What To Do When You’re Ghosted

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The Sales Warrior Within | Season 2 Episode 23 – What To Do When You’re Ghosted

Andy Olen is a Sales & Leadership Trainer and High-Performance Coach. Andy works with talented salespeople, business teams, and leaders who seek empowerment, improvement, and insight. Andy’s clients strive to be the best in class.

“Good Selling, Good Leading, Good Living.” – Andy Olen

What To Do When You’re Ghosted

  • Andy Olen talks about the phenomenon of “Ghosting”
  • Ghosting is when a customer doesn’t return calls, is nowhere to be found, and ignores the salesperson’s messages and communication
  • There are three reasons why customers may ghost salespeople – conflict aversion, working with a competitor, and prioritizing other efforts
  • Andy walks through each of these situations and then provides advice on how salespeople can manage each situation
  • Using connection, communication, and cooperation, Andy reminds listeners to always take the high road, even when being ghosted

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Speaker: Andy Olen

| 00:02 | There’s a sales warrior within each of us. My name is Andy Olen, and I’m here to help you discover and empower the sales warrior within. Hello, Sales Warrior Warriors, this is Andy Olen and welcome to the Sales Warrior Within podcast. What I wanted to talk about today for a few minutes is a phenomenon that people come up to me.
| 00:26 | A lot of salespeople come up to me and say, how do I handle and deal with customers who ghost me, who don’t return my calls, totally fall off the grid, were hot one day, interested, engaged, hopeful, optimistic, and all of a sudden then they’re completely gone, nowhere to be found. How do I deal with customers who ghost me? I think that’s a really good and interesting situation to unpack here for a few minutes.
| 00:58 | So let me give you a couple of thoughts on one, why ghosting is likely happening between customer and salesperson, and two things that you can do to try to overcome this awkward and uncomfortable and sort of perplexing situation that is ghosting or the idea that someone doesn’t call you back anymore. They totally disengage. And I think ghosting actually is a term that comes from dating. Now, I’m many years removed from the dating scene, having been married now for a long time.
| 01:30 | And so I don’t know if that was a term so much that was a part of my era of dating many, many years ago now, but it probably was a phenomenon that certainly happened. And I think about dating. What I hear about in the dating scene is the phenomenon when you have a great date with someone and you think everything went well and all of a sudden poof, they’re gone. They’ve just totally ghosted you. And there’s no rhyme, no reason. But there probably is something else there. There’s clearly some reason.
| 01:59 | Maybe they got together with an ex, maybe they just weren’t telling you the truth or a whole host of things that may have happened in that ghosting situation. Now let’s translate and transpose that to the customer and salesperson relationships. So, first of all, as a salesperson, first piece of advice is you don’t want to ever ghost your customer, even if the situation has gotten tough. You don’t want to ghost your customer and totally go off the grid with them.
| 02:28 | And let’s first now unpack a little bit around why ghosting happens between a customer and a salesperson. And from the vantage point of a customer, why is your customer ghosting you? The salesperson, and I believe it’s probably a couple of things. First one, they’re just not interested in buying from you. And most people are conflict averse. And sometimes it’s hard to say, I’m not interested. I don’t want to buy your product. I don’t want to take on your services.
| 02:57 | I don’t want to engage in any more of the sales process and the sales conversation. So instead of engaging in what might feel like an awkward or uncomfortable or conflict filled conversation, the easier path for that person. I put easy in quotes because I think it’s maybe not the best thing to do. I don’t think it’s the smartest thing to do. It’s not the healthiest thing to do, but the easiest pathway for the customer would just be to ignore you. I can go to another vendor.
| 03:26 | I can talk about this when I’m interested. I don’t need to return Andy’s calls. I don’t want to talk about training products with him anymore. I don’t want to talk about online courses with him anymore. I’m just going to ghost them. That’s the easier path to go down. So ghosting happens because customers are probably conflict averse. They don’t want to have the no conversation with you or the not now conversation. They just want to avoid it. And they do that by going away.
| 03:53 | Second, they may be engaged with a competitor of yours, and that if they have momentum going with a competitor to build in that competitor’s products and services and solutions, then all my energy, all my calories, all my time, and my business is going to be focused on getting the deal done with that person. So a customer may not be purposefully ghosting you. They just may be totally enthralled and captivated and engaged with your competitor.
