You've just invested hours into multiple calls and in-person meetings with your prospect, developed an awesome proposal or offer, and even received great feedback... then your prospect disappears off the face of the earth and you can't reach them by phone, email, or even carrier pigeon!
This is the essence of ghosting and it's a phenomenon that is taking place all over the map! Employers are getting ghosted by prospective employees, businesses are getting ghosted by potential customers, and vice-versa in both scenarios. Is there no end to the frustration this terrible business practice brings?
What is ghosting?
Simply put, it's the act of walking away from a relationship without explanation and withdrawing from all communication.
Why it sucks!
Nobody likes investing time and energy into something just to be ignored, ghosting feels like a betrayal of trust and can be easily interpreted as blatant disrespect. Relationships are the most powerful tool you have regardless of what industry you are in, and this practice puts a strain on your ability to build connections.
Why it happens.
There may be various reasons why ghosting occurs, however the most widely accepted explanation is that the person is fearful of disappointing the other party. This is a product of the hyper-social world we live in and the immense value we put on making everyone else happy all the time.
Prospects may also be nervous to admit they chose one of your competitors.
How to avoid being ghosted.
1) Ask direct questions:
Ex. "Would you like us to cancel this proposal for you?" or "I need to let my boss know by Friday if this project/offer is still on the table, should I cancel it?" Getting a "no" out of a prospect is way better than no response at all.
2) Present your proposal in person.
In-person sessions are proven to build a better sense of trust and understanding between parties. If you can, make an effort to present proposals in person rather than sending a digital copy you increase your chances of leveraging the human element.
3) Set structured response deadlines.
Put a time limit on your proposals or offers, this prevents an open-ended window for a response. Expiration dates and time limits also provide an underlying sense of importance and urgency.
If all else fails, forget about it and move on!
What's done is done, and there is no sense letting it affect you any longer than it needs to. Instead, concentrate on bringing your best efforts to the table with future prospects and you'll eventually land one!
How to avoid ghosting someone else.
Simple, be honest!
We are all human, nobody likes giving bad news, but if you read anything above you know how much worse it is to leave someone in the dark. If the proposal or offer doesn't work, just say so! "No, thank you" goes a long way towards preserving professional relationships even if it's disappointing in the short-term.
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