Is your customer not responding? You’ve been “Ghosted!”

When your customer is not responding... You've been Ghosted!Has this ever happened to you?
Someone comes by your booth at a tradeshow and is very animated and enthusiastic about your microscope.  After the meeting, being a good sales person, you call… you email… but no matter what you do, you don’t get any response.  A colleague of mine recently put a name to this phenomenon: You’ve been “ghosted!” 

It’s not your fault.  It’s the changing nature of the customer, especially in the microscopy market. With the rise of the Internet, they have become exceedingly independent.  They no longer fit neatly into the top of your sales funnel then stay visible through the traditional sales cycle.  You pop them in the top… and they disappear… until they are ready to buy.  The big issue: if you haven’t been in front of them during that “silent time”, your product or service probably isn’t on their short list of purchases.

So, where do they go?  What are they doing?  And is there a way for you to get back in the game?
Whether you are an independent salesperson or a major manufacturer, here are ten quick “ghost-busting” tips:
1.    Get close
Wherever possible, open communication directly between the closest sales person to your customer.  Did you see a helpful article in a trade journal? Send a quick note  “Saw this and thought of you.”  If you issue a PDF with a new application, consider having it come directly from the local sales person, either by email or even in a small direct mail (an often over-looked but high impact way of staying in touch with your customers).

2.    Choose carefully
Everyone is busy! Don’t send the same information to everyone.  Segment and target your contact/prospect list.  Break them down into some general categories (ex: a key application, using a specific technology, in a specific discipline) and just send material will resonate with that group.

3.    Be relevant
This tip is derived directly from the previous one.  Make sure that what you send out is quality information … some product info but mostly helpful applications or useful tips.

4.    Stack information
Make the first touch rich in content but takes a lighter approach to engage the wandering internet surfer.  The second level/follow-up material can be heavier in detail.  For example, an easily read 2-sided app note.  Finally, have an arsenal of heavy hitters: white papers, case studies, in-depth technical articles.  Remember, the buyer is on a journey.  Think in terms of providing sustenance at multiple steps along that journey.

 5.    Be timely –Don’t be intrusive
Personally, I hate drip campaigns and automation. They are just too canned and, rather than encouraging me to respond, they turn me off. Personally, I just walk away.  On the other hand, you can make life easier for yourself and spur your own ghost busting efforts by having a library of easily-customized emails or other templates, into which you can insert relevant, current information.  Again, the idea is to stay in front of your potential client in with value-add as they move through the buying process.

6.    Leverage
Content creation can be a HUGE burden, especially if you focus on just one piece at a time.. Instead, think “chunks.”  Ask, “What else can I do with that content?”  For example, content for a big article with 3-4 applications can also be re-purposed for a short web article, a quick front/back app note, or form the foundation for a trust-building interview with an industry guru!

7.    Think “PDF”
What can you make available that your customers can download or that you can print out for use at tradeshows (eye candy)?

8.    Share internally
Amazing things happen when everyone on the team (tech folks, biz dev managers, sales & marketing) is communicating and aware of the company’s direction and calendars.

9.    Plan
A key component to successful leveraging is planning when, where, and how content will be used. Write down all your ideas on post-it notes then look at your calendar.  Where/when are key meetings; important distribution opportunities, new product launches, or key calendar items like client’s end of year budgeting.   Again, how can one piece of content be used as a focal point for an ever-expanding web of interactions with your “ghosting” customer.

10.  Track
At a basic level, every website should have Google Analytics (GA) or something similar installed so that you can at least see your ghost’s footprints… where/how they entered your site, how did they move from page to page, where did they linger, what did they download, what did they find valuable? You may not know much more than what IP address they came from, but you will know that someone is searching.

If you are sending out small, targeted emails/direct mails, try to correlate those activities with what’s resonating most on GA.

Finally, there are some new services coming on line, like AzoIntel, that allow you to “see” your ghost. Not only are their analytics like GA on steroids, they will also build a customer database for you of people who are interacting with your Azo product and content pages, your on-line brochures, white papers, etc.  (Call me for details).

Congratulations!
If you put these 10 tips into action, you have become a Ghost Buster Extraordinaire, gently and persistently stayed in front of your ghostly client through his/her journey, from first interest to actually buying.   You will be of greater value to your customers and your microscopy products will shoot to the top of the short list and likely make the sale!

We’d love to hear about your ghostbusting success. Just email me at bfoster@the-mip.  Alternatively, if we can be of help, give me a call at (972)924-5310.

Happy Hunting!
Barbara