Tips to get new clients to commit faster (and not disappear!)
Has this ever happened to you?
A potential client contacts you. You exchanged a few emails, a handful of Zoom calls, and even put together a detailed proposal of solutions.
Everything seems to be going in the right direction. You’re even getting ready to work out the nitty-gritty details and request a deposit to start work.
When all of a sudden… there’s radio silence! You can’t seem to reach them on the phone or by email. They’ve just disappeared.
Unfortunately for a handful of members of our Agency Mavericks community, it’s becoming increasingly common.
There are ways to minimise the risk of getting “ghosted” when you meet a promising potential client and I will explain them all in this post.
But let’s start with what being ghosted actually means.
What does it mean to be “ghosted” anyways?
You might have heard the term “ghosting” in the dating world. One day, you’re texting back and forth, getting to know each other. Then, the next day… nothing. The person suddenly vanishes into thin air, never to be heard from again.
Unfortunately, this type of behaviour has found its way into the business world. Potential clients interested in your service suddenly disappear without warning. In both the dating and business worlds, this type of behaviour can be traced back to a desire to end a relationship without conflict.
Why is being ghosted so damn frustrating?
When a potential client ghosts you, you usually end up feeling confused, frustrated and angry. You might even start replaying every interaction, wondering what you did wrong. Was your recent pitch entirely off the mark? Were you too “intense” in your approach? Did you read their interest in your service completely wrong?
After spending days, weeks, and even months invested in building a relationship with potential clients, it can be disheartening when they suddenly disappear. But here’s the thing… being ghosted is less about you and more about that client.
There are dozens of reasons why they might not be getting back to you such as:
- They got swamped
- Their priorities changed suddenly
- Their current financial situation has changed
- They just don’t know how to say no
Unfortunately, without knowing the reason behind their lack of communication, you’re left alone thinking up worst-case scenarios for why it happened.
What to do if you’re being ghosted (and how to recognise it)
Ghosting happens even to the best of us. But before you assume the worst of your potential clients, it’s essential to determine whether or not you are, in fact, being ghosted.
Determine if there’s a miscommunication
Miscommunication happens. Maybe they’re looking at making a decision in four weeks rather than the two weeks you were expecting.
Life happens, and messages are missed. You already know they’re interested due to your initial conversations, so reach out via email and/or phone to remind them of what you discussed and how your services can help them achieve their goals.
Know when to move on and let go
If you’ve followed up multiple times and reviewed past communication to make sure you’ve got all your details right, and they’re still incommunicado—it’s time to move on. Send one last message thanking them for their time and wish them the best of luck. Keep it professional. You never know if they may reach out to you in the future!
How to reduce your chances of being ghosted
While it might be impossible to avoid being ghosted altogether, it is possible to ghost-proof your onboarding to minimise it.
Pre-qualify your clients
Even before you set up your first Zoom call or send out your first email, you should already be pre-qualifying potential clients to ensure they’re not just browsers who are going to waste your time and energy. You need to ensure that they’re clients who are ready to jump in and get to work.
When I was running an agency, I came up with a three-prong measuring stick to ensure I was selecting clients that were a good fit:
- They have to be profitable
A new business owner may not have the cash flow, or even clients, to pay for your service yet. So make sure your marketing efforts target more established businesses to increase your chances that they can afford what you can offer.
- They have to be fun to work with
It doesn’t matter how much a potential client can pay if you don’t enjoy working with them. My personal feeling is, anyone who gives me or my team a hard time, they're out! Life’s too short to work for toxic clients.
- They need to allow us to do good work
Targeting potential clients outside of your expertise can adversely impact you and your team’s ability to deliver your best service. So when you’re looking for potential clients, ensure that their needs meet your specific talents. Seek out those who will allow you to shine so you can do what you do best!
Next, understand how you can help potential clients!
When you know how to address your ideal client’s needs, create a game plan on how to go from your first call to a signed statement of work and contract.
Your goal is to figure out:
- Where they are at in their business
- Where they want to go
- What the gap is from where they are to where they want to go
This process begins with a discovery call to gain a deep understanding of their needs. Once the potential client feels understood, you've already made huge progress. You start to be seen as a business partner rather than a web designer.
To build further trust with the potential client, follow up by sending content or resources that highlight what you can do, followed up by testimonials.
The next step to conversion should be a strategy call where you both discuss expectations to ensure you’re on the same page. If this call is done right and you're able to position yourself successfully as the authority, no written proposal will even be needed!
Finally, level up your onboarding process.
This final step puts the statement of work and contract in the hands of the client. The notes and feedback from your initial conversations now become action items on your part as well as theirs. Clarify their preferred form of communication, set realistic expectations and communicate the deliverables required for success.
Ready to convert clients from discovery to contract?
Ghosting happens. But I hope with the steps I’ve discussed, you can help minimise the likelihood of it happening and transition potential customers to paying clients.
Ready to get all the pieces together and find clients that are ready to pay for your expertise? Set up your Clarity Call with our team of coaches, and let’s put a game plan together.