Ghosted by a Customer, What Do You Do?—EP 215

April 19, 2024 - 12:47pm -- Selcuk Gulboy
Noah Graff waiting for Ghosting Customer to Text Back

I’m dealing with a customer right now who seems interested in some CNC machines Graff-Pinkert has for sale. They told me they needed this type of machine ASAP! And these machines are RARE!

They even said they had a big job for the machines already and they are on the “verge of pulling the trigger any day now.”

But then they stopped returning my phone calls. They’re ghosting me, and my crock brain is getting the best of me.

I know these kinds of scenarios have happened to most of you listening to this, either in your professional life or your personal life.

And no matter how successful you are, you have to be very strong mentally to deal with this problem in the right way.

As machinery dealers buying and selling equipment all over the world, this happens to us at Graff-Pinkert, constantly.

Today, I’m going to tell you how I deal with customers like the one I just mentioned, people who stop returning my calls or seem to be just stringing me along. So the next time it happens to you, you won’t go crazy and hopefully you’ll make the deal in the end.

Listen on your favorite podcast app using

View the podcast on our YouTube Channel.

Follow us on Social and never miss an update!



Link to Graff-Pinkert’s Acquisitions and Sales promotion!


Interview Highlights

As I just mentioned, right now I’m working on a deal for some expensive CNC machines. It’s a significant deal. Not the biggest one Graff-Pinkert has ever had, but it’s up there.

It seemed like they really wanted the machines. We worked with this customer for different deal a little while back, so I think they like us and trust us.

I went back and forth with the customer for a month. Closing the deal seemed to be getting nearer. But for the last few weeks, they’ve stopped being available when I call or text. They are GHOSTING me.

I’m frustrated. I’ve put a lot of time and energy and thought into this deal. I like to think that I’m a great person who someone would want to talk to. Yet they don’t even have the decency to communicate with me, to tell me yes, no, or maybe. 

Enough venting. 

It’s time to snap myself out of this crap and explain how I deal with situations like this.

Let’s break this down to a typical ghosting scenario

You had a nice back and forth communication going for a little while, and things seemed to be progressing in a good way. Then all of a sudden, your customer isn’t available when you call and doesn’t call you back. They also stop returning your texts and emails. Let’s be real here, if this has been going on more than a week, it’s not a great sign. But it still doesn’t mean the deal is dead. If a customer showed significant interest once upon a time, the game is not necessarily over.

Don’t take their silence personally.

The first thing to remember when you’re being ghosted is don’t take it personally.

Taking things personally when people don’t get back to me has historically been a weakness of mine. I’ve been ghosted by people I’ve known for years who I felt I had a great relationship with. I’ve been ghosted repeatedly by my old best friend, and it used to hurt me and piss me off, but I still appreciate him as a friend, so I stopped taking it personally.

If I can deal with my friend of 36 years seemingly falling off the face of the earth, I should be able to deal with less important people I haven’t known that long who aren’t calling me back.

Recognize your fear of the unknown.

Maybe the worst part of getting ghosted is dealing with the unknown. Humans are naturally tortured by fear of loss. It often feels worse than actually losing. Fear of loss, AKA death, protected us in the wild for billions of years.

We plead with the heavens. Why can’t they just say no if they don’t want to work with me? If they just say no, the fear of loss will be gone, the torture will be gone. I will at least know where I stand, and I can move forward with my business and my life. 

This is true. Getting told “no” can be a beautiful thing, and I’m going to talk about that in a bit.

Why you might be getting ghosted

In order to stay sane and prevent yourself from doing something stupid when you get ghosted you need to understand why the person might be ghosting you.

The number one reason in my opinion why people aren’t getting back to you about your big important deal—they just don’t care as much about it at this moment as you do.

It’s possible the opportunity you’re providing is fantastic and the other person could be interested. But it’s just not at the top of their mind right now.

Maybe they’re distracted by personal stuff like a family member who got sick or they’re sick. Or, they’re on vacation. Maybe something else is going on with their business that’s just a bigger deal than your deal—at this very moment.

It would be nice if people had the courtesy to just tell me that they’re deflected with something else. After all, a text or an email takes 30 seconds. It’s something I think I’d do, but not everybody is that courteous. So don’t worry about that. Just stay mindful that a lack of communication might have nothing to do with you.

Another significant reason people ghost you is that they don’t know what to say to you. They’re having trouble making a decision. Maybe they’ve been offered an alternative to what you’re selling and they don’t know which one to choose. 

Maybe they’re embarrassed about their indecision because that they’re not sure they have enough money to pay for your product. That happens a lot to us, dealing with both startups and big companies.

Many people are uncomfortable saying “I don’t know what I want to do,” or “I’m not ready yet to make a purchase.” 

Also, your customer might be calculating that it would be poor strategy to tell you that they’re indecisive. 

Stay mindful of those possibilities. It can take a long time before people are ready to make a deal.

My dad says that deals are like fruit. Sometimes you just have to wait for them to ripen. We’ve waited years for single deals to finally break.

