybe their accounts team has told them that if they’re going to proceed with you, then they need to come up with cost-savings in other areas.

There are all sorts of reasons why a client might not respond in a timely manner. Don’t let your imagination run away from you—just make sure that you touch base with them so you can get the ball rolling.

5 things to consider before sending a follow-up email

There are 5 golden rules to keep in mind when considering whether or not to send over a follow-up email.

1. Be persistent, but not annoying

Clients really are busy—they’re not just saying that for the sake of it.

This means it may take a few follow-up touchpoints to prompt a response. Make sure to leave at least half a week between your follow-ups, if not longer. Remember to be courteous and considerate in your follow-ups—it’s never a good idea to lambast a client for not being as punctual as you’d hoped.

Recognise that you’re not always your clients’ top priority and gently remind them to get back in touch whenever they’re ready to proceed.

Don’t take up too much of a client’s time chasing responses. If they sound busy, don’t keep them on the phone. Try to get small details sorted out via email, text, phone, or Slack. Communicate with them in whatever fashion is easiest for them (rather than insisting on doing things your way).

2. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone

The vast majority of service professionals communicate solely via email. Emails are great. After all, they allow clients to respond when it’s convenient for them, they can take their time composing the appropriate response, and it provides an irrefutable log of all back-and-forth.

However, it’s a lot easier for your email to get lost in a client’s inbox (or to be read but promptly forgotten about) then it is for a client to ignore a phone call. If your emails seem to continually get lost in a vacuum, then it’s probably time to hop on the phone.

0720 Client Not Responding Suportingimage2

3. Automate when you can

Clients aren’t the only ones who are busy—so why waste unnecessary time, energy, and sanity composing follow-up emails when you can simply automate the process?

For example, our ‘Proposal Reminders’ feature allows you to send reminders to clients who are still yet to accept your original proposal. You can choose how many days to wait until you send a reminder and select the total number of reminders to send out until they accept your proposal (with each reminder sent out at 5-day-long intervals).

4. Always give the client a call-to-action

CTAs help remind a client of what exactly you need from them — whether it’s some key information, an answer to your question, sign-off on a project, or whatever else it may be.

Giving the client clear instructions helps them to action things from their end as quickly as possible. Cold Emailing recommends making the call-to-action as direct as possible so that you can avoid any potential confusion.

5. Make sure you really need to follow up

Business author Laura Spencer recommends checking you haven’t already received a reply from the client. It might have disappeared in your email, or they may have contacted someone else in the team.

Follow-ups can be awkward enough as it is — let alone if you made a mistake and actually did receive a reply from them. So before you charge off and send a curt “As per my previous message…” email, just double check that you haven’t already received their response (and don’t forget to check the spam and trash folders!).

How long you should wait before following up?

It’s hard to know exactly when you should follow up if you haven’t heard from a client. On the one hand, you want to keep on top of things and make sure you don’t lose their interest. On the other hand, you don’t want to seem too pushy.

Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Assess the urgency. If a client hasn’t responded about a project that’s due to be completed by the end of the week, then perhaps send a follow-up a day or two after your original message. However, if they haven’t got back to you about your availability for a project in a month’s time, then consider waiting a week or so.
  • Rely on context. Small talk at the beginning of a meeting can provide you with invaluable information. Perhaps a client apologises for joining the call late and explains they’ve been in back-to-back meetings, or perhaps they casually mention that they’re preparing for a big company-wide initiative that’s about to launch. If this is the case, leave more time between follow-ups. Not only will this make your email less likely to get lost in the sauce, but it’ll also ensure that you don’t end up annoying them during a really busy time.
  • Give all proposals a week. In general, wait a week before following-up on a proposal that you’ve sent over. Proposals might require sign-off from different stakeholders, and you want to make sure that the proposal has been thoroughly read through before a client goes ahead and signs it off.

There are no hard-and-fast rules for when to follow up with a client. However, the above guidelines should help steer you in the right direction.

