What to do when someone ghosts you
Welcome my darling Pretties to our Beyond to the Dawn of Business podcast for pretty empowered female entrepreneurs.
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I’m your host Dawn Beth, the Owner and Founder of Beyond the Dawn digital business brand and agency. My coffee is hot and my eyelashes are on, so we are ready to go!
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So today’s mini bite is about what you can do when a client ghosts you. Sometimes you can have a great call with a client and then not hear from them again. How do you handle this situation? I look at this from your perspective as an entrepreneur and some of the practical things you can do but also from the perspective of the person doing the ghosting to consider why they might have done it.
Hi Pretties, welcome to this episode. Today we’re going to talk about what to do when you have done all the things to onboard a new client and then you get ghosted. You have promoted your service, you’ve spoken to somebody about your service, whether that be through email or social media, messenger or in person. Now that people like to get together in person again! And you have, you’ve gone through that whole stage of this is what I can offer. This is what you need. I know I can help you, we’re a good fit. And everything is right and everything is working well, and the other person says yes, this is fantastic, this is exactly what I need, put the paperwork. So you’re going to put the paperwork together you make a proposal, an invoice, possibly a contract and you send it all over to them thinking this is fabulous, you’re already looking at your diary, making sure that everything is right to terms of what you can deliver and you’re happy as larry and you get nothing. You go days and then weeks with nothing.
So this question is something I get asked all the time, quite often during a one to one situation because nobody wants to openly admit that they’ve been ghosted, and I’m here to tell you that even at this point now where we very rarely onboard new clients because we are often booked up, we still do get ghosted. We do, it happens to us all the time. And I don’t know, one successful entrepreneur that I’ve worked with, that it hasn’t happened to. It’s happened to all of us at some stage.
So the first thing I want you to know is that it’s totally normal, it’s totally natural, not necessarily anything that you did wrong. In fact, I would put money on it not being something that you do wrong if you’ve gotten to that stage in the conversation, and everything has felt right to the other person saying yes, yes, yes, and you’re just so ready for it all to go ahead. Are you excited for the project and it’s brilliant, and then radio silence, you’ve got to think about what it’s like to be at the side of that conversation.
If you’re the type of person who struggles to say no, then it may never have been the person on the other side may have been appeasing you, they may have been trying to make you feel good, they may have just wanted to get off the call, and I do not suggest pushy sales techniques, everybody who knows me, even the slightest bit knows that it should always be an invitation, it should never be a trickery. And it should never be a forced situation, but even if you’re not the type of person that uses those horrible sales techniques. Then, you’re still going to get people who, in themselves don’t have the confidence to ask questions that they want to ask. Or, in order for everything to happen the right way for them to be able to say, actually no, this isn’t working for me.
And you cannot under any circumstances, take that to heart. You have to know that, actually, it’s a situation where you have very little control in what somebody else is going to do and how they’re going to behave. So, don’t take it on board as a personal thing, don’t worry about it. Detach yourself from the outcome from the offset, and you’ll find that it is a lot easier for you to get through it. You have to recognize first that it’s going to happen. And depending on how many clients you can take on, depending on how many leads you have how many discovery calls you have and how many people you know that you’re going to see that we’re going to be the right fit that are going to be your ideal clients that you actually want to work with are going to find yourself in a position where it’s a bit of a numbers game. And in order for you to get the right clients, you’re going to have some other people drop off.
That’s not a bad thing, actually a really good indication that everything that you did up to the point of the sales call, and possibly even on the sales or discovery call was right. You can take that data as valuable data that somebody knew that you were the right person to speak to about that particular niche, that somebody felt comfortable, and you were accessible enough for them to book a discovery or sales call with you, you promoted the service well enough for people to have had that communication and understand what it is that you actually do. These are all really, really big wins. So you need to look at that and you need to be think okay well that works and that’s working that works, that’s cool. I had a great session with somebody I had a great opportunity to talk to somebody. And now we’re in this place.
