Blog Posts

Ghosting to Closing: Selling to Disappearing Customers

January 27, 2023

Have you ever been in a situation where a customer or potential customer suddenly stops responding to your communication without any explanation? This phenomenon is commonly referred to as ghosting. Ghosting in sales can be difficult for salespeople, and by using the appropriate strategies, it can be avoided. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at sales ghosting and provide some practical tips on how to prevent ghosting in sales to get your sales team back on track.
What is Ghosting in Sales?
Ghosting in sales occurs when potential buyers suddenly stop responding to a salesperson’s calls or emails. It’s like they disappear into thin air, leaving the sales rep without an understanding of what went wrong.  It can be frustrating for salespeople who have invested time and resources into building a relationship with the prospect.  When faced with ghosting, salespeople may choose to keep chasing the prospect in hope of a reply, move on and focus on the next opportunity, express frustration, or find ways to reduce its occurrence.
When Does Ghosting Happen in Sales?
Ghosting can happen at any stage in the sales cycle. Common examples include:
  • A promising potential client or partner expressed interest in your product or solutions, yet suddenly and without warning, communication from them ceased altogether.
  • After initially making contact, the prospect seemed eager to proceed with a discovery call, but at the last minute, they cancelled without any explanation and stopped all engagement.
  • Your sales team member willingly shared valuable information about your company and solutions with the prospect, but despite their phone calls to follow up, they were met with radio silence.
  • The prospect who seemed to be an ideal customer failed to respond to a proposal and follow-up attempts after a promising sales meeting, resulting in a missed opportunity.
  • The prospect had verbally agreed to the pricing, but after that, there was no response. Leaving the salesperson wondering if the prospect had changed their mind and if they should offer them a new deal.
No matter at what stage ghosting occurs, there is no doubt that it affects salespeople, teams, and organisations both physically and mentally.
The Impact of Ghosting on Sales
Sales managers tend to prioritise potential deals that are likely to close over those that have fallen through.  But when ghosting becomes a recurring problem, it can have a serious and long-lasting impact on a business’s sales and customer relationships.  So if you are seeing the following effects on your sales team and organisation very often, it may signal that you should take the right steps to prevent ghosting.
Wasted Time and Resources
When a sales rep invests time and energy into prospecting and building a relationship with a potential customer, only for them to disappear without any explanation, it wastes valuable resources that could have been used to focus on more promising opportunities This could be especially frustrating in the later stages of the buying process.  The salespeople would have to focus on rebuilding their pipeline and start the sales process again with another prospect.
Impact on Salesperson Morale and Confidence
Most salespeople initially look for excuses or external reasons why it happened and rarely consider what they could have done differently.  However, consistently losing opportunities can lead to frustration, fear, demotivation, and loss of confidence, affecting their productivity and performance. Once doubt sets in, even critical activities, such as qualification calls or product demonstrations, can become challenging due to the lack of confidence caused by ghosting. This, in turn, can have a knock-on effect on how salespeople communicate and manage the process.
Tips to Prevent Ghosting
Ghosting in business can be avoided with the right mindset, actions, and consistency. Rather than avoiding or ignoring the issue and seeing it as part of the process, it’s important to consider what your sales team can proactively do differently throughout the sales process. When you use instances of ghosting as learning opportunities, you’ll quickly realise what your team may need to do differently, and subsequently, your team’s productivity and motivation will improve.  So wondering how to handle prospects ghosting your sales team? Here are a few tips that can help.
Focus on Building a Relationship
One of the best ways to prevent ghosting is to focus on building a relationship with the prospect, rather than jumping to provide a solution or focusing on when the sale will close.  When a salesperson takes the time to understand a prospect’s pain points and specific needs, and is responsive to their questions and concerns, they can tailor their offering to align with the prospect’s goals and objectives Maintaining regular contact, even if the prospect is not yet ready to buy, builds trust and understanding. This value-driven approach can significantly reduce the chances of ghosting.
Understand the Client’s Buying Journey
Effective sales involve understanding the various stages of the buying journey and tailoring communication and approach accordingly. This ensures that the right information is provided at the right time while clearly communicating expectations and next steps to the customer.  Managing expectations leads to avoiding confusion or disappointment, which is crucial not only for prospects but also for your team. This approach can make clients feel more comfortable and aware of what to expect, reducing the chance of being ghosted.
Follow a Clear and Defined Sales Process 
Consistently abiding by a structured process allows a sales team to maintain organisation and control, decreasing the likelihood of client ghosting.  Develop a comprehensive and well-defined sales process that includes qualification criteria that must be met before proceeding. This will help your team keep track of the client’s engagement throughout the process.   If a client is not following through, the salesperson should slow down the conversation. Remind your team that the process is a mutual endeavour, and both parties must be invested.  This guarantees that sales professionals do not expend energy and resources on unqualified opportunities.
Spend Some Time on Reflecting
If an opportunity doesn’t close, salespeople should spend some time reflecting on what happened and what they could have potentially done differently. When a salesperson takes time to analyse their sales process and performance to identify what they could have done differently to avoid being ghosted, they will be more motivated to make the necessary changes in their approach to prevent it from happening again in the future. This reflective approach helps the salesperson improve their process and increase their chances of effectively managing each opportunity without being ghosted.
Build Value
Another way to prevent ghosting is by building value for the prospect. This means that once the client’s needs are thoroughly understood, examples of the potential outcomes should be presented to them prior to issuing a proposal. This can be done through case studies, testimonials, or by offering a demonstration. This will allow the prospect to experience the value of your product or service firsthand before committing to the next step. By clearly understanding the value and benefits of the solution, there will be a mutual understanding and willingness to move forward in the process, which will reduce the chances of ghosting.
Improve the Mindset of Your Team With Sales Training 
Progressive sales training that promotes positive habits and behaviours, while highlighting the impact of actions, can help your team deliver a better sales experience. The more progressive your team’s mindset, the greater the possibilities for creating new solutions to different challenges and reducing the chances of ghosting. If you’d like to eliminate ghosting by providing your team with a growth mindset that will enable them to constantly create new perspectives and opportunities, you can explore LSOS’s unique sales training solutions. If you have more questions about reducing the chance of ghosting, you can contact our team anytime you want. We would be more than happy to help!