How to Stop Prospects from ‘Ghosting’ You

At a Glance:

  • We discuss the importance of maintaining consistent engagement with prospects to prevent them from losing interest or going silent.
  • We share strategies for keeping prospects engaged, such as setting concrete next steps, creating mutual action plans, and building relationships with multiple stakeholders.
  • We note the significance of adding value with every interaction to shift the salesperson’s perception from pesky to trusted advisor.

You know that sinking feeling. You’ve had a great call with a prospect, you’re excited about the potential deal, and then… nothing. Radio silence. Tumbleweeds blowing through your inbox. You, my friend, have been ghosted.

[Cue the sad violin music.]

Getting ghosted sucks, plain and simple. Not only does it sting on a personal level (rejection is never fun), but it’s also costly from a business perspective. Every lost opportunity represents time and resources down the drain.

But here’s the thing – ghosting isn’t inevitable. There are proven strategies we can use as sales pros to greatly reduce the chances of prospects going MIA. It’s all about keeping the momentum going and making it easy for them to stay engaged.

Always Book the Next Step

One of the most effective ways to prevent ghosting is to always get another meeting or call on the calendar before ending your current interaction. I learned this the hard way early in my career. I’d have what I thought was a productive first call, promise to follow up, and then… you guessed it. Ghosted.

What I realise now is that vague promises to “touch base” or “circle back” leave way too much room for prospects to disappear. The key is to lock in a concrete next step with a specific date and time. Whether it’s a demo, a discovery call, or just a quick check-in, get it scheduled.

Scheduling the next touch point accomplishes a few important things:

  1. It creates a sense of momentum and keeps the ball rolling
  2. It gives you a reason to follow up if they do start to go dark
  3. It psychologically commits them to continuing the conversation

In my experience, prospects are much less likely to ghost when there’s already another meeting on the books. It’s like the sales equivalent of making weekend plans on a Wednesday. Harder to flake out!

Develop a Mutual Action Plan

Taking it a step further, I’ve found that creating a shared action plan is even more powerful for keeping prospects engaged. This means mapping out next steps for BOTH parties (not just them), with clear owners and due dates.

For example, maybe you commit to sending over a case study by Friday, while they agree to review it and provide feedback by the following Tuesday. Then you’ll regroup on a call the next day to discuss. See how much more concrete that is than a vague “I’ll send you some info and let’s talk again soon”?

There’s actual psychology behind why this works. When people make public commitments to action items, they’re significantly more likely to follow through. It’s called the “consistency principle” – we have a deep need to be (and appear) consistent with what we’ve already said or done.

Sports psychologists have been using this for years to boost athlete performance. One study found that when people wrote down their exercise goals, they were 30% more likely to actually stick with their program. Translate that to sales and you can see how getting verbal or written commitments from prospects could seriously boost conversion rates.

Plus, developing an action plan together positions you as a partner and makes the whole process feel more collaborative. You’re not just selling to them, you’re working with them.

Embrace the Power of Multi-Threading

Here’s a hard truth: relying on a single point of contact is a recipe for getting ghosted. People change jobs, priorities shift, projects get put on hold. If your only connection to an account disappears, you’re back to square one.

That’s where multithreading comes in. Multithreading means building relationships with multiple stakeholders within an organisation – not just your primary contact. By connecting with people across different teams and levels, you create a web of influence and insight.

Think of it like diversifying your portfolio. You wouldn’t put all your money in one stock, right? Same goes for your sales relationships. Spreading your efforts across multiple contacts mitigates risk and increases your chances of success.

Multi-threading allows you to:

  • Gather diverse perspectives on the company’s challenges and objectives
  • Identify and influence key decision makers
  • Uncover additional opportunities within the account
  • Get the inside scoop on internal dynamics and potential roadblocks
  • Increase your “stickiness” and stay top-of-mind across the org

Tactically, this could look like scheduling separate discovery calls with contacts in sales, marketing, and customer success. Or asking your main point of contact to intro you to their boss or a leader on another team. The goal is to become so embedded in the account that it would be hard for them to ghost you even if they wanted to.

Just be sure to keep your primary contact in the loop and position all your interactions as trying to deliver maximum value to their organisation. You never want to seem sneaky or like you’re going over someone’s head. Frame it as a collaborative effort to ensure your solution has the biggest possible impact.

When you have multiple strong threads connecting you to an account, it’s much harder to get dropped or forgotten. You’ve got eyes and ears all over the org. Even if one contact does ghost, you’ve got other paths in. It’s a beautiful thing.

Go Multi-Channel

Another strategy for staying top-of-mind and avoiding the dreaded ghost is to engage prospects across multiple channels. Don’t just rely on email. Leverage phone, text, and social media.

The beauty of a multi-channel approach is that it greatly increases your chances of actually reaching them. Maybe they miss your call but see your LinkedIn message. 

It also allows you to tailor your outreach to their preferred communication style. Some people are email people, others are phone people. Adapting to their preferences shows you’re paying attention and makes them more likely to respond.

Just be sure not to overdo it and start spamming them. A thoughtful, measured cadence across a few key channels should do the trick. I like to space out touches every few business days so I’m staying on their radar without being annoying.

Add Value with Every Touch

When you do reach out, PLEASE resist the urge to send generic “just checking in!” emails. If there were ever a fast track to Ghostville, that’s it. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being chased down or guilted into responding.

Instead, make every touch point valuable by referencing previous conversations and providing relevant resources. If you discussed a specific challenge on your last call, send over a helpful article or case study. If they mentioned an upcoming project, check in to see how it’s going and share any applicable best practices.

Even just recapping key points from your last conversation and outlining next steps can be remarkably effective. It shows you’re listening, keeps things organised, and gently reminds them of the agreed-upon action items.

The real magic happens when you go above and beyond with educational content, event invites, intros to other experts, etc. Suddenly you’ve shifted from pesky salesperson to trusted advisor. The law of reciprocity kicks in and they almost can’t help but respond. It’s human nature – when someone does something nice for us, we feel compelled to return the favour.

Know When (and How) to Let Go

Even with all these ghostbusting strategies in place, there will still be times when prospects go dark. It’s an unfortunate reality of sales. The key is knowing when to call it quits and how to wrap things up gracefully.

If you’ve tried multiple outreach attempts over a few weeks with no response, it may be time to send a “closure email.” This is a short and sweet message acknowledging that they seem to have fallen off and you don’t want to keep bugging them.

That’s where a no-oriented question can work wonders.
Something like:

“Hi {first_name}
Have you given up on the new business development project?

This type of message gives the illusion of control and makes you appear more trustworthy, as you’re not pushing for a “yes.” It also plays on the human nature of hating to be seen as a quitter. While it may feel bold or uncomfortable at first, this strategy can be remarkably effective in getting prospects to re-engage. Even if they’ve gone dark, a well-crafted no-oriented question in your closure email subject line might just be the spark that reignites the conversation.

If after this mail, they are still not responsive, it is clear that you need to move on.

The Anti-Ghosting Playbook

So there you have it – a sales pro’s guide to stopping prospects from pulling a Casper. To recap:

  • Always book a concrete next step before ending interactions
  • Develop a mutual action plan to keep both sides accountable
  • Embrace multi-threading to build a web of influence within accounts
  • Engage across multiple channels to increase your odds of connecting
  • Provide value with every touch point to build real partnerships
  • Know when and how to gracefully close the loop on unresponsive opportunities

Put these strategies into action and watch your ghosting rates plummet. Selling is all about relationships, and these techniques will help you build the kind of connections that prospects won’t want to fade away from.

Happy ghost hunting!

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