So you receive a lead, respond quickly, provide the couple with all the information requested, and then never hear back. You follow up a few times to no avail.
Or maybe you’ve even had some back and forth, everything appears to be going well and you think the Client is ready to sign on the dotted line but then … poof.
You’ve been ghosted – how frustrating!
Understanding the Reasons:
Before diving into how to handle client ghosting, it’s important to identify the possible reasons.
You’ve inadvertently given the wrong first impression:
The first thing you need to do is make sure your initial message stands out. Many vendors think they’re doing themselves a favour by setting up an automatic reply along the lines of “Hey, we received your message. We’re really busy but we’ll reply as soon as we can!”.
We get it, it probably feels overwhelming to respond individually to each and every lead right away and a generic response may be better than a slow response, but a too-generic auto-reply can suggest to a couple that their wedding isn’t as important to you as they would probably like – especially if it’s not soon followed up with an actual response.
In order to create the right first impression, you need to personalize that initial response in order to start creating trust and building rapport (key ingredients to closing your lead).
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you need to start each email from scratch – in fact, we’ve put together a template response below that you can make your own that will help you elevate your initial response and help you close more leads!
They’re in a “Buy Later” mindset:
This is the more likely culprit. In general, there are two types of potential clients: those who are ready to Buy Now and those who are just researching and are looking to Buy Later.
While we’d love for couples to all be Buy Now, the reality is that the vast majority of leads you receive will fall into the latter camp. This reality simply comes with the territory of wedding planning since the planning occurs so far in advance relative to the event itself.
So, if you want to successfully close these leads, you need to tailor your approach with this in mind (including not taking it personally if you don’t hear back right away!). This means following up more than you probably think (more info on this below).
Stick to one or two Communication Channels, tops:
One way to minimize the chances of ghosting is to establish a clear communication channel from the onset and assume that the method by which you were contacted is the preferred channel.
For example, if a potential client reaches out to you through our Message Centre or via Instagram, we strongly suggest responding via the same channel (rather than starting a new chain in a new email thread).
That’s not to say you shouldn’t be offering to schedule a phone call or in-person meeting, but it’s best to conduct the majority of your communication via one primary channel. For example, even after you’ve spoken over the phone or met in person, or even had a convo via text, it’s a good idea to send a summary email of the points you discussed with the client so that both parties have everything easily available for future reference.
Bonus: Adopting this practice will also help you come off as super organized, reliable, and help foster trust.
Follow Up Strategically:
So let’s say you’ve responded to a lead and haven’t heard back after a few days. In this case, your goal is to send a gentle nudge to help encourage a response. Be sure to wait at least 2-3 days before your next follow-up. Some vendors have told me that they’ve had success following up by phone, but ultimately, this is a judgement call.
If you still don’t receive a response after that, wait until the following week and try something simple and low-commitment like:
“I’m really excited to discuss your dream wedding with you. Have you already found your venue?”
Or if you’re a venue:
“I’m really excited to discuss your dream wedding with you. Did you have any inspiration you wanted to share? I’m happy to discuss with you next week if you’re available?
If you still don’t hear back, don’t write this couple off just yet! Remember, most couples who initially reach out are in the Buy Later camp so they may just be kicking tires for the time being. In this case, it can be quite beneficial to consider a follow up say 45-60 days later with the assumption that the client is now significantly further through their planning process (i.e. in the Buy Now) camp and therefore more inclined toward moving the conversation forward.
It’s important to keep these emails personal and make sure you show a non-judgmental attitude toward their initial non-response (as opposed to something that could come off as passive aggressive). Here’s an example:
“Hi Erika, I know you’re busy and it must be super overwhelming having to plan your wedding on top of regular life, so I figured I’d reach out again to see if there’s anything I can help with? I’m happy to chat with you to answer any questions you may have (whether it’s about my services or even weddings in general!)”
With all the being said, whatever you do…
Don’t Spam them!
As tempting as it may be to use “set it and forget it” automation software, unless you have your CRM very well calibrated, these generic, catch-all follow-ups are annoying, reek of unprofessionalism, and often receive a one-way ticket to the client’s spam folder. A prime example of “just because the feature exists, doesn’t mean you should be using it”.
Always leave the Door Open:
Often in our industry, when it rains, it pours. Sometimes a no today is a yes tomorrow. External factors, lack of client clarity, the need to relay your info to partners, parents, in-laws, and friends can inherently slow things down. It’s important not to take ghosting personally and avoid burning bridges by sending passive aggressive follow ups or snarky responses.
A helpful Example
To help you get off on the right foot (and avoid being ghosted in the first place), here is an example response you may wish to try out:
First off, Congratulations! We’re so honoured you’ve reached out to us to help with your big day!
[We’re currently available on [date]!]
I’ve attached some more information about the services you’ve indicated you would like, including pricing info.
It’s really important for us to get to know all of the couples we work with so that we can ensure we bring your vision to life.
To that end, are you available for a meeting or phone call so you can tell us a little bit more about you, your fiancé, and your vision for your big day? It’s also a great opportunity to get to know each other a little better.
I know wedding planning can feel overwhelming, so in the meantime, if you’re just looking for some ideas or inspiration, take a look at our portfolio here: [insert link].
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Of course, you can customize the above to suit your tastes and business offerings. Also, depending on how specific the client was in their initial lead, it’s always a good idea to try to make your response as tailored as possible. Either way, you’ll notice that the sample response above indicates your availability, your pricing info, additional information, an opportunity to move the conversation further ahead as well as an empathetic “out” in the event they remain firmly in the Buy Later mindset.