Last week, I asked everyone in the Facebook group which topic they wanted me to discuss on the next on Tea with Jainé on my IG TV channel. I offered a few different topics but Ghosting clients was the clear winner. It's so interesting how people will just disappear after they've spent the time inquiring about your services but never follow up. Never heard of Ghosting? Well, let me explain!
The term "Ghosting" started in the dating world. Let's say you would start seeing someone, go out on a few dates, think everything was going fine and then out of nowhere they would disappear. Never to be heard from again. This Ghosting! It also translates nicely into the business world. Your a business owner, you receive a promising inquiry from a potential client and reply letting them know more about your services. You wait and wait for their response but they've disappeared into thin air and vanished just a like a ghost. Ghosting can be very frustrating and potentially upsetting, if you let it get the better of you, so I wanted to share my top 3 tips on how to help minimize ghosting with new client inquires.
No. 1 - Be Transparent! When a couple begins to search for their wedding photographer, where is one of the first places they'll look after they've found you? Yep, your website. They'll browse your photos, read your "about" page, and if they've decided that they like you enough to inquire, they are going to want to know how much your services start at. F A C T. What do you do once you've found a top, or bag you like in a store? You look inside and find the TAG to see if you can afford it or maybe, sort of afford it, right? If you do not clearly list your starting price on your website, you are going to have a very high ghost rate because nobody likes surprises, especially when it comes to to money. The number one reason someone doesn't reply to your email, is probably because they got a bit of "sticker shock" after you've shared your pricing information with them. I would also stay away from the thought process of "I'll tell them my rates AFTER we've met", or "during our meeting", or "after our phone call". Honestly, you are wasting everyone's time by "hiding" this information. Be transparent on your website and in your communications with your potential couples! I strongly believe that if you list your starting price on your website, on a few different pages (mine are located on my Contact & FAQ pages) your ghosting rate will decrease immediately. Couples want to know if they can afford you, so help them out!
No. 2 - Be Honest (with yourself) I know, it's tough to admit but you probably are not the only wedding photographer the couple has inquired with for their special day. They've looked online, asked their friends, family and co-workers for recommendations and luckily, you made the list. However, if they simply don't reply to you, please don't take it personally. It's taken me a long time NOT to get upset when a couple I really like and the venue I've dreamt about, didn't work out but hey, that's ok!! You can't be everyone's cup of tea! You have to focus on the wins and the positives in every single situation. Focus on the couple you DID book you, who is obsessed with your work, and cannot wait to have you be part of their day. Think of ways to make their experience with you even better so once the wedding is over, they'll be telling everyone about you! Look, rejection is apart of being a business owner and having a thick skin is necessary. Knowing in the back of your mind that couples are probably inquiring with a few different photographers will help keep your expectations in check AND more "ok" if they never reply.
No. 3 - Follow Up. Follow Up. Follow Up! Let's take a minute and think about everything we have to get done for today. Boy, it's a lot and I'm sure we have so much more on our never ending "to-do" lists. We are ALLLLLL sorts of busy these days and people have good intentions but then they don't follow up just for the sheer fact that life got in the way. A potential client will inquiry and then never respond. They actually might not be ghosting you, they might just really really busy. How do you know the difference? Follow Up! Not once, but twice!! I have found that following up twice works the best for me and isn't too much of an annoyance if they have really moved on. First, I'll reply to their initial inquiry and include my starting collections - again I'm reminding them what my services start at so there is no "shock" if they didn't see it on my website. Next, if I don't hear back within the first 48 hours, I'll send a quick follow up and make sure my email made it through their SPAM filters. You'd be surprised how often this still happens!! Last, if I haven't heard from them in another 48 hours after my second email, I'll send my own version of the "Magic Email". If you don't know what the "Magic Email" is, just do a quick google search to find out more. I simply send a final email letting them know that since I haven't heard from them, I'm going to assume they've hired another photographer and I'm going to be closing their inquiry and reopening the date on my calendar for future couples. I want them to know that I'm interested in talking with them but I also have other inquires and need to keep the date open if they aren't serious. My time is just as important and valuable as theirs and I don't want to waste either of them.
So, there you have it. Theses are my top 3 tips to avoid ghosted by potential new couples. For myself, my ghosting rate has decreased each year and I'm happy to say that just about everyone replies. So, will people really stop ghosting you? Probably not but I think implementing these tips and shifting your mentality a bit, will help you experience less ghosting and not take it personally.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about ghosting? How does it effect you? What have you done to minimize getting ghosted by potential clients? Let me know in the comments below!