One of the worst feelings is when you have had a consultation, send a proposal, and never hear anything back. This is called being ghosted and it feels terrible!
So, why do clients ghost and how do you avoid being ghosted in the future?
Often when we are waiting to hear back from a potential client, it is at the top of our minds for us. Every email, text, or phone call could be their response and we are often on pins and needles. For the potential client, the offer is just an item on their to-do list. Just because you have not heard from them does not mean they are a no; they just might not have gotten to you yet.
Are you sure they are aware of the next step they should take? As wedding planners, we are often waiting for a response after the initial consultation. It may be clear to us that the next step is for them to accept the proposal and sign a contract, but maybe they are not aware of that process. Make sure that your initial consultations end with clear next steps. Also, include the next steps when you send your proposal so that the potential client is aware that the ball is in their court.
Related post: Preparing for a Client Consultation as a Wedding Planner
Sometimes people are just not ready to move forward. Couples are often really excited when they are first engaged and they start meeting with a lot of wedding vendors. This process can be really overwhelming and may make them realize they are not ready to commit to a hiring a wedding planner.
Once you meet with a couple there is always the possibility that you are just outside of their budget. Many people do not want to say they cannot afford something and it is easier to just ghost. Pre-qualifying your potential clients before they meet with you would reduce sticker shock and eliminate wasted time.
We have all had amazing consultations where we were 100% sure would turn into paying clients…and then – radio silence. What happened?
Even the best consultation can be deterred once the couple talks with their friends and family. Other people will have opinions and input that can sway their decision. So, in the end, they may have simply changed their minds.
Couples who have a long engagement do not feel a sense of urgency to book. If they are a year or more out from their wedding date, they might think that they have all the time in the world to make a decision. When there is no sense of urgency you may be ghosted for months before you hear back.
The most common reason you have been ghosted by a client is that they hired someone else. Engaged couples are meeting with many wedding vendors and sometimes they have moved on with another planner. Don’t take it personally. It may have been a better fit or a better price point for the couple.
Related post: When You Don’t Get Hired
When a potential client does not hire you because you are too expensive this is a good indication that they have not been pre-qualified. Create language on your website such as starting prices. In your pre-consultation forms or information documents you send, indicate the typical budget of your clients. This will eliminate sticker shock when your proposal lands in their inbox.
At the end of your initial consultation establish the next steps that are clear and easy to follow. This will eliminate the problem of miscommunication on who is in charge of the next step. I also like to set up a check-in call at the initial consultation. This gives the expectation that there will be follow-up at a set time.
Your availability is scarce and even if their wedding date is far off, you need to communicate the scarcity of your availability. Create a process for how long you will hold their date after the initial consultation so that they have a time frame to give you a yes or a no. This also gives you a reason to follow-up at the end of the time frame.
As we mentioned above sometimes you do not hear back because they are not ready to buy. If this is the case, create a follow-up system so that you can keep in touch. This might be reaching out monthly for three months after the initial consultation with a quick check-in email. You could also ask them at the consultation if you can add them to your email list. Often those who are not ready to buy right now will hire whoever is top of mind when the time comes, so make sure you are in that position.
Finally, if you have followed-up and still hear nothing back, you have to let it go. When this happens, I look at it from a glass half full mindset. If this is a person who cannot be bothered to send a quick message telling me that they have moved on, how responsive of a client would they have been? Maybe it is a blessing in disguise.
By pre-qualifying leads, creating follow-up systems, and setting clear expectations you can greatly reduce the number of potential clients who will ghost.
At the end of the day if you cannot find out the reason you have been left hanging, let it go and move on to serve a better client.
This is a guest post from Amber Peterson. Amber is the owner of Cheers Consulting Group and Cheers Wedding Planning & Design in western Washington. She has a Masters Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and consults with wedding professionals about their marketing and business challenges. Amber is also the co-founder of the Skagit Wedding Society.
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