12 Reasons Prospects Aren’t Answering You and How to Fix It


It does not matter which field your business occupies—ineffective client outreach costs you money, hinders potential long-term relationships, and causes endless frustration. While marketing pros know there is no exact science to email and telephone outreach, there are several best practices that you can implement for better results.

When your target audience isn’t answering the phone or your emails, you may be losing potential clients because of one or more of these 12 mistakes.

1) Your systems are allowing potential clients to go unconverted

When a potential client is ready to bite, you better set the hook. After all, the status of “potential client” is not indefinite. An individual or organization that is ready to do business right now may not have the same interest, financial wherewithal, or motivation in a matter of hours.

With this in mind, you must have client conversion systems that:

● Notify you (or dedicated virtual receptionists) immediately when someone responds to your inquiry

● Allow your team to respond immediately to client inquiries

● Maintain a reliable record of your outgoing campaigns and incoming queries

Consider that some of your potential clients aren’t answering or returning your calls and emails because they’re no longer potential clients. Any number of problems can blunt a prospective client’s interest, including:

● Calling your organization or responding to an email without replying

● A disjointed or overly complicated conversion funnel

● Inconsistent client service

● Ambiguity about what your organization offers

If you waited too long to act on a lead or failed to return a client’s query quickly, then you may have missed your shot. Make sure you don’t miss any more opportunities.


If you are consistently missing out on conversions due to controllable circumstances, then you might want to consider dedicating more resources to client communication. There is truly no reason that individuals who want to do business with you should be unable to reach your conversion team.

If you do not have the resources to handle client outreach in-house, you’re not alone. Our virtual receptionists offer a broad number of valuable services. From answering client calls to booking consultations, round-the-clock virtual receptionists (VRs) can plug costly holes in your organizational ship.

2) You’re calling and emailing at the wrong times

Findings published by the Harvard Business Review reveal the importance of timing when it comes to client acquisition and retention. Data shows that potential clients are far more likely to engage in the sales process on a Wednesday or Thursday than they are on a Monday or a Tuesday, and to a lesser degree, on a Friday.

Image link: Harvard Business Review/HubSpot

Monday’s return to the office can be overwhelming. Unless the client you are targeting views your email or call as an A-1 priority (and these findings suggest that they don’t), then they are likely to ignore your call or email.

By the time Wednesday rolls around, those same individuals may have the time necessary to hear you out. Maximize your chances of converting potential clients by calling or emailing at the right time. We know that prospective clients are more likely to engage your sales representatives between 4 P.M. and 5 P.M. than they are at any other time of day.

Sending a well-conceived, visually appealing email at 8 A.M. on a Monday is akin to flushing money down the drain. Know your window of opportunity when it comes to client conversion, and stick within that time frame.


Customer-driven data can, and should, be integral to your client conversion. A data-driven approach in your marketing efforts will ensure that you are pitching the right potential clients at the most opportune times.

Data can reach far deeper than ideal outreach times. Those willing to invest in client acquisition may hire third-party consultants to harvest more sophisticated data. As such, 64% of marketers believe that stronger data would help them acquire more clients. Tools like Deloitte Digital’s Hux could be beneficial to your client acquisition efforts.

If you hire a dedicated third party for customer outreach, they might be able to provide observations from the front lines. They may tell you which of your strategies are effective, which need work, and which you should abandon altogether. The combination of human insights and deep data may produce powerful results.

3) Your calls to action need work

A bit of flowery language isn’t the worst thing when pitching clients. Most prospective clients that you will contact, though, will want to know two things: what are you selling, and why should I buy it?

Your call to action (CTA) should answer this question concisely and compellingly. Some common mistakes marketers make when forming their calls to action are:

● Not distinguishing the CTA from the rest of the email copy

● Failing to have a clear CTA prepared before calling a prospective client

● Misrepresenting your CTA

● Using weak language within your CTA

Calls to action are not necessarily rocket science, but the cost of a poor CTA can be immense. A call to action should be clear, honest, and presented to the prospective client almost immediately.

Image link: Video design blog  (Image-only link)


Do your research on what makes a strong CTA. From clarifying your wording to the design of a CTA button, there is almost always room for improvement. If you conceive a novel approach that you believe will capture potential clients’ attention, don’t be afraid to go off-script.

