One of selling’s great frustrations is when prospects ghost you. You probably know what I mean. You have productive meetings with prospects. Your sales process is moving forward. You go from meeting to demo to what you think is the deal. Then nothing. Your prospect is ghosting you. What can you do so you don’t get ghosted by prospects?
Face it. Your sales process is flawed when you get ghosted by prospects.
Here’s what I do when I work with salespeople who tell me their prospects are ghosting them. Instead of focusing on what the prospect is doing I start by focusing on what the salesperson did. I ask the salesperson to tell me about the stages of their sales process. What needed to happen in each sales stage to move the sales process forward?
Here’s an example. Let’s say you deliver a product demo to a prospect. You certainly wouldn’t waste your selling time delivering a product demo to a prospect who has no intention of buying. Ghosting is likely to happen if you do. Instead determine what prospect information you must have before you even schedule the product demo.
These are basic questions you must answer. Who are the decisionmakers? What is the issue they are facing that causes them to have to buy your product to address it? How much does this problem cost the prospect on an annual basis?
What I have found is when I ask the salesperson what these answers are I often hear, “Well I think it’s…”. My immediate response is, “What you think doesn’t count. You don’t control the checkbook. Your prospect does.” Then I tell them the bad news. Your prospect is ghosting you because you don’t know the answers to these questions. Most importantly, neither does your prospect. That’s why he doesn’t have the urgency to buy or get back in touch with you.
Do something now so you don’t get ghosted by prospects.
You now have a problem on your hands when your prospect ghosts you. At least you know you have a problem! It could be worse where you naively think and tell your manager that the deal is going to close. It probably won’t.
You have work to do to try to get the deal on track. Start thinking back to why your prospect accepted the meetings, gave you useful selling information and gave you the indication he would buy from you. You can first remind your prospect of what you believe was his compelling reason to want to buy from you. Certainly you have an assumption of what that is.
Call your prospect or write an email to demonstrate why your product solves the issue that was so compelling for your prospect to want to buy from you. Emphasize how doing nothing (which is what he’s doing by ghosting you) will only allow the problem situation to continue. There’s a caveat here. Your prospect might be ghosting you because he bought from someone else and is too embarrassed to tell you.
You can call some of your other contacts at the prospect’s business (you do have other contacts, don’t you?) to learn if the prospect has purchased elsewhere. I would ask indirectly to learn if your prospect has bought elsewhere. You might say, “I’ve been trying to reach John about our proposal. Have you heard anything?”
Prevent ghosting in the future.
You have to modify your sales process now that you know it is flawed. Closely look at every stage in your sales process. While I like to keep sales stages to no more than 5, it’s important to examine your sales process and break it down into parts. You then can more easily see what actions need to occur first before you can continue. Just remember let your prospect buy If you have 5 stages and a prospect wants to buy in stage 2!
Ghosting is a real problem in sales. The good news is that it can be easily remedied. The even better news is that when you are selling effectively it is the best way to remedy ghosting.