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Ghosting in sales - how to stop ghosts appearing in your sales pipeline

  • Jul 12, 2023
  • 2 minutes

“So why did the prospect ghost you, Amy?”

Cue the excuses...

  • “Well, they just weren't ready to buy quite yet”
  • “It was bad timing, there were lots of things going on for them”
  • “They just found a better deal with a competitor”


I’m going to be brutally honest now. 

These are not reasons you or your reps got ghosted. 

These are the reasons a prospect didn’t buy your product. See the difference?

Jiminny salesperson meeting with a prospect at a cafe

I've worked in sales for over 10 years now  and let me tell you, ghosting and excuses from reps go hand in hand.


Reasons for ghosting in sales

In my experience, prospects ghost sales people for two reasons

  1. Poor relationship - the relationship and rapport that you had built with the prospect so far.
  2. Incorrect communication - the communication frequency, format and depth you had achieved so far.

When you look at these two elements, ghosting becomes a simple equation:

Ghosting = Poor quality relationship + Incorrect communication 

Let’s break this down further, so you know what do to when a prospect ghosts you


The power of relationship building in sales

Much like dating, if you have a strong, trusting, mutual relationship, your partner responds to you. If you don't, they go silent. 

In a strong sales relationship, the prospect respects what you have to say and engages in two-way communication. They feel compelled to respond to you, either because of:

  • an interest in learning more about what you are talking about
  • a desire to progress toward a mutual goal

Ultimately, they recognize that you are unique and valuable to them, which makes you worthy their time.


The importance of communication in sales

You wouldn’t communicate with your partner by fax now, would you?

Or text, when you know they prefer a call?

You maximize your chance of a response, by opening the most appropriate channel of communication.

You’re also going to get through to people much better if you’re using language they understand and resonate with.

  • Speak about their pains and experiences in their language. Mirror the words they use as the person at the centre of the sitaution.
  • Don't pile on unnecessary pressure. Show them the conversation is about their best interests.
  • See things from their point of view. Show them you’re working towards their goals in ways they recognize and welcome. 

Young Jiminny employee working on a laptop in a modern office

How to stop prospects ghosting you

Cast your mind back to your three most recent ghosts. Now be honest, did you have a healthy relationship and two-way communication with them?

Naturally, we all hide behind that initial list of reasons people didn't buy. But in reality, all ghosts appear due to poor relationship or communication.

Honing in on these two areas of work will prevent ghosts from appearing in your pipeline and make better use of your team’s time.

Here are my best bits of advice for preventing ghosting:

  • Foster a genuine connection from the start. Don't treat your prospects like targets - get to know them as people.
  • Learn about their role, challenges, and goals. Find areas of shared interest and weave personal touches into your interactions. A human bond makes you difficult to ignore.
  • Agree upfront on the right communication channels and cadence. This should always be what works best for your prospect's preferences and schedule, not yours.
  • Don't overload them with emails, calls, and meeting requests if that's not their style. Likewise, don't leave huge lags if they prefer frequent touch points.
  • Set clear agendas and recap next steps after every interaction.
  • Ask insightful questions to uncover their real needs and criteria. The more value you provide through the sales process, the more engaged they'll stay. Be responsive to any questions or requested info - ghosting often starts when prospects feel ignored.
  • Finally, continue nurturing the relationship even after the deal closes. Check in, share helpful resources, and remind them you're a partner for the long haul. 

Feels about time to get ghost-busting, don't you think? Here's our toolkit to tackle 'em. 


Shelley Lavery is the COO and Co-Founder of Jiminny, the leading conversation intelligence and sales coaching platform that helps companies maximize their revenue. With over a decade of experience in coaching B2B sales teams, Shelley was previously Group SVP of Sales at Reward Gateway now leading the conversation intelligence discussion with expertise and insight. 

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