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Heather Townsend

The Excedia Group


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7 reasons why your potential client is not returning your call


 It was all going so well. In fact, as it turned out too well… All I needed to do was agree dates with the client for a series of workshops worth nearly £10k to us.

That should be the easy part? Right? Wrong! I delegated the job of agreeing dates to my chief organiser, Lisa. Lisa diligently chased her opposite number at the potential client’s organization, but e-mails, messages and phone calls were just not returned. So, I took the task back and went straight to my contact. I got the silent treatment as well…

It’s at this point that you tend to think that the worst has happened. i.e. the client has decided to not proceed – even though they were so keen just a few weeks ago. However, most of the time it’s not that the worst has happened. In fact here are just a few reasons why your phone call is not being returned:

1) The work is now no longer an organisational priority – however, this could change.

2) Your contact is either on holiday or signed off sick

3) Your potential client has a temporary or permanent cash flow problem

4) You’ve mucked up and annoyed the potential client

5) Your contact is overwhelmed with work and/or meetings

6) Your contact is an e-mail person rather than a phone call person

7) Your diaries are not matching

As you can see, there are many reasons why your potential client is not returning your call. Your priority is not to lose heart but to remain visible, and find out the reason for the phone calls not being returned. In my case, the client did finally get in touch and it was as I had thought – their budget had been cut and they wanted to postpone the work until later in the year.

What do you do when your potential clients are not returning your call?

2 Responses

  1. Nice one

    hi Heather

    good post. It is sometimes an issue and yes, consultants do usually suspect the worst when they get no response even after using multiple channels of communication. But sometimes it is nothing more than just being busy/on holiday, as you listed.

    I have another one though: ‘waiting for an OK from a third party before getting back to you to confirm everything’. Usually that third party is the boss and so they don’t want to hassle them too much for a response, even though they did ask them to OK it several days, or even weeks, ago!




  2. The real decision maker

     Thanks Richard – you make a very good point about the ultimate decision maker. Any consultant needs to get used to asking at the fact-find stage who will need to approve the spend on training before it will be agreed.


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Heather Townsend


Read more from Heather Townsend

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