Was It Something I Said? What To Do When A Potential Client Ghosts You
You might associate the term ‘ghosting’ with the dating scene.
But what if – rather than some hot date – it’s a (potential) client that ghosts you? Or worse still, an existing client?
In this week’s article we explore what ghosting is, how and why it happens and what you can do about it as a business owner.
Was it something I said?
If you run your own business, you probably know this feeling.
You’ve had a really positive consultation/discovery call with a potential client.
They were enthusiastic. You were enthusiastic. They clearly want and need your services.
You’ve spent time and energy, and now you’re emotionally invested in this potential, soon-to-be-existing, client.
All that’s left is for them to sign on the dotted line as it were.
Cue the… silence?!
At the beginning of your business journey you’re likely hanging by the phone/computer as often as possible just waiting for people to get in touch or reply.
Minutes feel like hours… hours feel like days.
Why is this taking so long? They were enthusiastic *checks watch* 34 minutes ago!
As the minutes and hours roll into days you start to think that’s it.
Yep, they’re not going to reply/get back in touch.
What went wrong?
At this point it’s easy to find yourself in a spiral of questions and emotions. You might feel embarrassed or ashamed, angry or resentful, confused or frustrated.
What did I do wrong? Was it something I said?
Do I charge too much? Did they go with someone else instead?
Why don’t they at least let me know they’re not actually interested?
Am I not good enough? Have I been found out as not worthy of clients?
Why have you been ghosted by your potential client?
There’s lots of reasons why you might not have heard back from that potential client.
Here are just a few:
They haven’t seen your message
It’s quite possible that if you’ve sent someone an email that they haven’t seen it yet.
Have you ever had an important email end up in your spam or trash folder?
They’ve been busy
Sometimes life genuinely does get in the way and something as seemingly simple as replying to an email just gets lost in the mix.
They’re still thinking
It’s easy for us as business people to recognise when someone needs our services. It may seem like a no-brainer, jump at the chance kind of situation that shouldn’t require any more consideration. But the potential client might be in a different place. They might be on the fence or need a little extra impetus to take the plunge.
They’ve changed their mind
They might have changed their mind. Not in an ‘I don’t like you’ kind of way, just a ‘on second thoughts it’s not right for me right now’ kind.
It’s possible that they might be feeling awkward or embarrassed about this change of heart or wasting your time. They were caught up in the moment before and now they’ve had more time to think about it they aren’t as enthusiastic or something else has changed. Easier to ignore your message than to reply saying thanks but no thanks after all that!
They can’t afford it
Now they’ve seen how much it’s going to cost they realise it’s out of their price range. This can be embarrassing for a potential client, too!
It was something you said
OK… so sometimes it might be something you did or didn’t say or do.
What to do when a potential client ghosts you
Send a follow up message
It’s perfectly acceptable to send a follow up message to ask if someone got your email, voicemail or proposal. If you think there’s a chance it might be lost to the spam gremlins you can send your follow up by text or even make a quick telephone call. In your follow up message be sure to ask for an answer one way or the other.
Reflect a bit and move on
If you send a follow up message and you still don’t hear anything back it’s time to move on. It’s always worthwhile reflecting upon any conversations you had. Did they fit your ideal process or did you miss something? Improve your process if you can. But DO move on.
4 ways to prevent being ghosted by a potential client
- Know your ideal client so that you can engage with them in the most effective way possible.
- Always listen and give the potential client time to speak during your consultation/discovery call. It will make them feel more comfortable, confident and valued. (People usually love to talk about themselves!) You’ll also have plenty of opportunity to hear and address any questions or objections. Guide the conversation so you get all of the information you need (and you don’t end up on the phone for hours) but don’t control it.
- Ask them when they will get back to you once they’ve had time to think / ask the dog / check their diary / review the proposal. If you get them to think about when they will have the time to respond they are more likely to do so because they’ve made a commitment. It also means that when you come to sending any follow up emails you can refer back to the commitment they made to you.
- Know their budget from the beginning no matter how awkward you might be talking about money. If you don’t have your prices listed, be sure to gather info about their budget at the enquiry stage. There’s no point wasting your time and theirs by ignoring the subject!
The key to managing being ghosted
If someone has ghosted you or isn’t interested in what you offer they are not your ideal client.
Repeat after me… “they are not my ideal client”
Your ideal client is someone who needs, wants and can afford what you offer.
Your ideal client is someone who values you and respects your time and effort.
So there you have it: Was it something I said? What to do when a potential client ghosts you.
Have you ever been ghosted? How did it make you feel?
Perhaps you’ve done the ghosting before. Let us know why in the comments below.
Do you want your ideal clients to come to you? Could you do with some help focusing your marketing and other communications to your ideal client?
We’ve Got This.
Samantha is a Virtual Assistant and owner of Koala VA. Koala VA provides tailored and affordable virtual assistance and business support packages to private practice counsellors and therapists in the UK. Services include: Social Media Support, Website Maintenance, Diary Management and General Admin.