How do we address the pervasive ghosting

As a Seller on this forum, I have expectations set upon me to follow. They include replying in a timely manner to requests, being courteous even when an offer is offensive, and not calling anyone out by name.

These requests may be anything from, “is this still available” to full on negotiations of price, shipping terms and potential shipping dates, asking for additional pictures, or updated weights, etc. I am accommodating to every request. For all of my efforts, unless the Buyer buys the animal, the typical outcome is to be ghosted. This means that all I am left to do is to presume the prospect is not going to buy, even when I may have multiple parties inquiring at the same time.

I understand we can’t control everyone’s behavior, but can there at least be some language in the TOS that states the Buyer is expected to provide a timely “Yes” or “No Thank You” on any inquiry they make, and they receive a response that leaves the ball in their court?

This part is my soap box rant. Ghosting is the virtual equivalent to a child staring at you blankly and unresponsive when they’ve been asked a direct question. What has happened to common courtesy? I will now step off my soapbox and let you return to your regularly scheduled programming.

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Allow me to play devil’s advocate here for a moment. When a customer walks into a store and asks questions of a sales associate about a product, are they then required to tell that sales associate whether or not they intend to purchase, or do they just leave after browsing?

In my opinion, it’s also up to the seller to communicate properly. Ask them directly if they wish to make the purchase. If you have multiple inquiries, inform them that there are others interested, thus it is a time sensitive transaction & set a hard time limit on a yes or no. Put it in your own shop’s policies, for a start. You can’t just expect people to tell you if you don’t actually ask. Until you do that, a TOS change seems a bit overkill for something that can be fixed with simple direct communication.

That’s my two cents. Has nothing to do with common courtesy and everything to do with asking the right questions and being direct.

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While it’s incredibly frustrating to be in that position, I don’t think there’s anything that can be done to force people into responding. I would just make it very clear in your store rules that “first come, first serve” applies to all listings, and that you will not hold animals for inquiries, deposits or paid in full only.

I’ve now bought three different animals that had other inquiries/interested parties, and the breeder let me know in their response to my first inquiry/list of questions. In all three of those cases I ended up with the snake because I made it very clear that I was ready to purchase the snake that day upon getting questions answered, additional pics, etc.

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Sadly that’s just how it goes at times.
Yeah it sucks, but that’s the downside of having a sales front to sell these animals. The only difference between this site and a reptiles show interaction is that the whole conversation is a game of tag. Otherwise you can have the same conversation, just taking multiple days. Unless you are the type to ask people at a show “Are you interested in buying or window shopping?”
As @noodlehaus says, think of any other retail interactions you have when asking about a product. It’s just now it’s your time and not an employee at the store.

I actually much prefer the ghosting vs the person ranting to me about how someone else charges less or they can’t pay what I’m asking because they’re building a reptile room.

Quick edit: Also… you can choose to close the message as well. I did this on the last person who was hyper interested and then just ghosted. It closes up the thread and denies further contact on that animal if they’re wasting your time.

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Noodlehaus, thank you for your response. If a customer walks out of the store, then you know they are not buying. You have a visual queue that lets the Seller know definitively, the interaction has come to a conclusion. Trust me when I say I am direct and communicate a lot with the prospects. I follow up almost all correspondences with either, does that work for you and if so, let me now and I can send you an invoice, or do you have any further questions? These remarks are not exactly open ended. Nevertheless, it’s typically crickets. I’ll wait a day or so after that, and will even follow up to see if they are still interested. Sometimes I get a response, often it is further silence.

If someone simply asks if an animal is available, then there is nothing implied. If I answer Yes or No, I don’t really anticipate anything more as the questions was asked and answered. When someone asks if you will take less than asking and how soon can you ship and what the cost of shipping is, then wouldn’t you agree that the presumption is they are a Buyer? Further, if you agree to their price and terms, shouldn’t that deserve a response? There is no implied sale, but the interaction should have prompted a definitive response. I feel confident, that were I not to respond to inquiries, there would be a follow up to my actions in an administrative capacity. I am not sure why the same onus isn’t put on a Buyer as a requirement of using this site?

I’ll go a step further yet and state that I have had a number of incidences where everything has been agreed too. The Buyer has asked me to send an invoice and I have done so. The invoice goes out and that’s the end. Nothing further from the Buyer, not even a “Sorry, my circumstances have changed”. I am not sure what more I can do by way of asking the right questions or being more direct then that.

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I think we all deal with people ghosting us as breeders, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying/upsetting to deal with.

