Why Don’t Buyers Respond to Your Emails?

Blog157_NoReturnEmails-1Ever wonder why 78 percent of emails are never opened?

As I sit here working at my computer, I am amazed at how many terrible prospecting emails pop up on my screen, pitching me products and services that show no understanding of who I am and what I do.

Because I am a lifelong student of marketing and sales strategies, I take more time than most to scan the message and understand the intent. Occasionally, I return comments on how the sender can improve his or her approach.

Then I make an audacious move and refer the sender to my e-book Securing Executive Appointments for a better framework.

I’m probably more tolerant than the average recipient because I, too, am a salesman and I love this profession and want to see it work well for people.

Here is an example of one of those emails I received:

Hey William!

I was doing some research on your website and others in your industry. As you know it should be the driving force behind your sales machine.

But if it was built using outdated web design, it’s likely hindering sales.

MOST websites were designed using traditional web strategies, which have a number of serious revenue-hindering problems.

There’s a better way to redesign your website: growth-driven design.

I have created a website audit tool which addresses all of the technical and web errors on your website that is stopping you from ranking on page one of Google.

I am happy to send you this free report. Let me know if you would like a copy.

To your success,


Blog157_NoReturnEmailsOkay. He’s trying to personalize the email with my first name and with jargon to make it read as though he’s done work researching my website. No one, except my first-grade teacher, and my mother when she was mad, calls me William.

Like most buyers, I see right through this email. Few will respond. Perhaps, only those ready to take pricing bids on a site upgrade.

Warning Flag

Here’s the yellow flag on the play for me:

  • Other than Hey William!, he never mentions my name or company again in the email; he didn’t even mention my website URL.
  • The opening statement is enough to make me hit delete. It wasn’t personalized, and he didn’t get his point across.
  • He didn’t mention my industry, simply saying: “and others in your industry.” Why not identify my industry, at least, professional service firms? Because he cut and paste, sending the message out to hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
  • He didn’t tell me what he disliked about my site; he assumes it’s built with outdated technology. Please, I just built a brand new site. You be the judge. www.pleinairestrategies.com
  • He didn’t mention my competition or how I could outcompete.
    This email was all about him, not me, the prospect.

What’s more, this email would be immediately deleted by most buyers, if it didn’t already go directly to spam. Prospects are smart today; they do not want generic lobs into thin air.

The only real value to this email is Josh’s closing call to action where he offers the free report and access to the audit tool.

This email represents a poor marketing strategy, a waste of Josh’s time, a waste of my time, and a poor reflection on his company.

How to Get B2B Email Opened

Blog157_NoReturnEmails-3Take a moment to download my Securing Executive Appointment eBook, which gives you the CAVP formula for creating messages to resonate with prospects. You need to find the right hook for your compelling statement.

The challenge your prospect faces should always come at the head of the message train. The first hook to your compelling message I call C for challenge. Be certain you can identify challenges that resonate with decision makers.

A for authority. Your prospect must have the power to act, which means the right authority at the right level.

V for value. Develop a solution that provides your prospect with perceived value.

P is for proving that value. I know I need a more memorable acronym than CAVP. Use it anyway to remind you to build a compelling message to open up new opportunities. Let’s look at this funny acronym in greater detail.

Diving Deeper

C for Challenge. Whiteboard the Idea. Think about the challenges and issues your key decision makers face. What do they want to fix, accomplish or avoid? Get into the prospect’s head to understand his issues and priorities.

Always think from the buyer’s perspective. What keeps him up at night? What causes her stress? Sketch it out on a whiteboard. See the pain point; don’t just talk abstract pain.

B2B buyers show interest when language links to business goals or corporate initiatives, as in these universally understood topics:

  • Increase revenue or profitability
  • Decrease operational expenses
  • Improve operational efficiency
  • Speed products to market
  • Increase market share
  • Improve customer retention
  • Reduce direct labor costs
  • Reduce cost of goods sold
  • Increase sales per customer

Can your solution accomplish any of these outcomes? Read our recent white paper, How to Prove Value to Skeptical Prospects with ROI Metrics, for ideas on how to show areas where you can bring value.

