What’s spookier than haunted houses, paranormal activity, or your friend who thinks she can DIY her costume but it ends up looking just really, really sad?
But not your average, we-matched-on-tinder-and-had-a-date-but-and-it-went-really-well-but-I-never-heard- from-them-again type of ghosted. We’re talking the Business Ghost *cue scary music.* We’ve all been there so many times that it has virtually become a classic story to tell over a fireplace in a haunted campground.
Whether it’s a potential client, a coworker, or your employment, the theme is always consistent – one minute they’re there, and the next they’re gone. So, how do you address it if it’s already happened? How do you approach it if you see the warning signs and know it’s going to happen? Or how do you rule out that it’s not ghosting and maybe just need better communication skills? (I mean, don’t we all though?)
Let’s outline this in the classic scenario you’ve probably heard too many times. A potential client has reached out to you, seemingly excited about working with you. You exchange a few messages over the course of a couple days, you have a meeting whether it’s on the phone or in person, then they ask for examples of your work or ask you to make them a mockup or whatever it is you do. Excited for a new lead, you say yes (the more you can convince them to work with you, the better right?) And then – nothing. You message continuously, get maybe a few cold responses, but that’s it.
So what do you do?
Here’s the sad truth about some of these ghosts – you can’t do anything about it. Unless there was a contract signed, the only thing you can do is reach out to them continuously until you’re absolutely sure nothing is going to change.
Now, let’s define this “ghost.” The Business ghost is any form of contact you have that suddenly becomes unreachable by any forms of communication. Ghosting has actually started to become more prominent in the professional industry because the marketplace for jobs or work has become so saturated, clients or employees can actually just ghost and find another contact if they feel like it. The rise of remote teams and the use of messaging apps, such as Slack, and the decline of face-to-face meetings and employment is becoming one of the main factors into the ghosting epidemic.
Now let’s talk preemptive measures here. If you’re a recruiter, one of the best ways to avoid ghosting on the first day is in person interviews, or video recorded interviews. That way you can see and remember who made an impression, who seemed genuine, and you’ll always be able to remember your thoughts when a specific face pops up.
If you’re a freelancer, the best way to weed out the serious clients from the not so serious is to require an initial deposit. It’s not a signature, and it might turn off some clients, but if they really want to do business with you, they’ll be willing to put a down payment on your partnership. Additionally, ask for any contacts for previous people they’ve worked with so you can follow up and see if they really are who they say they are. You can ask this straightforward, or ask it in ways such as “to see how I can better work with you” “to see how you like things done, and how to make things easier for you.”
The best way to avoid ghosting in general is genuine face time with whoever you’re doing business with.
Have as much of it as you can until they’ve followed through with their proposal or agreement or have signed with you. Ghosting is a result of the fact that we live in a digital age where becoming anonymous and blocking people you don’t want to contact you is becoming too easy.
If you find yourself ghosted, then always keep it professional. Not to sound like your mom, but you never know who you’re going to work with in the future. Send them follow ups with industry tidbits maybe related to what they want to do, or tell them you’ll always be here to work with them and are happy with whatever decision they make (really channel your inner break up voice here).
Now breathe in, breathe out, and let that sh*t go. If you’re always grinding and doing you, there will be another lead, or another potential employee. Say it with us: there will always be another Chad. Tinder and Hinge will always provide you with so many options. Hot girl summer never ended. It’s not the end of the world! And if you’re wondering, we’d love to hear from you and work with you – free of any ghosting.