From what I’ve noticed, the people who ghost the most often seem to be people who are new to the hobby or otherwise unfamiliar with the market and how purchasing animals works along with what is considered proper etiquette. I’ve never had another established breeder ghost me, always new faces or relatively new accounts on MorphMarket .

I even send follow ups myself and let customers know if there are other people interested, but most of the time they just leave me on read or don’t read my messages at all.

Great example of this, my most recent inquiry and they left me on read.
Sadly for them they missed out, the animal that was listed is now a holdback — and thus I closed the thread.

I think we just need to push to teach newcomers what is proper and what isn’t.

Some seem to be put off by the “high” prices — so we need to explain to them why some are priced differently than others. Sex, genetics, etc.
Why shipping is so high too — overnight shipping just isn’t cheap and it’s important to have the animals in transit for the least amount of time possible.

Some resort to the “I need to ask x for permission so I’ll get back to you!”
To that I say… ask for permission FIRST then!
I had someone who said they needed to ask their parents first, said they’d get back to me the next morning… surprise surprise, it’s been a few days and crickets.
Might have dodged a bullet there, I’m not sure if it was a kid or an adult living with parents :thinking:

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Oh man. absolutely this.
I explained why my price was set no negotiations on a male to someone and they still asked for negotiations so I could ‘grow the lifestyle’
At least they told me they were done with negotiations after I refused again.

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You’ve got some great responses here so I’m going to come at a harder “sales” angle.

There is no TOS around this, it’s just one of the annoying parts of the business. This is why physical stores pay employees to “help” you with your shopping, especially in high-value goods markets like car/house sales. They are there ONLY to convert those window shoppers.

Most window shoppers are buyers that have not yet seen the bait they like the taste of… We could both be using the same worms to catch the fish, but if my worm has more wiggle in it then I’m more likely to eat tonight.

You can minimise all of this by having a well-planned first response (which can be made automatically using the “Inquiry Message” feature for some membership plans) and sales practices.

"Hey __

Thank you for your interest in this animal. All information on the listing is up to date and linage can be found on the ad itself.

If you would like to purchase this animal right away, please send your shipping details in a reply to this message and payment to XXXXX.

If you require additional images, or information about this animal or are just window shopping, please note that this will only be possible while I am at the facility, by which time the animal may have sold to another interested buyer"

Something to remember is that a buyer may be eyeing up your animal, but they are likely eyeing up Steve from next doors animal, and Allen from across states animal. It comes down to who has the nicest animal, best prices, personality and sales ability… You not just selling animals, but your brand.

If you would like to purchase this animal right away, please send your shipping details in a reply to this message and payment to XXXXX. If you make the payment straight away, we will knock 10% off/throw in a free male/give you 20% off a second animal

Rather than seeing it as “damn, I got ghosted again”, look at it as “damn, I just lost a sale to [another breeder with the same animal]. How can I reel them in better next time?”. The chances are that the buyer did end up with the animal they wanted, just from someone that sold it better.

… but even after all of this, as @trnreptiles mentioned, newcomers do not understand the etiquette of buying on MorphMarket .

I do think a “Are you still interested in this animal?” notification may be useful here after say 5 days…?
Which would then alert the seller of their response/close inquiry.

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Thank you. Good stuff everyone. For me the biggest take away is the awareness of the dynamic I thought I was operating as and the dynamic I probably need to be operating as. I have only ever been or wanted to be, a hobby breeder. So I bred what I wanted to create and I’ve sold what I didn’t need. Though I feel I offer quality animals, my ambition was simply to support my hobby. I have always cared about my reputation but never thought about building a brand as I wasn’t a business. This explains why I have no logo, my store is just my name which is neither catchy or clever, and I only do about 4 or 5 clutches a year.

Now I understand that my motivations are deficient. Because of the competitive nature of humans, and the true motivation of capitalism, me being a good pitch man is as important as the product I am providing. Maybe even more so. I have always thought that quality should speak for itself. Naïve? Perhaps. But it is always what has been the central point to a purchase I’ve made.

I guess I need to ruminate on it a bit and decide if I want to buy in or get out. I am a little to old to be a barker, and being a better salesperson won’t change the issue that lead me to start this thread. But I do thank you all for your insights.

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Duddddddee! grab a picture of one of your snakes and add it as a logo at minimum!!!

Stores with logos show up before ones without logos :space_invader:

Your not getting the full audience right now, just the drabs that scroll to the end.

