Podcast – 4 reasons why you’re getting ghosted on inquiries
This is one of the most requested topics for my speaking, consulting and sales training these days. I wanted to address it on this podcast episode with 4 common reasons why you’re getting ghosted on your replies to inquiries.
Below is a full transcript. If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at Alan@AlanBerg.com or visit my website www.AlanBerg.com
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Hi, it’s Alan Berg and welcome to the Wedding Business Solutions podcast. Today, I have a topic, probably my most popular topic these days, which is getting ghosted on inquiries. So to keep it short, I’d want to give you four common reasons why you get ghosted on your replies. Let me just define this first for people that don’t know what I’m talking about. You get an inquiry and you respond and nothing. You don’t hear back. You don’t hear anything or you get an inquiry, you respond, they come back to you. You respond again. And at a certain point, that just goes cold. That’s it. You don’t know what’s going on. There’s three possible outcomes. For every time you get an inquiry, you could get a yes, you can get a no, or you could hear nothing. And the worst answer is not the no, because no is a definitive answer.
And no, for some people means, no, you’re not going to do my wedding, but you might be able to suggest other things you can do. Maybe a rehearsal dinner, maybe a shower, maybe some other things that you might offer for them, either for their wedding or for their lives. So that’s not the worst answer. The worst answer is not getting an answer because it could be a yes. If someone reached out to you and I’ve spoken about this so much before, by the time you get the inquiry, they’ve gone through an extensive search process. Some of them it’s three steps. Some of them it’s 12 steps and they get to you and you got the inquiry and you respond and they don’t respond back to you. They were interested when they reached out, why are they not responding to you now? So I’m going to give you four reasons here.
The first one is for many people, you’re sending them back so much information that you’ve given them what they think they need. Now, I spoke about this on another podcast episode about why do they ask how much first? They don’t know what else to ask. It’s the, the one thing they understand, which is money. So they reach out and ask that. So let’s say you get an inquiry. And a lot of these common inquiries is say, you know, could you send me pricing or pricing and packages or something. And when we do a lot of secret shopping in our consulting, and what we see is people will copy and paste their reply and they’ll attach a PDF brochure and that’s what they do. And then they don’t follow up again. And that’s a whole other story. I’ll talk about following up on another episode.
But if you give them what they think they need, you gave them a brochure with pricing information. They’re going to use that as a license to shop you against other people, and you never had a chance to have a conversation. So if you give them right away what they think they need, not what they need, what they think they need. They’re going to hang on to that, then not reply to you. So, it’s a very common thing we see is they copy-pasted the reply, usually too long, and then the attached brochure. So those of you that have read my book here, if you’re on the video, you can see it behind me. It’s called “Why don’t they call me? 8 tips for converting wedding and event inquiries into sales”. I talk about this all the time in there don’t attach anything. Don’t attach anything in the beginning.
Even if they’ve asked for pricing and packages, pretend like it’s a phone call. If you’re sending an email or messaging through weddingwire, The Knot, social media messaging, WhatsApp or texting, pretend it was a phone call and you could not attach anything. What would you do? You’d have a conversation. That’s all I want you to do is have a conversation that they’ve already started by the way, cause this is not cold calling. And if you’ve ever done cold calling, which I have, I’ve driven around my car and knocking on doors, probably like your doors, trying to sell wedding advertising. That’s a whole different thing than when somebody identifies themselves as a buyer by sending you an inquiry. So if they think they have what they need, they may not reply because they’re going to just compare that to other people without giving you a chance.
The second thing is, if you’ve asked immediately for a phone call or a meeting. Now I know you want the phone call and I know you want the meeting and I know why you want the phone call in the meeting. Although I will speak in another episode, about why learning how to have remote meetings is an advantage for you and for them in terms of time and efficiency for you. And if you’ve learned how to do that, well, that’s a skill you can carry forward. But one of the reasons you get ghosted is because you’re asking to change either the technology or for a higher commitment on their part too soon. So, imagine if you’re on the dating scene. You walk into a bar and you see someone as attractive sitting at the bar and there’s a seat open next to that person. You walk up and you say, you want to get married? That would be a little forward, right? I think we’re jumping a few steps ahead over there.
Well, when someone emails you or fills out your contact form or messages you through weddingwire or The Knot or social media or whatever it is, and you immediately say, let’s have a phone call. That’s jumping steps ahead because, had they wanted to talk on the phone, they would have called you. Had they wanted to have a meeting, they would have sent a message that said: Hi, could we set up a time to come in and meet with you? Could we set up a time to tour your venue? Could we set up a meeting with you? If they don’t do that, that’s not what they want, yet. And I say yet, because you can ask for that.
