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Ghosting, the thing we all dread and do our very best to avoid in life or in our businesses, but today specifically, we are going to be talking about Client Ghosting and how to make sure it never happens to you again (or at least a heck of a lot less!)
“GHOSTING is when a person cuts off all communication with their friends or the person they’re dating, with zero warning or notice before hand. You’ll mostly see them avoiding friend’s phone calls, social media, and avoiding them in public”Urban Dictionary
You won’t like this, but I’m gonna just be honest, if your clients are not responding to you, it’s more than likely your own fault. I know, I know, please don’t come at me.
I do not want to make you feel bad, I just want you to see that there may be some things you can change in order to avoid getting ghosted forever! This is actually good news because when things fall on us, that means we can change them and control them better!
I am going to teach you guys 5 very practical ways that you can avoid getting ghosted and start getting those clients responding back promptly to your messages!
Are you ready to have your life changed today? Okay I will stop being so dramatic. Let’s get into it.
Tip #1: Solidify Your Brand
- Get SUPER clear on who you serve, what problem you solve for them, and who you are.
- Be consistent across all your platforms of social media, your website, whatever else on exactly what it is you do and why it is beneficial to your specific niche market
- You also need to make sure you are so extremely clear on what your overall experience is going to look like if someone hires you. This is info they need to know before they book you.
A lot of times I see or hear entrepreneurs say things like “oh well that is a secret I don’t want to tell them everything because then there is no surprise” GIRL you don’t need surprises you need clients. People are not going to book you for the things they don’t know about.
Be up front on social media and talk about what you do. And how you do it. Do not worry about other people copying you because first of all, I can promise you that you probably are not the only one doing what you are doing anyways, and two, no one is going to be able to do exactly what you do anyways.
When you start showing up with your personality and showing your face and just giving some insight into your day to day life, people will start to fall in love with you, for you. Sometimes that’s the only true difference between our business and someone else’s.
Ghosting Mindset Shift
Stop thinking that getting a ton of inquiries from a variety of people is the end goal. The goal should be to niche down and specifically market to a smaller group of people who you can serve the best, and to mostly or only have those be the people that inquire with you. Those are the people that are going to be way more likely to book you.
You want to work with people who are obsessed with you and what your branding is all about.
How amazing would it be to have inquiries that say things like “I am all in” before you even send over your pricing? Pretty good right??? And it’s totally possible when you can create a solid brand foundation.
Tip #2: Speak To One Person.
Stop trying to speak to everyone, and start speaking to one person. The more desperate you act, the more your value goes down. Talk to your camera like you are talking to your BFF on FaceTime.
If you want to be a western wedding photographer, stop offering tips to people getting married in the city. Stop posting content about family sessions if you don’t like doing family sessions.
If you are a personal trainer and you only want to work with women in their 50’s, stop offering advice to men who are in their 20’s.
If you are a graphic designer who only likes to edit logos and you hate designing websites or something, I don’t know just trying to make examples, then do not talk about websites. Make content specifically surrounding logos.
You are not only doing yourself a disservice when you speak too broadly, but you are doing your clients a disservice as well. When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one. You look like an amateur at a lot of things and an expert at nothing.
Let’s focus on our dream people, our dream clients, and how we can elevate their lives beyond their wildest dreams, and less about who is ghosting us and if that even really matters in the long run.
You really want to make that one person, that one ideal client feel so seen and so heard. When you do this they are going to think “wow Sally over here freaking gets me. She just read my mind” vs. when you try to generalize stuff that covers more bases you can’t be as specific and no one is going to connect as deeply to it.
Also try to avoid having a scarcity mindset that if you niche down, you are limiting yourself and potentially losing business. Because it’s not true. When you get laser focused and specific your chances of booking more clients goes up and not just that but more of your DREAM clients. The ones you know you can help the best and that you are so passionate to work with.
Tip #3: Hold Nothing Back
Jumping back to the idea of there being no secrets in what you do, I want to reiterate that idea. I am a firm believer in just putting it all out there, whether that’s pricing, answer to questions, the experience, whatever it may be.
If you can answer a potential client’s questions before they even ask them, they are going to feel super safe working with you because you are proving to them that you know what they are thinking about. You can have an FAQ page on your website or on your pricing guide or both would be my suggestion. You should have a page that talks about the experience, what they should expect and literally break down every little detail.
Or if you put your prices on your website it is going to do a couple of things, one, it will weed out the people who can’t afford you because they likely won’t even inquire with you to begin with, which means you will waste less time going back and forth in emails just to have them say you are out of their budget.
Think about all those pain points your ideal client is going through, think about the things they want and how you can fix it. And answer them on social media, your website, your pricing guide, in person, on the phone, literally show that YOU are the one they need because you are a pro at what they want.
Marketing mindset is really like psychology in a sense. People tend to buy from people of brands that feel familiar, people they like, know and trust, and they buy when things feel the easiest or the quickest.
If you make the process to book with you feel super smooth, easy and like you can take care of all the hard work, they will be way less likely to start ghosting you!
Tip #4: You need to be Prompt
The next tip for making sure clients stop ghosting you, is to make sure that you are not making them feel like you are ghosting them. Dang that kinda felt like a tongue twister.
