Crippled CEO Blog #172:
Everyone hates being ignored. It’s so traumatic that the dating version of being ignored is called “ghosting“. It sounds like something out of a horror movie.
I have long said that upset customers are rarely truly pissed off by the mistake you made. People are generally pretty forgiving of mistakes. No, they become truly pissed off when they feel ignored, which often happens after a mistake, because we don’t know what to do to fix it, or because the whole situation makes us feel yucky so we don’t engage with it. That’s when the real anger kicks in. The screwup is the seed, but the ignoring that followed was what made it bloom into full on rage.
So, don’t ignore people unless you want to make them very angry.
But what do you do when you’re being ignored?
More specifically, what do you do when you’re being ignored by email or text message?
Chris Voss, in his masterpiece, Never Spilt the Difference, has a one sentence message that will get you a reply back almost all of the time. Like 94% of the time.
It is pretty magical. It is like one of those “this one weird trick“ clickbait things, but it really is one weird trick that actually does work.
It is important to only use this as a last resort; you have followed up several times, but just can’t get a response. It is also important that you only use this on someone you know, who you are currently working with in some way. And lastly, it is critical that you send it just like this, with nothing changed, added, or taken away.
The magical phrase that will get you a response almost every time is:
“Have you given up on this?“
People hate to give up. They hate other people to think they’ve given up on them. They hate to give up on things that they thought they wanted to do. People are also eager to correct you if you’re wrong about them. And, to top it off, this is a “no oriented question”. Like, “Is now a bad time?” or “Would it be crazy to…?”, the answer you are hoping to get is “no“. People have an easier time saying no than yes. All of these factors make this the perfectly calibrated question to get a response.
Again, this won’t work on people you are spamming who don’t know you. There actually has to be a thing that they are giving up on. And you don’t want to use this prematurely. It invokes an emotional response and defensiveness, which is why it works, but you don’t want to do that unless you have no other choice. Try following up nicely a bunch of times before pulling out the big gun.
So, that’s it. That’s the one weird trick to stop being ghosted.
(Do you know who would never give up on me? Your mom. Your mom also gets a text from me every Sunday with a link to the latest blog post. Send a text to 561-726-1567 with the word CRIP as the message to get a link to the blog as soon as it’s up.
Did you know that I have a YouTube channel now? I do! I am putting up two videos every single week. Go search for Crippled CEO and you’ll find me. I would appreciate it if you subscribed.)