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There’s an aspect to ghosting that hasn’t really been touched on yet. Some people are just fantasizing. They don’t really have any intention to buy (for whatever reason - money, space, etc.), but starting the process of inquiring, getting photos and info, allows them to prolong that fantasy. So then when it comes time to pay, they don’t have any rational way of backing out or are embarrassed to say “never mind”, so they either ghost, or some people will give some sort of excuse like their wife won’t let them, their car suddenly needs repairs, or whatever. No amount of nice logos or creating a brand will get those ghosters to actually commit. (Although having a nice logo and promoting yourself is still a good idea for attracting people who actually intend to buy.) It’s super frustrating, but I think the easiest solution is to give them a reasonable set time limit to respond, especially if you have other inquiries. That way, a serious buyer doesn’t miss out because someone was faster with the money, but the ghosters don’t waste too much of your time (or your serious buyers’ time).

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I love this approach! As a seller that currently has no animals for sale, I am in the odd phase of advertising myself and getting myself out there so people know of me at least. I mean, I even am getting my logo printed on car magnets lol. I will post a picture of the “Christian Constrictors” murdered out G37x once the magnets come in :rofl:.

I mean, here is a sneak peek of one of the decals 😜

I think the best mind frame to have in selling is that people should know you by the type of business you run. I understand that running a business is hard but you are working with real people (the good and the bad ones). I wish that everyone would end up buying (if it would be a good home for the boa) but at least my company got an inquiry :wink:.

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As that guy that only has the one animals for sale, and I really don’t want to ship this guy, Ive been ghosted A LOT. Ive had 4 people all set to come pick him up when disaster struck and they needed to make an emergency move to Bolivia, or have heart surgery.

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I’ve just accepted it as part of the dance at this point. Whenever I do get a message from someone interested I automatically assume they aren’t going to follow-thru so that when they do it’s not a surprise or a disappointment. I’m not sure at what point it became such a common thing though and I agree there is a courtesy aspect to it that has really gone by the wayside. I have no problems with people asking questions or wanting more info/pictures (whether they buy or not) and I would hope that they would want to know some more info before outright buying. A simple “thanks for your time” or “I’m going to hold off” is a completely fine response for me.

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It’s all part of it. Especially now since things are slowing down considerably.

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As a tech head and current buyer, intended seller, there could be ways to at least encourage the OPs desires. Which imo is understandable. Provide buttons that kind of let the inquirer “off the hook” so to speak. A “Thank you, I’ll get back to you.” And/or a “I’ve made another purchase” buttons may help with that. It’s a bit more automated and let’s the prospective buyer provide and end to the discussion when prompted. Even having MM send a request when the seller is curious where the discussion is at would make sense to me, and not seem intrusive as a potential buyer personally. Idk, just some thoughts as someone who has purchased more than 1 snake on MM and inquired and not bought.

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Hi @graysnake! I just finished reading this thread and I wanted to add my 2 cents. I checked out your store logo and your animals for sale. As a pet, owner I have been surfing MM and purchasing animals since 2020. Even though I am a small fish in the big sea of the reptile world and no expert by any means, imho, your animals are beautiful, every one of them! And imho, your prices are very reasonable. The information you provide in the descriptions of each animal is impressive and I love the fact that your animals are eating frozen thawed. And your reviews are 100 % positive. I did not check to see if you take PayPal but if you do then that’s the cherry on the top.

So, as a pet buyer, I really could care less about your store logo, because I care more about the animal I am buying. Your animals are your logo. Your animals are beautiful, your prices are reasonable, the descriptions provided are extensive and your animals eat frozen thawed. And your reviews are 100% positive.

The bottom line is if I ever decide to buy another ball python, I will buy one from you in a New York skinny minute because of all the above facts. I have a small collection of 11 various snakes and now I have a yearning for a 12th……

I know that this post doesn’t really coordinate with your problem or the advice given. I just wanted to give you, imho, my perspective on your store and all the good things about it. Unfortunately things are so depressive now and people are pinching pennies or window shopping/surfing only. I feel for all of you reputable breeders out there.

Best regards

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@spottedbull yeah that happens to me ALL the time! I am either on the way to Bolivia or headed for a transplant! Lol!

I did actually have a heart cath last Wednesday! Lol!:frog::snake::lizard::thinking:

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I had a little chat with John about this and how we can improve and he had a great idea up his sleeve that may reduce ghosting :muscle:

Buyers could have a limit to the number of open inquiries they can have at once. So say the limit is 3 inquiries, on the 4th you will get a notice saying something like… “maximum amount of inquiries already open, you must close any old inquiries before you can inquire about this animal”

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I think this is hard, because some buyers are seriously considering buying more than just one or even four animals within a season. Even myself, someone who does not have infinite resources was inquiring seriously on three animals just this last season. I like idea of trying to help with the ghosting but I feel this way it’s going to limit buyers and seller too.

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