You thought you did everything right. You got a lead, you followed through, you thought you made a connection, you and you followed up after an appropriate period of time.
Now, however, they’re not answering your calls, they’re not reading your texts, and emails? Well, you assume they’ve been rerouted to the dreaded ‘spam’ folder.
It’s one thing when it happens with your match on Tinder. You try not to be too bothered when a potential romantic match leaves you in the dust. In fact, the prevailing wisdom is to assume it was that person and not you, don’t spend too much time or effort on figuring out what happened to them, and get over the incident altogether. But when it happens in business – and when it’s happened more than once – then you have to confront reality and figure out what’s going on behind the ghosting.
As awful as it may sound, Chad Jampedro, president of GSF Mortgage Corporation, says that it’s almost always about the originator. And one reason, he says, is that you may be coming on too strong.
“We prepare our sales folks with scripting and they’re working through complicated information, and then they want to deliver it to the borrower all at once. They want to show that expertise,” he said. “We can be overzealous in that approach to say, ‘Let me know you how awesome I am, I’m going to tell you everything about the mortgage business,” and it can be overwhelming. And most people are nice, they don’t want to tell you that they’re confused, they just don’t speak out.”
Sure, you want to differentiate yourself from your competitors by knowing more than they do about a particular product and educating the client about everything from their options to what’s happening in the industry. But even in a teaching role, the conversation has to go both ways. You can’t know what a potential client needs if you don’t give them an opportunity to tell you, and in the early stages of a relationship with a client, it’s easier for them to walk away than it is to invest time into someone who they think isn’t going to spend the appropriate amount of time on them.
“It’s about listening and taking that advisory approach and giving them an option to give you feedback. I actually have salespeople right outside of my office and I’m listening to them on the phone and I want to hear pauses. I want to hear them give customers the opportunity to ask questions or get clarification,” Jampedro said. “Rushing through this call to get to the next call, if you get into the habit of that, you could have a great customer that you pound away on, you open up the kimono and let them see everything all at once, and it scares them away.”
But of course, people are generally much too polite to tell you that they’ve been scared. They don’t want to have to ask you to slow down, or to provide a better explanation; they generally don’t want to confront you about the interaction, and because they don’t have anything nice to say, they don’t say anything at all.
Another reason a potential or past client might ghost you is because they’ve gotten a better deal with – or have better chemistry with – another originator. And while personalities certainly don’t always match, Jampedro still says that there’s a good chance it’s on you.
“Maybe they did get a better offer, so you didn’t put your best foot forward, and you didn’t establish an empathetic path for that person where they could be honest with you, they just now want to shut you out and they’re going with the other deal and they don’t want to tell you about it. Either way, in my opinion, that’s a failure on the salesperson’s part by not being engaged and listening. They’re looking at this task to get through it, to get to the next one, and in sales you can’t do that,” he said. “Every relationship matters. Every conversation matters. And if you treat every conversation as if it’s the last one you’re going to get that’s going to earn you money, well then all of a sudden you’re in the rhythm of treating everybody fantastic.”
Not only do you close the deals, but they refer you to other people who get deals. Potential homebuyers are smart; they know you’re making money from their deals – and that’s okay. What they care about is being able to get a great product that’s suited to their situation while still forging a personal connection that makes them feel like they’ve had a great experience. Then, not only do you get the deals, they refer you people that get deals.
Slow things down, take the time, the little things mean everything in a transaction. If you make an effort not just to close the deal, but also to connect with the people involved, there’s less risk of being ghosted.