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What To Do When A Prospect Ghosts You: 5 Ways to Bring Deals Back to Life

5 min readOctober 27, 2021

Somewhere, not too far from here, is an old house that creaks and moans. Ghosts drift along the floorboards and swoop through the windows, frightening anyone who dares come too close. The neighbors say they can occasionally hear mutters of:

“…Went with a competitor…”
“…Not ready to make a buying decision quite yet…”
“…Champion went to another company…”

This is the Ghosting House. And it’s where deals go to die.

Yet there’s a chance to reverse the curse, for all salespeople who are brave enough to wander through this house’s creepy halls. If you can get the attention of a ghost long enough, you’ll have the chance to bring your deals back from the dead.

So strap on your ghost-busting gear, because we have five tried and true strategies that our own reps have used to get ghosts engaged in the sales process again.

1. Consider the last time you spoke to your ghost.

It’s time to put on your detective hat: when did you last see this ghost? Did they mention anything that could give you a clue as to why they disappeared, or that you could use to lure them back to the land of the living?

To kick this process off, we recommend looking back at call or video recordings of your previous meetings with them. The ringDNA dialer automatically flags moments in calls that could give you clues, such as objections or questions about competitors. But even if you’re just working off a basic transcription or your own meeting notes, keep your eyes out for:

  1. Business challenges that they’re trying to solve
  2. What they care about most, or what their biggest goal is
  3. Mentions of the timeline that they’re on
  4. Names or titles of other people who could be involved in the buying process

2. Figure out what sort of offering your ghost prefers.

There must be reasons why people make offerings to ghosts, right? While we’ll admit that it’s typically so that the ghosts stay away, sales-ghosts are a slightly different breed than your average house-ghost. If you figure out the right thing to offer them, you’ll be able to lure them back.

So instead of asking your prospect for something (a meeting, or even a response), try giving them a valuable piece of content instead. Ideally, this content should speak directly to business issues that you know they’re struggling with, or to the goals they’re trying to achieve.

One way to try and figure out what content they’ll find useful is by looking back at past campaigns that they’ve engaged with, to see if there are any common themes. Keep in mind that you’re trying to create a great content experience for your buyers.

But if you don’t have that information, simply offer the best content you can think of that your company currently has. What’s the most popular? What do prospects tend to say was the most interesting, or the most helpful? Webinar recordings, eBooks, podcasts, even offers of consulting with your C-suite or anything else you can put in an email will work.

Wondering what to write? Here’s an email that our reps use. Pay attention to the structure, since you can adapt it to any piece of content:

3. Give your ghost a gift.

When intellectual gifts of content fail (or if they don’t seem appropriate for the deal stage), more tangible gifts in the form of direct mail could be the way to go. After all, even ghosts like getting mail! And if you look closely, it would appear that there’s a mailbox in front of that haunted house…

Physical gifts also help you to benefit from the science of persuasion, specifically the principle of reciprocity: by giving your prospect a gift, you’re raising the chances that they’ll do something nice for you in the future.

Here are two gift ideas you can play with:

  1. If you’ve tried to contact someone for a while with no success, a lighthearted way to get their attention is to send them an actual ghost! We’ve had reps send ghost-shaped stuffed animals with a handwritten note before, and it’s worked surprisingly well.
  2. Offer them a choice of gifts, such as coffee, wine, or a gift card. There’s multiple variations of this that you can try, such as offering copies of different books related to their industry or business issues, or choices between charities that you’ll donate to in their name. This has the benefit of requiring a response, which helps break the ice for further communication.

4. Create a customizable ghosting sequence.

If you or your team is getting ghosted a lot, it could be worth creating a sequence to deal with it. You may also want to check if your office was built on top of a graveyard or doubles as a haunted house in the evenings, just to rule out the more macabre possibilities. (If you’re dealing with one of the latter issues, you’ll need a séance, not a sequence.)

Our product Guided Selling offers you the ability to create customizable sales sequences, so that you always know the next steps to take and what to say when someone ghosts you. Here’s a structure that you could use for your own sequence:

  • To Start: Call the prospect and leave a voicemail, referencing the last time you spoke. Try and ask them a specific question (bonus points if it has a specific time frame for answering) to encourage them to call you back with the answer. Follow this up immediately with an email.
  • 2 Days Later: Reach out to them through a different channel, such as texting or LinkedIn. Our research shows that you’re five times more likely to close a deal if you’re on a texting basis with a prospect, so it’s worth texting when you can.
  • 1 Week Later: Send them an email with a customized content offer.
  • 3 Days Later: Send a follow-up email, asking if they got your previous email and offering another valuable piece of content.
  • 1 Week Later: Send them a gift. Also keep an eye on the tracking, and send a follow-up email right after it’s delivered. You want to make sure they got it!
  • 1 Week Later: If they’re still not responding, place them in a passive nurture sequence.

5. Widen your net to include ghouls, vampires, and goblins.

So your ghost still isn’t showing up, huh? Cheer up, there’s plenty of other monsters in the haunted house… or people in the company, as it were. Go back to your original research, where you looked to see if this prospect mentioned anyone else. Who else could be involved in this buying process? Your prospect’s manager is a good bet, if you don’t have any other leads.

Try reaching out to these other decision-makers and starting a conversation with them instead. You can mention your original prospect and ask them to help you get in contact with them again, or you can start fresh. It’s up to you!

This approach has the benefit that you may discover why you were ghosted in the first place, since it could be due to another member of the buying committee. If you can convince them that your products or services are worthwhile, then you’ve single-handedly saved the deal from the grave.

About the Author

Mara McLeanRevenue.io

Mara is a Senior Brand Copywriter at Revenue.io, the revenue acceleration platform that leverages AI to transform sales teams into high-performing revenue engines. Mara is a passionate and creative storyteller who enjoys bringing a little bit of fun into B2B marketing.