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How to move on after a ghosting: prospect post-mortems

  • Aug 9, 2023
  • 2 minutes

It's happened before and likely it will happen again.

Your rep got ghosted by a prospect. And they’re gutted. 

Summer holidays, not enough stakeholder engagement, bad timing - all the excuses start flying around. And you can tell this one hit them hard.

As a leader, picking them back up and getting them motivated in this moment is one of the hardest things in sales. Aside from actually being ghosted yourself, I'd say!


To be fair to them, it is holiday season and the market is tough out there right now. But the longer they’re mentally stuck in this state, the more negativity will spread among the team. And next thing you know, you’ve got a pretty demotivated group of reps on your hands.

So let's get them feeling energized, so they’re ready to win when the buyers are ready to buy. 

Here's my process.


The prospect post-mortem

It may not be what they want to do at the time, but a thorough post-mortem will turn a negative into a positive with lots of takeaways your rep can learn from. 

First, uncover the details of what happened. Let the rep talk and unpick:

What was the opportunity quality like? 

Was there a genuine business need?

Were they speaking to the right person?


The pitch post-mortem

Now they should consider how far down the sales process they got and review each step:

How good was their selling?

Did they hit your sales methodologies and value proposition?

And at what point did they get ghosted? Can they identify any triggers?

This will be insightful both for them and for you, highlighting troublesome areas in your sales process or cadence.


A fail-fast mindset

Once you’ve analyzed everything that has happened, tap into their mindset. They need to be ready to pick up the phone again. And this is likely hindered as they put up protective walls in their head that need to be knocked down.

Ghosting happens in sales and your rep needs to know they are safe to be ghosted, fail sometimes and even totally mess up a deal every now and then. 

Fear, hesitation and resistance to failure are often more damaging than the failure itself. So tackle this issue head on. Share stories of your own failures - past and recent, how they made you feel and how you overcame them.


Motivation - internal, not external

Motivation is always hard in sales.

I’m a firm believer that you can offer support, guidance and incentives, but true motivation has to come from within. 

Provide the kind words and pep talks.

Create a safe space for making mistakes.

Encourage the team to share their own experiences and concerns.

But give the rep time and space to gather their internal motivation too.

Each of them will have a different reason they get out of bed every day and pick up the phone on the sales floor. Let them find theirs again. Now equipped with the learnings from the post-mortems and some wider mindset work, they’ll come back round and likely be an even better salesperson when they do.

They’ll be back at it before you know it.


Looking for more ways to increase motivation when prospects are quiet? Here's five. 


Tom Lavery is the CEO and Co-Founder of Jiminny, the leading conversation intelligence and sales coaching platform that helps companies maximize their revenue. With over 15 years of experience in high-growth VC/PE-backed SaaS companies, Tom was previously SVP at Reward Gateway, now sharing his wealth of knowledge as a speaker in the conversation intelligence space.

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