You have to keep things in perspective.

Another thing that can help when you’ve been ghosted is to remind yourself to keep perspective about this deal. This BIG deal. Is it really that big in the scope of your life?

When I’m getting stressed out by a deal or other problems I encounter in life, I think about what the great negotiator, Jim Camp, wrote in his book, Start with NO. He says that all you really NEED in your life is food, air, and your loved ones. Everything else is just stuff you want.

Always have multiple deals going on simultaneously

It’s important to make sure to never let yourself be consumed by one deal—no matter how big or important it seems. One way I do that is by keeping a lot of other interesting deals going on at the same time.

If you have other good things going for you, you’ll be less consumed by the person stringing you along. Better yet, you’re going feel less needy, which will make you happier and more confident. 

You will also be less likely to call people too many times when you’ve been ghosted. When you call a customer too many times, even when they are truly interested, you come across as needy and you lose negotiating power if the deal does happen.

But if you have a lot other deals going for you, when your ghost wakes up you’ll have a chip on your shoulder when you finally talk. You’ll approach the conversation knowing that YOU have value. And your customer will believe that you have value because they called YOU.

Use “no” questions.

Besides being mindful of the reasons why a person could be ghosting you, what else can you do?

How can we wake up this ghost and wake them up in a good way that makes a deal more likely to happen?

You need to use “no” questions.

“No” questions are questions designed to get someone to respond to you with a “no” rather than a “yes.”

Why are “no” questions helpful?

Psychology studies have shown that people have a much easier time saying “no” than “yes.” It’s as if people are abused animals whose guard automatically goes up if they sense you want them to say “yes.” The reason for this is because it implies you’re trying to get something from them.“No” questions are super useful in a negotiation because they make you seem much less threatening.

In the case of contacting a customer, using “no” questions make it more likely they will pick up the phone and that you will come across as less needy. 

How do you do it?

Whenever you contact anyone in a professional context, after you introduce yourself, always ask, “Is it a BAD time to talk?”

Contrast that question with, “Is it a good time to talk?” When you ask if it’s a “good time” you’re asking FOR something. You’re asking for their time. You’re asking for the most scarce resource any of us have. That’s going to increase the possibility the person who answers phone is annoyed by your call. You also seem needy and low status as you’re begging someone to grant you their time. 

Back to the person who’s ghosting you. 

If you send someone a text message asking if it’s a BAD time to talk, first of all, they will appreciate you being mindful that they have things to do. Then, many people will think to themselves, “Hmm, well, I guess it’s not a horrible time to talk,” and they will respond. Or, they will say, “Actually it is a bad time. I’m at a meeting, I’m at funeral, I’m in Ireland.” But at least they will say something to you rather than staying silent.

There’s another power “no” questions have when you’re trying to wake up a ghost. They can create a fear of loss for the person you’re trying to talk to. When you text or email someone, “Are you no longer interested in my product or service?” if they ARE actually interested, it might make them nervous that you could give up on them if they don’t reply back. 

Or, maybe your “no” questions will just make the ghost feel more comfortable telling you they’re not interested, which is disappointing but at least you can get on with your life. There will be other deals. And hopefully, most of them will be with people who don’t ghost you.

If your “no” question attempts are failing you I’ve got something extra in my the arsenal. 

It’s what I call the “nuclear bomb.” It’s the last resort after you’re tortured for at least a month by a customer. It’s for a deal that seemed so promising, before the customer’s silence frustrated you and vexed you to the point where you’re ready to lay it all on the line to find out whether or not the deal is truly dead.

You send the ghost a one sentence email. In it, you have a subject line that says, “Have you given up on this project?” Put that same line in the message. No “Hello.” No “best regards.” Just that one line. I’ve done it more times than I wish. Nine times out of ten they write back. In my memory, it usually resulted in them saying that they were still trying to make a decision, but they just didn’t know what they were going to do. 

Whatever they answer, it’s almost always a relief because at least they communicated with you.

Hopefully by that point you’re no longer obsessed with the deal anyway because you have others going at the same time.

Remember these lessons.

If a customer ghosts you don’t take it personally.

Keep every deal in perspective in the scheme of what truly matters in your life.

Be mindful of the reasons why your customer might be silent, because they still might be interested, and it’s counter productive to let deals stress you out.

Have lots of opportunities going on at the same time, to keep you sane, make you less needy, and because that’s the way to run a successful business anyway.

Finally, use “no” questions—both to prevent a customer from ghosting you, or to wake them up in way that doesn’t make you come across as needy.

Don’t give up too early, and don’t blame yourself for a result that might be out of your control.


This article was originally posted on

Graff-Pinkert | 4235 W. 166th Street, Oak Forest, Illinois, USA 60452
Tel. 1-708-535-2200 | Fax 1-708-535-0103
Copyright © 2023 by Graff-Pinkert & Co., Inc., and its licensors. All rights reserved.
Best Chicago Web Design by MediaNut