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Being ghosted by a client can be a huge confidence killer. Whether it happens before a discovery call or midway through a project, it’s not a fun spot to be in. That being said, I think ghosting can be an eye opening opportunity for two things. One: An opportunity to comb through your service to see if there’s anywhere you can cinch up gaps in your process. Two (more importantly): A chance to treat others with kindness even when the situation is frustrating.
When a client ghosts you it’s easy to fall into the vicious blame game cycle. Your mind starts spinning narratives where you’re to blame: What did I do wrong? Did I offend them? Maybe they don’t like me?
Or worse, your narratives start to blame them: “They must not be very considerate.” “They’re just picky.” “I guess they’re just cheap.”
But here’s the thing…the blame game doesn’t solve anything. And it certainly doesn’t make you feel better about an already crummy situation. Dwelling on the “why” can eat at you and prevent you from moving forward with love and kindness.
A wounded ego often doesn’t want to give others the benefit of the doubt, but truly, there’s usually a good (or understandably human) reason someone ghosted you. Even if it’s hard to understand that reason at the moment, it’s just good practice to get into the habit of being compassionate. Opting for kindness over callousness in a tough situation (with no clear answer) is better for everyone involved.
There’s a few very real possibilities that a client has ghosted you (and it’s probably not about you).
Perhaps they ghosted because:
Now you’re probably thinking: “Yes! That’s all understandable..but couldn’t they at least TELL me that??”
In an ideal world everyone would communicate perfectly. They’d share what was happening in their life that led them to act or think a certain way. But how often do we say to friends and family members “I’m fine, everythings great” when that really couldn’t be further from the truth.
We’re all human. We all have human emotions and we’re far from perfect. Sometimes it’s easier for folks to brush a situation under the rug and move on than face it head on. That’s why it’s wise to give your ghost clients the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming the worst about yourself or about their character.
As I said earlier, a client ghosting you is also an opportunity to take an objective (keyword: objective. Not emotional) look at your service and your client process!
While the reason for ghosting is more likely related to external circumstances, it’s possible for a client to feel extra overwhelmed by certain steps in working with you.
Is there anywhere you could simplify the workload of future clients? Is there a way to make onboarding more welcoming and efficient? How might you express to clients that you’re compassionate and willing to meet them where they’re at?
On a more technical level, you can consider tightening up your contract wording. Having clear deadlines for steps and what will happen if deadlines aren’t met can encourage clients to stay the course and work within your boundaries if things do come up!
For example, your contract might have a section on call policies:
Now when you are ghosted it’s important to reach out to the client in a kind, unassuming, but clear way. Maybe they can shed some clarity on the situation, maybe there’s something you can do to help. Or maybe they just got busy and an email from you is the reminder they needed to get back on track!
Below you’ll find an email template you’re welcome to use and customize for your own business. Pro tip: Go ahead and copy and paste this into Honeybook, Dubsado, or any other CRM you may have now so it’s easily accessible should you ever need it!:
Hi [Client name],
I hope you are well!
It was wonderful chatting with you about [the service you offer + any other connections you made].
I wanted to check in with where you’re at. How is [insert task] going? (Asking a question encourages a response) I’m more than happy to answer questions or address any concerns that may have come up. Please know that I’m only an email away!
Just a reminder that [insert due date, next step reminders, or any pending actions if the task above is not completed ]. (What is the due date? Will they be charged? Is their spot with you not guaranteed?)
I’m so looking forward to our next steps—it’s going to be amazing! Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to lighten the load on your end. (End your email with kindness and encouragement).
Talk with you soon, [client name], have a great day!
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As a proud Showit Design Partner, I create strategic visual identities from my 100% solar-powered studio, helping you showcase your expertise, attract more aligned clients, and build a life you love! Based in Eau Claire, WI, serving clients worldwide.