Ghosts Appear and Fade Away

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PR agency owner Alex Greenwood discusses the challenges of getting prospects to sign on the dotted line

The economy understandably makes you interested in talking with any and all potential clients. Just watch out for ghosts.

“Ghosts ” go beyond kicking the tires, feeling you out on strategy and discussing fees. They’re the potential clients who could also be called “time vampires,” as they want to meet often and then have you draw up a full-blown proposal and/or contract. Then they disappear. You literally get no response.

Maybe they got cold feet or realized that talking about hiring a public relations consultant was more interesting than working with one. Some feed on your ideas and then decide they don’t need you to implement them. Whatever the case, they’re gone.

Hey, life happens. Cash flow tanks, people change their minds. But when you’ve put hours into meeting with a potential client, researching their needs and drawing up a contract, I say it behooves the ghost to get out his Ouija board and send you an email to let you know the deal is off.

So how did I become a ghost buster? A lot of it is instinct and experience. Sometimes you get the feeling that it’s just not a good fit and end it there. I also don’t put too much up-front work into a pitch. I generate a summary proposal and will meet a couple of times, but won’t move beyond that until I get a contract.

Once you trust your instincts, ghosts become less of a problem, leaving you more time to land that “monster” client.

Alex Greenwood has earned a reputation for success and ingenuity from his more than twenty years experience in public relations, journalism, marketing and broadcasting. His career has spanned several industries including healthcare, television, non-profit organizations and higher education. He founded AlexanderG Public Relations, LLC in January 2010. Find him on Twitter via @a_greenwood.


7 comments on “Ghosts Appear and Fade Away

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Ghosts Appear and Fade Away « PR at Sunrise --

  2. Interesting, Alex. I work in Communications and PR but have done so mostly in the public sector where clients are mandated. Still, we see some of the behaviours you mention. It’s a challenge. And it’s an absolute blight when you MUST be their representative on a particular project.

    Best of luck continuing to “trust your instincts” and weed out the ‘ghosts’!

    Jason McIntyre

  3. Thanks Jason. It’s a tiny minority of folks–but isn’t it always that one small pebble in your shoe that worries you most? 😉

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention Ghosts Appear and Fade Away « PR at Sunrise --

  5. Just as we’ve often been advised when interviewing with prospective employers. we need to be interviewing the client to determine whether there is a good fit just as much as we are interviewing them. I’ve never been sorry declining business. It leaves me the capacity to bring on a client that is an excellent fit, for whom I can do excellent work. I can’t perform at my best with a difficult client, which doesn’t serve either of us well. Sometimes it’s as ephemeral as with dating. Chemistry must be present to go forward. If it’s not, it doesn’t say anything bad about either of us. It’s simply reality. But once in a while when I’ve turned down business, I have to use the professional equivalent of “It’s not you, it’s me” when the client demands an explanation.

  6. Pingback: Client “Ghosts” Appear and Fade Away : Alex G

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