You landed a new client, discussed their grand plans, and began working diligently. You present your creation, they request a modification, and after some tweaking, they're ecstatic and prepared to expand the project. As you gear up for launch, you reach out with a query... silence.
Alternatively, the situation might not have progressed that far. When a potential client suddenly halts communication without explaining why, it's disconcerting. If a current client does the same, it can feel utterly disheartening. You may have signed contracts, but if they're ghosting after the ink has dried, something is amiss.
Dictionary.com defines ghosting as "the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication." Regrettably, some clients adopt this "easy-way-out" approach as well. Ghosting is no longer limited to romantic encounters; it now refers to when a prospect or client begins to withdraw and inexplicably vanishes despite your best efforts, leaving you ghosted by clients.
You can't control others' actions, but you can take preemptive steps to prevent ghosting before it occurs.
Why prospects ghost
Understanding why people vanish on you is helpful. Generally, there are two main reasons prospects disappear:
The timing isn't right for your prospect, either strategically or due to external circumstances. They might even realize this on the brink of signing a contract, in which case it might be best to pause the work and offer a grace period for them to return later.
Prospects might be gravitating towards one of your competitors, which should ring alarm bells in your agency if you determine this is the case. Losing prospects or clients due to poor timing or unsuitable solutions is one thing, but if a competitor swoops in and steals them away, you may need to reevaluate your unique selling proposition.
Identifying why your prospect ghosted is crucial to winning them as clients. More proactively, you can also take these steps to avoid being ghosted by clients in the first place.
Why clients ghost
When dealing with existing clients, the situation is different, as they ghost for slightly different reasons than prospects. You might wonder, "why would someone who signed a contract vanish?" but it happens. The two main reasons are:
You made an error at some point. In this case, depending on the mistake's severity, it's best to apologize and offer a one-time service or discount as redemption. Use win-back strategies to encourage clients to return.
More importantly, your client might not see how your solution meets their needs. In this case, you may need to better demonstrate value by sharing case studies or offering a small freebie to reinvigorate them once you reestablish contact. Focus the conversation on the problems they need solved, not the services you provide.
How to avoid getting ghosted again
The key to preventing being ghosted by clients (aside from being friendly, approachable, and fully committed to serving your clients) is overcommunication.
Be proactive in reaching out and always create a welcoming environment for prospects to return to. Avoid being snarky or accusatory in your communication, even if you believe you're in the right. Be clear in your messaging that changes are necessary for the work to continue.
Another tip: assess early on if the prospect is comfortable saying "no." Signs include agreeing to calls or meetings they don't attend, avoiding conflict, and continually affirming vague statements. People often prefer not to explain why they don't want a service (and feedback should be requested, not expected), so this subtle question provides insight into their general behavior while also demonstrating your genuine interest in solving their problems.
Lastly, establish social proof in your agency through referrals. Rather than relying on cold emailing prospects
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