Some metrics used to measure a CTA’s effectiveness are:

Click-through rate, which tells you how many viewers interact with your call to action, whether it is a button, hyperlink, or otherwise

Click-to-submission rate, which tells you how many viewers click your initial CTA and then submit a form on your landing page

Lead conversion rate, which tells you how effectively your CTA is leading directly to client conversions

Be open to revision. If your emails or telephone scripts are not garnering the interest that you seek, consider refining or even overhauling the way you deploy CTAs.

4) Potential clients cannot reach you

Missing a potential client’s call or responding to their email hours late means missing a lead. When a would-be client can’t get ahold of you, they may conclude that:

● You do not respect the person’s time or effort.

● Your organization does not value promptness (or customer care).

● Your organization may be difficult to deal with in general.

The prospective client can conclude nothing positive from a sluggish email response, missed call, or unreturned message. Poor response times are even more damaging today, as portable email has led half of email users to return messages within an hour. And yet, some organizations still take up to half a day to respond to client/customer inquiries.

We understand that your organization is bustling. However, you have little room to complain about client acquisition until you have whittled your client response times down to the bare minimum.


Client-based organizations face quite the quandary. Do they dedicate a robust fleet of in-house resources to client outreach and response, potentially diverting those resources away from their core operations? Or, do they save those resources and simply try to get back to customers in a reasonably quick manner?

In truth, this zero-sum view is not necessary. Many organizations outsource their client conversion, allowing sophisticated VR services to answer calls, make appointments, and move clients through the conversion funnel.

These third-party services specialize in client communication. They may be a more cost-efficient and effective resource than your in-house alternatives.

5) You’re overlooking emerging demographics

Your client outreach should focus unabashedly on demographics, as they tell you which population segments are gravitating towards your calls to action and which you are failing to reach.

By virtually every metric, Latin-owned businesses and Spanish-speaking customers are a growing and untapped segment of the American marketplace. Latin-owned businesses grew by 34% between 2009 and 2019, according to the Stanford Business School Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. Catering to this demographic is a potential boon for any organization seeking to grow its client base.

Let’s face it: the way that you appeal to a 75-year-old is not the way that you will appeal to a teenager. Differences exist among marketing demos, and you can embrace those differences through a highly-tailored outreach approach.

Though key demographics change, target marketing is nothing new. The Balance Small Business defines target marketing as “breaking a market into segments and then concentrating your marketing efforts on one or a few key segments consisting of the customers whose needs and desires most closely match your product or service offerings.” By targeting specific markets segments with unique approaches, you may:

● Create marketing that has a highly personal feel

● Spend your marketing budget more efficiently (rather than paying for a less effective catch-all approach)

● Acquire clients from demographics that you have not historically acquired

● Increase revenues

● Create a more sustainable client base for your organization

The market you are targeting may inform your approach. If you are seeking a younger client base, for example, then you might consider a social media-heavy campaign. As demographics shift throughout America, your organization must maintain a dynamic view of target marketing.


Offering bilingual outreach and answering services is a clear advantage in a competitive marketing ecosystem. Why not remove possible language barriers that could stand in the way of conversion?

The United States houses the second-largest Spanish-speaking population in the world. While many of those speakers are bilingual, many are not. While we speak of the importance of targeting specific demographics, you also do not want to exclude any demographic from becoming your client. By offering bilingual communications, you may endear your organization to countless Spanish-speaking clients.

Even aside from Spanish speakers, you should have a clear rationale behind every marketing campaign. Who are you targeting? Based on the target audience, does the medium and messaging for your campaign make sense?

6) You’re giving up too easily on leads

Harvard Business Review’s findings do not only tell you at which hour and day of the week you should be contacting prospective leads. They also tell you how often you should contact a lead before giving up on their business.

The odds of your contacting a potential client on the first ring or email are pretty slim. Per HBR, you have less than a 40% chance of hearing a potential client’s voice on the first call attempt. In an age where robocalls are as common as legitimate calls, unknown callers generally land right in the voicemail.

Image link: Harvard Business Review/HubSpot

If at first you don’t succeed, call that potential client back. Email them again. Persistence pays.

By the time your organization has called a lead six times, you have a 90% chance of hearing a voice on the other end of the line. And yet, fewer than 10% of sales reps actually make it to the sixth call—most give up after a single call.

Stubbornness is paramount when it comes to sales. While there is a fine line between persistence and badgering, we know that you must show sustained effort in order to win new clients.


If you’re genuinely interested in onboarding new clients, then you have to be all-in. There is no rational basis for a shallow approach. If you’re not willing to call potential clients six times (or more), then you’re handicapping your sales team and organization.

