6 Reasons Why Leads Don’t Respond… and What to Do About It

an 9-minute read

Sometimes leads seem like these weird, mysterious creatures. What do they want? How can they be caught? What’s their secret weakness?

In all this frustration, we forget a very basic fact: leads are people, just like you and me. They ignore ads for the same reasons we all do. They say “no” for the same reasons you say “no.” And – just like you and me – all leads change their minds at some point or other. Your job is to make sure they change their minds for YOU, and not for some other joker.

Here are the six most common reasons I’ve noticed leads say “no” to buying something online – and what to do to fix each of them.

#1. Your Leads Don’t Know, Trust, Or Like You

Think about the last time you read an interesting article online.

Maybe you loved it so much you shared it with your friends – but you probably never thought about the fact that an actual human being took the time to write this article because they (gasp!) WANT something from you in return.

Even if you did think about that, a single article doesn’t make you very inclined to trust the person who wrote it – no matter how many adorable puppies dressed like superheroes they’ve just shown you.

Surprise! This is pretty much exactly how your leads think, too.

All the epic content in the world isn’t going to make a lick of difference unless you give your visitors a concrete reason to like you. Give them a free ebook. A free video series. A no-obligation consultation.

Once you’ve actually helped your leads in some way, THEN you can start thinking about building an ongoing relationship of trust with them.

And then, and ONLY then, should you start thinking about how to get them to buy from you.

Because the problem is, right now…

#2. Your Coming On Way To Strong

Imagine if some brightly-dressed guy you’d never met came running up to you on the street, screaming, “Here! Take this free book and then buy my video series!”

Gaah! Stranger danger! Break out the pepper spray!

Yet this is pretty much exactly how most marketers approach their sales funnels.

As soon as a lead hands over their email, they’ve got an automated system ready to blast one message after another into that lead’s inbox, loudly proclaiming the urgency of visiting a sales page.

I don’t care how compelling your copy is. I don’t care how worthwhile your offer is. People get freaked out by that level of pressure – no matter how gently you phrase it. They can still see what you’re doing, because we’re all exposed to sales tactics like this every day, and we know the game.

And nobody wants to buy in response to tactics like those. It feels like being tricked – like being “cheap,” in a way. Come on. Try a little harder.

Sure, there’ll always be a few outliers who lap up aggressive offers and buy right away. But those people will NEVER be the majority of your customers – and if you keep using tactics that target them (at the expense of more wary shoppers), then you’re leaving a TON of money on the table.

Stop catering to your outliers and annoying everyone else.

Start trying to get inside the heads of the leads who say “no.”

And you’ll soon realize…

3. We’re All Trained To Say “No” To Strangers

Every lead who says “no” to you is doing exactly what their mama taught them.

From the time we first learn to walk and talk, we’re told again and again… and again… to ALWAYS say “no” to unknown people who offer us gifts out of the blue.

And that’s a good thing! If your customer says “no” to strangers, that means they’re smart!

Now, this isn’t to say you never buy anything from strangers. That’s obviously not true – we all buy things from strangers every day. Every time you go to the grocery store, you’re handing over money to a total stranger.

Well… not exactly, though, right?

You’ve been to that grocery store (or one like it) many times before. You know there are laws in place to prevent them from selling rotten fruit.

In other words, you know some basic facts that make you more willing to hand over your money to this PARTICULAR stranger, in this particular time and place.

That’s exactly what your leads want, too. But…

#4. You’re Not Giving Them The Fact(s) That’d Changed Their Mind

If a lead has given you their email address, that means they’re interested. There’s SOME fact (or set of facts) you could show or tell them that’d get them to buy, right now.

Your lead may not know, right now, exactly what that “something” is.

But at some point, they’re going to find it, and they’re going to buy – whether from you or from one of your competitors.

We call this a “response indicator” – the specific action, or piece of knowledge, that just about guarantees a customer will respond.

What does this particular lead need to know – or do – in order to choose YOU?

Sometimes the answer to this question is simple. For example, maybe you sell cars, and your lead just wants to take a test drive. Or maybe you sell solar panels, and your leads needs to see that your brand will slash her energy bill more than your competitor’s will.

In most fields, though, response indicators are a lot more subtle.

Say you’re selling a video course.

You might discover (if you’ve got good analytics) that 60 percent of leads who download your free ebook go on to pay for the full course. That’s a solid response indicator.

Or (if you’ve got REALLY good analytics) you might discover that a whopping 90 percent of the leads who download your ebook AND read the whole thing end up buying your course. Now that is a fantastic response indicator.

Your goal is not to push your leads to buy. Your goal is to move them from one response indicator… to the next… to the next… for as long as it takes to change their mind.

But somewhere along this chain of response indicators, you’ll usually start to notice…

#5. You’re Giving Them Too Few Changes To Change Their Mind

What’s your first thought when you walk past a store window with a big yellow sign that says, “EVERYTHING 75% OFF! LAST CHANCE TO SAVE!”