| 04:24 | And in that situation, you flat out probably have lost the sales deal, which is okay. And we’ll talk about ways you can reengage with the ghosted customer, but that could be another reason why the customer is appearing to ghost you. Third, and finally, I think there’s a big population of customers who are just busy and maybe they don’t have the best we’ll call it follow up hygiene or follow up routine, where it could take them two months to get back to you. It could be, you know what?
| 04:54 | Other things just popped into my mind. Other emails came to the top of my inbox, other text messages came to the top of my phone and I forgot to get back to you. And I just think that there are a lot of people that are so overwhelmed with all the things that they have to do that they just haven’t gotten back to you. And if you think about unless you’re selling something that is absolutely mission critical to your customer, what you’re selling is likely important to your customer.
| 05:23 | But there are many other issues and fires that they have to put out. There are many other things and topics that take up their mindset or their mind share, if you will. They are thinking about the boardroom presentation they have to give next week. They are thinking about hitting the number at the end of the quarter themselves. They are thinking about turning on a new solution and making sure that it doesn’t fall apart. They are thinking about a difficult conversation they’re going to have to have with one of their employees who isn’t performing at expectations.
| 05:57 | Those things will move in front likely move in front of your product demonstration, your follow up on a sales call, your negotiation, your final signatures on a contract, and you have to give time and space for those items to sort of flush out. Now it’s going to feel like ghosting to you because you want as a salesperson certainty, you want the yes. I know how important getting to yes is.
| 06:25 | I know how important and how great it feels to have a great sales campaign conclude with a thumbs up with an agreement with a signed contract. I know I want that. I’m focusing a lot on getting that done. And so for me, that’s a really big topic. But for your customer, it may not be a big topic at that moment. And what feels like ghosting to you that they just went away is actually your customer just prioritizing. So let’s turn to some solutions for all of these.
| 06:53 | I actually want to take that last situation and talk about solutions on how you can overcome this ghosting feeling with your customers. Now, let’s say it is that situation where your customer has a lot going on and they are not purposefully ghosting you rather, they are radically prioritizing what they have to get done, and the priority of getting back to you just falls lower on their list. Here’s what you do.
| 07:20 | One, I want you to empathize a little bit with how busy your customers are and if everything’s been going well in the conversations that you’ve had and if everything’s been moving forward nicely, I don’t think that all of a sudden they dislike you, right? That’s not how human relationships work. That all of a sudden the switch goes off and they say, I liked Andy yesterday, but today I choose not to like him. That’s usually not how something happens along these lines. Rather empathize, understand and tell yourself it’s not you, they’re probably busy and they’re going to get back to you.
| 07:53 | And if a week goes by or two weeks, whatever your internal timeline is where you feel it’s okay to follow up, here are a couple of ways to do it. I always follow up with an email that maybe starts with, hey, hope all is going well. I know you’re totally busy. Just wanted to bring this note to the top of your email and actually say that I’m purposely sending you a follow up that’s going to bring this email all the way back up to the top when you have a chance to reply to setting the time for our next meeting. My calendar is here. I’m ready to go at your convenience and usually jogging someone’s memory like that.
| 08:24 | If you make it real easy for them to reply, you don’t say it, but you give them the opportunity to have a ten second reply, 20 seconds of action, then you’re not competing too much with the bigger events that they have going on. Rather, you are right there giving them a simple opportunity to reply, to follow up and move things forward with you. So bring an email to the top of their inbox, make it easy for them to follow up.
| 08:52 | And that overwhelmed and that consumed or busy customer will more likely get back to you. And you can overcome the feeling of ghosting and move on. Let’s keep backing up. What do you do in a situation where you figure out that the reason you’re being ghosted is most likely because your competitor has the opportunity to move the deal forward and win the deal? Well, there are a couple of things you can do here. One, you can just keep trying to engage and reengage with that customer saying, Look, I’m here, I want to keep this going.
