10 reasons why a bride might be ghosting you
While for most businesses, it’s a given that not all enquiries will lead to a booking, it can be frustrating to put time and energy into following up with a bride only to get no response at all. This is particularly irritating when a bride seems to be making all the right noises, or you’ve even had a meeting in person, only for all communication to cease despite follow ups.
In a term borrowed from the world of dating, this is sometimes referred to as ‘ghosting’. Ghosting happens when the person you’re trying to communicate with seems to disappear into thin air, with no messages, emails or calls acknowledged. In dating this is usually considered to be the ghost’s way of letting the other person know that they’re not interested, but when it comes to the world of weddings there are a few reasons why couples may stop contact. Here are some of those reasons, and what you can do about it.
1. They have sticker shock
In the early stages, this is the most likely reason for brides to suddenly cease communication. If you’ve received an enthusiastic initial enquiry and have sent over a brochure and prices, only for the couple to disappear on you, it’s likely that you’re out of their price range. It can be embarrassing for brides to admit that they can’t afford your services, so often instead of explaining this, they simply stop replying. This can be frustrating, as often businesses are willing to be flexible with brides with more limited budgets.
“A lot of suppliers require you to email them just to get an idea of their costs, so I had to contact a lot of them just to find they were out of my budget,” said one bride we spoke to. “I didn’t bother replying in that case. I think it would help so much if suppliers simply have their costs available in a transparent way.”
What you can do: You can prevent this kind of ghosting entirely by being upfront with brides about your price point before the point of enquiry. We know that businesses may not want to make all their pricing information online, but having a starting price or a rough ballpark can help brides decide if you’re right for them, and thus increase your more relevant enquires.
2. They don’t like your attitude (sorry!)
We all know what it feels like to be hassled by someone to buy a product or service. Sometimes, being too pushy (or conversely, too blunt to the point of seeming disinterested in your brides) can put off brides who were previously interested in your service. “I asked for a quote and was sent constant emails asking me to book and giving me their bank details,” says one bride. “It was too full on!”
What you can do: It can be tricky to tell if this is the reason that a bride isn’t responding to you, as often they’ll be too polite to directly tell you that they don’t like your style. To avoid this kind of ghosting, limit your follow-up contact to one email sent a reasonable amount of time after your last contact, and always treat brides as individuals where possible. Repeatedly contacting a bride can often put off even the hottest lead. What’s more, ensure that all your responses are as professional as possible – typos, incorrect names and over familiar attitudes can make a big difference to some brides.
3. They’re overwhelmed
In the early days of wedding planning, brides often visit the large national shows and give their details to lots of suppliers to get an idea of prices and services they can expect. This can quickly become overwhelming if all the businesses get in contact at once and all begin to chase – your email may just be lost in the flurry.
What you can do: If you’re contacted by a bride who’s just got engaged and is in the early stages of planning, expect that it may be some time before she comes back to you, especially if the wedding is likely to be years away. After you’ve responded to her initial enquiry, follow up with one email around a month later asking whether she’s booked already or she’s still looking for a supplier. If she still doesn’t respond, don’t presume the worst and cut ties. You may be surprised with an email as far as a year down the line!
4. They don’t want to speak over the phone
It may be a tried-and-true sales tactic to approach your customers over the phone, but today’s brides and grooms have changing attitudes towards communication. In a world where everything can be done online, millennials in particular are increasingly choosing to contact their wedding suppliers over email, through online enquiries or on social media.
What you can do: If a particular couple isn’t responding to your phone calls, you may be more likely to receive a response if you email or text instead. In a more general sense, make sure that your customers have multiple ways to approach you. Make your email address available to them, and link to social media accounts wherever possible.
5. You’re not a good fit
This is related to our first point. A couple may be intrigued by your venue or service, but as soon as you send over more details, they disappear. This could be because of price, but it equally could be that your business just isn’t the right fit for them. Maybe your style is a little different to what was initially expected, or you cater to weddings that are bigger or smaller than theirs.
What you can do: Again, this comes down to transparency, and giving customers all the information they need upfront to avoid these empty enquiries. Ensure that your website and online adverts have plenty of images to give couples a good idea of your style, and don’t place yourself in categories that you don’t fully fit into. Targeting your advertising to the right couples is more worthwhile than taking on a scattergun approach and fielding irrelevant enquiries.
6. You took too long to respond
You should never assume that you’re the only business that a bride has contacted, and this competition means that a timely response is vital. Not only does it mean that you edge out other businesses, but it also makes you look more professional and keen to work with the couple. “I always responded when things were out of my budget, but the main reason I didn’t reply was if they took ages to respond to my enquiries,” said a bride. “Usually by that point I’d found someone else.”
What you can do: During peak times, keeping on top of enquiries can become a balancing act. Set up an auto-responder to instantly reply to email enquiries, and make it clear that your response times may be longer during peak wedding season. If you’re a small business or a sole proprietor, setting up an out-of-office when you’re away is crucial. If you have let an enquiry or two slip through the net, follow up with an apology, but not a made-up excuse to avoid seeming unreliable.
7. You haven’t answered their questions
If you’re having a back and forth email exchange with an interested bride or groom, only for them to suddenly go quiet on you, then looking back on your previous emails may reveal the culprit. “I was between three caterers, and one of them had the best menu but had terrible communication,” says one bride we spoke to. “I had to ask the same question about dessert options three times before I got a response, and even then she was vague and danced around the answer. In the end I gave up and went with someone else.”
What you can do: It can be tricky to answer every single question a bride or groom fires at you – all wedding businesses know what it’s like to face a barrage of requests or clarifications. However, taking the time to double check that you’ve answered everything could save you from losing a customer in the long run. If you’re not sure of an answer, don’t ignore the question – simply say that you’ll look into it and get back to them. If the same questions keep coming up, consider
8. You need too much information
Plenty of businesses weed out irrelevant enquiries by getting as much information as possible from couples up front. What are their budgets? Where are they getting married? What’s their wedding theme? Unfortunately, bombarding brides with a long form to fill in can often backfire, especially if they’re in the initial stages and just want to get an idea of your pricing.
“I’ve only ghosted one supplier,” admitted one bride. “Her list of requirements so she would supply us with her services was so lengthy that I genuinely didn’t know how to respond…so I just didn’t.”
What you can do: While it can be helpful to ensure that you know as much as possible about the couple from the start, overly-complex forms can put off couples in the initial stages of planning. Keep enquiry forms to just a few required questions, and have a more in-depth form to fill in once a stronger relationship has been established.
9. Your emails are going into junk
This oft-used excuse can sometimes genuinely catch people out, especially if you’re sending attachments. Although it’s not likely, don’t rule this technical error out.
What you can do: Ensure that you’re using a professional email address, and that all your emails are free of spammy headlines and large attachments. If you’ve already been booked by a couple, then dropping them a quick voicemail can help ascertain that they’re receiving your important information.
10. They’re no longer getting married
Sadly, not all engagements pan out the way they’re meant to. While some couples may respond to let you know the situation, for some people it’s simply too painful to let their prospective suppliers know. This is especially likely if you’re emailing a wedding email address, e.g email@example.com, and everything goes silent.
What you can do: Nothing, unfortunately! Remember that your couples are people too and simply follow-up with a friendly message. You never know when they might log back on and be in need of a friendly wedding supplier.