What do you do when a client goes silent?
A few weeks ago, A client approached me about a project they needed help on. This project was set to begin the next week and they would need my services for the entire month.
We went over the details, a proposal was sent, and then nothing.
The back and forth conversations ended as fast as they had started.
I sent several follow up emails. They finally sent an email saying someone would be in touch to start the project.
That never happened. The start date has come and gone, and I’ve still not heard back from them.
Has that ever happened to you?
You wonder what you did wrong and where the heck they went!
The reality is, this happens. A lot.
That's why it's important to know what to do when you're faced with a client that stops responding.
Make your business irresistible.
The client showed an interest in your product or service because they had a problem. The only solution to that problem should be your business. You don’t want someone to run off to your competition, do you?
Make sure you tell them how your product will meet their needs.
Make it sounds so wonderful that they have no other option but to choose YOU to meet their needs.
The initial follow-up.
I’ve been guilty of not following up with someone because I worried that I would be “bothering them.” The truth is I wasn’t and the follow up is what made them finally respond.
How long should you wait to follow up?
That all depends on the project and the needs of your client. If they need something done right away, follow up the next day. If the project doesn’t need to start for a few weeks, you can wait a little while to follow up. I never go more than a week before following up with someone. This is because I want to make sure the project details are still fresh in their mind.
What kind of follow up method should I use?
I always like to start with a short and simple follow-up email.
I wanted to follow up with you about the awesome project for your business. You had mentioned you wanted me to do X, Y, and Z by a specific date. I want to make sure we have enough time to complete everything by the date you chose. Would you still like to move forward with the project?
I don’t use those exact words, but you get the picture.
When writing a follow-up email, make sure you mention the project they contacted you about. Also, remind them of the due date for the project. When you do this, it’s a friendly way of saying “if you want your project finished on time, you need to get in touch with me.”
Following up, again.
If they don’t respond to the first follow up email, give it a few days and follow up again. You might want to try giving them a call instead. This time I would say something like:
My schedule is getting booked up. In order to complete your project by the due date, I need to hear back from you by this date. If I don’t, I will take that as you not needing my services and I will move on to other clients.
If you decide later that you would like my help, a new proposal and terms of service will be drawn up.
With this follow up I’m a bit firm about the project due date and my time. My time is valuable. There isn’t always a guarantee that I will have time to jump on a project the very minute someone contacts me. Your time is valuable too!
If they still don’t get in touch with you after this, it could be time to move on.
It’s time to move on.
When you’ve attempted to follow up several times and keep getting no response, that’s your sign that it’s time to move on. Focus that energy on finding new clients that actually need your services.
There are so many reasons why a client suddenly stops communicating with you.
They simply forgot. Then forgot again.
They don’t want your services after all and don’t know how to say it.
The price wasn’t right for them.
The person in charge of hiring you hasn’t responded.
The client is sick or injured and hasn’t been checking their email.
Always keep your follow ups and communication professional and friendly. There could be a legitimate reason they haven’t responded. You don’t want to burn any bridges with a potential client. They could come back later and need your services. For real this time.
They could even be your best client yet!
I usually follow up on two different occasions. If they don’t respond after that, I move on.
Nothing is more frustrating than having a client go silent. When a client contacts you, make your product or service sound so irresistible they can’t live without it. If the client stops responding to you, follow up with a quick email or call. When that doesn’t work, take the hint and move on.