TL;DR: Ghosting in sales is when a prospect cuts off all communication without explanation or warning. And it leaves reps feeling frustrated and in the dark. But when a lead stops responding it doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship is over. It just means you need to take a step back and reevaluate the situation.
Maybe the lead ghosted because they got busy with a new project. Or maybe they switched jobs. Whatever the reason, there’s still hope for you to nurture the relationship and close the deal. To help you figure out your next move, we asked sales experts to share the strategies they use to get ghosted prospects back into the pipeline.
Ghosting in sales is when a prospect cuts off all communication with a sales rep without any explanation or warning. .
It’s become all too common in B2B sales, leaving sales reps feeling frustrated and demotivated. And when that happens, your best course of action is to give up and move on, right?
Wrong! Just because a prospect ghosts you doesn’t mean you need to give up on the relationship.
We talked to B2B sales experts to find out which strategies they use to win back leads who ghosted them and why prospects ghost in the first place.
Why do prospects ghost salespeople?
When you don’t get a response from a prospect even after presenting a personalized sales pitch that impressed decision-makers, it’s only natural to wonder if you did something wrong.
But sometimes the reason for a prospect’s radio silence may have nothing to do with you. You could follow the best sales process and do everything right and still lose a deal to client ghosting.
Gauri Manglik, CEO & Co-founder of Instrumentl, says prospects tend to ghost salespeople when they get busy.
“There are a lot of different reasons people are busy. Maybe they have a big project due at work or an event to attend, or maybe they just got home from work and need to spend time with their family. It could be any number of things. Whatever the reason, it's important to understand where they're coming from to create a connection that will help them remember you when it's time for them to buy,” she says.
On the other hand, it’s possible that you didn’t use the best approach to close a deal, and the prospect chose to walk away without an explanation to avoid breaking the bad news or confronting you.
Jan-Philipp Peters, Co-founder of BitsForDigits, says prospects choose to walk away when sales reps treat them like they’re just a part of an outreach sequence and not like human beings.
“They [your prospects] want to be heard and understood, not just sold to. You need to show that you're invested in their success and not just trying to make a quick sale,” he says.
“The primary reason prospects ghost salespeople is because they have found a better alternative. It could mean many things, such as a competitor's product or service, that suits their needs more closely. It could also mean they have found a more cost-effective option elsewhere. Sometimes, they may have realized that their investment in the product or service was too significant and opted out altogether,” she says.
Understanding why a prospect ghosts you is the best way to prevent ghosting from happening in the first place. But reconnecting with clients who go MIA after you’ve already started a conversation is a whole different ballgame.
5 strategies to win back ghosted leads in B2B sales
As a sales rep, being ghosted can make you feel rejected and disappointed, especially when you’re past an initial call and have invested significant time and effort into building a relationship with your point of contact.
But don’t lose hope — just because a prospect didn’t get back to you within a specific time frame doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. Instead, take a look at these proven strategies our experts shared to help them repeatedly turn ghosted leads into closed deals.
1. Showcase your product’s value
Many prospects ghost salespeople over pricing concerns. If you quote too low, the prospect may start questioning the value-add the product will bring. But if you price too high, promising prospects may lose interest and look for a more cost-effective alternative.
To come back from either scenario, it’s essential to effectively highlight your product’s value to rekindle a prospect’s interest in it.
According to Jason Moss, President and Co-Founder of Moss Technologies, a great way to do this is to reach out to the prospect with a personalized message highlighting their previous interest in your product and offering additional value or information they would find useful.
“This [the value-add] could include new product features, a limited-time discount, or even a free consultation or trial period,” he says.
Tarun Agarwal, VP of Business at Mailmodo, says they offer an extended trial period as a value-add so the prospect can experience the product’s value first-hand and see how it can give them a better ROI than their competitors.
“This helps us justify our pricing and helps prospects understand why we’re costlier than our competitors”, he says.
2. Make the prospect feel valued
Personalizing messages at scale, sending follow-up emails, and demonstrating your product’s value are great ways to break through any radio silence and get stakeholders to take action.
But despite putting in the work, your prospects may still ghost you because they’re skeptical of the sales process and aren’t fully convinced that you have their best interests in mind.
To overcome this hurdle and earn your prospect’s trust, it’s essential to build a genuine connection with them.
According to him, this could be something as simple as sending a relevant article that might be useful to the prospect or doing a quick check-in with them via email or social media.
Jan-Philipp Peters, Co-founder of BitsForDigits, received a response 30 minutes from a ghosted lead after she shared an article that included a backlink to their website.
The strategy worked because it showed the prospect that she saw them as a real person and went out of her way to offer them value instead of looking at them as another name on her email list.
