NOT Responding to Your Client or Potential Client

by Claire Minnaar

I’ve come into a few situations where I have emailed a person / company for a particular purpose and I don’t receive any response. Even if I send more than one email as a follow up, I receive no response when I’m very clearly enquiring about a particular product / service or offering and the email DOES require a response. One could blame internet connection or ISPs or something to do with the web sphere, but one does have to wonder if NOT answering an email is the new way of saying “screw you”.

Perhaps I’m very old fashioned, but since when does ignoring people serve as good business manners / etiquette?

Is this a way that you deal with your clients?

Top 3 reasons you SHOULD respond to your emails IF they require a response:

  • It is good manners and good business practice to answer a person (unless they are a stalker of sorts).
  • People talk and, no matter how big or small your business is now, business can change and you do want people to speak positively about their business experience with you. Verbal publicity is one of the strongest forms of publicity you can get!
  • The client could potentially be your biggest or most important client EVER. It may not always look like it at the time, but people (your clients / potential clients) do have a lot to offer when you provide good service to them. Some of my clients have been the most amazing people to learn from and work with. Some we have had problems with for whatever reason, but you deal with it and you learn from those situations.

How to “blow off” a client

I always believe that honesty is the best policy, so reply to an email in a short and to-the-point manner. You may even have a very basic template that you can reuse for clients that you do not want to do business with.

You need to judge the person you are dealing with and, from there, decide how best to handle it. Some people are reactive people and others can also be very understanding.

If you offer a particular service that necessitates you physically needing to do work for the person/company, you could explain that you are simply not able to take on their work right now or, if it’s true and a viable option, explain that you can simply not assist them due to a conflict of interest.

If you offer a product or service that would require very little work, it’s best to explain that you cannot assist them with their current request and possibly point them in another direction.


Not responding to your emails can appear to be very rude. Some people are very sensitive about it and others can get quite annoyed.

As I mentioned, at least offer some form of a response for the future of your business. Explaining in great depth to a client isn’t necessary as you do naturally reserve the right NOT to take on a potential client / client’s work. Be polite and to the point and you can rest assured that, if you meet that client on the street one day, you can know that you have treated them with respect and have no reason to avoid them at all.

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