If you do not have the in-house capacity to pursue leads as you should, consider hiring a third-party service to handle this process. A Lead Response Management study published by MIT and Northwestern concluded that: “Companies who break up their sales process into specialties (like lead gen, inside sales, and outside sales) correspond with higher qualification and close ratios.”

Do not be afraid to hire an organization with the expertise and bandwidth to pursue leads doggedly.

7) Your emails are not mobile-friendly

As many as 65% of emails opened in the United States are read on mobile devices rather than computers. Mobile email was once an inferior, emergency substitute for the real thing. Mobile apps are now the most popular way for professionals to access their inboxes, and it may be the way that most recipients interact with your marketing queries.

Your email campaigns better be mobile-friendly. If they are not, expect recipients to archive or trash them without a second thought.

Image link: Salesforce (Image-only link)


Know the hallmarks of a mobile-friendly email, which include:

● Proper code

● A flexible design layout that works with all of the popular mobile devices (iPhone, Android, iPad, etc.)

● Appropriate use of white space

● Large font

● Email-friendly image formatting

If you do not hire qualified developers and designers, then your mobile email campaigns may have a sloppy, scattershot appearance. Know that prospective clients will not be inclined to engage with your brand if your email experience is lacking.

Like other solutions on this list, you may consider outsourcing your email outreach and response to a third party. A third party may conceive, implement, and maintain all of your email marketing efforts.

8) You’re calling when you should be emailing (or vice versa)

The very act of emailing or calling sends a distinct message. Just as important as what to write or what to say is this question: should I be calling this potential client or emailing them?

When deciding whether to send a cold email, personalized email, or call a prospective client, you may consider:

● While cold emails can reach a broader audience at relatively little time-cost, the average response rate to cold emails is just 1%

● High-value clients may warrant a personalized email (or phone call), while you may not invest such effort in less valuable clients

● Whether a phone call is appropriate for the time that you are reaching out—if it is nighttime or the middle of a workday, then email may be more appropriate as a first contact

● What type of action you are seeking from the prospective client

How aggressive do you want to be in your approach? If you are truly looking to close the deal on a client, then a phone call is generally worthwhile. When you want the individual to take substantial action—including paying you money—then a phone call is the more direct, unavoidable medium.

Email can be an effective way of establishing a connection. If you’re only asking for a minor commitment, like feedback or a free newsletter subscription, then a phone call may not be appropriate. These sorts of inquiries are what email was made for.

The choice of whether to call or email prospective clients is more important than you may realize. It could shape the client’s impression of your organization and dictate whether they do business or take their money elsewhere.


You should have a logically consistent approach to the way you use each medium. Perhaps you use email as a means of gauging clients’ interest in your product or service, and then resort to phone calls as a deal-closing measure.

Be critical of your own methods. Are the mass, cold emails you’ve been sending out garnering any worthwhile responses? How have your prospective clients responded to your phone calls, as opposed to your personalized emails?

You also want to align your calls to action with the medium and objective. If you’re sending a soft email to establish a rapport, don’t be overly aggressive in your call to action. A would-be client learning of your brand for the first time may be turned off by a blatant sales call.

A team of marketers who knows when to push, when to lay off the gas, and when to email or cold call is an invaluable asset.

9) Your communication intervals aren’t consistent

Can you name one area of life where consistency doesn’t pay? Consistent effort funneled towards a positive goal often generates results. When it comes to client outreach, consistency pays similar dividends.

We all know what it’s like when an organization sends an endless stream of emails or floods your voicemail without shame. Your patience eventually runs thin, you block the phone number and email, and you make a mental note not to interact with that brand if you can possibly avoid it.

As an organization in a position to call and email prospective customers, remember this: consistency is not synonymous with pestering. This distinction is where a good customer relationship management (CRM) service can come in handy. Decide what a reasonable space between phone calls or emails is—maybe it’s a week, two weeks, a month, or four days.

Once you identify a reasonable regimen of correspondence, reach out consistently. Your prospective clients have a lot going on, and it’s important to remind them that you want their business. Yet, always be respectful of their time and limited patience. Mind the difference between consistency and annoyance.


Once again, consider virtual receptionists and similar services to take the burden off of your in-house team.

Your virtual assistants can:

● Send out emails and make phone calls at the intervals that you’ve set

● Answer phone calls and emails as recipients fulfill your calls to action

● Add and subtract members from your outreach lists

● Maintain a record of who has converted to a client, who remains to be converted, and who is not likely to convert

● Handle other facets of client outreach

There are a ton of moving parts when it comes to client acquisition. For many organizations, it is well worth dedicating an entire team to this critical aspect of their business.

