How to Send Follow-Up Emails after Getting No Response

Does the thought of writing a follow-up email after not receiving a response make you uncomfortable? If you answered with a “yes,” you’re not alone. We’re wired to believe that people who don’t reply are not interested in what we had to say or offer. It’s understandable to feel less than comfortable if you think your repeated offer is going to be bothering your prospect.

However, that may not be the case. A lot of prospects won’t answer the first email, and it might take multiple attempts to get them to communicate. According to a Yesware study, not only do emails have an extremely short lifespan, but also a high response rate even after multiple follow-ups. In fact, even the 10th follow-up they sent had a 7% response rate.

It seems apparent that it pays off to follow-up, but a lot will depend on the content of the email itself. Here’s how to send a follow-up email after getting no response to ensure you’ll get what you need from the prospect.

Improve Your Closing

It’s tough to close the first email when you’re fishing for a response. A lot of salespeople will try to make it as non-committal as possible, to not scare the prospect away. If that hasn’t gotten you a response, perhaps the close in your first attempt was too soft or ambiguous. Invitations to “hear more about what you do” or “hear back from you” might not be giving your prospect enough of prompting to answer.

You’ll solve this by including a firm question in your follow-up email. What that question will depends on what you’re trying to get from the prospect. It could just be a minute of their time, a quick call or a demo, but you need to make it clear that you require a response. To that purpose, use questions such as “Are you free for a call this Tuesday?” or “Can you provide some feedback on this proposal by next week?” because they provide a clear prompt to answer before a specific date.

Adjust the Close with Every Subsequent Follow-Up

Sometimes even your emails and follow-ups could benefit from switching up the call to action. Salespeople often experiment and test their calls to action to improve conversion rates. Follow-ups should not be exempt from that practice, either. If it’s not working, switch it up! It’s important to keep this in mind when it comes to following up. The more your emails go unanswered, the easier it will be for your prospect to keep on ignoring you. Changing your approach to try and get a response from the candidate can be beneficial in this case.

But how do you adjust the close with every single follow-up? Try to make each call to action easier to deliver on and respond to. If your request for a meeting went unanswered, ask for a call instead. If that gets ignored too, perhaps your prospect would be kind enough to refer you to a person within their organization who would be better suited to answer your requests?

Make Sure to Send a New Email Each Time

Don’t send the same email or forward the old one. At best, that only makes the prospect feel guilty about not answering you the previous three times. At worst, they’ll consider you a spammer.

Send them a new email instead, and treat it as such. Switch up the subject lines, the openings and everything else you can while still retaining your central message. Adding some context to allow the prospect to recognize you is a good idea as well. Reference your previous interactions or emails — reminding your prospect that they’ve heard from you before might make them more open to responding.

Don’t Wait Too Long to Follow Up, But Don’t Do It Too Quickly Either

When it comes to sequencing the emails, you’ll have to rely on your instincts. If your prospect is extremely busy, it might take them some time to get around to answering you. In that case, pestering them again after two days can be counterproductive making you look desperate. You may pride yourself on your persistence, but the prospect might not be seeing it that way if you’re not giving them any time to answer.

On the other hand, waiting too long could also give your prospect enough time to forget about you altogether. It’s a delicate balance to find. Generally, try waiting longer than a day or two, but don’t stretch the initial wait longer than seven days. Ultimately, you’ll have to adjust to what you think your prospect will appreciate the most.

Avoid Sending a Breakup Email at All Costs

It’s better to start following up less often, and even stopping for a time than to send a breakup email to a prospect. Yes, getting no responses is hard. Still, also if an opportunity is not responding, that doesn’t mean they won’t ever be interested in your offer. By sending them a passive-aggressive email along the lines of “I’ll assume you’re not interested since you haven’t responded,” you’re only ensuring that they won’t respond to you. It also makes them less likely to reach out to you at some point.

Making yourself look like a victim by inducing guilt in your prospect is not an effective tactic. You can try to wait longer instead, and perhaps send another follow-up after a month or two. Craft a friendly email to check in with your prospects and see if they’ve changed their mind. It might happen, like that in the meantime, their priorities have shifted more towards things your proposition can help them with.


Following up after not getting a response can be an uncomfortable task, and being ignored is indeed disheartening. Still, keep in mind that even if you don’t get a response right away, there’s still a good chance you will, especially if you adjust your approach to your prospect. Include a strong close, make your requests easier to meet, and you’re likely to see a better response rate for your follow-up emails.