If you’re a sales professional, odds are you’ve already had a few prospects ghosting you. It is, after all, a common challenge for many sales people, who may remain in limbo for a long time wondering if they should close the book on a prospect or keep trying.
Ghosting has become more common with the rise of remote sales, and means that a prospect (or maybe even a client) has seemingly dropped off the face of the earth without saying good bye. Imagine, for example, that you’ve had a few meetings with a prospect, and have just sent a proposal for them to sign or comment on. Then, imagine that there is no response even after you’ve sent a ton of follow-up emails wondering what’s up. Leaving you in a state of limbo, and not knowing whether the prospect is no longer interested, if something has happened or if your emails have disappeared in a spam box somewhere.
This is, in fact, a big challenge for many sales reps, who have a limited time and need to focus on the deals with high chances of success. Which, in turn, means that ghosting can have them spend this valuable time trying to connect with someone who just isn’t interested anymore. At the same time as they can’t write the prospect off completely, as there is still a chance they’re interested.
With this, preventing a prospect from ghosting you – or dealing with it if they do – can have some very real benefits and save you both time and headaches.
The best way to deal with ghosting is, obviously, to proactively prevent your prospect from becoming a ghost in the first place. To make this easier, we’ve gathered a number of tips that can increase the chances that prospects keep answering when you call – and increase your chances of closing the deal.
1. End every call by planning the next one
If you can, the simplest way of making sure the prospect will come back to you is to set a time and date for your next meeting right away. While not forgetting to be super clear about what is expected from both parties between now and then. If it’s simply not possible to set a time right away, give a clear explanation of what you will both do before the next time you meet, and give a suggestion for when that can be. Then, you can include meeting-time suggestions when you send the follow-up message we’ll talk about in a second.
2. Follow up right away
This is super important if you didn’t manage to set a time for the next meeting. Time is far from your friend, here, and you’ll want to follow up while you’re still fresh in the prospect’s memory.
Even if you have planned your next call, you can follow up and mention what you talked about. You can also include any material that the prospect can look at in the meantime – or, even better, use a Sales Enablement solution like SP_CE, and that allows you to, for example, gather all relevant material in a digital space customized for that very prospect. Where you will be able to view and track how your prospect interacts with the material, and that they can get access to simply by receiving a link.
Sending this link in your follow-up, instead of a bunch of attachments, can be a great idea. Allowing you to avoid the many pitfalls of sending attachments in emails, and giving you more information to go on during your next call while also gauging their interest.
3. Don’t shrug off a deadline
If you’ve set deadlines with the prospect between meetings, it’s absolutely crucial that you take them seriously. I.e. if the prospect is to have done something, or gotten back to you by a certain date that’s coming around the corner, it’s a good idea to send a friendly reminder. After all, caring about these deadlines is a good way of telling your customer that they should care too, and shows that you’re on top of things.
If you happen to be using SP_CE, you can even take this to the next level and add to-do’s that you assign to yourself and the prospect, and where you both get a solid overview of what should be done before what meeting.
How to deal with ghosts
In the best of worlds you would always hear back from prospects, and ghosts would only exist in the comic books. Reality is not as simple, though, and we can’t promise that a prospect will never ghost you if you apply everything we’ve talked about until now. So, let’s go through a few ways to deal with a prospect ghosting you, and how to either activate them or learn enough to write them off and move on.
1. Keep it up & change it up
You should keep trying to reach your prospect despite some radio silence, and you should keep a merry disposition throughout your attempts. A customer may not be interested at this point, but a snarky email can be a quick way to make sure they never will be interested either.
What you can do, if they’re still not responding, is to try with some other channel. You can, for example, hit them up on LinkedIn, and send an eye catching message that looks a bit different than they’re used to, and that they’re sure to look at. For example by sending a link to the space we talked about, and adding a note that you’ve uploaded some great product demos that they can go through in their own time. If you do this, you can even include a friendly note that they can check out the material, and then add a simple chat message (yes, we can chat in a space too) telling you if they’re still interested.
Either, you’ll activate them and have them come back to you, or you may get a simple no that allows you to move on with other prospects with a higher chance of success.
2. Check the data
Full disclosure, you will probably need some Sales Enablement solution to make this tip work. Still, it’s a great idea to look at the data you have at hand, and using this to predict whether a prospect is still interested, or if it’s better to move on right away.
For example, remember how we mentioned that you can track how prospects interact with material in SP_CE? This can be used as a kind of thermometer, giving you an idea of how warm the prospect is. As you can also see exactly what material has been looked at, you can even gauge interest in individual presentations, products or areas of your service. Meaning that you can get some good information of what the prospect seems particularly keen on, and then send a follow-up email with that in mind.
A super relevant message from you about what they’re most interested in may just do the trick, and get them to come back to you. While, if they haven’t looked at any of the material you’ve presented, and now weeks have past since you last met, you can see this as a sign that maybe they’re not ready yet.