How to Stop Being Ghosted with Clear Next Steps

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You finish up a great meeting with a prospect and they say, “This was really great, can you send me something to look over and we’ll talk next week?”

You agree to send more information or even send a proposal or a quote. 

Everyone leaves on a good note, you set a task to follow up and when that day comes, you pick up the phone to call them and your heart sinks… it went to voicemail.  

You send a follow up email… call back again a few days later…


First things first, why does this happen?  

If this has happened to you, here are a few questions to ask yourself to help diagnose what might be happening:

Reason #1: Did that person feel comfortable enough to say “No” if it wasn’t a fit?

This is one of the reasons we all hate the traditional salespeople… They won’t accept no for an answer, even if it’s not a fit. 

Reason #2: Did I confuse them by talking about my service or products and not asking enough questions?

Did I spend the entire time talking about my product or service?  (Only to make them feel lost or confused?)

Reason #3: Did I overcomplicate the process?

When I go to follow up a week later and they were secretly overwhelmed… how likely are they to use up brain space to deal with this?


How can we keep this from happening?


Set The Stage by Creating an Environment of Trust

From the very beginning, pay attention to how this person processes information.  Pay attention to how they interact.  Do they focus on the details or do they prefer the summary?  Are they talkative or do they prefer to get to the point?  Create an environment of trust by paying attention to how they interact and acting accordingly (match & mirror). 

Emphasize that “No” is okay in the beginning.

How do we overcome the other person’s fear that we’re going to talk them into something they don’t want or need?  Emphasize in the very beginning that “No” is a perfectly acceptable outcome. 

Clarify What We’re Deciding On & What Happens At The End

In order to be great at our job as salespeople, we have to be really good at facilitating decisions.  With that in mind, clarify what decision are we working towards in any sales conversation?  Realistically, what could happen at the end? Is it a “Yes/No” at the end?  Are we deciding if it makes sense to involve other people in the process here? 

If it’s not “No,” Get Something on The Calendar

At the end of the meeting, there can only be three potential outcomes. 

  1. Disqualified - not a fit, part ways friends.
  2. Involve Others - They’re qualified but need to involve other people in the process.
  3. Qualified - They’re qualified, continue forward.

If it’s the first scenario - hopefully we emphasized that “No” is okay at the beginning, this can end smoothly and we part ways as friends. 

If it’s the second or third scenario, get something on the calendar for the future.  This is the part where we get tripped up.  For example, if you’re creating a proposal, schedule a “Rough Draft Review” instead of sending it over.  If other people need to be involved, get the next meeting scheduled now. 

Bottom line… if you set a meeting on the calendar, you’ll drastically decrease the amount of ghosted “follow up calls” and save everyone involved a lot of time and mental energy.

Dan Faber

Connect with Dan Faber

For 25 years, Lushin has guided business leaders toward intentional, predictable growth.

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