By my rules, you are being ghosted after three days of silence from a client. Yet, as any experienced salesperson knows, the reasons behind responsiveness can be as varied as the clients themselves. Lack of response is also only sometimes a sign of disinterest. This phenomenon amplifies during the holiday season, leaving many in the sales field nervous about the drop in the frequency of client contact.
Top Reasons Your Clients Are Not Responding:
Here are the most likely reasons your client is not responding, and remember, it’s not always you!
- I’m busy – The average number of emails sent and received these days is around 120. Our inboxes are battlegrounds of a daily fight for attention. Remember also that your clients’ distractions could be both professional and personal.
- Incompatibility – Not every partnership is destined for success. If a client has drifted away, they no longer need you or your stuff and have moved on. It’s not personal.
- It’s not you, it’s me – The absence of your timely follow-ups or the client’s lack of confidence in you can lead to a communication breakdown.
- You’re pushing too hard – There’s a fine line between being thorough and overwhelming. Evaluate your approach; ensure it’s assertive, not oppressive.
- Bad Timing – Just as in life, timing in business is everything. Be mindful of your client’s internal organizational dynamics and external pressures.
- It’s the holidays! – Have a heart. Clients are bound to be more unresponsive over the holiday period. Give them some space.
Techniques to Re-Engage Unresponsive Clients:
Here is what I do to get clients back to the table. These also work for re-engaging after periods of silence over the holidays.
- Create a pleasant climate for them to come back – A considerate check-in can rekindle communication without adding pressure. Don’t make an issue out of non-communication unless it becomes truly disrespectful.
- Deliver something of value – Tailor your communication to offer insights, not just updates. Spark their curiosity with information they can use, and that prompts immediate follow-up questions.
- Persist – Sometimes, you have to stay the course. I have had clients wait to respond for weeks and then pop back up like nothing has happened. Maintain presence without pestering; your consistency will pay off.
- Send a calendar invite – An email is easy to ignore, but landing on their calendar is not. They have to accept or reject the invitation actively. Most people live and die by their calendars these days.
- Pick up the phone – Even if they don’t pick up, leave a thoughtful and concise voicemail with a simple and compelling reason to reconnect.
- Send a breakup email – If all else fails, write to them to respectfully “close out” the opportunity and wish them well with their endeavors. Sometimes, this jolts them back out of hiding!
How to Not Be Ghosted by Clients Again
The true art lies in pre-empting the ghosting or preventing it before it happens. Here are some of the techniques I have learned that I have found to be extremely effective:
- Connect the dots – Always schedule a follow-up meeting at the end of your current conversation! Cementing the next step creates a natural continuation and shows foresight.
- Shorten the cycle – The less time between communications, the less space for distraction. Keep the momentum going with timely, relevant touches.
- Deliver real value – If your interactions are always informative and insightful and help clients with their problems, why would they ever stop interacting with you? Empty messages constantly requesting follow-up meetings will not work.
- Set your boundaries – It has been a challenging one for me. Clearly articulate your expectations and limits from the start. It demonstrates professionalism and respect for both parties’ time.
- Track your interactions – Here is one I only started doing recently. Track what times of the day your client is most responsive. Message them then. It works! Some clients only respond to my messages in the evening when they are out of meetings.
- Boost your likability – People do business and interact with those they like. If they like and respect you, it will be more difficult for the prospect to walk away from you or ignore your messages.
During the holiday season, a patient approach can be your best strategy. Instead of pushing for immediate responses, use this time to craft personalized messages that express genuine interest and understanding of their holiday commitments. This demonstrates respect for their time and builds a foundation of trust.
It’s easy to let frustration simmer when faced with radio silence. However, sales excellence requires a mastery of emotional intelligence. By remaining calm and composed, you set the stage for a more open and honest dialogue when the client does respond.
Also, empathy is key. It’s easy to forget that a person may need the understanding we seek from them behind every unread email or unreturned call.
Let’s not make hasty judgments or let impatience dictate our responses. By putting ourselves in our client’s shoes, we can better understand the possible reasons behind their silence. This isn’t just about waiting out the radio silence; it’s about using the time to reflect on our approach, refine our tactics, and ensure that our outreach resonates with consideration and relevance when the time is right.
As we approach the festive season, choose a client who has gone silent in the rush of the holidays. Reach out to them, not with the urgency of a salesperson eager to close the year on a high note, but with the warmth and understanding of a fellow navigator of this busy season. Craft a message that offers a touchpoint of support rather than a demand for attention. Reflect on their personal circumstances and offer something of value — perhaps an insight or a piece of content that can assist them in the new year, no strings attached.