The Drift

The Drift

Beware of Ghosts!

While this week is clearly prime time for ghosts, rest assured they are with us all year long. If you’re in sales, feeling haunted is an everyday emotion.

You have what seems like a breakthrough meeting with a client… full of promise. Then you’re ghosted. The customer asks you for case studies, more details, even some deal points. Then you’re ghosted. You and your team labor over an RFP submission for which your site, service or platform seems perfect. And then you’re ghosted.

Once your would-be customer has vanished into the mist, it may be too late to do anything about it. They’ve likely disappeared because they either weren’t serious about your offer in the first place, or for some reason no longer are. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get closure. And it certainly doesn’t mean you couldn’t have prevented this from happening in the first place. First, prevention:

  • Before you agree to the follow-up work and exit the sales call with your customer, get them to agree to and schedule a specific date when they’ll accept or redirect your offer. Ambivalence here is a red flag. Stay in the conversation and keep qualifying.
  • Also, while you’re still engaged, ask specific questions about the process. What will happen with this proposal once we send it? Tell me about the approval process? What’s your timeline? What role will X (decision maker) play in the approval? If you’re patient-yet-persistent in this conversation (don’t answer the questions for them!) you’ll be amazed how much more qualified your opportunities become.
  • If your proposal or RFP submission contains pricing or availabilities, include an expiration date in your response. Something as simple as We can honor these rates and features until November 30, 2023. Then refer to that expiration date often… in your cover note, in your follow up emails, in your text messages. You will have manufactured a deadline that gives shape and form to your follow up. We are three days from the date we need a response: Are you still interested in us holding this open?

But what if you’re being ghosted right now?

  • Stop using meaningless safe words in your follow up. You’re not checking in or bumping this up in the inbox. You’re seeking a specific answer.
  • Invite the client to tell you no. No is better than maybe, but you’ve got to earn it. If you’ve moved on, we will close out this opportunity and focus the resources on other customers.
  • If all else fails, withdraw your proposal. As we’ve gotten no response or communication for X weeks, it seems that you’ve gone in another direction. So, we are withdrawing this proposal and will look forward to working with you on the next one.

If all this sounds a bit radical, consider what all these weeks of aimless checking in and guessing are doing to your price integrity, your standing with the client, and your ability to accurately forecast. Now that’s a spooky story!

“They’re Ghosting Us!” is just one of a dozen, stand-alone problem-solving workshops we use to support digital sales teams. For more information on this and others, contact us.

Original Illustration by Eric Sands.


More Posts

Hiring in the Shadows.

The truth is, we’re still mostly interviewing the way we did in 2015 – and 2005 and 1995 – and it has nothing to do with the pandemic or Zoom. Our perspective on talent is compromised not because we are now hiring within the frame of a Zoom screen. It’s because we’ve always used a flawed lens to frame candidates.


Low Beams.

The person you’re speaking to right now… the work in front of you… today… the next hour. These are the only reality we can truly impact. Look past them and you’ll lose the only resource that can never be replaced: The moment.


The January Conversation.

Without a disruptive strategy to get the January conversation, you’re just another player hanging around the rim waiting for a rebound. You deserve better. So grab the ball and take your shots.


Solstice.

A little more light, more vaccine being delivered, people sharing news of their vaccinations on social media. And even as the amount of light and hope spirals upward, we will simultaneously suffer through cold and storms and sadness. These things live together in winter, but in spring the light wins out. And Spring will come. Just stay focused on the light.


What It Will Take.

Now here we are, with vaccines rolling out and a sense that things are going to get better… but only in the spring. Here we are, facing winter. And we’re asking ourselves, what will it take? What will it take to keep spirits strong, to stay hopeful and resilient under the weight of COVID fatigue and Zoom burnout? It will take choices... good ones.


What I Heard in Class.

In today’s post, I’d like to invite you inside one of our Upstream Sales Workshops on Zoom and let you overhear some of what’s being taken away.


Window of Opportunity.

Nobody ever says I just wish I’d waited longer to change. I’m glad we didn’t.


You Already Know.

It’s been said that learning is finding out what you already know. If you’ve been in a workshop with me, or if you’ve brought me in to work with your team, you’ve seen these themes play out. People speak in terms of being reminded of what works and confess I don’t know why I ever stopped doing that! The sense of déjà vu and reconnection with one’s own experience and values is an everyday thing. So what is it that you already know that I’m likely to remind you of?


Evidence.

Evidence is everywhere. But we only get what we look for. And when we examine it – thoughtfully, critically, unsentimentally – it tells us where we really stand… what needs to be done… how to move forward intentionally. We become better forecasters, better time managers, better teammates, better stewards of company resources – better sellers.


Ecosystem Leadership.

Empathy is the oxygen of your ecosystem. It sustains people and relationships and also acts as fuel for the fires of creativity, production and perseverance. You are A leader in this ecosystem, not THE leader. You'll lead by constantly referencing a very short list of recurring questions.


Stay In.

Right now, there’s an awful lot of showing up. There have been some immediate moves on diversity hiring, and a whole lot of public statements being made — including my own. But showing up is one thing: staying in is entirely another.


Everybody Knows.

The now-famous New Yorker cartoon told us “On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” On Zoom, everybody knows.