Lisa Richards, the CEO and Creator of the Candida Diet, got on a 35-min phone call with a ghosted lead to demonstrate her personable nature and understand their needs and concerns.
During the call, if the prospect objected to something, she shared additional information like case studies, industry insights, and data from similar projects her company had done with other corporate clients.
This helped her establish a personal connection with the prospect as it demonstrated she was proactively working to address their concerns and objections. As a result, she was able to win back the lead’s interest and close the deal.
3. Practice persistence while being polite
When encountering pushback from prospects, salespeople sometimes use pushy and aggressive sales tactics — intentionally or unintentionally — to close a deal.
While aggressive selling sometimes works, more often than not, it leads to prospects ignoring the salesperson to avoid further interactions with them.
But what actions could a prospect perceive as being pushy or aggressive?
- Not taking “no” for an answer and following up repeatedly.
- Being overly familiar or too direct with a prospect too early in the sales process.
- Not actively listening to customer concerns and pain points and resorting to time pressure (deal only lasts X hours) to get them to cave.
If you’ve done any of these things, it could be why your prospect stopped responding to your messages, or your call went straight to their voicemail.
But the good news is that there are a few proven strategies to get back in touch with the prospect and salvage the situation.
Alwin Wei, co-founder and CMO of SEOAnt, recommends acknowledging that you may have been too pushy to reconnect with the prospect.
“We send a personalized email empathizing with the prospect and acknowledge that we may have spammed them and failed to provide any tangible value. In addition to this, we also provide a 30-day free trial in the email. This approach led to converting 45% of the leads that ghosted us as it allowed them to try our app and helped us regain their trust,” he says.
“This approach works 9/10 times because it allows them to see what the tool does, and it makes them feel special. Plus, it’s very easy for the prospect to see that I genuinely care for them in a video than in an email where I'll just have to copy-paste and replace the [NAME] field,” he says.
4. Simplify the options
While sending emails, case studies, and other information can help to highlight the value you bring to the table and build trust with your prospects, overdoing it may cause them to feel overwhelmed and ignore you.
“Make sure the message is concise and includes a call-to-action that will entice them to respond. By showing you took the time to craft a personalized message, you show you value their input and are not just another salesperson trying to close a deal. This can help capture their attention and give them the incentive to respond,” he says.
“We present prospects with a curated list of features that best fit their needs, explain the value these features will bring, and ask them if they'd like to set up a call or continue the conversation further. This strategy has helped us win back leads because it's tailored to their individual needs and is not overwhelming with too many options. It also helps build trust with the lead and demonstrates our commitment to creating a positive experience for them,” he says.
5. Track job changes
When prospects ghost you, it doesn’t always mean you’ve been too pushy or that your pricing is too high. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a prospect changing jobs while a sales deal is in progress. A sudden job switch can put the brakes on a deal and make you question next steps at the prospect’s current organization if you haven’t multi-threaded your sales deals.
But it also creates an opportunity to connect with your prospect and offer relevant solutions that address pain points within their new role.
Tipalti, a payment automation software, used this strategy to connect with previous customers and create $4 million in the pipeline.
The company’s sales team uses UserGems, a B2B prospecting tool, to track prospects’ job changes and employs a triple-threat prospecting method to start engaging with them.
“We hit them [the prospect who switched jobs] from every angle. We start with an email talking about the relationship at the past organization. We then follow up with a phone call, and a LinkedIn request but pointing them back to the original email with collateral. It’s important to provide value throughout the sequence,” says their sales development manager Korey Krueger.
In addition to this, they also used UserGems’ pipeline generation playbooks to achieve 23x ROI in closed-won revenue.
Breathe life back into ghosted leads to optimize pipeline generation
When a prospect ghosts you, you’re bound to feel frustrated and demotivated, regardless of your level of expertise.
However, providing additional value with something like an extended free trial, going out of your way to make prospects feel valued, and communicating strategically can help you win back prospects who have ghosted you.
But if you lost touch with your prospect because they switched jobs, use a sales intelligence tool like UserGems to get accurate job change data and reconnect with them to close the deal.
Don’t believe that we can help? Here’s what Tipalt’s Senior SDR, Kory, says about UserGems:
“It automates what I’ve been doing manually on LinkedIn, with exponentially greater scale and efficiency,” he says.
“It takes a lot of effort to get the information UserGems provides. More tenured SDRs have the capacity to get some of that information on their own. But junior SDRs struggle to do so, thus not fully utilizing their territories. UserGems helped up-level everyone in the organization,” he adds.
UserGems is a pipeline generation software that helps revenue teams generate and protect revenue efficiently. With UserGems, companies can track and automate outreach when their champions change their jobs, and capture the buying groups to find the warmest path into every account.
Companies like Mimecast, Greenhouse, Medallia use UserGems to reach their revenue goals, quickly and efficiently.