You Can Take The Boy Out Of The Village But..
When a Fortune 500 Client Ghosted Me Halfway Through Negotiation
I remember one day when I’d just posted one of my mockups coupled with great content (ahem) in the group I was in.
Hours later, this guy slid into my DM and the first thing he said was — “How much do you charge for a funnel?”
There was no “Hello, Kristy, I am so and so. I’m interested in getting a two step or a three step funnel built, and I’d like to know what your charges are like.” Nevertheless, I was quite immune at that point in time towards such messages, and even though the rule is to never reveal your price point early on in a conversation, I, for one, am the type that likes to get it over with. I tell you my price, you either still want my service and try to bargain with me or tell me heck yes, or you say OK it’s out of your price range and we’ll go from there, I’ll show you what kind of results you can get with my designs and funnel build and I’ll start to explain why it’ll be worth it.
If they don’t ask (yup, actually a lot of them don’t — they will ask if you do the type of funnels they want, or if you know the kind of niche they’re in, by which you’ll have had warmed up to each other, chatting), then I’ll offer to hop on a call with them and we’ll go from there and become best friends forever. However, if they do ask — I’ll tell them my charges immediately. My prices were not unreasonable. I saw no reason to hold back as if I was ashamed of them. I can’t say I’ve really lost clients because of this.
Anyway, I digress.
I told him my price — $1500 onwards for a 3 step funnel and he kept quiet.
In fact, he kept quiet for one whole week.
I checked him out on Google, and his company was listed inside the Fortune 500 list, and he was the CEO of the company. I decided to do a follow up — and this is a cardinal rule — always follow up. The fortune is in the follow up, they always say. If you hop on a Zoom call with a prospect, you may not close him or her immediately on the call, but if you follow up diligently, chances are high that they will take on your services, because they’ve seen you, they’ve talked to you, you’re a real person to them, you’re credible, and they just want to sleep on it before they come to a decision.
I nearly digressed again right there. Sorry.
I sent him a message a week later, asking if he was still on the lookout for a funnel builder. I told him that if he was still interested in working with me, I’d have to reserve a slot for him because I could only take on so many (being a solopreneur) clients in one month. I told him if he’d changed his mind, then it was OK and I wished him all the best and to stay safe (the pandemic had started).
He read my message a few hours later, but did not reply me. He took 7 more days before he asked just one question — “Do you do a lot of SMS marketing in your funnel build?” I told him no and that most clients were into email list building and marketing. I also told him if you want to do SMS marketing in your funnel, you’ll have to have a Twilio account and we’re good to go (or something like that).
Okay so at this point I still wasn’t totally sure if he wanted my service. With one liners like that I bet even Jim Carrey would have had difficulty coming up with replies.
He read my message, and did not reply — again. After another few days, feeling frustrated (even though I was in the midst of another redesigning project — I never did like loose ends)I messaged him and said “Actually — what kind of funnel do you want, and what is it you’re looking for?”
It came as no surprise that he took another week to reply me — at this point we had been ‘hardly’ chatting for nearly one month, I think. His reply was another one liner, and it was a link to his website which was promoting an app.
I thought maybe he wanted a redesign or maybe the funnel of his was problematic (it was so hard to read his mind)so I took a long time perusing his sales page, even going as far as keying in my email to check if the funnel was working and hacking his designs to see what could be improved (there were lots of room for improvement). His opt in page worked well and I received a confirmation email. Feeling bemused, I messaged him again and asked if he wanted me to build a similar funnel, or if he wanted me to tweak his current one, or if he wanted a redesign.
No, I’m not kidding. It was literally the end. The whole one month conversation consisted of many questions and promptings from me, and one liners from him. In the end after my final questions as to what it was he actually wanted me to do with the link he sent me, there was no reply. Nada. And that was that.
It may have been an off on conversation, and I may have had a client in between but it was an exhausting ordeal anyway. It was as if he came in to waste precious moments of my life by giving me one liners and expecting me to second guess his thoughts and know what he wanted. If you’ve done so well as to get into the Fortune 500 list, wouldn’t you have at least learnt some basic courtesy or communication skills? He never accepted my offer to hop on a call to meet. He did not check out my own page that I’d sent him. He did not tell me what he wanted or whether he found my price unacceptable (I don’t think he did, seeing as he continued talking to me sporadically after that). The only thing I can think of was he must have been looking for another cheaper funnel builder in the time he was ‘ghosting-me-weekly’ and finally found someone else that he felt was more affordable. I don’t know. I have no regrets. I cannot imagine if he had agreed and I’d taken him on as a client, only to meet with short replies — it’d have been a nightmare trying to create a funnel without a plan, as if one was groping in the dark and trying to draw a luminous chicken on the wall at the same time.
What did I learn from this?
Don’t leave the loop open.
Open loops are the worst. Whether it’s cases like these, or cases where they ask you “hey, can you build this funnel for me and how much do you charge?” and then you go “yes, I build funnels and prices usually start upwards of 700 bucks, may I know what niche you’re in? Wanna hop on a call and chat?” And then they ghost you.