8 email follow up templates for every situation

We’ve created a range of follow-up email templates to help you get an answer from your more non-responsive clients. Simply tweak the details (name, address, etc.) and they’re ready to go.

1. Post initial client meeting

This email is ideally suited for following up after an initial meeting. It gives the client a list of action steps and keeps a proactive tone that gives off the sense that you’re already in partnership together.

Subject: Kickstart meeting action points and next steps

Hi NAME,

It was lovely to meet you and the team today, and to learn more about BUSINESS NAME and your goals with this project.

I’ve put together a list of action points based on our meeting:

For our team:

  • ACTION POINT ONE
  • ACTION POINT TWO

For BUSINESS NAME team:

  • ACTION POINT ONE
  • ACTION POINT TWO

Can you please reply to confirm that this is correct (and that I haven’t missed anything)?

I’ve got a follow-up meeting scheduled for 3PM on Tuesday 21st. Let me know if this doesn’t work for you and we can try to reschedule to a more convenient time.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME

2. After you send a proposal and don’t hear back

The client has outlined their project and asked you to send over a detailed proposal (perhaps by using Practice Ignition's proposal management software). You’re excited to bring a new client on board and so get onto this right away, but you never end up hearing back from them.

As frustrating as this is, don’t worry—the below email should help kickstart the process.

Subject: Got any questions about the proposal?

Hi NAME,

Last week I sent through the proposal doc you asked for as part of your website redesign project. I hadn’t heard back from you since and so I just wanted to check in and ask if you have any questions?

In any case, I’d love to organise a quick call to talk it over in more detail. Would Tuesday at 3PM work for you? I’m really excited about the project and am keen to get it started as soon as possible!

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME

3. When they don’t send you the documents/info you need to get started

You require key information from the client before you can begin your work, but the clock is ticking down and they still haven’t sent it through.

This email clearly outlines the urgency of the matter and reminds the client of precisely what it is that they’re supposed to send across.

Subject: URGENT: Accounting package—I need these signed to get started

Hi NAME,

I’m keen to get started on your accounts. I want to make sure that it’s all finished up in time for your deadline, but at the moment, we’re stalled.

In order to get started, I need the following documents/need you to fill out the following documents, which I’ve attached to this email.

  1. DOCUMENT A
  2. DOCUMENT B
  3. DOCUMENT C

Please acknowledge that you’re working on these and that you’ll get them to me by DATE. If you have any questions or want some clarity around why we need these documents, I’m happy to jump on a call.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME

4. When their payment is overdue

It can get pretty awkward when you have to get in touch with a client and ask why you haven’t been paid yet. Invoices usually don’t get lost, but they may well be forgotten (sitting within a mountain of paperwork on the accounts department’s desk).

The email below avoids an accusatory tone and gently reminds the client to chase this up with their accounts team.

Subject: Late payment: Did you miss the invoice?

Hi NAME,

I’m just following-up on unpaid invoices and noticed that you’ve yet to make payment on INV-0023, which was sent to you on DATE.

Since I haven’t received payment, I just wanted to check in and make sure the invoice hadn’t got lost? I know that they can sometimes be sent to ‘Spam’ folders, or perhaps your accounts team is really busy right now, so I’ve gone ahead and attached it here again for your convenience.

However, given that this invoice is now 15 days overdue, you’ll need to make payment within the next X days if you wish to avoid the overdue payment fee of X% added to the bill.

Yours sincerely,

YOUR NAME

5. After you send a cold email to generate sales

Cold calling can be a daunting sales technique, but it’s still very effective. However, it’s worth highlighting that you risk losing a lead from cold calling if you don’t follow up with them within a few days.

Indeed, according to Brevet, 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the initial meeting—so don’t worry, it’s not just you who occasionally struggles to turn positive meetings into signed-off proposals.

This email offers a useful piece of content as a way to keep the conversation going and build trust with the lead.