So from a practical standpoint, what do you do when you’re being ghosted well from a practical standpoint, you need to give enough grace and space to allow that person to thoroughly consider their decision, and think about whether they want to go ahead with it, but you also have to have a sweet balance of grace and space for yourself, because you can’t hold that space from a business perspective all the time, you have to have a time limit, a due date, a situation whereby the client has an opportunity to consider their options. They need to get back to you by a certain time. It’s really good if you’re clear about that in the paperwork. It’s really good for you to say, I’m going to need a response by this day to be able to continue with this project. If I don’t hear from you by this date that we will consider this as null and void, you know, we’ll consider not going ahead, as planned. Or you can do a bit of follow up, you can give yourself a seven or 14 day deadline depending on your schedule, depending on your workload, depending on what it is if you do and how that fits in to your situation. You can do that, you can give yourself the opportunity to just check in and say, hey, do you have any questions, do you need me for anything, you know, how are you feeling about this – is totally acceptable to do that, especially if you’ve given a fair few days after the receipt of the paperwork. You wouldn’t believe how many people have come back to me and said oh Dawnie I didn’t see the email yes, everything’s fine, boom, boomn, boom done. Okay, so don’t be scared to reach out and say “hey we had this amazing time and I sent you the paperwork, where are we at?” Obviously in your own words with a professional stand point, depending on how you speak to clients, It’s totally acceptable to do that.
If you get to a stage where you’ve chased and people want more time, or they haven’t got an answer for you or they’re ignoring you entirely, which is the hardest thing the ghosting is the hardest thing. Then at some point you need to make the internal decision that this wasn’t meant to happen, and put it down. There is nothing that will tie up your time and your mind more and stop you from taking actual viable opportunities that are on the table, than having yourself tied up in knots over potential projects that never come to fruition because the person on the other side never lets you know where you stand. You cannot allow yourself to be unavailable to other people based on what may be with a potential client you must only ever have your non negotiables be when somebody is fully booked up. And that for you might be that they’ve signed a contract, they may have given you a deposit, they may have paid you in full depending on how you do your business, how you do things, but you have to make sure that you are protecting yourself in that way. And also giving them the opportunity to be cut loose from what might be something that isn’t right for them. If they are struggling with the decision to the point where they haven’t come back to you within a week or two, then, is this really right for them? Did they contact you on a whim, you know, are they in the right place to work with you, I know for me personally, I really, really enjoy working with women who are ready to go, you know, they’re at that place where they’re not messing about anymore. They’re not wasting any more time, they know what it is that they need and they’re going for it. They’re just gonna go for it and we’re going to work together when we get there.
So if you’re in a kind of situation with a potential client where you don’t feel that way. There’s some hesitation that you’re sensing, then there is something to be said about, you know, are they really have the right place to work with you right now. And often times when somebody ghosts you, it’s not about you, it’s very much about the person and you’ll know yourself if you’re the type of person who sometimes you don’t have the energy to go back to people or you struggle with conversations or conflict or any situation that you may deem to be difficult. From an emotional standpoint, it is easier to just ignore it and bury your head in the sand than it is to actually face it head on. It’s not the most professional thing in the world to ghost, from your perspective, I would never, ever suggest doing it. If you’re on the other side of this coin and you’ve had that discovery call with somebody and you’ve actually internally made the decision, you don’t want to work with them do send them a courtesy email, you’re not going to get nasty response back, you’re going to get some understanding and if you did get nasty response back, you got something that wasn’t nice back to you, then you would know that that person definitely wasn’t the right person to work with and that you absolutely made the right choice. But do be the person who goes back and says, hey, I really appreciated your time and I thank you for the effort that you’ve put into setting this up for me. On second thoughts I’ve actually decided that this isn’t right for me right now and rather than have you be hanging on the other end of this I just want to say thank you very much and I’m not going to be going forward at this time. I hope that it will be acceptable for us to touch base later on, or whatever.
If somebody doesn’t do that and you’re left in that situation. Don’t allow yourself to be tied up with it. The other thing that you can do is you can look at your sales/discovery call process in more depth. If you think, actually, it’s not necessarily a small percentage of people this is happening with its every single time somebody saying oh yeah that’s fine and then getting off the phone or zoom or however you do it, then that might have something to do with how you’re presenting yourself or delivering your sales or discovery call and that’s a deeper discussion that’s something where you need to review. Am I giving the client the opportunity to talk and give me the information of what they need and how they need to be supported or what it is that I’m going to do to help them, what results they’re going to gain. Am I covering all the main bases in terms of questions that will be the normal burning questions that you know, every single person will want the answer to. Are you covering all of those and making sure that if you have got somebody that’s got a slightly more nervous disposition that they don’t have to be the person that asks all the scary questions. It’s a little bit of a minefield when it comes to figuring out why something may have fallen down. And actually, you know, you often can’t. If you’re finding that that’s happening very regularly with your discovery calls and it’s obviously something you’ll want to review.
But everybody has it from time to time and you just have to set yourself a boundary where you know yourself that you’ve done everything you possibly could do from an inviting and welcoming standpoint, not a pushy forcey standpoint – you’ve given them the opportunities. And unless your clients are children which I expect they are not, then these people on the other side of this are grown adults, often grown adults in their own business space or at least in a situation where they make their own decisions and have in some part of their life be civil and professional and, conduct themselves in a certain way. It’s not your responsibility to kind of bring that out in somebody and you do need to kind of take ownership of the things that you can control and let go of the things that you can’t control.