Just not yet. It’s too much too soon. So here’s where the opportunity is. If you currently, lets pick numbers, you get 10 inquiries and you send back immediately a short message and it asks for a phone call and three of those people, or four of those people right away, they’re like, sure. And they set up a meeting phone call with you. What about the other five or six or seven? They inquired also, if they’re ghosting you, your opportunity is in those people that you don’t hear back from them because they already put you on a short list. And now they’re not replying to you because you’re jumping a few steps ahead. So I’m not saying you can’t ask for the call or the meeting. You can, just don’t do it on the first reply. Sometimes it’s the second. Sometimes it’s the third. And sometimes it’s not at all. Because so many people that I’ve trained, so many people that I have worked with, read my books, seen me present or come to workshops, are writing sales through email, through text, through Facebook messenger, through the not messenger weddingwire messenger and other things without ever having that physical conversation with someone because they’re having a digital conversation with them. And if that person’s comfortable with it and you are, you can do that as well.
The third possible reason why you’re getting ghosted is because you’re creating the dead ends. You are stopping the conversation inadvertently. And the way to tell, very simply, is to look at the very end of the message that you sent besides your name. Did you end with a period, an exclamation point or a question mark? If you ended with a period, you’ve ended the conversation. If you end with an exclamation point, you have emphatically ended the conversation.
If you end with a question mark, you are continuing in the conversation, because by the nature of a question they’re supposed to reply back to you. So think about it. If you and I were speaking somewhere in person or on the phone, and I said something, and I ended that with a period or an exclamation point, I’m not expecting you to reply. If I end with a question, I am expecting you to reply. And you know that I’m expecting you to reply because I asked you a question. So the key is to start with a low commitment question and then work your way up to higher commitment. And again, this is just like walking up to the bar, instead of saying, do you want to get married? You say, excuse me, is this seat taken? That’s a low commitment question. Somebody could say, my friend is coming, or they could say, no, it’s not, and then you can sit down. And then you could ask another low commitment question.
The way this would work with an inquiry is you want to ask them a question that they can answer quickly. They don’t have to consult with anybody. They don’t have to think hard about it. They don’t think you’re asking too personal or prying of a question, and they know that you need the information to give them what they want. So for instance, if you have details, like sometimes they’re making an inquiry and you’ll have the venue name, and you’ll have a date and things, you can confirm that: “Thanks so much for reaching out. We would love to help you have a beautiful wedding [whatever your services are]”– talk about the results. Or, I see that you put down such and such a venue. Or, “Have you already reserved that?” Or “Are you still working with them?” That’s a low commitment question. Or “That’s a great choice of a venue. Are you looking to have both your ceremony and reception, both there?” Let’s say you’re a photographer, “Are you going to be getting ready at the same venue where you’re having your ceremony and reception?” That’s a question you need to know. “How many guests are you expecting?” Or if they gave you a guest count, “Is that the invitation list or is that how many you’re expecting to attend?”
Those are all low commitment questions, but you have to ask a question and really important, it has to be at the end. Because, if you ask a question and you keep writing, that’s like me asking you a question and then keeping talking. You’re not getting a chance to answer. So the last thing you write is the question mark. Make that paragraph with the question its own paragraph. So, that sentence is going to be its own paragraph, and then you sign your name. I would prefer you didn’t even put anything above that. But if you wanted to put ‘sincerely’ or ‘best regards’ or something, that’s fine. But keep it short. If you put the question and then you write, “I look forward to hearing back from you,” you’ve now buried the question and they’re not going to see it. Because we scan, we don’t really read. And then that brings me to the fourth point, which is, did you even ask them a question? So the dead-ends are the periods and the exclamation points. The question is the next thing. But that question again, if you’re asking for the phone call, if you’re asking for the meeting, those are high-commitment.
If you bury the question in the middle of a paragraph, they’re not going to see it. If you ask three, four or five questions, they’re not going to answer them all. Think about it like a phone call. If you’re getting a digital inquiry, think about it like a phone call. If you ask them a question: “Are you going to be having both your ceremony and reception at the same location?”, you’re going to wait for answer. And I know it’s frustrating because you don’t always get an answer right away. But you’re more likely to get an answer with a question than you are, if you are just making a statement. If you gave them what they think they need, they’re not going to reply. If you asked for a call or a meeting right away, that’s high-commitment. A lot of people are just going to ghost you on that one. If you created a dead-end, with a period, or an exclamation point, that’s another reason why they’re not responding.
And if you didn’t ask them a question, or you asked them a high commitment question, another reason for getting ghosted. So those are four common reasons why you’re getting ghosted. You can tweak those pretty easily and keep that conversation going, because I don’t want you to just be the first one to reply. I want you to be the first one to get a reply back and continue that conversation. I had somebody I just spoke the other night for a group. And I just saw an email back from somebody from that group. They wanted to share with me. And they said the next day they use one of these tips and immediately got a booking. So you can have that back and forth better. If you’re getting ghosted, there’s a lot of upside because you’re getting the inquiries. We just need to continue those conversations.
Thanks for tuning into the Wedding Business Solutions podcast. If you have any questions about this or any of my episodes, or would like to make a suggestion of a topic for an episode, please reach out to me directly Alan@AlanBerg.com or visit www.AlanBerg.com Please subscribe so you don’t miss an episode, and post your review (it really does help, thanks!) I look forward to seeing you on the next episode.