Subject: Here’s that business guide we were discussing on the phone.

Hi NAME,

It was great to chat with you the other day and find out more about your goals for BUSINESS NAME.

I’m just following up with a link to that guide for growing a successful small business that we discussed on the phone. You can find it HERE. Based on what you told me about your marketing strategies this year, I think you’ll find section three particularly useful.

Let me know if you enjoyed the content!

Cheers,

YOUR NAME

6. To revive cold leads

Once leads have been marked as cold, it can be tough to bring them back again. However, at one time, this person was seriously considering your services—so there’s a real benefit in reaching out to them again.

The key rule here is to present them with an offer. This gives you the perfect “excuse” to email and may provide the incentive to get them to finally convert. Even better, label it as an exclusive offer and explain that they’re the only ones to benefit from it. This will make them feel special and will show that you’re willing to go above and beyond to win their business.

Subject: Special 25% discount for BUSINESS NAME

Hi NAME

I hope you’re well and that you remember me—we chatted a few months back about accounting packages for your business, but you unfortunately decided not to pursue working with our practice.

I’ve since been able to speak to my team about offering you an exclusive 25% discount on all our fees. I hope that this goes some way to showing just how keen I am to work with BUSINESS NAME.

Please browse through our different packages HERE [link], and I’d be more than happy to set up a call when it’s convenient to discuss your options further.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME

7. Closing the loop

If you’ve tried several times to reach out, both by email and phone, and you’ve received no response, then it’s time to “break up” with your client. This sometimes happens during the initial proposal stage—perhaps the client was talking to several companies and chose a competitor, or they’ve simply decided not to go ahead with the project.

Annoyingly, they may not actually end up notifying you of their decision—instead, they’ll just move on and won’t answer your queries.

Rude? A little. Common behaviour? Most definitely.

Your final message should be an email, letter, or phone call to officially “close the loop.” This gives your client a final chance to respond, but also gives you some closure.

Subject: Sorry that it didn’t work out this time around

Hi NAME,

I still haven’t heard back from you about your project, so I’m assuming that your priorities have changed and that you no longer want to go ahead with it.

Please keep us in mind if you want to move forward at any point in the future.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME

8. Check again in six months

Projects are delayed and rescheduled all the time, so you may well face a situation where a client asks you to check back in after a few months’ time.

As frustrating as this may be, it’s just the way the world works—so go ahead and add these clients to a “follow-up” folder in your email list and set a reminder to get back in touch in X number of months. It’s also worth asking them if there’s anything that you can do to bring them on board once and for all.

For example, they might ask you to check back in next quarter so that they can squeeze this project into their team’s budget. If this is the case then you could always consider offering them a special discount so that you can begin the work this quarter.

Here’s a potential six-month follow-up email that you could try:

Hi NAME,

I hope you’re well and that you remember me. We spoke six months ago about an accounting package for your business, but you mentioned that you needed a few months to grow the business before you were ready.

I can see from your brand new website (great design, by the way!) that things are ticking over nicely. I wondered if you’d had a chance to look over the accounting package that I sent you previously?

It would be great to put some time in the diary where we can have a catch up about your current needs. How does Tuesday at 3PM sound?

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME

Conclusion

If a client suddenly goes cold then don’t worry or start to blame yourself. There are a myriad of reasons why this might have happened. Perhaps they’re busy running their own business, they’re in the midst of some big company-wide initiatives, or they have some personal issues to attend to.

If this is the case, then follow up. Clients will appreciate you taking the time to get back in touch with them—even if they can’t progress things right now—and it shows that you’re genuinely interested in working with them. Follow-ups might not always get you the right result, but they’re always the right thing to do.

If you’re looking for a tool that will help make follow-ups a walk in the park, as well as providing you with an all-encompassing toolkit to become more customer-centric and more efficient, then start a FREE trial today. We’d love to hear from you.

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