When is a ghost, not really a ghost?
If there’s one word that keeps coming up these days it’s ‘ghosting.’ It’s when someone reaches out to you, either through your website, through an online profile (like The Knot or WeddingWire), or even through social media, and then when you reply, they seem to disappear. From my experience working with wedding and event pros, like you, there are many reasons why this might be happening. Some of them are easier to explain than others. Some of them are self-inflicted issues (yes, every so often we need to look in the mirror to find the problem).
Here are 9 possible explanations for why you might be getting ghosted, and what to do about them:
1) You gave them what they think they need
if your initial reply has a lot of information, possibly an attachment with pricing or many links, they may think they have everything they need, for now, and there’s no need for them to reply. You want to have a conversation with them. Your price list is not going to close the sale. Your brochure is not going to close the sale. And, if you sent them a PDF, it probably isn’t a good user-experience on mobile. Yes, it opens. But most PDFs are made for full-size pages, some even double pages. Squeeze that down to a phone screen and they’re very hard to read.
2) You didn’t ask them a question
if you’ve been reading my articles, listening to my presentations or reading my books, you know that I suggest you end each message with one question, the same as you would in-person or on the phone. When you ask a question, you wait for an answer, you don’t keep talking. What’s been working really well for my clients is to start with low-commitment questions (details about their wedding or event they haven’t yet provided) before ramping up to higher-commitment actions… which leads us to:
3) You asked for a call or meeting in your first reply
unless they requested a phone call or in-person meeting, asking for one right away is one of the top reasons I see for getting ghosted. If they had wanted to talk on the phone, they would have called you. If they had wanted to meet with you, in-person, they would have asked for that. It doesn’t mean they won’t have a call or meeting, you just shouldn’t push for it without first giving them some information using the communication method they’ve first used.
4) You did ask a question, but you buried it
when you’re speaking with someone in-person, or on the phone, you wouldn’t ask a question and then keep talking (I hope). So why is it that in emails and other digital communication so many people ask a question and then, they continue writing? Your one, low-commitment question should be the last thing, in its own paragraph so they see it. The only thing after that should be your name and signature (which should also be mobile-friendly). Keep in mind that any images in your email signature may be converted to attachments when using messenging services (like those on The Knot and WeddingWire). Also, links may turn into plain text.
5) You sent them away
take a good look at your replies and look for links to other sites. Do you suggest they look at your social media, YouTube channel, reviews or any other places that aren’t on your website? I don’t think you should be sending them anywhere. Just have a conversation with them. Actually, you’re continuing the conversation they’ve already started. Which leads us to:
6) You created a dead-end
if your message ends with “Please feel free to….”, “Let me know…” or “I look forward to…”, you’re creating a dead end. Unless you’ve arranged for a next step (a call, meeting, or made the sale) there should always be a question or next step. If they want to think about the information you sent, then ask “When were you looking to make your final decision on (your service)?” or “What other questions can I answer for you now?”
7) You gave up too soon
while it makes perfect sense that if you reply quickly, with a short response and ask a question, they should get back to you, quickly, there are times when it doesn’t happen. Yes, you may have followed all of the steps I’ve outlined here, and in my books and presentations, and you still don’t get a reply.There are a few possible explanations, but it’s often that life got in the way. Maybe they just got engaged and sent out inquiries to many different services, not realizing that they need to secure some before others. Maybe they, or someone in their family took ill. Maybe their boss admonished them for planning their wedding or event from work. Many people have told me that they’re having success by being persistent. An officiant who recently attended my Mastermind Day in Charlotte wrote me to say that she had two couples who didn’t reply until her 6th message! Both apologized for their late reply saying: “I just finished my semester and trying to plan a wedding and study for finals was just too much for me!” and “I had several messages not showing as new in my inbox!”, which leads us to:
8) Your messages aren’t making it to their inbox
maybe your messages just aren’t getting through to them. Spam filters, promotion folders (like in Google) and internet gremlins can prevent your messages from making it to their intended recipients. My wife has had the same Yahoo email for years and I’ve been sending her emails from my Alan@AlanBerg.com address for years. Lately, many of my emails to her have gone to her spam folder, despite the history and despite me being in her favorites and contacts. When I email my accountant, my emails go to his spam folder. I need to use my Gmail address to make it through. You need to try at least two different methods if you haven’t heard back after your second attempt.
9) They’ve booked someone else
while you may have done everything right, they still might have reached out to you, and other wedding/event pros, and still booked someone else, yes, without even giving you the courtesy of a reply. Whether it’s lack of common courtesy, or they got a great referral from a friend, relative or co-worker and just went with them instead, it’s going to happen. I’m not here to defend it, and I certainly can’t explain it, so if you’ve done your due-diligence (and that’s not only one or two tries and giving up), there comes a time when you have to walk away, knowing you make a valiant effort.
So, there you have it. While this is by no means every possible reason why you’re being ghosted, there are many tweaks that you can try to help you get more of them to reply. Remember, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten! Try a different approach and see what happens. I look forward to hearing your stories of success.
© 2019 AlanBerg.com & Wedding Business Solutions LLC
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