Negative replies? How to improve your value proposition by hearing “no”

Updated on November 21, 2022

Like it or not, negative replies will happen. Just like anything else it is also part of the job. As soon as you accept it – the better.

#First things first, let’s reconsider the possible reasons why you’ve received negative replies. It might be your not-that-perfect timing.

Calculating what is the best time for sending out emails can be a little tricky and it takes a lot of tweaks and adjustments. In the end, it’s pretty clear that your current cadence needs to be reworked. 

Also, your targeted audience: Being mistaken for the wrong person is annoying to everybody. Especially when it happens on a daily basis. 

When sending emails to only decision-makers, as likely as not, the messages would be ignored and out of convenience. 

As human beings, we all hate being overflowed with emails, even when they are not as cold as ice, right? 🥶

What is an actual “negative” reply and how to distinguish between types of negative responses?

All those replies that can be considered as negative replies:

#1 Angry replies

-These ones are easy to notice. Just a bunch of negative emotions and attitudes expressed by capital letters. The worst-case – used some obscene language. But an angry reply does not have to be that impolite. Let me express it through real examples:

“Can you please STOP SPAMMING ME!!!”

“REMOVE ME of the email list”

If you keep seeing anger coming from prospects, perhaps your email content looks a lot like a sales offering or a simple advertisement. That is why the introduction email needs to offer some real visible value to your prospects. Simply adding their first name in the subject line doesn’t keep the open rate high anymore, but implementing personalized elements might just do the trick. 

#2 A simple “not interested” reply

As a part of the sales process, we all get more than one “not interested” reply on a daily basis. It feels less disappointing when prospects state an actual reason why they are not interested, but usually, the reason is not being pointed out.

 Here are classic examples:

“Thank you for your information, Sara. This is not something that fits my interests at this time.”

“I appreciate the offer but I am not interested at the moment.”

After all, this gives at least one kind of information: A polite way of saying that there is no more need for you to send further follow-ups. Drawing a conclusion from this type of case can be difficult but, there is still space to deduce some things:

  1. Your assumption that a specific target group will benefit from your solution offering might be unproven. 
  2. Your value proposition is not giving any value to your prospects, and it should.

That is why you should change the part where you show your own value proposition. Simply start talking more about the benefits your solution provides to your prospects, instead of talking about its features and specifications. 

They’ll be more aware of their problem when they learn that there is an actual solution and what they can gain after applying.


#3 The helpful side of “I’m not a good fit” reply

Is there a better way of knowing your real Ideal Customer Profile than getting feedback saying “I am not really a match”? 

Such replies can be helpful because there is a clear state and reason why the prospect isn’t interested:

“Your solution sounds good for a larger company, but not really for me as I am running a startup. Sorry I can not be of more help! ”


#4 A reply with a sales objection 

You have probably got one of these replies if your prospect is already using some similar solution, or they even require some specific solution features that you are not able to provide them with and are out of your range. 

“I appreciate your offer but I am already satisfied with the prospecting tool I use.”

“I have checked your mobile app and I noticed that you don’t provide the options me and my team would need. Thank you anyway.”

How to take advantage of negative replies

Like yin and yang, there is always something a bit bad in good and there is always something good from bad.

Negative replies, if well analyzed, can be a great sign you can learn from and take advantage of. Instead of getting negative feelings from the outcome, you can focus on grouping the responses into the categories we’ve mentioned above and take action accordingly.

Just a note to yourself: 

  • Negative replies are an inevitable part and no matter how hard you put yourself into your email outreach, always remember: Any type of reply is better than no replies at all.
  • They are not something that should be ignored or either accepted. Better analyze how they got to you and improve your cold email outreach.
  • This kind of reply may be consequential to more than just your email strategy. So, make sure you provide extra points for positive replies: social media profiles, customer’s use cases, testimonials, worthy landing pages, etc.

How to focus on the positive side of a negative reply

#The more questions – the better. 

It can be hard to distinguish situations – whether you should react to a negative reply and send feedback or just end the conversation at some point and dedicate yourself to other matters. 

The best way to understand what move to make next is by gaining experience, staying open-minded, and being ready to solve the issues along the way. Avoiding them was never the case. 

Negative responses might give you a feeling like they’re your enemies but in fact, they can act like real friends – the one of a kind that would never sugarcoat the truth of your email outreach or either stay silent when you are not doing something right.

Lesson learned: Value Proposition and explanation to your recipients why you reached out to them

We can all agree that the Value Proposition is the most difficult point to set up well in the content of an email. Why? 

Because you don’t want it to sound extra salesy. The lead would get bored or even scared off. Too personal and friendly – it may sound like a joke to them as they are not aware what kind of solution is being offered to them. 

So, what’s the right moderate way of writing eye-catching email content so the recipient wants to reply? 

The trickiest part of an outbound email is when the addressee needs to know the reason why they are being contacted. Even though the roots of a value proposition lay deep in the sales emails, it applies to any other situation when the recipient is not aware of your company. 

While writing a little bit about ourselves in the email and what we offer, the key is to keep the focus on the recipient at the same time. 

To put it another way, write about yourselves while still writing about them.

Confirming the value proposition is certainly not focused on you, but on the addressee

The value proposition has some existing value to you for sure, but not necessarily to the recipient of the email. That is why the value proposition of your emails should be of importance to them. No matter what is the story behind your outbound email, whether the goal is lead generation or ramping up sales, the VP should be of great importance to the recipient.

The mistake I used to do until I found my true path (and I believe most of you), was putting too much focus on either the solution or on the sender and their company.

Forget about showcasing a long list of the product’s specifications and telling the prospect how amazing your company is. We all love the feeling of being wrapped up in ourselves, but the tone of “me,me,me” and “my company” needs to be avoided at any cost

What should a real value proposition include?

Anything that doesn’t sound too self-important or too salesy would do the job. 

Start with the answer to the questions: “What can we provide them? Is the solution appropriate for them?” 

If you have anything to show that sounds honest, moderate, and with a polite tone without fake praise, then you are on the right track. 

Regarding this, here is a personal example that worked for me: 

“A great number of companies similar to yours have great skills but often struggle with time limitations when trying to level up with outbound prospecting. Our tool provides automated email outreach, so your sales team members can dedicate their working hours on what they do the best - closing deals.”

This VP is more prospect-oriented. In the beginning, a challenge is presented that many similar companies face in day-to-day business. Your product is a suitable solution for them. Consequently, the value for the prospect here is the workflow efficiency getting improved.

A SumUp from a real email content creator

You need to realize that people in specific work positions are willing to get more cold emails than people in other positions. The more cold emails they get the greater the chances you’ll get ghosted from a sales director or any other ICP. That is why giving them some benefit in the email increases the chances of getting noticed.

Before starting to type the next email campaign, have in mind that the value proposition is the first thing to focus on. If it is stressed out enough to the readers what your solution can do for them, then they will care more. And when they do that, negative response rate will drop down. 

Also, when giving a real value to your recipients, make sure that it would be suitable for them to comprehend it on the first read. Otherwise, they won’t give any further attention to it. Try not to give a reason to reply with a negative attitude.

So, in order to write a killer value proposition for your email campaign, write content driven by the real value of your solution and avoid giving pointless epithets to it.

Negative or positive, a response builds your knowledge either way. It’s up to you to turn it into a positive outcome!

Author avatar
CMO at Sales.Rocks - Jana believes in analytical approach to marketing and building up a story around it.