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30 Oct

4 Ways To Help Your Business Deal With 'The Curse Of The Phantom Win'

4 Ways To Help Your Business Deal With 'The Curse Of The Phantom Win'

Have you ever gone through the pitching process, won but then been met with an eerie silence? This is called the phantom win.

It’s when you have carried out your victory dance, geared up for the incoming project, told your Mum about it and then six months down the line you still haven’t heard a word from the client and most definitely haven’t received a penny for your time. 

This can be an exhausting and gut-wrenching experience. Here’s how you can deal with it…

1. Don’t let a follow-up give you the frighteners. 

Remember, whoever gave you the work was impressed with your pitch and your ability. You’ve done your half of the bargain and you have every right to ask when they’ll be doing theirs. They agreed to use your services so don’t be afraid to send another email and give them another call.

2. Know when to cut your losses. 

Following up is important and should be part of your business DNA, but if you’re one un-answered email short of blocking up their inbox for the rest of eternity, it may be time to step away and focus your energies on other business leads. Set yourself some boundaries – five failed follow-ups? Time to move on. 

3. Keep your cool, keep it together and keep it professional. 

A phantom win can be both frustrating and damaging, but do everything within your power to resist an angry phone call you might later regret. The client’s reasons may be something beyond their control and it’s always best to leave the door open. You also never know when or where the same client may pop up again and you’d rather not have said something that could come back and bite your behind. Google cute puppies and repeat after me: “Keep your cool, keep it together and keep it professional.”  

4. Learn from it. 

In danger of sounding very cliché, there is a lesson to be taken from almost everything. The next time you’re asked to pitch for work, make sure you do your research on the potential client and weigh up the pros and cons of pitching. Also keep an eye out for any red flags you may have experienced before, such as long delays in communication and vague answers to direct questions. And if the phantom still returns, remember cute puppies…  

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