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  • Brett Zalaski

Engaging Ghost Accounts

Let's start at the beginning. What's a 'ghost' account? A ghost account was a previously engaged client who now won't return your messages. It is without a doubt the most frustrating thing in sales. As we mentioned in a previous post, it's also where we lose an incredible amount of time within the sales process.

Let's pretend ghost accounts are a disease. If it were, there would be thousands of people offering thousands of remedies to make you feel better. The problem is that none of those remedies are a cure for the disease. The best cure for this disease...cut the infected area off!

What does that mean? It means let them go. Break up with them. Get rid of them. Stop spending your important call time or email time on them. Whichever one of those phrases best resonates with you...use and embrace it! This may not be the answer you were looking for...but it's the right one.

The best salespeople aren't always the most flawless on the phone, they just use their time better and more efficiently. They don't spend on clients that aren't buying. And, guess what? If someone's gone ghost on you, 99 times out of 100 they aren't buying. You have to believe that...otherwise you won't stop trying to treat the disease, and you'll never cure it.

So what does getting rid of them look like? Here are some important things to implement:

  • Have fun with it! The disengaged because they liked you and just don't want to tell you 'no' to your face...remind them that they liked you!

  • Be creative! This is your last chance to stand out, show value, and make an impact on them before you stop calling them...make it thoughtful and personalized!

  • Remind them why you're calling them...them! You want to be a resource, not a nuisance. You want to help them save money/time/etc. You want to allow them to see awesome sporting events in person with people they care about.

  • Let them know it's ok if they don't buy...but you still want to hear from them! Giving people the 'ok' to say 'no' makes people more likely to tell you 'no'. That's a good thing. Your job isn't to get yes' (I mean it is, but...), your job is to get answers. The more answers you get, the more yes' you get.

  • Let them know it's over! You need to use the phrase (or likeness) of '...this will be the last time I reach out for a while.' Finality sets in with people...if they liked you and think you can have value, even if they aren't buying right now, they don't REALLY want to end the relationship.

Here's what a voice message can sound like: Jim, it's Brett from the Columbus Crew. We had a delightful conversation a while back, and I'm the one who won't stop calling...and calling...and calling you. My guess is that you're either so stunned from our comeback last weekend that you haven't had a chance to pick up the phone, or, more likely, you're just not that interested in buying right now and attending games with your best friend...and that's fine! This will be the last time I call, for now, but please give me a call back to let me know where we went wrong in the process...or just to let me know that you're ok! If I don't hear from you, I'll give you a ring back in a month or so just to check in! My name, again, is Brett from the Crew, and I'm at 860.392.9615!

This is the one part of my sales training that I received the best feedback on. The amount of time (and occasional sales) that the reps got back by breaking up was incredible. 'The break-up email (phone call) had the best response rate of any that I sent,' was another common refrain. I once had a rep for an MLB team say that they broke up with 72 people, got 33 no's, and 3 yes'. So they unearthed real sales (like finding gold!), and got all that time back. Imagine sending an email (or leaving a voice message) and getting a 50% return rate? Insanity...yet that seems to be the case with the break-up message.

To do this well, you need to hold the belief that the next client you call that's never heard from you is a better lead than the one that's avoiding you. That can be tough to have a relationship with the other person! But it's true. If you've gotten to the point where you're chasing someone, you have to believe that it's going to take a big move to get them re-engaged. Nobody's said this better than one of my favorite country music bands, Old Dominion. You go get that new lead!

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