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Ghosting in sales: the art of letting go

  • Aug 9, 2023
  • 2 minutes

Not all prospects are made equal. 

They may all be defined under the same criteria, but that does not make them equal. 

Some clients are headaches from the moment they arrive at the top of the funnel and some turn into ratty teenagers further down the line. 

 

Two prospects can tick all the ICP boxes but look very different in terms of

  1. The time and effort required to get them over the line.
  2. The value they would deliver to you as a client - financial, reputational and business return. 

So when you or your team have been working on a particular prospect, really plugging away at getting them through. Multiple emails and lonely voicemails. And that SDR instinct inside you starts saying “I think we might get ghosted here” - don’t ignore it. 

Listen to that instinct.

A ghost isn’t a ghost until they’ve gone silent. But there are tell-tale signals they can give off before this point that could help you work out where this lead is heading.

 

Signals your prospect is becoming a ghost

  1. They don't book a follow-up call or they book a call but it’s longer than four weeks away. 
  2. They’ve not bought a product like yours - ever or in a long time. 
  3. They don't want to introduce anyone else at their organization.
  4. They’re talking about the competition a lot. Like, a LOT.
  5. They’re a serial demo attendee. You know the type. You and team have given them multiple demos in the past and there’s always been a reason it doesn’t progress. 

When you see ghost signals, don’t stick your head in the sand and continue down your cadence like everything is fine.

An opportunity is being presented to you.

 

Prospect evaluation and rating 

Take this chance to evaluate whether the prospect is actually worth the effort or whether it’s time to let go. You only have so much time in the day so look objectively. 

Is it a good opportunity?

Are the pain points genuine and is there a business need?

What further business might it lead to?

How much of your time and your team’s time will it require to get them not just over the line but maintain them as a happy client in the future? 

If you’re confident they will buy a solution to their problem, work out if you’re in pole position or if a competitor is significantly closer than you. Are they really listening to you and considering you among other options? Or are they just going through the motions of due diligence?

This evaluation can also be done after they have ghosted you, but as we all know - you’ll have to work even harder to get them back. So take the signals and evaluate before the ghost appears. 

 

TL;DR

We’re all busy. And nurturing prospects takes time. So if you have the chance to let go of those that aren’t as valuable to you, make the most of that opportunity. 

Your SDR senses are more reliable than you might think, so recognize them when they kick in. If you see a ghost appearing, stop, evaluate and decide whether you really want them or not.

 

There's lots to be learned from your team mates when prospects are being tricky. Find out more about peer-to-peer coaching to kickstart some knowledge sharing in your team.

 

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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