Prospect Ghosting: Why It Happens & How to Avoid It

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The concept of ghosting may be thought of most often when it comes to dating or social media, but it can happen in the sales process as well. It’s actually a pretty pervasive problem when it comes to prospecting. A sale seems to be going well, the potential customer is showing interest and progressing through the pipeline, and then—when you least expect it—the prospect is no longer responding to your calls or emails. 

Despite the hit to your sales numbers (or perhaps your ego), it happens to everyone at some point. Even the best sales people have been ghosted by their prospects. When it happens, what matters most is what you take from it.

What are buyers really saying when they ghost you? 

They are revealing to you that your solutions are not dealing with the issue (or issues) that they consider their highest priority. Buyers, just like us, are doing their best for their organizations, whether personally or professionally. When what they deem as a more pressing issue comes about, the less pressing issue takes a back seat. For example, let’s say you decide that you want to replace the shingles on your roof with a different color, and you reach out to a roofing company to have it done. But while the roofing company is working, they discover a huge leak in your roof. As the buyer, you feel replacing the shingles is the most important job at hand because you either didn’t know about the leak or you didn’t see why it was a big deal. An effective seller at the roofing company would position the repair service with your ultimate goal in mind, highlighting the impact (and cost) an unresolved leaky roof could have on you and your home’s resale value.

Just like the roofing company convincing you that the leak will cause further damage later on, there are steps that can be taken in order to avoid getting ghosted in the first place.

It all starts by ensuring early on in the buying cycle that you’re dealing with the organization’s, not just the individual buyer’s, most pressing issue. That means understanding your prospect’s pain points—whether they are financial, strategic, or personal—so that you can speak to how your product or service can alleviate their specific (and urgent) problem. What can’t be overlooked is that sometimes prospects don’t actually see what their most pressing issue actually is. That may require a salesperson to put extra time and research into illustrating it in a way for the prospect to see it. Either way, if you can speak specifically to the organization’s urgent problem, the prospect is much more likely to be invested in seeing the deal through to a close.

Another layer of protection against prospect ghosting is when a salesperson helps the buyer visualize the benefits their product or service will deliver in reference to the pain the buyer is currently in with their present solution (or lack thereof). Doing so can happen through a variety of techniques. It could mean reminding the potential customer about their current scenario and the pain they are experiencing. It could also include helping the prospect look to the future and how good it could be. It may also be providing beneficial insight to help your potential buyer better understand the current or soon-to-be problem their company is up against. For example, you could communicate to your prospect, “If your annual revenue is hovering just below $10MM per year and you don’t have a well-communicated culture program in place, you could see revenue drop by the millions within the next two years.” Some executives may already have a firm enough grasp on their culture to understand the risks of not investing therein, but others may need this sort of first-step help to put them on the journey toward installing a culture program. Important to note with our example is that the copy does not focus on your business or solution. Rather, it stays firmly focused on the buyer’s needs, which will disarm your buyer’s defenses and allow your message to reach its audience effectively.


In conclusion, there are specific yet strategic ways to keep prospects from going the route of ghosting during the sales process. Speak directly to the organization’s most pressing issue and how your product or service not only meets that specific need but leads to a much better future. Doing so can keep your potential customer engaged throughout the sales process and avoid the chance of getting hit with the not-so-friendly ghost.

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