How to reply to a negative email?

When you look at all the results of youremail campaigns, don't be afraid to ask yourself the right questions. You will receive negative responses, that's for sure, even if your segmentation is well done and your offer well calibrated. So ask yourself how to respond to a negative email from your targets.

This does not mean that you should remain indifferent to these refusals! We will give you the keys to identify why your prospect is expressing this rejection and how to respond appropriately. For all types of rejection, there is a clever way to bounce back and change the situation.

Types of negative emails

You may think you know a negative response when you see one. However, your recipients express their rejection for different reasons. So there are different types of negative responses. And you have probably encountered each type at least once.

"Not interested"

It may sound strange, but this type of negative response is also the most positive. Why is this? As you know, not all unsolicited emails are answered. It can take up to four follow-ups before your recipient responds. Following up a prospect who no longer responds is also a complicated task. So getting a response is better than nothing!

So when your prospect says "Thanks, I'm not interested" or "Thanks, but I'm not sure I need it yet", consider yourself lucky. You got the information. You know your prospect's attitude at this point. It's a start. But how do you change this?

If you don't get many "uninterested" responses, back off nicely and don't write to those prospects again. Focus on those you have a chance of converting instead of wasting your time on those who don't want to be your customers.

However, if you are getting a lot of "not interested" responses, it's time to get serious. There is something wrong and you need to find out.

#1 Ask for details

It is important that your prospects have given you a hint. This does not necessarily mean that you have to send them a survey. You can modify your email template and let your recipients choose the answer they accept.

Our advice
Discover our tips for writing the perfect prospecting email.

Ask a factual question, to limit the mental burden, and don't hesitate to use self-deprecation. Here is an example of an email that may inspire you:

"I didn't manage to convince you, and I'm really sorry, I'm going to rework my emails to be more punchy. If you were to change one thing in my email what would it be? I would really appreciate your help.

This is a very quick way to get information that will help you improve without annoying your recipients.

#2 Examine your value proposition

Reread your email templates. Maybe you highlighted the wrong benefits or didn't emphasise the pain points enough. Or maybe your weak points are not so relevant. If nothing seems strange, ask someone else to read your template and ask them if everything is clear in your offer. A fresh pair of eyes can shed light on problems you never noticed before and reveal what you did wrong.

#3 Be more specific

If your introduction is vague and includes generic phrases such as "market leaders", "innovative technology" or "increase revenue", it is not surprising that all the "uninterested" responses keep coming. Your message lacks convincing arguments. Your prospects receive thousands of emails. They want substance. They want something more than just strong words.

To make your introduction more powerful, rewrite it. Go through each benefit mentioned in your value proposition and see how you can make it more relevant to your achievements in the prospect's industry. Don't be afraid to play with synonyms. It is often helpful to use professional jargon rather than basic nouns and adjectives.

As always, feel free to test. Create several versions of your introductory model and see which ones are best perceived. This will help you find the best approach more quickly.

Our advice
Play around with different email subject lines for your prospecting and focus on the ones that work best.

#4 Adjust your segmentation

If the new templates and value proposition don't change anything and your recipients still say "not interested", it may not be because of your message. It's your prospects. They may simply not be the prospects you need to target. Therefore, go back to your segmentation and re-examine your qualification criteria. There is no need to redo your entire ideal customer profile (again). You can start by targeting other leads or focusing on small businesses.

#5 Check the period

Sometimes your prospects are not interested in working with you because they are in a slump. Increased sales cycles and bounce rates, lack of new buyers - all these factors affect your prospects' willingness to close deals. Make sure you know when you need to reach your target audience.

"Your offer is not suitable for us".

Sometimes your prospects express the fact that your offer does not seem to be in line with their expectations. This is not really a negative response. At least it gives you the opportunity to send some questions for clarification. Don't be in a hurry to convince your prospects that you are the salesperson they are looking for. Subtly explore opportunities for conversation and use them to discuss your prospects' problems and your solutions. But if you find that your recipients are reluctant to talk to you, don't push them.


Sometimes, of course, anger responds. No matter whether it contains insults or not, it never fails to make you cringe. After all, no one likes to be yelled at. The thing about negative responses that result in anger is that you never know when they will come out. One day, you're on your usual sending schedule, sending emails, keeping to the timetable - and then you get a negative response full of aggressive metaphors.

The reason?

Your prospects are simply frustrated. Maybe they've had a bad day or a bad month. Maybe they have a bad case of email fatigue. Maybe they are just being rude. The reasons are many. But there's nothing you can do about it except remove their contact from the mailing list and leave them alone.

How to respond to a negative email from an angry recipient?

As unpleasant as they are, negative responses are not dangerous, as long as you do not harass your recipients with other campaigns. The only result you can expect from this strategy would be a barrage of negative reviews on every platform where your company is registered. Imagine the years spent building a reputation and a positive image destroyed by one word: "spamming".

Our advice
Do your email campaigns often end up in the spam folder of your recipients? Find our guide to email deliverability.

Pro tip

Tired of Excel files? A good CRM software allows you to take your prospecting to the next level. Discover our selection of the best free CRM software

Is it really worthwhile to keep launching campaigns?

A few angry responses to hundreds of positive/neutral responses are not cause for concern. However, when you start getting not one but dozens of responses, it's time to take action. If animosity becomes the most natural reaction to your messages, something about them must trigger your recipients.

#1 Your content

It is not for nothing that we suggest checking for new spam words from time to time. This list is growing all the time. Even if your emails are not labelled as spam, the overabundance of sales phrases and CTAs can become a nuisance to your recipients. Every time they receive an email that looks like spam that has somehow bypassed spam filters, frustration is their only emotion. Logically, if they receive more emails of a commercial nature, their frustration turns into justified anger.

To avoid this scenario, check each new email template. Also, don't forget to update your existing email templates to the new standards.

#2 Your timing

Calculating the best time to send emails requires a lot of testing, tweaking and adjusting. It is therefore obvious that your current timing needs to be reworked. The interval between your reminders may be too short, making your sending campaign look like a spam attack.

#3 Your targeting

It is extremely annoying to be wrong. Especially when it happens every day. If you send emails to targets in important positions, there is a good chance that your message will be ignored or become a nuisance. Department heads deal with urgent and serious matters. Of course, they are part of a decision-making group, but they only get involved after the other members of the group have received an offer from a supplier and presented it. You should therefore find someone who is responsible for the area covered by your services - and who would therefore be interested in listening to you. Many tools exist to find anyone's email address for free.

Pro tip

Tired of Excel files? A good CRM software allows you to take your prospecting to the next level. Discover our selection of the best free CRM software

Every negative response is an opportunity

Remember to ask the right questions.

The idea is not to respond to an email that does not express interest in my services. Rather, it is to ask "Why did I receive this email?" and what means should I use to avoid getting such responses.

It is sometimes difficult to understand whether you should respond to a negative answer, end the conversation or focus on other matters. This understanding comes with experience. The only way to gain this experience is to remain open-minded and ready to solve problems instead of avoiding them.

Different negative responses require different measures. There is a point at which all you can do is step back and re-examine your campaigns. And there is a time when you can and should respond. In both cases, you should not ignore negative responses.

Each situation allows you to explore your business and draw useful conclusions. When you stay focused and engaged, any challenge becomes less of a trap and more of a temporary obstacle.

We hope this article has allayed some of your fears about negative responses.

To go further on the subject
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