10) You’re saying too much

Humans’ attention spans are ever-decreasing at an astounding rate.

Image link: Wyzowl (Image-only link)

Brevity is no longer optional when it comes to selling goods and services—it’s imperative. If you do not keep your email campaigns and telephone pitches tight, don’t expect strong engagement or conversion.

Don’t misconstrue the fact that the average American professional spends a whopping 2.6 hours per day reading and responding to emails. The typical worker doesn’t want to be on Gmail or Yahoo! for 28% of their workweek. Rather, they’re inundated with digital communiques, and they may have less tolerance than ever for junk mail.

Even the slightest whiff of spam from your email could spell a quick trip to the trash bin, a lead potentially lost forever. The same logic applies to your telephone outreach, social messaging, and other paths to conversion; if you’re overly wordy or spammy, you’re wasting the audience’s precious attention.


Consumers feel bombarded with content and have little patience for fluff. You have one, maybe two sentences to rope them in. Thus, the tolerance for fluff is at an all-time low.

Place your strongest value proposition towards the top of your emails, telephone scripts, graphics, and ads. If the hook is compelling, the potential client will keep reading or listening to the remainder of your pitch.

11) You aren’t delivering value

Ever heard the question, “What’s in it for me?” It is the question that the typical client or customer lives by, and for a good reason. If you demand that the client give you their time, provide their email address, or shell out hard-earned money, shouldn’t they receive something of value in return?

Some forms of marketing are valuable enough on their own. A genuinely informative or entertaining newsletter is one example of outreach with intrinsic value. However, many consumers today demand even more.


A promo code is one of the most popular forms of marketing today. Listen to just about any podcast, and you’ll find a business offering a significant discount in exchange for your business. This quid pro-promo code is, whether you realize it or not, a clever form of client acquisition.

One study found that nearly 18% of small business revenues are the result of customer acquisition promotions. The logic is that it is better to have a customer paying a slight discount than no customer at all.

Promo codes are just one example of delivering value through your marketing. Loyalty programs, free newsletters, and other little extras may entice new clients and spark a tangible revenue boost for your organization.

12) You are not clarifying your unique value proposition

If you have a product or service that clients should want, then why aren’t you getting responses to your emails or phone calls? Obviously, you’re not communicating clearly enough, compellingly enough, or explaining enough about what you’re offering.

Perhaps your communication is too one-sided. Are you embracing live messaging, SMS surveys, and other forums where clients can ask questions? If not, perhaps you should.

You could be plagued by one of the issues we’ve previously discussed—overly flowery language, a tone that is excessively slick or salesy, an annoying manner of communication, or a poorly-designed email layout.

Even with other shortcomings, being able to communicate the unique nature of your offerings could result in higher conversion rates. You can have the most effective client outreach systems, but without a product or service worth pushing, what is the point?


Before you exhaust your marketing budget, you and your marketing gurus must boil down what sets your organization apart. Let this value be the centerpiece of your phone outreach, email campaigns, and social media advertising.

The window dressing is also important. Couch your value proposition in slick graphics, clever language, and value-driven features like promo codes and newsletters. Never take your eye off of the ball, though; you are selling your clients on something, and that something is the lifeblood of your organization.

As you can tell, there is no single reason why prospective clients aren’t answering your calls and emails. Outreach is a never-ending juggling act, and your organization can use all the help that it can get.

Consider Smith.ai virtual receptionists and live website chat for your business

Smith.ai addresses many of the problems that hinder client conversion. Our team offers:

● A firm understanding of best email, phone, and social marketing practices

● A 24/7 answering service staffed by live agents

24/7 web chat and SMS messaging services

● 24/7 intake and appointment scheduling

Temporary receptionists

Sales development services

Bilingual phone answering services

Smith.ai will not only help your business launch effective outreach. We will also be there when clients respond to those leads, whether through email, telephone, text message, or other channels.

Connect with Smith.ai today for a free consultation

Do not let any more clients walk away because you missed their calls or didn’t respond quickly enough to their emails. Smith.ai is a round-the-clock assistant helping you win more business.

Our 14-day money-back guarantee allows us to help you today at no risk. We also offer a free 30-minute consultation, during which time we will answer any questions that you have. You may also contact us now at hello@smith.ai.

Business Education
Written by Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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