| 09:27 | In a situation like this, if you know that the customer has a different alternative than you can, you try to create a value proposition or something engaging or compelling that captures their attention to indeed get on a phone call with you. You got to go the extra mile to do that. Maybe even it’s not doing whatever communication form you’ve been using with them. If it’s an email or text or phone call, maybe you go show up and do a cold call and stop in at their place of work and say, hey, how you doing?
| 10:00 | Do you have a few minutes for a cup of coffee if that’s appropriate? Right? You got to change the equation. You got to change the dynamic to sort of break through that wall and get that opening that you look for. Now, in a competitive situation, you also have to ask yourself, how many more evolutions, how many more calories of my own do I want to invest in a deal that I’m probably not going to get anyway? I think really good sales people are able to say, this one is a lost cause.
| 10:29 | I’m going to move on and prioritize these other five. I’m not going to spend time chasing a deal that I have very low likelihood of winning. And so I’m going to get the signal. I get it. I’m being ghosted. I understand why I’ve tried and now it’s time to move on. I’m going to prioritize my calories, my time, my energy to customers who are going to respond, not to the one who is already probably on his or her way to forming a partnership or deal with someone else.
| 10:59 | And it might sting a little bit to walk away from that. We’re competitive. We don’t like to do that. But also in terms of time management, it might be the best thing for you to do less. And finally, you do get that situation that we talked about at the top of the podcast where you’re just ghosted because the customer’s conflict averse. The customer’s conflict averse doesn’t want to say no, is just not interested. And so what I like to do in that situation is I like to try to put a bookend on that conversation.
| 11:32 | If I’ve been ghosted for a while, just no follow up. I’ll send an email, sort of concluding this part of the relationship. If you will say I haven’t heard from you for a while, would love to stay in touch. It looks like you’re moving on from an opportunity to engage in a discussion on my products and services. I totally understand that. I wish you all the best and I’m here when you want to reengage. And just something that leaves the last conversation communication memory in that customer’s mind that you took the high road.
| 12:06 | Remember, cooperation, good communication, staying connected. This is a small world. If you offer something of value, that customer will likely see it at some point. They will come back to you, give them a reason to come back to you. And that last communication. Even when you don’t feel good about being ghosted, that last communication left a positive impression to that person because most likely they know they ghosted you. They wanted to avoid the conflict. They didn’t have time to work through or weren’t going to make the call to go with you at this point.
| 12:37 | No problem. Just let them know that it’s okay to reengage at some point later on and then maybe you’ll even reach out later on. Keep the door of communication and dialogue wide open. Don’t shut that door. Don’t ghost them in return. Take the high road and you’ll be hopefully rewarded for that later on. And if not, you can feel good about that at least, right? We are always taking the Sales Warrior mindset and focusing on connection communication, cooperation.
| 13:06 | That’s a really good way to stay connected or try to stay connected, communicate with Positivity and continue to give that olive branch of cooperation to the customer even when the customer is ghosting you. So three different scenarios on why I believe it happens. The conflict averse customer, the already discussing and engaging with the competitor customer, and then finally the customer that’s just really busy.
| 13:34 | Those are all reasons that can lead to ghosting situations between customer and salesperson. And then a bunch of things that you can do, some best practices you can deploy in order to try to overcome this awkward, tough, but probably pretty regular situation as well. It’s been a fun topic to talk with you about this. I encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas with me. You can always reach out to me directly on email Andy@AndyOlen.com or check me out and get in touch with me on my website as well https://andyolen.com/.
| 14:06 | And check out all the different offerings that I have out there. Would love to have your feedback on online courses, on coaching opportunities, training opportunities, all kinds of fun stuff out there. You can find me. Well, this has been another great episode of The Sales Warrior Within podcast. Thanks so much for joining and as always my name is Andy Olen good selling, good leading and good living.