On today’s episode of the Same Side Selling Podcast, Ian Altman addresses the frequently asked question: why do enthusiastic customers sometimes completely disappear when it’s time to close the sale? Ian shares his thoughts on the “Why” and also offers some guidance on what you can do to get a much better outcome going forward.


Welcome to the Same Side Selling Podcast. I'm your host, Ian Altman. On today's episode, we're talking about those opportunities where the client seems enthusiastic. They can't wait to do business with you. They want a quote because we're ready to move, and then, poof, they disappear. They don't return your phone calls. They don't respond to emails, nothing. They go silent. They're ghosting you. They have fallen off the face of the earth.

And this is a question that gets raised to me almost every single time I deliver a keynote, workshop, or anytime I'm working strategically with my clients. It's one of the most common things that comes up, and let's talk about it right now. So what could be going on?

Well, for starters, it usually starts because the client or prospect called you. And they called you and said, Hey, we're really gung ho on what you have. Can you just send us a quote? We're ready to move. We want to get this thing going right away. And we see that opportunity as a laydown. It's a great opportunity! How can we not respond right away? So naturally, we send them all the information they asked for. But there's a problem. We didn't get any information from them. So we don't really have a sense of what could be going on. We don't have a sense of what's important to them. We don't have any sense of what their issue is. What the impact is. What the associated importance is compared to other things on their plate. What results need to look like. Who else needs to be involved.

So what happens is, we've overlooked the Same Side Quadrants of issue, impact, importance, results, and others impacted in those four quadrants. And so now, when that client or prospect reaches out to us, we send them all the information. They've got pricing. They've got what our approach will be. We usually don't have enough information to even know if what we proposed is what they actually need because the client self-diagnosed their own situation. Then they asked us to just respond. And being polite human beings, that's what we do. We respond, and we send them a quote. Only now, when they don't respond, we’ve got nothing to hang our hat on.

So when we reach back out to them, we reach back out, and we're just begging for business. Like hey, just calling to check in and see if you’ve made a decision yet. God bless. And we're hoping they're going to feed us business, but we really don't know why they needed it.

So when our clients and prospects get really excited initially, and we skip steps in our own qualification process, what happens is, we seem like someone just selling something at a transactional level. And if the client feels like our only interest is in selling something, then they don't really have a strong connection to us. If we don't understand what their motivation is, we don't have a way to reach back out to them.

So here's some guidance on what you can do to get a much better outcome going forward.

The first step is when someone calls in and says, Hey, we're really excited. We know your product. We just need you to send us a quote so we can execute this thing. We want to implement it right away. The first thing you have to do is disarm the notion that your sole interest is in selling them something. And the way you do that is you say, great, I'm glad you're excited about it. What specifically are you hoping to solve with the solution? Because I want to make sure that we can actually deliver in line with your expectations. Can we take just a couple of seconds so I can understand what you're trying to solve and what success is going to look like to make sure we can actually deliver?

Now by doing that, what you're doing is you're taking a step backward, and you're moving people into what we refer to as the Same Side Quadrants. It's covered in page 76 of the actual hardcopy book of Same Side Selling. And the idea is that we want to make sure that we're qualifying the opportunity properly. So we're asking them, in essence, what issue is it that piqued your attention that caused you to reach out to us in the first place? What have you done to try and solve this in the past? What happens if you don't solve this right now? And compared to other things on your plate, how important is this that you're trying to solve right now?

Then we want to find out the lower quadrants. The lower left quadrant is the quadrant where we talk about results. It says just because you pay us money and we deliver this doesn't mean you're successful. What can we measure together six months down the road, a year down the road, to know whether or not this was a good choice for you? So we're focusing on the results.

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The benefit of this is that you're now reaching out for their reasons, not just for your reasons. So that way, you don't sound like someone just trying to get a deal. Instead, you're saying, you told me this is important. You convinced me it was important, and I'm taking that at face value. If you already solved it, or if it's no longer important, totally fine. Please let me know that. This notion of disarming makes it so that we're not just focused on, oh, you want to buy this? Okay, let me get your PO. Let me get you a quote so you can issue a purchase order, and we can actually close the deal. Because in that capacity, you're just focused on the sale or the deal. Instead, we're focused on what problem are they trying to solve and what outcome are they trying to achieve? And then we're navigating through that process.

So the next time you're in a situation where your client or prospect is really excited, but then they don't get back to you. They ghost you. We have to think back to, in that initial meeting, did we take the time to qualify? Do we take them back through the Same Side Quadrants to make sure we know what's important and what isn't important, so we have a way to reach back out? And most importantly, are you genuinely looking to see if you have a good fit, Or are you just chasing the sale? Because if you're just chasing the sale, then when they don't get back to you, it could be for a good reason.

But if you take the time to actually understand what they're trying to solve, what happens if they don't solve it, why it's so important compared to other things on their plate, and what the results are and you know who else needs to be involved, now you've got information so that you can actually help them navigate and include the right people in the process and actually reach a decision that's good for everybody.

If there are topics you'd like to see on the podcast, just drop me a note to Ian@IanAltman.com. Thanks for joining us.