It’s almost Hallowe’en, so let’s talk about something spoooooooky:  ghosts.  Or more precisely, getting “ghosted” by prospects.  If you’ve only got a few minutes, the video below has a two-minute sales tip on how to solve this problem!

If you’ve got more time, let’s dig a little deeper in this blog post and talk about the points of breakdown in the sales prospecting process that might lead to this frustrating challenge.

What is “Ghosting”?

Ghosting describes a prospect going completely silent after a great sales conversation.  You’ve engaged with a decision maker, and had what you think was a very productive sales conversation.  Then, nothing happens.  You never hear from them again, and you’re unable to get them back on the phone.

The single biggest reason for this is a failure to get a commitment from the prospect on a clearly defined next step.

As outlined in the video, the best way to avoid this is to not just get a verbal confirmation on the next step in the process, but to get a next appointment on the calendar immediately.

Let’s say the next step in the process is an on-site meeting.   Before you get off the phone, get that outlook invitation on your prospects calendar.  Sit and chat with them while you get the meeting or demo scheduled, and have them accept it right when you’re speaking with them.  There’s an easy way to ask:

“Joe, my calendar fills up really quickly, as I’m sure yours does as well.  I’m going to get this meeting set up right now so that I can ensure I have the resources I need available to me to make this meeting really useful for you.  Just wait with me one minute while I get the invite sent over to you so that I’m certain I have the right email and then we’ll both have that time blocked away.  What email should I send this invite to?”

Now, while you’re getting the meeting set up, ask another few questions, or refer back to something the prospect said earlier in the conversation.

“Joe, tell me more about your experience with (current vendor).  You mentioned that you weren’t happy with (issue).  What have you tried to resolve that issue?”

Not  only does this buy you the time you need to get all your ducks in a row, send out an invite or set up a screen share invitation, it also gives you more information to make the next conversation stickier.

An Important Consideration

You are the one asking for the meeting.  Do not push prospects to your online calendar to choose a time.  That’s just lazy, son.  Don’t push them to your virtual assistant to schedule it – that says “my time is more valuable than yours”.  Own the scheduling process.  It’s a few extra minutes, but taking control of this process and working with the prospect to get the meeting scheduled at the best time for them decreases the chance that they will no-show and never return again.

Where Else Does The Process Break Down?

Did you properly qualify the lead?   Quite often if  I’m on a roll, having a great conversation with someone, I forget to cover off the very basics.  Does this person have any buying authority?  Do they have a budget allocated? Is there a need?  If you haven’t ticked off all the boxes, all the interest in the world doesn’t create a compelling reason to meet, or even chat again.   The prospect leaves the conversation excited, but then real facts come in to play.  They need to go get permission to meet with you, or take your idea to their executive team.  If you have a high “no show” rate or you’re being “ghosted” regularly, try qualifying earlier on in the conversation and earlier in the sales process.

Are you Getting Commitments for Next Steps?

Let’s say you’ve properly qualified and in the process identified that your contact isn’t the decision maker.  The next step in your sales process is now getting a commitment to be introduced to the decision maker.   Here you want to encourage as much participation as possible from your new champion.  Don’t just ask them for the name and number of the new contact, ask them to make the email introduction right then while you’re chatting with them.  A warm introduction from a colleague is a much faster path to success.   You can also try this:

“Great, I’m excited to talk with Sandra.  I’m going to send her a quick email right now, and I’ll copy you on it, what specifically should I highlight in this email that you know will catch her attention immediately?  Got it!  I’m going to suggest a few times that I’m available next week – are there any times that you know work better than others for her?”  

Then, make a commitment to follow up with your initial contact.  They can champion you internally, and they’re your biggest advocate now.  You don’t want to exclude them from the process, keep them engaged!  Get that follow up conversation on both of your calendars before you end the call.

When a Prospect Says “Send Me Something.”

When a prospect says “please send me something” you need to assume that this may be the last time you ever speak with this prospect, so instead of agreeing immediately to send something, ask them a few more questions.  What specifically are they interested in seeing?  What can you send them that will be most helpful in their decision making process?  If they can’t quantify what they want to learn more about, the chances of getting ghosted here are pretty high.  They may be politely telling you that they’re not interested without having to come right out and say that.  If they’ll clarify specific interests, next ask them when the best time to follow up with them will be.  Then?  You guessed it, get a follow up activity calendared with your prospect while they’re on the phone with you.  Remember someone who is interested and qualified is just as interested in using their time well as you are.

“Beth, if it’s not on my calendar it doesn’t get done – I’m going to send you a quick invite right now for that fifteen minute follow up chat in early October.  Is Monday or Wednesday the week of the 10th best for you?”  

But They ALWAYS Say “Send Me Something!

The breakdown in the process here is indicative that you’re not clearly demonstrating value, or you’re not asking for permission to interrupt what they’re currently doing before you launch in to your pitch.   I firmly believe in giving your prospect the courtesy of asking them if it’s a good time to talk.  If it’s not, save your breath, they’re not listening to you anyhow – they’re in the middle of something else.  If it IS, try to give them a minute to transition into a new conversation and thought process.   Ask them if they’d like to grab a coffee before you launch into your pitch – it takes more of your time, but may give your prospect a much-needed break.  Try this!  Even if they don’t take you up on it, you’ve gone from “nameless faceless telemarketing machine” to “decent human person I’m going to have a nice chat with” pretty quickly.  Being human and courteous increases the odds that you won’t get ghosted.

If you’re getting ghosted after a request for information, try changing how you’re pitching.  Audit some of your calls.  Are you asking closed ended questions?  Are you allowing your prospects to organically identify the challenges they are trying to solve, or are you giving them new problems?  Your pitch should focus on the prospect and their unique requirements, not on you and your unique offerings.

Are you struggling with a specific prospecting challenge?  We’d love to help you solve it!  Email us at hello@managedsalespros.com to chat about sales prospecting process consulting.  Sometimes a  quick little tweak can greatly improve your prospecting efforts!

Interested in our online training program?  The next course begins November 14, and you can save $1000.00 if you register before October 25!  Register online here:  managedsalespros.com/online-msp-prospecting/

Ready to hand over your sales prospecting to a team of specialists?  Managed Sales Pros always has a team at the ready!  We can be calling for your MSP in under 2 weeks.

Until next time, boys and ghouls!

Have a spooktacular month!