At some point in your business journey, if it hasn’t happened yet, you’ll think you had a great sales conversation with a client. They were kind, attentive, and from what you could tell, the conversation went great! As far as you know, they seemed ready to book with you right then and there.
But then you follow up after the call… and you don’t hear back from them. You follow up again a few days later, and it’s still the same result– no reply. You never hear a peep from them again, so you can only give up on them and move on wondering what happened.
Another word for this situation is getting “ghosted”. It’s when you never hear back from a potential client after multiple follow-up attempts. For anyone, it outright sucks! You start wondering what went wrong, or rather what you may have done wrong. This feeling isn’t pleasant at all for anyone, which is why we’re here to walk you through ways you can prevent getting ghosted from the first “Hello!” of the sales call to the final follow-up email.
It all starts with the sales conversation. The truth is, many of us aren’t the best at or comfortable enough with navigating sales conversations. The key to having a great sales call is by simply treating it as a conversation between two human beings. You’re both simply just trying to see if you would make a good fit for each other. Thinking of it this way will take loads of pressure off of you!
How to actually begin the conversation may seem like an obvious answer: the same way you would begin a conversation with a friend. There are always things you can bring up that are relatable. You may talk about the weather, the technical problems you've been having with Zoom, or something we can all agree on, which is the crazy year this has been. In general, it isn't hard to just break the ice as long as you build a place that you can facilitate conversation and make it enjoyable for everyone.
Set the tone of the conversation and outline what you'll be discussing. People love knowing exactly what to expect of the conversation and what will happen next. If you tell them you're going to have the meeting set up a certain way, and you follow through with it, that alone helps you build trust. This also positions you as the person who is in control of the conversation.
The next part is easy– hand the mic over to them, and just listen! You can ask questions to prompt them on what to talk about next, of course, but you want to listen intently and really absorb what they're saying to you. Get the information you need from them so that you can properly understand their problems, setbacks, hesitations, etc. This conversation is essentially all about them, and they know about themselves better than anything else, which makes them more comfortable.
The real root of this all is that you want to get to know their internal dialogue. Why are they here? What brought them to you? At this point, you're already halfway through the conversation, and you've gathered enough about them to know if you want to work with them, or if you'll be able to give them value in working with you.
This isn't about pivoting into the pitch; it's about pivoting into presenting your services as the solution to the problems that they've been telling you about. If they haven't done so naturally yet, be sure to ask them. You aren't necessarily explaining all the nuances of everything you offer, you're presenting one thing as the solution.
It's about saying, "I'm hearing that X and Y are really important to you. Here's how I can solve those problems." For someone to hear that, it makes them feel important and shows that you've been retaining the information they're telling you. If you offer services in packages, present them with the one you truly think will give them value (unless they voice that they want to be walked through the details of each package you offer).
Giving them only the solution that they need and nothing more (i.e. upselling) builds upon the trust factor. You don't want to feel like a cheesy car salesman who's only after the money– one minute they're sitting in a Honda, but the next, a Lamborghini.
This isn't a follow-up because you should give them a specific time frame or date in which they'll hear back from you, and then you follow through with that. This also further adds to the trust factor.
Walk them through what's going to happen after the meeting. If you give them a date that they'll hear from you, be sure to add it to your calendar so you don't forget.
If you find yourself in a situation where someone's ghosted you and they haven't replied back to any of your communication efforts, in your final follow-up, tell them, "If I don't hear back from you by ____, I'll politely assume you no longer wish to work together." There's no chance of miscommunication this way. People that are still wanting to work with you will reach back out to you even if only to let you know they’re on vacation and haven’t been able to read your messages. If you don't hear anything, though, you can kindly assume they've moved on, so you can, too. (If you've noticed, you've still been in control of the conversation even through the final follow-up.)
While you can try everything humanly possible to prevent getting ghosted, remember that we’re all just that– only human. No matter how awesome the sales conversation went, no matter how well you think you clicked with the client, there will always be the few that slip through the cracks. Don’t let this beat you down or cause you to feel insecure. Chances are it may not have anything to do with you.