When a Buyer Won’t Call You Back 

what to do when a client wont call you backDoes this sound familiar?

You had an engaging conversation with a prospective client. You built rapport, showed that you grasped the situation, and the client said that you’d be a good fit for the project.

You both agreed that it made sense to draft a proposal, which you wrote and sent to your new client.

Then…nothing happens.

You don’t get any response. After a couple of days, you’re wondering what’s up. The disappearing client syndrome happens all too often, and remains an unfortunate reality of our business.

The disappearing client syndrome happens all too often, and remains an unfortunate reality of our business.

When a client goes silent, maybe it’s because your proposal went astray. Or it could be that the person is too busy, away on vacation, dealing with a personal issue, too chicken to say no to you–or just a jerk.

Whatever the reason for the lack of response, forget trying to speculate why it’s happening. Chances are you’ll be wrong.

Instead, try a different set of questions. Do you want to work with someone who won’t make time to acknowledge your proposal? And how would you manage if, at some point during the project, your client gave you the silent treatment again?

I’m not suggesting that you walk away from an unresponsive client without attempting to re-connect. But, put a limit on how far you’ll go to get a response.

Let’s say you haven’t heard from your client after a couple of days. It’s possible that your proposal didn’t get to the client or it landed in a spam folder. Most business people average between 80 and 90 emails a day and spend up to half their time in meetings, so your proposal could be buried in your client’s email box.

I’m not suggesting that you walk away from an unresponsive client without attempting to re-connect. But, put a limit on how far you’ll go to get a response.

At this point, make contact with your prospective client by email, phone, or whatever way makes sense to you.

In this first communication, give the client the benefit of the doubt about what happened when you sent your proposal. Politely ask if your proposal was received and attach another copy for your client’s convenience.

Use this opportunity to summarize what you agreed to and suggest the next steps. In many cases, a friendly reminder is all it takes to get a proposal back on track.

If that follow-up doesn’t get a response after a few days, don’t give up. Give it another shot.

By the time you’re ready to make contact for the second time, accept that you may never get a response. Still, your communication should re-emphasize your interest in working together, refer to previously discussed next steps, and suggest a subsequent meeting to discuss the project.

For clients who are serious about working with you, this second follow-up usually gets a reaction. If, once again, you get no response after a few days, assume that the deal is circling the drain.

If, once again, you get no response after a few days, assume that the deal is circling the drain.

After you’ve expended the energy to draft a proposal and follow-ups, it’s hard to let go of an opportunity. But that’s exactly what you should prepare to do.

For one last time, try to make contact.

Let your client know that you’re still interested in the project, but you’ll stop sending follow-up messages. You might say, “I’m assuming that you’ve gone in a different direction than we discussed. Given that, I’ll stop emailing you about this project.”

Be sure to let the client know that you’re available to talk further. At this point, though, don’t spend any more time chasing this opportunity–unless the client contacts you.

Some people say you should do something gimmicky with the final follow-up, for instance, leaving an incomplete voice mail to encourage a call back, or calling the client during off-hours, hoping to get lucky. Others advise you to send an email that gently pokes fun at the person who’s not responding.

That sales advice looks good on paper, but fails in practice. Such manipulative sales techniques aim to force the buyer into a conversation, which the seller hopes to use to convince the client to sign on the dotted line.

This approach represents everything that most consultants (and clients) loathe about selling. If you haven’t gotten the client’s attention with your ideas, qualifications, relationship, and value, a gimmicky voice mail isn’t going to help.

If you haven’t gotten the client’s attention with your ideas, qualifications, relationship, and value, a gimmicky voice mail isn’t going to help.

Besides, in the scenario above, you’ve attempted multiple contacts and waited long enough for a response. You have your answer. The project isn’t going anywhere right now.

Legendary boxer, Muhammad Ali, once said, “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” For consultants, one of those pebbles is the unresponsive client.

The opportunity cost of chasing a reluctant client rarely makes sense. So, don’t squander your time and mental bandwidth pursuing people who probably aren’t going to engage you. Instead, do your follow-up, learn from the encounter, and turn your attention elsewhere.

Why You Must Always Be Growing Your Audience

email marketing for consultantsIf you’re like most consultants, you’re familiar with the sense of panic that sets in when you are staring down a dwindling project pipeline.

It’s no fun, and yet we find ourselves in that position over and over.

There’s no secret formula for avoiding this problem entirely, but you can make it a lot less likely to happen with a well-known, but underused marketing idea.

It doesn’t matter if your business is humming along or you’re just starting out. You should be systematically growing an audience for your ideas.

You may think of that audience as your community, fans, tribe, followers, readers, or subscribers. Whatever you call them, I’m talking about the people who are interested in what you have to say and will listen to you.

It doesn’t matter if your business is humming along or you’re just starting out. You should be systematically growing an audience for your ideas.

They could be clients you’ve worked with, people on your contact list, or social media followers. If you’re not growing that audience, you’re leaving opportunities on the table—lots of them.

I’m not talking about being more visible to the people who already know you, though that’s a good thing. I’m saying that you should work to extend your reach more broadly within the markets you serve.

Why? Because it will bring new clients to your practice.

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