As a creative entrepreneur, I am sure you have experienced client ghosting in your career. While it may look like the simplest way a client uses to say no to your services, it hurts and can take a toll on you. It makes you question your ability and may even affect your productivity.
Entrepreneurs are advised to reprogram and find better opportunities quickly after being ghosted. However, the effect of client ghosting doesn’t easily go away, and most often entrepreneurs are left with a desire to prevent it from recurring.
Why would a client ghost you?
The client is swamped with work or other matters
Many things happen in our everyday life: job loss, sickness, travel, a crisis in the company, or an emergency. These may lead to a client not giving you any response after an engagement.
Though these are uncontrollable situations, they make us anxious. The best way is to follow up with the client or a colleague in that company to explain why the client suddenly went quiet.
What you offered doesn’t fit their needs
Turning down someone may stir up a series of conversations, especially after he/she gave a powerful and captivating pitch. Hence, some clients would avoid telling you boldly you are not a good fit or your services will not meet their business needs.
They are trying to avoid the tough questions and conversations that may materialize if they respond.
They have opted for your competitor
Imagine telling someone you are working with their competitor even after all the engagements. It’s a difficult conversation to have, isn’t it?
They are not yet ready to commit
Getting a client to be interested in your product or service is one thing. Making them commit is another.
Several factors may work against you. Issues such as takeovers, mergers, or inadequate funds may make a client stop committing even if they showed great interest in your product. Hence, opt for avoidance rather than disappointing you with bad news.
How to avoid getting ghosted by your clients?
Maybe clients are to blame for ghosting, but that doesn’t mean we don’t play our part in preventing it. You need to stop client ghosting if you want to see your business grow.
Improve your onboarding process
If your onboarding process has too much friction and conversion bottlenecks, clients may have difficulty moving to the next cycle of engagement. Some things that may create friction include
- Taking a long time to respond to customers
- Using outdated tech
- Clients lacking clear expectations
- Using default standard to onboard customers instead of being customer-centric
- A shortfall in your knowledge base
- Failing to educate the client
- Not using rich media to appeal to clients
- Not upselling or cross-selling
Ensure you understand client communication modes, what they like or don’t like, their expectations, what success means for them, and what they need to be successful. This way, your process will be with minimal friction because it makes it easier for a client to opt-in or out.
Have agreements in place
Agreements are very important as they help channel a direction when disputes arise. As a creative entrepreneur, your time is precious. If, after briefing clients of your services and ways you can help improve their business operations, they ghost you, start using agreements.
In your agreement, spell out what actions you will take if the client cannot commit or pay for your time. Agreements provide clarity in a business relationship and force both parties to achieve the set objectives.
Invest in the right team and tools
Have you ever looked at who you have on your team? What are their day-to-day activities like? Are they qualified? How about the tools you use for marketing and outreach?
As an entrepreneur, you need to invest in the right tools and people. That may include hiring account-based managers or outreach specialists to improve your response rates if you feel the person you have is not up to the task. Having the right tools and people will help improve your outreach and onboarding process.
Give them social proof
Sometimes clients may ghost you because they feel you aren’t able to meet their expectations. So how do you convince them? Show them other or similar businesses benefiting from your services.
You can easily add such details on your about me page or landing page and remove all the doubts that clients may have. Show them what you have that the competitor lacks to get their approval and avoid ghosting.
Track and monitor
As an entrepreneur, always track your lead, conversions, and other factors that may help improve your businesses. It is also important to track at what point your clients go silent after engaging with you.
Here, use a spreadsheet or gather data from your CRM tool, and look for things like
- How often your clients respond
- Where your inquiries come from
- At what point in the conversation do the clients go silent
- Their reason for not communicating
- The value you are losing
Use the data to come up with measures that will stop clients from ghosting you.
When we talk about being consistent, it is really about having the same tone of voice or uniformity in your marketing activities, email communications, and dressing. If your marketing communications are formal, yet when you get to email and Zoom calls, you use informal language or dorn informal attire; the client may get confused and assume they are talking to a different person.
Thus, ensure the way you speak to clients on phone/face-to-face, your website, and social media match. Set a tone or scene for the type of relationship to hold with clients to not question your identity.
Mention your pricing upfront
Pricing is tricky and plays a big role in determining whether a client will commit. If you don’t hear from clients, the moment you mention your pricing, know it is the reason for ghosting.
Hence, display your pricing structure on your website or onboarding manual so that you only deal with people able to buy from you. Mentioning pricing in advance is useful when you don’t want to cut your prices or hear that you are expensive.
Develop a solid follow-up system
Follow-ups are necessary and important when communicating with clients. However, don’t sound desperate in your emails or give heavy discounts because you fear losing sales. It would be great if you developed a solid system of following up with leads.
In this system, spell out what happens next when someone inquires about your business. Do you set up a phone call? Do you send your pricing? Are you going to clarify how they can work with you? Whatever you create, it will help reduce ghosting or uncover reasons for not responding.
Work with deadlines
Deadlines bring accountability, help set expectations, and tell you when to move on when a client hasn’t responded. When using deadlines, point out your next course of action if clients miss it.
It can be a simple statement of the measures you will take if you don’t hear from them after a particular date or period. Deadlines can help you know whether a lead has committed or is lost.
Over to you
Ghosting hurts. Ghosting leads to loss of business. That is why you must stop it. The above steps should help any creative entrepreneur stop crossing leads and convert better.
Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.