Do you like scary movies? If so good for you. I don’t and never have. Anything that has to do with the supernatural or extraterrestrials just freaks me out.

That’s why I find it so interesting how a spirited word—ghosting—has become such a part of our business language, especially when we’re talking about prospects.

One of the top 5 questions I receive from people is, “how can I stop the ghosting?”

What Is “Ghosting”?

Let’s first review what ghosting is.

Ghosting is a term used when people describe a lead or a prospect who isn’t responding to their messages.

Now, I had to look up the “official” definition and found:

Ghosting is a colloquial term used to describe the practice of ceasing all communication and contact with a partner, friend, or similar individual without any apparent warning or justification and subsequently ignoring any attempts to reach out or communicate…

The key words in that definition are without any apparent warning or justification.

The bad news is you don’t have any control over what a person does or doesn’t do after a contact with you. What you do have control over are several simple actions you can take to decrease the possibility of being ghosted.

Get a Commitment

The first action you can take to avoid being ghosted is to make sure that you end every conversation with a specific commitment on their end including a date of the next action.

If they say, “We just need some time to think about it,” that’s fine, but how long do they need? And what’s the action to find out where their thoughts are taking them?

If you leave the conversation with all the “homework” or with assumptions…it’s not really ghosting that follows; it’s an outcome of no plan of action.

Qualify the Prospect

The second action you can take to avoid being ghosted is to make sure you’re talking with qualified prospects. If you don’t have qualification criteria to know if they are qualified or not, start there.

This means asking questions – not in an aggressive way, but during your investigation:

  1. How important is it for you to do something about this situation?
  2. What other options are you considering?
  3. What’s your timeframe for making a decision?

Then if it’s not going to be a good fit, it’s okay to say so. Let them off the hook, and you could say something such as, “if you decide that working together is not the right move for you, I won’t be offended. Please let me know and I’ll stop filling your inbox or voicemail.”

Change Your Mindset

The third action you can take to avoid being ghosted is to adjust your mindset. Ghosting seems to put the blame on a buyer…and reality check here: It’s THEIR decision, not your process that matters.

The non-response could simply be because they are busy, or it’s dropped in priority, or it’s slipped their mind, and so we need to change our mindset to stop telling ourselves stories about why we’re not hearing back from them and instead, execute a good consistent follow-up plan that gives them value, keeps you top-of-mind with them, and shows you’re ready whenever they are.

They are on their timeframe…not yours.

So, while ghosting can’t be controlled as it’s happening, there are definitely actions you can take to keep those ghosts from appearing in the first place.

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