Selling Tip: Why Prospective Customers Won’t Open Your Emails


As much as I’d like, I make an effort each and every email I receive from my readers. But, being a popular sales author, there’s no way I can answer all of them, and even reading all of them is impossible due to the sheer numbers volume, but I try to make the effort.

However, your prospective customers don’t try. They probably couldn’t care less. That’s why they almost never don’t call you back.

Why? Because you’re not giving them any value up front, and they know it.

Every time I receive an unsolicited call, or sometimes even an email, 99% of the time I don’t want to bother with it. Why? Because I know very well that it’s someone either trying to sell me something, or trying to get something free from me without any compensation. What I’m really saying, there’s zero up front value in it for me!

You’re probably familiar by now with the story of my first decent sales training program, where I learned that cold calling doesn’t work anymore. In addition, I learned of the acronym “WIIFM” in that training:

WIIFM quite simply means What’s In It For Me

We were taught that before saying one word to a sales prospect – or doing anything with a prospect – to always ask ourselves, “What’s the WIIFM?” Or to say, you had better have value for the prospect, or it was a complete waste of time.

Very few salespeople do this.

When I receive unsolicited calls from sales reps, there’s never a WIIFM. And that’s why I don’t return their phone calls. Or write back.

Everything word you say to a prospective customer, every word you write to your prospects, every individual you take with a prospect, MUST contain a WIIFM. And you need to give the WIIFM up front if you want the prospect to pay attention! This is a law, like the law of gravity – there are no exceptions.

That’s why cold calling doesn’t work. Don’t even think about all the tough receptionists, sophisticated anti-cold-call phone systems, no soliciting signs, and everything else. If you do happen to get a live prospect on the phone or in front of you, the issue is that there’s really no way to open a cold call with a WIIFM. Cold calling, by its very nature, is anti-WIIFM. Cold calls are all about what YOU want, not what’s best for the prospect.

(Also, “elevator speeches” and “unique value propositions” aren’t real WIIFMs. They’re old-school cliches and catchphrases that sales managers love to throw around, and nothing more.)

So if you want to improve your sales numbers, and achieve huge sales success, you must never, ever address a prospect without giving a WIIFM up front. And Ii you can’t think of any WIFFMs, you shouldn’t be talking to them in the first place. Which means they’re not a genuinely qualified prospect for you – and it’s unethical to try to sell anything to someone that doesn’t deliver powerful WIIFMs – real value – to them.

In closing, never forget that making cold calls is by far the most anti-WIIFM sales strategy out there. If you’re cold calling, you have no hope of delivering a real WIIFM, up front, to your prospects, which means you have no chance of getting them to buy.

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