Ghost­busters – three ways to bring prospects back to life

It can be incred­i­bly dis­heart­en­ing when a prospect goes cold on you. But don’t fret. In their lat­est arti­cle Remark­able Part­ner­ships shows you that this needn’t be the end of the road. In fact, they use three exam­ples to illus­trate that when it comes to prospects, per­sis­tence makes perfect.

Written by
Remarkable Partnerships
February 24, 2022
It’s time to banish the ghosts of unresponsive corporate prospects!

You’ve had a fantastic first meeting with a prospect. You gave them some great ideas and they gave you all the right signs – nodding as you spoke and agreeing that the fit was really strong. Then when you go to follow up the meeting and they don’t respond.

We’ve all been there. It can be incredibly disheartening when a prospect goes cold on you. But we’re here with three recommendations to bust those ghosts and get you the partnerships you and your cause deserve.

No answer doesn’t mean no

Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) had a positive first meeting with the head of climate resilience at a global engineering firm in January 2021. In this meeting, the prospect said, ‘we can see how powerful this could be for the firm’, but they didn’t respond after the meeting.

When a company doesn’t reply, it is very easy to take this as a sign that they are not interested. That no answer means no. But it doesn’t mean that at all. It simply means that they haven’t made their decision yet.

Knowing this, the SOS team followed up with patient persistence. In August, the firm came back and booked a meeting within a week. The contact explained that their company had been going through significant structural changes, but that they’d been progressing the partnership internally. They thanked the SOS team for their patience, and communication has been far more consistent since.

This example shows us that it’s important to remember that we can’t read our prospects’ minds. If it is a no, they will tell us. So don’t count yourself out of the race. Keep following up with patient persistence.

Break patterns

It is estimated that the average adult makes up to 35,000 decisions a day. Everything from what mug to use through to what show to watch on Netflix. With all these micro-decisions to make, our brain chooses the path of least resistance.

This path of least resistance includes repeating choices we’ve made previously. So, if they’ve already chosen not to respond to your email once, they will see that and will be nudged towards not responding again.

Knowing this gives us a clear insight – you should always start a new email, rather than reply to your previous one. This takes away the nudge, so they treat each follow-up email as a fresh start. Try new subject lines and calls to action. If a few emails haven’t worked, try reaching out via WhatsApp or LinkedIn.

Activate the law of reciprocity

When Cats Protection realised that a number of their prospects weren’t responding during the second lockdown, they decided to change their approach. Rather than following up asking for another meeting, they took a generous approach. They emailed all their prospects a link to Moggy Modules – a tool developed by their community team to engage primary school children.

They sent the Moggy Modules out with a friendly note saying that they understood lots of people were struggling with their children being at home all the time, and this was something that might help. The response was really positive. The Cats Protection team had activated the law of reciprocity. This is the behavioural science law that states that when we are given something for free, it creates a deep psychological urge to give something back to that person. In this case, what the companies gave back to Cats Protection was a meeting to move their partnership opportunity forward.

What gift could you give your prospects? Maybe you have a valuable resource you could share, or an item you could post. It’s worth a try.


Giving a gift to a prospect could be the key to them coming onboard with your charity.

You want to make it as easy as possible for the prospect to come back to you.

By following up on a regular basis, you bring yourself back to their mind. By breaking patterns, you nudge their brain into seizing this opportunity to respond. By giving them a gift, you create a psychological need for them to respond. Using each of these tools will help you bring these prospects back to life – and ultimately, achieve your charity’s mission faster and with greater certainty.

If you enjoyed this blog, we recommend checking out our upcoming conference Corporate Partnerships Everywhere on Thursday Feb 24th at 12 noon – particularly Dana Segal’s session on using behavioural science to nudge your partner into saying yes. You can check out the programme and buy your ticket here.

About the author: Remarkable Partnerships

Remarkable Partnerships is a UK-based consultancy helping companies and charities create major, long-term partnerships.

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