Professional ghosting: How to avoid potential clients from suddenly ending communication

Dating can be difficult. You get to know someone new, start to form a relationship with them. Or you go on one or a couple of dates and start texting back and forth with a potential beau. And one day, communications just go silent… No text. No calls. Not even a lousy email. You’ve been ghosted!

Unfortunately, and in pretty much the same way, potential customers or clients can also ghost you in business. Multiple clients can just disappear abruptly without any kind of explanation. Instead of customers explicitly saying no to business efforts, they’ve borrowed from this dating concept and just begun cutting organizations off.

Why could clients be ditching you?

The reason this is called ghosting is that it doesn’t happen with any warning. Individuals just vanish without giving the other party a clue as to why. And often this term describes such disappearances when they take place despite the relationship going pretty well. As a business, you’re then left wondering, “Why did my client or prospect ditch me?”

There are numerous reasons why customers or potential leads may be ghosting you. These could be personal reasons relating to the customer. They could be professional reasons relating to your business. They could also be a combination of the two. Some of these reasons include:

  • They’re avoiding conflict by not directly saying no to your communications.
  • They’ve had personal issues or emergencies that have prevented them from responding to you. .
  • They arrived at a decision not to use your product but didn’t tell you this.
  • External forces like other authorities or their acquaintances deterred them from getting back in touch with you.
  • Your competition presented itself as a better option.
  • You went wrong somewhere and put them off.

These are only some common reasons, but there are many other possible explanations for customer relationships ending without communication.

How to avoid getting ghosted

You can’t attempt to predict and prevent all of these and more reasons for ghosting from prospects and customers.

What you can do, though, is introduce processes that lower the possibility of customers ghosting your business.

Consider taking these steps or actions:

Before it happens

1. Collect complex customer data

It’s important for you to have more than one way to contact your prospect. If it is an individual, gather contact details for their email, cellphone, and social media, for example. This gives you multiple channels where you can reach them and interact with them.

If your potential client is an organization, then you want to have contact with numerous people in the organization. This is useful in the event that your first contact stops getting in touch or doesn’t have the authority to commit.

Either way, it’s important to maintain regular contact with the prospect—show them that you’re thinking about them.

2. Clarify the next steps at the end of a conversation

Giving clear directions to your interactions and conversations can help you make sure that you get to speak to your prospect again. Schedule next steps at the end of every interaction you have.

For example, “Alright, when might I call you again so we can continue?” Letting them know your intentions is also important so that they don’t think you’re vishing. Make sure they don’t see that a VoIP number is calling them, and screen the call thinking it’s spam!

3. Optimize your follow up procedures

Whether you’ve scheduled a meeting or not, it’s important to make the follow-up very soon after your initial contact. Don’t leave too much time between communications, but also avoid being a pest.

Instead of just making follow-up calls, you can get creative about follow-up techniques. Use effective customer appreciation ideas like sharing discounts and coupons that they can retrieve if you get in contact with them and they answer. Utilize free email marketing providers to optimize your email follow-up.

When it is happening

1. Respond pleasantly

It won’t feel great knowing that someone is intentionally avoiding you, but you have to keep it professional. This is business, not your dating life, after all. Be polite despite your feelings.

Continue with polite, professional, and heartfelt attempts to get the conversation back to where it was. Persistence is good, but you need to watch your tone carefully in these communications.

2. Try a different communication channel

This is when you can put the various contact details you gathered to good use. Instead of doing the same thing and expecting a different result, try a different communication channel.

Send a text instead of an email. Call instead of sending a message. Using an alternate channel may be just the thing you need to get your prospect’s attention again.

3. Try different contact times

Another factor that tends to get overlooked is when you are attempting to make contact. You may be catching them at a busy time or when they’re unavailable. Switch tactics and try different contact times.

Read up on the best times to make follow up or sales calls and try out the best ones. You could find that attempting communications at a different time opens up the possibility of successful contact.

Here’s to healthier client relationships!

All businesses get ghosted every now and then. The important thing is to try and learn from the experience and improve your customer relationship management so that this doesn’t happen again.

It’s also important to remember that not all ghosting situations mean your customer has some horrible flaw. Instead, your customers may simply be unable to afford your offers at that point in time or they may have some other personal reasons.

But much like the other kind of ghosting, you must keep in mind that you have a lot to offer and you’re definitely a catch. Just adjust your efforts, stay open to new client relationships, and remember that you can learn and grow from even the most disappointing experiences.

About the Author

Patty is the EMEA Product Marketing Manager for RingCentral Office, the leader in cloud communications solutions. Patty is passionate about creating value and differentiation, ensuring a better experience for customers and partners. She gained a wealth of international product marketing, product management, GTM and market development experience, across a range of high-tech SaaS in a fast-paced, hyper-growth environment that assumes both strategic and tactical execution. She is not new to UC, starting in Tandberg, then Cisco, driving the launch of video collaboration and services, and Enghouse with global responsibilities for hosted CCaaS.