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Most entrepreneurs have been “ghosted” by direct business leads who seem to disappear for no apparent reason. While this occurs in businesses of all types, it's especially challenging for creative entrepreneurs who must build relationships.
As a voice artist, developing direct relationships with prospects and customers is one of the the best ways to build a successful VO business. This is how you create your professional reputation and plant seeds for the future. But what can you do that when relationship building just stops?
When a seemingly promising lead evaporates into thin air, people react differently. Those with an optimistic outlook tend to ask, "Who's next?" But for most of us, nothing is more perplexing than a prospect or client who disappears after multiple conversations about a proposed project.
Um, what happened?
We ask questions like:
Is my contact still with the company?
Do they remember me?
Do they have the authority to approve proposals.
Have they lost interest?
It shouldn't be surprising that many people find it hard to say "No." This bias is supported by psychological research conducted over decades. No one likes to deliver bad news, send a disappointing email, or or have an uncomfortable conversation. And so they avoid it, probably not even thinking of it as "ghosting" or considering how disheartening it might be to the other party. So, how do we address this?
Do this - not that.
If you are the "ghostee", here are a few tactics to consider:
- Try to reach out 2 (maybe 3) times; then drop it. If the voiceover prospect wants to pick up a conversation from months ago, congratulate yourself on the lasting relationship you established. If they don't, perhaps its their loss.
- A more aggressive approach would be to find an alternative way to follow up, perhaps via the person who introduced you to another contact at the company. They might be able to offer some insight, or offer some answers to questions such as:
Is the "ghoster" still employed with the company and in the same role, or have they moved on?
Was there a family emergency?
If the person is not available you might be able to find a new lead and start over.
If the person is still around, perhaps your connection can inquire as an intermediary on your behalf.
If it's a dead end, be grateful, and thank them for any response. Remember, things happen and its always counterproductive to assume the worst.
If you're the "ghoster", please consider the impact of your silence and realize that you're doing the voiceover artist a huge service by telling them where things stand and why. It's much more helpful to share the truth and not leave your contact hanging.
Be courteous and tell the truth. A "Thank You" note with a simple rationale like:
- “We are not longer interested because...",
- “We've decided to go in another direction...",
- "I'm no longer the decision maker”,
- “he project is complete or was canceled”, or
- “The budget was pulled."
- Insert your reason here.
Your honesty will always be appreciated. These emotionally intelligent communications usually help close the loop and allow us to turn the page.
In conclusion, ghosting happens. It's a convenient and learned human response. But it doesn't have to be the default, and everyone would feel better if it doesn't.