If you’re like me, you immediately think, “They’re unloading all the crap they couldn’t sell.”

Well, that might be true, or it might not. Maybe the store just needs to clear off their shelves for some new inventory. But it sounds like they’re too nervous about their product to give me time to think about it.

Like I said above, you’ll always get a few outliers who love those kinds of sales.

But the vast majority of your customers will be people who said “no” the first time… and the second time… and maybe the third, too… but finally came around because they were impressed with your consistency and patience.

The more chances you give them to change their mind, the more sales you’ll make.

We call this “multiple conversion points.”

A lot of campaigns have only ONE conversion point, repeated multiple times.

This is a crucial distinction. If you’re sending a whole series of emails that all make the same offer in the same way, that’s still only ONE conversion point. You’re just repeating it.

Your conversions will go through the roof when you make an offer at DIFFERENT points in your buyer’s journey.

This goes back to the concept of response indicators, which I talked about in section 4.

Say you’re trying to sell a video course, but you’re hardly getting any conversions from your email series. Buy you know (because, remember, you have GREAT analytics) that 60 percent of people who download your free ebook end up buying the course – plus a full 90 percent of people who read the whole ebook buy the course.

What’s the logical way to set up your conversion points?

Make sure the offer for the course pops up as soon as a lead downloads your free ebook.

Make sure the offer – phrased differently, obviously – is INSIDE the ebook, where 60 percent of your leads will be thinking of buying.

And make absolutely damn sure the offer is at the end of the ebook, where a full 90 percent of people are primed and ready to buy.

See the difference?

You’re not just sending your leads the same offer again and again, hoping they’ll magically change their mind on one of those repetitions.

Instead, you’re showing them VARIATIONS of the offer at DIFFERENT POINTS in their journey.

You’re giving them opportunities to change their mind – at the exact moments when this change is most likely to happen.

All that’s left is to fix one last problem…

#6. You’re Not Giving Them What They Actually Want

“Well, duh, Sina!” I can hear you saying. “So I’m just gonna skip over this section, because…”


Just because you make a good product does NOT mean you’re offering your leads what they want.

This trap is WAY too easy to fall into. I’ve fallen into it myself, more than once.

Here’s how it works:

You think, “My leads are interested in increasing their sales. I made a video course on how to increase sales. Therefore, my leads should want to pay for my course.”

Sounds logical, right? Except it’s a HUGE oversimplification.

It’s like saying, “My leads want to travel quickly over long distances. Catapults throw things quickly over long distances. Therefore, my leads should want to pay for catapults.”

Your product or service needs to do more than just generally do what your leads want to accomplish.

You need to help your leads meet their goals – in the ways they want to meet those goals.

And here’s the thing:

Leads are INCREDIBLY skilled at sniffing out products and services that promise exactly what they’re looking for – but only deliver half, or a quarter, of the solution they actually need.

The first step to solving this is to dig into your analytics, and find out precisely where your leads and dropping out.

  • Example A: Your leads are devouring loads of articles on your website, but aren’t subscribing to your email list. This probably means the list doesn’t promise the kind of help they’re looking for, and you need to restructure your offer
  • Example B: A lot of leads subscribe to your email list, then unsubscribe a few weeks later. This means your email content isn’t delivering what you promised, and it’s time to put together some better email articles.
  • Example C: Your leads are downloading your ebook, but not taking action on the offers inside it. That means the ebook’s content ITSELF is not solving their problem, so they’re giving up.
  • Example D: They’re downloading the ebook and purchasing the video course, but they demand refunds a few days later. This means your videos are not helping in the way you promised, and that pisses your customers off.

Once you’ve found the general source of the problem, the next step is to pinpoint exactly where and why – WITHIN that particular content – your leads are getting frustrated.

Maybe your “subscribers-only” email content is nowhere near as helpful as the articles on your site.

Maybe your ebook is too light on specific, actionable tips, and leads can tell right away that it’s a bunch of useless fluff.

Maybe your videos are way too long and way too boring, and people stop watching them after the first two minutes.

Or maybe… worst of all… you’re promising a specific kind of help, but failing to deliver solutions that ACTUALLY help your audience solve that problem.

Whatever the case, you need to study your audience’s behaviour until you understand exactly WHERE and WHY they’re getting fed up with you.

And then you need to find a way to give them what they actually want.

This can be a frustrating process, I know. That’s why I’m here.

I want to give you one-on-one guidance on how to get your leads to like you, trust you, buy from you (obviously), and love their purchases so much they spread the word to their friends.

When you’re ready to take your sales to the next level, get in touch. Let’s talk about turning your website into a high-powered conversion factory.

Facebook Twitter
  • Accelerate growth with clear and actionable insights into visitor behaviour
  • Supercharge your conversion optimization program with new data-backed test ideas
  • Increase your revenue month-over-month with data-driven experiments
  • Stop wasting money and identify website conversion leaks you don’t know exist

Book your CRO Discovery call & receive a proposal

Step 1 of 4