Anti-Ghosting: How To Get Prospective Clients To Respond

June 23, 2024

Tyler Suomala

Founder of Growthitect

You've spent weeks preparing a proposal for a potential client.

Discovery meetings and stakeholder conversations all seemed to be going well.

You present the proposal and get nothing but positive vibes, so you forget to set next steps.

Then you eagerly await their response, which you expect to be a signed contract.

Days turn into weeks, and you hear nothing.

You follow up politely, but still, radio silence.

You’re frustrated and confused.

If this sounds familiar, you're not alone.

It’s one of the most challenging aspects of business development.

You, my friend, have been ghosted.

What does it mean to get ghosted?

Getting ghosted means that a prospect stops responding to your communications without any explanation.

You send emails, make phone calls, and leave voicemails, but receive no reply.

It's as if the prospect has disappeared into thin air, leaving you wondering what went wrong.

How does getting ghosted impact architects?

Getting ghosted tends to impact us a bit more than we realize. Here’s how:

  • Wasted time and effort: You've invested considerable time and resources into developing a proposal and nurturing the relationship, only for it to seemingly vanish.

  • Uncertainty and stress: The lack of response creates uncertainty, making it difficult to forecast revenue or allocate resources effectively.

  • Missed opportunities: While waiting for a response that may never come, you might miss out on other potential clients or projects.

  • Discouraging: The emotional toll of being ignored can be a bummer, affecting your motivation, confidence, and causing you to second-guess your communication.

However, if you can minimize how often you get ghosted, then you’ll improve your revenue, forecasting, and cash flow. (Plus, you’ll avoid all of the negative impacts above…)

How to avoid getting ghosted

Let’s be honest: Nobody likes to get ghosted.

And there’s no silver bullet to avoid getting ghosted.

But there are strategies that can help minimize the chance of waiting for a response.

I’ve found these 4 techniques to be most effective:

01 // No-oriented questions

Frame questions that allow the prospect to comfortably say "no." This reduces pressure and makes it easier to respond. For example:

  • “Would it be a bad idea to schedule a meeting for next week?”

  • “Is it a terrible time to discuss this proposal further?”

These questions are less intrusive and give the prospect a comfortable avenue to engage without feeling overwhelmed.

02 // Loss Aversion questions

Tap into the prospect’s natural aversion to loss by highlighting what they might lose by not responding. For example:

  • “I assume this is no longer a priority for you?”

  • “Should we consider this project on hold for now?”

These questions make the prospect think about the potential benefits they’re missing out on, prompting them to reconsider and respond.

(I learned these first two strategies from Never Split the Difference - an awesome book by former FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss.)

03 // Scarcity and urgency

Create a sense of urgency or scarcity to prompt a response. Mention limited availability or time-sensitive offers. For example:

  • “We have a couple of spots left for new projects to begin this month. If you're still interested, please let me know by [specific date].”

  • “Our schedule is filling up quickly. Can we confirm your interest by [specific date]?”

By emphasizing the limited nature of your availability, you encourage the prospect to respond so they don’t miss out on all of their efforts.

04 // Multi-channel outreach

Utilize multiple communication channels to increase the chances of getting a response. Different prospects prefer different methods of communication. And the more channels you try, the more likely you are to find the right one for them. For example:

  • Send an email followed by a LinkedIn message.

  • Leave a voicemail and then follow up with a text message.

  • Reach out on social media platforms where your prospect is active.

  • Or, if they have a local office, don’t be afraid to stop by and check in.

Using a variety of communication methods ensures that your message gets through and shows your persistence and adaptability.

TL;DR

When a prospective client stops responding, then you’re getting ghosted. Don’t panic! It’s not ideal but there are some techniques to help you get a response. Try:

  1. No-oriented questions.

  2. Loss Aversion questions.

  3. Scarcity and urgency.

  4. Multi-channel outreach.

And no, you’re not being annoying. You’ve earned the right to follow up and you deserve a response 🙂

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