Get more help with your research by reading Chapter 5 in MERGE, Preparing for Initial Contact – The Research Mindset. Also, tap into First Research, www.firstresearch.com.This well-known firm provides research reports on various industries and breaks down questions to ask, matched to a given executive position. Let me give you an example.

A technology company targets hospitals. By going to First Research’s industry profile page, the tech company can zero in on hospitals and understand their particular issues. For a Chief Information Officer (CIO), he faces:

“Implementation of electronic health records (EHRs). EHRs hold great promise for hospitals to control costs and improve the quality of care. As a result, the federal government has made widespread adoption of EHRs a national priority. However, a survey by the American Hospital Association on EHR use finds that most hospitals fall into the “getting started” or “low usage” groups. The most frequently cited barriers to adopting EHRs: initial and ongoing costs, interoperability with current systems, acceptance by clinical staff, and availability of well-trained IT staff.”

Blog157_NoReturnEmails-4What’s the best way to contact a decision maker? [I skipped A for Authority as I presume you will target your prospect effectively.]

Let’s jump into a good example:

V for Value. If you have identified a key challenge, your prospect is likely to agree with you because you’ve done your homework. Your next step? Bring a solution to the issue your prospect faces and give him the confidence that you can help solve it.

Decision makers care only about the results your offering delivers; they are intensely focused on outcomes. One way to make this connection─use references and examples from prior clients to build credibility. Demonstrate your expertise to solve their issue. If you can refer to an existing customer, all the better.

Think of a 50-word case study. What can you say to demonstrate that you’ve been successful in solving the challenge in the past without naming a particular customer? No doubt, you can offer a range of generic results achieved for certain types of customers with no attributions.

For the hospital example, create a value statement. “Using our technology and IT team of trained programmers, Mercy Hospital completed its EMR project in less than 90 days.

Or to make it generic, refer to a regional-metropolitan hospital. People need assurance. They do not want to go out on a limb with an untested vendor. Build confidence in your prospect and you build trust.

P for Proof. If our prospect responds to the challenge and value statements, then the key to asking for an appointment lies in proving the results you can deliver. Examine where you can quantify the impact of your offering. Typically, tangible value expresses in numbers, percentages, and time frames. As an example, your firm:

  • Cut labor cost by 20 percent
  • Reduced cycle time from three days to one
  • Reduced energy cost by 25 percent
  • Saved $100,000 in administration fees
  • Increased market share by 10 percent

The proof statement shares measurable results achieved for others, which you build from the challenge and value statements. Broad or generic statements do not work. Specificity works: “We helped put Mercy Hospital in a position to save 20 percent on labor costs and earn $225,000 in incentive payments from Medicare.

One of our employee benefit consulting clients applies reliable information from government websites so it can say with confidence value statements like: “Based on the implementation of our healthcare solution, expect to see $100,000 in premium savings.

Bring It Together

How do we put everything together for an email that triggers a response? Check this out:

Bill, my name is John Duffy with Xenia Technology. I specialize in helping hospitals improve efficiencies. I am contacting you now because we recently finished working on a project with Mercy Hospital, which struggled to adopt an EHR system to control cost, improve quality, and maximize incentive payments.

Are you experiencing this challenge?

Using our technology and IT team of trained programmers, Mercy Hospital completed its EHR project in less than 90 days. As a result, we helped Mercy save 20 percent on labor cost and earn $225,000 in incentive payments from Medicare.

Can we schedule a time to meet next week to determine how well our solution fits your organization?”

In the meantime, please accept the attached report on The State of EHRs with my compliments.



I want to urge you to commit to raising your standards in emails for these two reasons:

  1. For every dollar spent on email marketing, you earn a $44.25 return (Experian);
  2. Email is the most effective lead generator out of major online tactics.Blog157_NoReturnEmails-5

Okay, dear readers. Go forth and write response-worthy emails.

See you on the upside,


For more information, go to www.pleinairestrategies.com
Or call William L. MacDonald in San Diego at PleinAire Strategies LLC at 760.340.4277 or 213.598.4700

News Alert

MERGE 2.0, read my latest book, now released by the publisher and available on Amazon to purchase.  Learn everything you need to know to book revenue in the new realities of B2B professional selling.

And, if you’re not a reader and prefer interactive learning, take our MERGE 2.0 online learning course.  Go here for more info.

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