You’re left hanging, wondering and you start to create all these imaginary scenarios in your head, telling yourself maybe they’re busy, maybe they’ll get back to you in 24 hours, maybe they’re checking around — to be honest, it doesn’t matter. Nothing, and I mean nothing, not even if you’re a teeny weeny just-starting-out VA or designer or whatever it is — nothing excuses rude behavior by prospects. Drink some water, drown those butterflies in your stomach, and just ask them “Hello! Just a quick follow up — so have you decided if you want to hop on a call with me or if you want to move on with this project? If it’s yes, please let me know cos there’s only so many clients I can take in a month (heck that’s true cos you’re probably starting out alone if you’re leaving the 9–5 and you probably don’t have a team with you, right? Right?) so you’re not being salesy. And tell them “If it’s a no, that’s all good and I wish you all the best!” There. You gave them an option.
IF they kept quiet after reading your message, then move on, girl, move on.
IF they reply to that and give any hint of wanting to work with you, only they’re still not 100% convinced — then you continue the conversation and try to answer all their questions and clear their doubts; for it is perfectly normal for them to have more questions after a day or two.
IF they say yea, I think I’m not ready, I’ll wait — trust your instincts and decide if you want to continue the conversation and keep probing like what some coaches advise you to do, which is to say “Are you OK? Is there a problem I can help with?” but there’s a risk of coming across as being insincere and not accepting their words at face value so trust your instinct. If I feel they’re really not into it, then I tell them “It’s really all good. I’ll be ready when you are.” Imagine if you were them and you’re deciding you want to wait a bit more before investing in a funnel builder or designer and then this person just won’t leave you alone, she’s probing for more information. I know I wouldn’t like it. So really, just go with your instinct. Sometimes, less is more in the sense that when you back off, and when the client is ready to tell you that it’s your price, or her budget, or something else that’s holding him back, he’ll tell you. That’s how it usually goes for me. I’m not one to keep probing, though some people say I should.
And IF they say “Let me think about it”, remember to close the loop. Thinking about it doesn’t mean thinking forever until the conversation is left hanging long term. Whether it’s “Let me think about it, or let me discuss with my partner, or let me sleep on it”, give them a timeline, or ask them for one. Say something like “I’ll check in with you in 24 hours?” or, “I’ll follow up with you on Thursday — that OK with you? No obligations — I’ll respect your decision.” Always say that. Truly, always say that — no obligations, I’ll respect your decision. I’ve met coaches who were proud of how they gave the clients an ultimatum like — ok, let me know in 24 hours, and we’ll get you set up. The first time I heard that, I actually shuddered — that was terrible. It is like pushing the prospects into a corner and them that I’m expecting a yes from you no matter what it is cos in the next 24 hours Imma getting you set up. The heck? I may be wrong, of course, because that coach was apparently earning 6 figures monthly — but that’s not something I want to do.
Nothing is worse than having a customer feel cornered into a collaboration with you because he didn’t know how to say no in the first place, and then bringing with him a sense of injustice into the partnership. He ain’t gonna give you glowing reviews after that. It is, however, of the utmost importance that they know that you are genuinely OK with them not choosing to sign up with you. This not only makes them feel that you are not desperate after all (even if you are) and the next time they are truly ready for this service, you’ll be the go-to person.
Always leave them with the impression that you’re someone who’s
- not desperate
- yet know exactly what you’re talking about, ie you’re an authority on the subject of whatever niche it is you’re offering.
So don’t let the conversation be centered around pricing. Give them value. Share your knowledge with them. Even if they don’t take up your offer, tell them hey — this can do with a makeover, just a quick tip — do this, this and this — and you should be OK. They’ll appreciate you all the more for it, and they’ll realize that you actually know your stuff and that you may just be worth that price to have their pain points solved.
This is something I really learnt and practiced in my pharmacy. I would recommend a product but if the customer could not afford it, I would suggest free ways of trying to improve his health instead, like sleep early, drink more water, try to brisk walk for 30 minutes 3 times a week, and so on. I don’t say things like OK go back and I’ll call you in 24 hours and see if you still want to buy this product — I’d have closed shop ages ago. Prospects want to feel that you genuinely have their best interests at heart. They may not be ready now but that’s really not because of you — we don’t know what’s going on in their lives at the moment. However, if they trust you and like you, be sure that they’ll come back to you in the future.
I aim to help working mothers leave their 9–5, be able to spend more time with their families, and bring their skills online to start an online business. For mothers who are in the 9–5, looking to go online, and start a business of your own — even if you’re aren’t ready to leave the workforce yet, but you want to start a side hustle — you can always download my free checklist that allows you to get a head start on how you can do this without going through the trials that I did. I’ll be sharing more about my journey as I transitioned from a full time professional to a near-jobless mother, to an online entrepreneur.
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