I want you to think about your response time though, when you get an inquiry, how long does it take for you to message them back?
If they are inquiring with you, there is a good chance they are also inquiring with someone else too. And more than likely if that other person responds first, they will have the upper-hand on you. Kinda going back to the concept of people book what is easiest, and if your competitor jumps on it faster than you, they will be the easier option at that point.
Honestly I think the most ideal response time is within an hour or less if possible.
Now I know some of you may be like, that’s all fine and dandy Sarah but sometimes I literally cannot make that happen. What if I am out running errands or at a family event or something?
I get it! And you have to set boundaries FOR SURE. But there are some ways that you can actually still serve your clients without having to completely stop whatever you are doing at that moment.
Automation To Avoid Ghosting
Automation is a big one. And oh how I love automating things in my business. You can do this in emails, or even set up pre written messages on Facebook or Instagram so that if someone sends you a message the app will automatically respond however you want.
Personally, I use Honeybook to automate things in my business. When someone fills out my inquiry form, Honeybook will automatically send them a response email at whatever time setting I have plugged into that workflow. It can be 5 minutes after they inquire, 30 minutes, an hour, whatever!
I have a pre-written inquiry template that gives all the info I want, including my attached pricing guide and that way I never have to worry about my clients getting responses too. If automation scares you, you can also have it set to where all you have to do is click one button and the same thing happens which I use sometimes as well.
Email templates are a game changer too. You can keep them stored in Honeybook or just on a word document or something but I highly highly recommend creating templates so that you do not have to take the time to keep typing out the exact same information over and over again.
You could also just have something automatically send to them that says “Hey friend I am so stoked to hear from you and I cannot wait to dive into all these details! Your inquiry is being reviewed and you can expect to hear from me in (realistic amount of time) – thank you!”
If you go that route, then you need to stick to whatever number you plug in there. Do not put 1 hour if you cannot guarantee 1 hour. Put 24 hours or even 48 hours if necessary.
I think it’s okay to take the time to fully respond to an inquiry as long as you let them know that you saw their message and you are excited about it. That way they are not left wondering if you even have it.
The Initial Email
Keep in mind a few things with your first email, it is the email that is going to set the tone for your clients. Because even though they may have already experienced your brand via your website or social media, this is going to be their first real one on one interaction with you.
Make sure it feels like you and sets some kind of expectation for what it will be like to chat with you from here on out. Make sure your email will not get sent in .2 seconds after someone inquires (if you use automation) because realistically there is no way you can send an email response back to them that quick and it’s going to feel fake.
Also be sure the words in the email sound like how you actually talk and it doesn’t sound like a professional robot. None of that “Dear Client, I am so pleased to hear from you and receive your inquiry”….blah blah blah…yuck!
Your email should have a smooth transition from whatever type of speech is used on your website and social media. Both can be fun and bubbly or whatever your personality is, and when they get that first email from you, they shouldn’t be shocked at how different it sounds. They should already somewhat have an expectation for how your tone is going to be in a sense.
Tip #5: Follow Up Anyone Who Is Ghosting You
My final tip for how to avoid ghosting is to follow up with your clients. But in very intentional and sometimes passive aggressive ways. This is only for the truly brave!!
After I respond to a client’s inquiry I typically give them about 3 days or so to message me back, if I hear nothing and I think they might be ghosting me, I will follow up with them and see if they have any questions about the pricing guide or the experience or anything else.
If I still do not hear back from them after another few days I may send a slightly more passive aggressive email that asks them again if they have any questions or thoughts, and sometimes I attach a funny meme that shows I am waiting on them. For real, this one I just started doing not too long ago and I kinda love my inner sassy side.
At that point, if another few days go by and I still haven’t heard anything, I will send the Magic email. The email that is a lot more uniform and less bubbly than my others. And essentially is says “Dear (Name), since I have not heard back from you I am going to assume you have decided to move in another direction and are no longer interested in my services. I will be removing your inquiry, happy planning (or whatever fits for your industry), Signed, (your name).
Once that magic email is sent, usually someone responds with “oh yeah I am so sorry” and they explain their absence and they want to book right then and there, or they tell me they did book someone else, or they still might not respond at all and just be eternally ghosting me forever at that point. Delete them and move on.
A lot of business owners underestimate the power of following up. On Honeybook I can see when someone opens an email so sometimes if I see they are not opening my emails I will message them another way either on Instagram or a phone call or text message to make sure my emails are not going to spam.
It’s important to present yourself as a professional and in a sense demand them to make a decision. Okay demand is a weird word to use, obviously it’s not an aggressive thing, but putting the pressure on them of like “hey I see you, make a decision” no matter what it is, can usually work out in your favor.
I never believe in tricking someone to book with you or anything like that, but when you add just a little bit of pressure, it helps an indecisive person (like myself) make their choice sooner than later vs. just dragging it out.
Be graceful for people obviously, you never know what is going on in their lives, so don’t get pissy or too sassy when they do not respond. Have empathy for them, but again show your worth and what you can do for them and hopefully it will prove to them that booking you will remove their stress and they can move onto the next task at hand.
I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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