Ghosting, the practice of ending a relationship suddenly and withdrawing from all communication, doesn’t just happen in the dating world; it happens in business, too. Ghosting causes plenty of heartache and confusion for the one being left in the dark. Fortunately, though, there are some ways to keep prospects engaged and prevent them from going quiet.

Cian Mcloughlin, a best-selling author, speaker and founder of a sales consultancy firm, has developed a seven-step framework for action if this happens to you. We share Mcloughlin’s steps in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Ask questions. Mclaughlin often hears customers say that previous salespeople talked too much or focused too much on their solution and not enough on the problem. So, the customer was no longer interested. To avoid falling in this trap, he encourages sales reps to ask many detailed questions and use what they learn to deliver relevant insights.

2. Get the facts. Instead of jumping to conclusions when a customer disappears, make sure you have all the facts. Find out if your contact is sick or traveling. Maybe there’s a huge crisis at the business or the scope of the project has changed. When you take the pressure off and give prospects the okay to give a “no update” update, you might be surprised how often they reappear.

3. Change your language. Don’t default to corporate speak, which can unnerve a prospect and cause them to go silent. Mcloughlin says all it takes sometimes to awaken a sleeping prospect is a change of language or tone.

4. Add some value. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so is value. Determine what your prospective customers find valuable and find a way to give it to them. If you commit to adding value at each stage of the buying process, humans naturally feel obliged to respond to your emails and calls.

5. Align your sales and buying process. Mcloughlin admits it’s all too easy to lose sight of what’s happening on the customer’s side when you’re caught up in your own internal focuses. If you want to avoid being ghosted, take time to look at the world from the prospect’s perspective.

6. Change the channel. Sales professionals have practically endless communication channels at their disposal. Some prospects like email or text; others prefer to chat on the phone or face to face. Don’t just focus on the communication channels you prefer. Ask your prospects the mode of contact they prefer.

7. Fall on your sword. Mcloughlin’s “fall on your sword” approach means you take the high ground. Offer an apology for what you may have done to make the customer disengage.

As the sales landscape continues to become more complex, sales reps must know how to prevent ghosting. Use Mcloughlin’s framework above to keep prospects engaged.

Source: Cian Mcloughlin is a best-selling author, speaker and founder of Trinity Perspectives, a sales consultancy firm that specializes in helping companies better understand why they win and lose the deals they pitch for. He’s the author of the Amazon No. 1 bestseller Rebirth of a Salesman and a regular sales commentator in the mainstream media.