5 Reasons your prospects may be "ghosting" you
It’s happened to all of us. You meet a prospect, engage in the discovery process, identify pains and problems that your solution will solve. You prepare and present your proposed solution, addressing their concerns and within their budget. Everything seems to line up and you are just waiting for them to let you know when they want to get started.
A few days go by, and you decide to follow up to see if there are any questions or concerns that may have come up since you presented your solution. Your prospect doesn’t pick up when you call, so leave them a message and wait. A few more days go by, and the same thing occurs. This pattern keeps repeating itself causing you to wonder what happened. What went wrong?
In a recent blog, marketing guru, Seth Godin (see blog on 8/22/22), identified 5 statements that your prospects may be thinking – but not telling you. When your prospects “ghost” you – they may be thinking one of the following things:
1. “I don’t care enough to do what you are asking” – I recently worked for a client that was introducing an innovative technology to replace an outdated technology that was being shut down. The new technology was not only better but less expensive. In fact, we offered the solution with no out-of-pocket expenses so they could begin saving money immediately. It almost seemed too good to be true.
However, this solution didn’t turn out to be the slam dunk we thought it would be. As in the scenario above, we believed that we did everything right and we were just waiting on them to approve our solution so we could move forward. After months of engaging with prospects, we discovered that although our solution provided immediate benefits, the overall savings weren’t that significant. In addition, the prospect had to engage and coordinate the installation of our technology which typically involved multiple people. The hassle of switching was a bigger issue than the benefits of our solution. Trying to motivate these clients to take action proved to be much more difficult than we anticipated. Our clients were telling us by their lack of action that they just didn’t care enough to do what we were asking of them.
2. I don’t trust you enough to hear you out” – Getting a prospect's attention is challenging enough. Keeping it is more difficult. Salespeople work so hard to get a prospect’s attention that when it happens, they are so eager to present their solution that they completely miss the opportunity to build a bridge of trust with their prospects.
Prospects don’t care about what you do until they know what you will do for them!
This is foundational to the sales process. Salespeople that don’t take the time to clearly understand the prospect's pain or problem miss the opportunity to build trust with their prospects. Salespeople that are so eager to share their solutions' unique features with the hope of impressing the client to buy rarely succeed. It takes discipline and a focus on understanding your prospect's situation first before you present your solution. Until a prospect feels heard and knows that you understand their situation, they will not trust you enough to move forward – no matter how unique your solution is.
3. “I’m afraid of the change it will cause” – One of the key questions that salespeople fail to ask is “Who else will be affected if you move forward with our solution?" Failing to recognize that your solution represents a change to an existing system is a set-up for being blind-sided by someone else in the organization that will be directly impacted by this change.
Effective salespeople not only focus on identifying the prospect's pain or problem but also on identifying others in the organization that may be impacted by their solution. Identifying these influencers early in the process gives the salesperson the opportunity to educate them on the benefits of the solution and how it will positively impact their area. It also gives salespeople an opening to learn how their solution may negatively affect this user and work to overcome those challenges early in the sales process.
4. "I don’t believe it’s worth what it will cost in time, money, or risk" – This is similar to the issues outlined above. In this case, the salesperson hasn’t created a big enough gap between their current situation and the benefits of their solution. They haven’t created enough tension to compel the prospect to act.
Most salespeople focus on the issue of monetary cost, pointing out things like ROI, increased productivity, etc. Few salespeople address the cost of time that it may take to install, train, and get users comfortable using their solution. In addition, identifying what’s at stake for the prospect is critical. Every prospect that recommends purchasing a solution is taking a risk. It’s their name or reputation if your solution doesn’t deliver as promised.
5. "I don’t believe that I’m the right person to do this" – Sometimes purchasing a new solution isn’t enough. Often, that solution requires a champion in the company to push the adoption of the new solution.
I have seen this several times when implementing CRM systems for new customers. Purchasing and installing a new CRM system isn’t enough. You must have a champion to push through the barriers of resistance to ensure that the benefits of your solution are maximized. You may be working with a prospective client that is not ready to take on the challenges of promoting your solution in the event of potential resistance within the company.
If you’ve read any of my posts, you know that I believe the profession of sales has evolved. It is no longer about trying to “sell ice to Eskimos.” Getting people to buy through persuasive or manipulative sales tactics is over. The role of the sales professional begins with making sure that your solution solves a problem for your prospect. Assuming it does, then it is important to fully understand all the implications associated with this purchase and equip the buyer to manage the process internally.
If your sales team routinely encounters prospects that “ghost” them, I hope this helps. If you’d like to discuss how to get more productivity out of your sales team, just click on the link below.