We’ve all experienced this before.
An inquiry comes in, and based on the lovely, personalized email they’ve sent you, there’s no mistake that they’re just over-the-moon with your work, and they simply love EVERYTHING about you.
“Your style is exactly what we’re looking for!”
“I love that your images are [insert adjective here]!”
“So-and-so spoke so highly of you!”
And once you’re done giving yourself enthusiastic high-fives and winking at yourself in the mirror, you send them your standard inquiry response.
And then you wait.
Several hours go by.
The hours then quickly turn into days.
A week later, still nothing.
You check your outbox to make sure you didn’t forget to press send (again). You stalk them on social media to see if they’re possibly traveling abroad, or maybe they’ve been kidnapped by a hoard of squirrels. You might even follow-up with them several days later.
Was it something you said? Something you did? Did they find out about that weird hobby of yours and collectively decided that you were no longer the right fit for them? (for the record, they’re not “dolls”, they’re “action figures”).
Nevertheless, you’re left there, scratching your head, trying to figure out where everything went wrong. You might convince yourself that you’re too expensive and they went with someone cheaper (possibly false). You might also tell yourself that they’re simply too busy to answer their emails, and you just need to follow up with them juuuuust a few more times (eight sounds like a nice round number). You might even blame the fact that nobody reads their emails anymore (which is categorically false).
Listen – there are various reasons why prospects will ghost on you, and those reasons I just described above are seldom the culprit. In a nutshell, here are five reasons why prospects will ghost on you:
They were simply price-shopping/collecting information.
Your response sounded desperate as hell.
You gave them waaaay too much information.
You didn’t leave a call-to-action to continue the conversation.
Your response was nothing special; it didn’t stand out from all the other email responses they received from all the other photographers they’ve contacted.
And that’s pretty much it (I think). At the end of the day, you’ve got to put yourself in your prospects’ shoes and see where their heads are at; figure out how things feel/look/sound on their end. You’ve got to empathize with their journey in finding and selecting a photographer who understands them, who’s going to be everything that they’re looking for, and possibly a whole lot more.
So how do we fix this?
Let’s address these issues, one by one.
They were simply price-shopping/collecting information
If your prospects are like normal people (present company excluded), they’re not going to hire the first person they encounter. Chances are, they’re going to collect & weigh their options, and get a feel for what’s out there. We do this when we’re deciding on where to eat, what sneakers to buy, and even what movies to watch. Depending on who your target audience is, what their pain points are, and what kinda desires they have, they’re all going to have different criteria when selecting their choices for this first round.
So here’s my pro tip: don’t get so attached to your prospects at this stage of the game. Remember – sales & marketing is just a numbers game; you simply have to give yourself as many opportunities as possible to connect. If you’ve already replied to their inquiry within the first hour of receiving it, you’re already 33% more likely to book them, compared to anybody else who follows you. If you want to step it up another notch, send them a quick video recording or a text that you received their inquiry, and that you’d love to connect with them to hear more about their wedding day.
With that personalized touch, you’ve just blown your competition out of the water.
And that’s it. And if they ghost on you after that incredibly charming introduction, that’s a “them” problem, and not a “you” problem.
Your response sounded desperate as hell
We’ve all had that friend who suddenly found themselves single again, and there’s a good chance they’ll start chasing anyone/anything that moves. When you’re replying to the prospect through every single channel available, and you’re following-up incessantly – you’re no different from that friend. When you’re offering the sun, moon, and stars on that initial email response – you’re also no different from that friend.
Let’s take a deep breath, ya’ll. Relax. Let’s think about this more clearly.
In most cases, when inquiries reach out, they only want 1 of 2 things (and sometimes even both).
General pricing/package/availability information
An opportunity to connect in the near future
And all you’ve got to do is give those two things to them, and that’s it.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Don’t try to sell them anything. Don’t try to sell them on how awesome you are. Your only goal is to give them the bare minimum amount of information that they requested, and to invite them into a conversation, and that’s it.
Just play it cool, my friend.
If you play your cards right, the fish will come to you…just like we rehearsed it :).
You gave them waaaay too much information
Though it might feel like you’re trying to be helpful, by preemptively answering their questions (which they haven’t even asked yet) – you’re actually shooting yourself in the foot. Because if you’re answering all their questions now, why would they need to meet with you?
Let me tell you a secret: your clients aren’t hiring you because you take pretty images, how great your prices are, and that your FAQ reads like the Encyclopedia Britannica.
No – they’re hiring you because of YOU, the artist behind the camera.
You could very well be Hemingway himself, but your delightful choice of words on a screen will never compare to the experience your prospects will have when communicating with you through conversation, whether through the phone, a Zoom call, or even in-person.
Stop selling in your emails.
Sell the appointment instead.
Invite them to have a conversation with you, and then go from there.
You didn’t leave a call-to-action to continue the conversation
If you’ve made it this far, it should already be abundantly clear that you need to sell the appointment. Don’t just give up all your information, and simply wait for them to reply (because they won’t, especially if they feel like they got everything they need).
Wrap up your emails with an invitation to connect, and that’s it.
Your response was nothing special
Believe it or not, your response likely sounds like everyone else they’ve contacted.
“Thank you so much for enjoying my work and for your inquiry! I’m available, and these are my rates/packages. Let’s connect in the next few days so we can chat more about your plans and seeing what we can do to be a part of them! Congrats on your engagement and I look forward to hearing from you soon!”
99% of your competitors responded to that inquiry with that same, exact email (more or less).
It’s nothing special.
In fact, it’s just noise.
If you want to rise above the noise, send them a personalized video greeting. Let them know that you’re available and that you’ll be reaching out via email to set up a time to meet.
How powerful is that?
With that simple gesture, you’ve now risen above the noise.
Now you’ve got their attention.
At the end of the day, sales & marketing is just a game of attention, and who can command/hold it the longest. I get it – nobody likes to be ignored. It’s a sucky feeling. But if you follow these tips, your prospects will be paying attention to you (and nobody else!).
There are many reasons why prospects will ghost on you, and there are ways you can minimize it.
The most effective way you can minimize ghosting is by inviting the prospect to continue the conversation off-line.
If you’re tired of trying to figure out all of this sales & marketing on your own, I can help! Please visit https://benlau.com/education to learn more about how I can help you find your dream clients, set your business on auto-pilot, and book like crazy.