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Giving Up The Ghost: How To Handle Disappearing Clients

Written by Vinit Shah

Have you ever been in a situation where a client or potential client 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 Sales Coach Network article, we’ll take a closer look at sales ghosting and provide some practical tips on how to prevent it happening to your team.

What is Ghosting in Sales?

Ghosting in sales occurs when potential buyers suddenly stop responding to a salesperson’s calls or emails. It’s as if they disappear into thin air, leaving the salesperson 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.

  • 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 whether or not the prospect had changed their mind and if they should offer them a new deal.

Regardless of what stage ghosting occurs, there is no doubt that it affects salespeople, teams and organisations physically and mentally.

The Impact of Ghosting on Sales

Sales managers tend to prioritise deals that are likely to close over those that have fallen through.

However, when ghosting becomes a recurring problem, it can have a serious and long-lasting impact on a both sales and customer relationships.

If you are experiencing the following effects on your sales team and organisation very often, it might be a sign that you need to take steps to prevent ghosting.

Wasted Time and Resources

When a salesperson 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 can be especially frustrating in the later stages of the buying process, as salespeople would have to focus on rebuilding their pipeline and start the sales process again with another prospect.

Impact on Morale and Confidence

Most salespeople initially look for excuses or external reasons why ghosting occurred and rarely consider what they could have done differently.

However, consistently losing opportunities can lead to frustration, fear, demotivation and loss of confidence, affecting 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 correct mindset, actions and a consistent approach. 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 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.

Wondering how to handle prospects ghosting your sales team? Here are a few tips that can help:

1. 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.

2. 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 correct information is provided at the right time while clearly communicating expectations and next steps to the customer.

Managing expectations enables you to avoid 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.

3. 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.

4. Spend Some Time Reflecting

If an opportunity doesn’t close, salespeople should spend some time analysing what happened and what they could have done differently.

When a salesperson takes time to analyse their sales process and performance to identify what they could have changed to avoid being ghosted, they will be more motivated to make the necessary changes in their approach to prevent it happening again in the future.

This reflective approach allows the salesperson to improve their process and increase their chances of effectively managing each opportunity without being ghosted.

5. 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 achieved through case studies, testimonials or by offering a demonstration, which will allow the prospect to experience the value of your product or service first-hand 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 The Sales Coach Network’s unique sales training solutions and established methodologies.

Download our brochure or book a call today to find out more.


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