07.09.2021: Blog |

Business Ghosting – No response, is a response.


A well-known term in the dating world but more and more prevalent in the business world, it seems. Ghosting is where one person abruptly stops all forms of communication without any explanation; they seemingly disappear, gone with the wind, leaving you to wonder about what went wrong.

Business ghosting isn’t new; of course, it happens during recruitment processes, prospecting, and business deals. However, as the practice of “business ghosting” seems to be more apparent of late, we are starting to talk about it more. I hear about ghosting at least twice a week from peers. So why do so many business folks adopt this practice these days?

Reasons will vary depending on the context, of course, but it’s generally one of these:

  1. Avoiding conflict – folks don’t like to say no; it’s usually not easy, I get it. But I feel a No is just as crucial as a Yes sometimes. Happy to get a NO if I can move on.
  2. The first engagement didn’t hit the mark – meh!, in emoji terms, maybe the first conversation didn’t go to plan, and you didn’t “get it”. In this case, feedback is hugely valuable. Give the feedback.
  3. Someone advocated too early – not spending enough time digging into the other side and assuming it’s time to move to the next stage happens all too often. Dig more.
  4. There is a difficult road ahead – if one party see months of complexity and lobbying ahead of them if they were to engage with you, then it’s unlikely you’ll be a priority. It happens a lot with large companies bringing in new suppliers.
  5. No updates to share – no news is good news. Right? Wrong! No news is a message. Read between the lines.
  6. Overly busy – You’re at the bottom of someone list. It happens. The trick is to find a way to the top.

I would never intentionally ghost someone, but I must admit I have been guilty of it in the past even though I know all too well how tough it is to take if you’ve had a decent connection or conversation with someone, and then……crickets. So how might you overcome ghosting then? What can you do to trigger a reaction and some action? Here’s a couple of things I have tried and seen work:

  1. Consider a different approach, one that focuses on the long term and not the short. For example, I tend to share links to stories, potential opportunities and items of interest with folks I’m trying to communicate with.
  2. Be direct and add some humour to your comms. I’ve had several C-Level execs respond to an email because of brevity and wit. It’s astounding how much money we pour into graphics and email software, and then a seemingly cheeky one-liner does the job in minutes.

Unfortunately, ghosting is here to stay. With so many ways to communicate these days, it’s inevitable.

I hope folks that “ghost” read this and return at least two emails and calls they put off for a while. I will do this today.

And if you’re being “ghosted”, I hope this helps you get a couple of responses.

#startup #nomorebusinessghosting #b2b

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Business Ghosting – No response, is a response.


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