But the main thing that I want to leave you with, with this burning question about the situation is that oftentimes we can feel a bit annoyed that we have had our time wasted. And that’s how it can feel. What you need to do with that is you need to kind of consider has your time been wasted, did you actually make a really quality relationship with that person, is it just not the right time for them. Have they truly wasted your time or have they explored an option for them that may not be right right now, but could be right for them is 6 12 months time, two years time. Because if you have that great connection with somebody, and the timing just isn’t right there’s nothing to say that they won’t come back to you when the timing is. And quite often, it’s not necessarily a wasted moment a lot of the time, it can be something that is a seed sown for later on.
Now what I will say is there are some keen markers you can look for in a person who is just here for free hors d’oeuvres. And that is when the questions on a discovery call or sales call, are specific questions about their situation that they want you to answer as though you were already supporting them in some way. Those questions are not for sales calls or discovery calls, those solutions come when somebody works with you. So if you know that that sales call and somebody was just getting you on the call to pick your brain, then that’s not cool, And you know that actually it’s very unlikely that that person is actually going to work with you. They’re trying to do everything for free. And I love that saying and I’m putting on my own social media a lot if you, if you could be like if you could make use of all the free advice that is out there without investing in yourself, you would already be a millionaire, because that’s what people do first, they go and they consume everything they can for free. Because everybody is giving free resources and value which is a beautiful practice and I strongly recommend it to everybody, but that can only take you so far, you have to stage where you’re willing to invest and if that person on the other end of the call, isn’t in that place, there’s nothing you can do about that, other than be accessible and available, should you want to work when they do get to that place where they’re happy to do that.
And if you get the vibe that actually just to pick my brain and get all the freebies and try to tap into my good nature to abuse that good nature, those resources. And tap into an area that should be a deeper offering, or a paid for offering within your services, then you just know to make a notes of those people, and do not engage, just do not allow yourself to be bogged down by those types of meetings, and the things that tie you up and stop you from making money, and building your business and enjoying your work, because you can allow yourself sometimes to be tied up in knots for supporting people that actually are never going to work with you. It’s a very different scenario to giving value to your audience and giving value to your people. Because what you’re actually doing is you’re supporting so many people by giving value based content and things like that but you’re not actually being stopped from running your business, you’re not actually being stopped from earning money. And, you know, nine times out of 10 if you were to address that with somebody, which you would never do, but if you, if we were going to look at this from a wider perspective. If you were to address this and say, actually Sally, you know, every time you contact me for a discovery call and I spend an hour on the phone with you, where you ask me questions that are slightly inappropriate for a discovery call scenario, you’re actually stopping me from having a paid call with somebody. And, you know, me making an income is how I put food on the table for my family, then that’s a different vibe, that’s a different scenario, all of a sudden that makes sense to people. That’s not something you would ever say, it’s not something that you want to get into, or from just from a theoretical thought process of this situation for you you want to really consider how much of my time is tied up in prospects and actually do not serve me at all. And if they’re not, if they don’t serve everybody involved if it’s not a win win, then you know it’s an all round lose. So it’s definitely something to consider.
Don’t sweat it. Don’t let it upset you, know that it happens to everybody, even the most successful peers that you’re following right now, people who are in their seven, eight figure business arena, they will have somebody contacting their sales team will be it probably won’t be them actually being the sales team anymore, but there’ll be somebody on their sales team that’s taking that time, that’s putting the work in and isn’t getting the desired result on the other end of that, and there is some parts of this that can be considered just a bit of a numbers game. And if you know yourself, if your conversion rate for your discovery calls is good in general, but it’s likely it’s just a one off, it’s a learning experience and it’s another opportunity for you to hone your discovery call or sales call skills. Just consider it a little bit of better training, stick in your back pocket as an asset dust it off and carry on, because, as long as you keep yourself within your own integrity and within your own boundaries, you really cannot do wrong.
And don’t be scared to dump the deal if nothing is coming back, you’re hearing nothing, you don’t have to wait six months in fact, don’t, do not wait six months. Do not put things on ice for people like that just, just get rid, clear the deck and carry on.
Okay, I hope that has been helpful. I know that happens to so many of you I get asked that all the time. We are accepting lots of questions from people for podcasts at the moment, so if you’re not already in Social Pretties our free Facebook group, please do come and join us ad let us know what your burning questions are and I will be happy to help. Until next time Pretties.