6-step process to stop getting ghosted by prospects

May 14, 2021

Read. 7 min.

6-step process to stop getting ghosted by prospects

Do you believe in ghosts?


Then you’ve never worked in sales. Or you’re already following this 6-step process:

  1. Make it personal
  2. Identify new stakeholders
  3. Create a clear call to action
  4. Stand out in the inbox
  5. Build a multichannel approach
  6. Be crazy different (you’ll want to read this one...)

But if you do work in sales, and have not followed this process before, then you know ghosts are for real, and they are everywhere: in inboxes, voicemails, LinkedIn messages, calendar invites…

And they come unexpectedly. 

One day, you come out of a kick-ass zoom meeting bursting with energy from a great convo with a potential customer.  You spend the next hour creating the best proposal ever, checking the T’s & C’s, updating your company logo on the cover page (which you hadn’t done in ages…). 

Heck, you’re so excited you’ve even updated the deal in your CRM.

And then…

Nothing. You email, you call, and you email some more. No answer. You ask a colleague to call from a different number, still nothing. And your boss keeps asking you, “what’s happening with the deal? Do we need another session on how to keep control of the process?”

Ghosting is so frustrating, isn’t it? Give me a good ol’ no any day; at least, there’s closure. With a prospect not giving signs of life after you’ve sent a proposal, there’s always this uncertainty that will linger. Did you do something wrong? Did he sign up with a competitor? Did he enter the witness protection program?

So, how do you stop getting ghosted?


1. Make it personal



A few years back, Robert Kelly was live on a BBC interview from his home office, talking about South Korean politics, when his children barged in the room. The clip went viral because it was so uncommon.

Fast forward to the whole world working from home for a year. Would that clip go viral today?

While it was fun in the beginning to play with filters and background images while on zoom calls, remote selling actually gives you a great opportunity to show your prospects who you are.

Don’t hide your slick Gibson guitar hanging on the wall with a background image of your company logo; don’t lock the kids away in their rooms, or throw the dog out in the backyard. Instead, show that you’re a musician, a parent, or a dog owner.

Not only will these be great ice breakers, but they will also change a prospect’s perspective of you. You won’t be seen as a sales rep chasing a deal, but a human being providing. 

Once you’ve built that empathy, it will be that much harder to get ghosted.


2. Knock on every door and every floor



Do companies have policies to ghost sales reps from suppliers?


The reason ghosting happens is mainly personal; a prospect will simply forget about you, or not have the courage to say no, or deem you unworthy of his time.

An easy way to bypass getting forgotten, then, is to get on the radar of several people. On average, 6.8 stakeholders are involved in a purchase decision, so make it your job to identify and map out the whole decision-making unit and initiate contact with them.

Keep your champion as the main point of contact, but if things turn sour, a group email with as many decision-makers as possible in cc will have a more engaging impact.


3. Call To Action


An exchange with a prospect is, perhaps, the opposite of mass marketing. You’re at the bottom of the funnel, you’ve engaged, you want to personalize the communication to that specific buyer based on your discovery call.

However, there are elements of marketing that should be applied. Having a clear CTA at the end of every exchange is one of them. Always keep the deal moving forward.

If your prospect cannot clearly and easily find out what the next steps are, then you’re allowing the deal to derail.


4. Stand out in the inbox




That’s how many emails people receive per day. If you target senior executives, the number doubles or triples.

And how many of those emails get a reply?


Standing out in the inbox is crucial, so here are 8 tips from Dailius Wilson (VP Growth at GetAccept) to help you out:

  1. Personalize the subject line with something only they would understand i.e. the name of their favorite Pet
  2. Use your first 3 lines to show:
    a) Your research into their company & interests
    b) What you share in common
    c) Why they should keep reading
  3. Highlight what you want them to read & acknowledge in bold 
  4. Adopt their tone & language (hint: Read the way they write their Linkedin posts)
  5. Include screenshots of their company website, press & social media posts to highlight you have done your homework
  6. Swap your corporate photo in your signature with one that makes you memorable (I use one with my cowboy hat)
  7. Use a bullet list to showcase reasons why they should reply
  8. Add a video showcasing a personalized walkthrough of what you do


5. Multichannel approach



It’s hard to stand out in the inbox, but you can use the tips above.

Or, you could stop sending attachments via email altogether. There are plenty of reasons why, but mainly, because it is not necessarily your buyer’s preferred choice of communication.

It’s also not necessarily the one that will give you the highest chance of engagement from prospects.

If you’ve gone through the first 4 steps, but you’re still getting ghosted, then you want to build a multichannel approach to try and get in touch with your prospect. Consider this:

WhatsApp has an open rate of 99%. And messages on the platform tend to get seen within 5 minutes! You’d be crazy not to use it as a channel to follow up with. And if you or the prospect are not on WhatsApp, then send an SMS.

If your prospect is avid on social media, including WhatsApp business, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., converse with him there.

One piece of advice, though: you don’t want to be seen as a stalker. Don’t reach out on all platforms simultaneously; rather, research your prospect a bit and see-through which channel he is most likely to engage on. 


6. Be crazy different



As a last resort, do something unexpected that will push a prospect to engage with you.

An easy and popular way is to send a short email with a numbered poll, asking the recipient to answer with a number between 1 to 4.  See an example below:


Hi John,

Obviously, the deal is not moving forward. To close the deal in my CRM, can you let me know which of these is the reason:

  • 1. Not interested anymore
  • 2. No budget
  • 3. Signed with another supplier
  • 4. Got abducted by aliens


Ps: if you don’t answer, I’ll assume you got abducted by aliens and you have no internet on their spaceship...

This kind of email makes it very easy for your prospect to reply, as they can simply type numbers 1-4 to let you know why. 

Now, for another idea. Remember the iconic scene from Say Anything, with John Cusack holding a boombox over his head? Cheesy works, sometimes. Why not record yourself singing along to a “break-up” song and send it along to your ghost?

Here are a few song recommendations:

  • Since U Been Gone, Kelly Clarkson
  • I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
  • Ain’t Worth The Whiskey, Cole Swindell
  • I Want You Back, The Jackson 5

A final idea to be crazy different, that I would not recommend but had a former colleague in a previous company try out once in a while: the pig email. He would just send a picture of a pig, with no explanation or anything else.

Relationship killer?


But engagement rate?

Very high.

If you want more ideas on how to get engagement from your prospects, make sure to check out our ultimate sales engagement guide.

Start wowing buyers and hitting quotas now