You know the feeling: You have a brand new client or an interested prospect. They’ve engaged with you, gushed about your capabilities and even insisted on more information. So, you craft the perfect email, hit send and wait for their reply. As hours pass with no response, you start to lose confidence. One day rolls into five as you stare blankly at your screen, hitting refresh and rechecking your sent mail to confirm that your message was sent.
Believe me, this happens all the time.
In fact, the most frequent question I receive on client conflict goes something like this: “My new client was very impressed with us and ready to move on a project. Now they’ve gone silent. How can I get them to respond to my emails?”
For starters, don’t increase reputation risk by making one of these all-too-common mistakes:
- Calling them out. It’s tempting to remind a client or prospect about how long it’s been since you last heard from them, but avoid this tactic. It tells them you’re not as in-demand as they are. Plus, nobody likes taking a guilt trip.
- Slashing prices. When a client fails to jump at an offer, we immediately assume it’s because of cost. A sheepish note from you about other, more affordable options won’t enhance your credibility. It diminishes it. If you call your value into question, why shouldn’t your client?
- Following up without an “ask.” This is the most common and most damaging error. Dashing off a “just following up to see if you’re still interested in working with us” message is counterintuitive and will more than likely raise doubts.
Here’s what you need to do instead:
- Avoid the waiting game. Get on your client’s calendar while you have their ear. Rather than agreeing to merely send information, schedule a meeting. For example: “I’ll send everything first thing tomorrow morning. And while I have you on the phone, let’s schedule a call to go over it.”
- Be creative. Provide fresh information or insights on how you can add value. For instance you could say, “I was on your website this morning, and I have an idea about how to boost your click-through rates. Here are my openings for the rest of the week. Let me know what time works for you and I’ll call you then.”
- Write subject lines that get emails opened. Steer clear of generic, overused subject lines like “Next steps,” “Following up” or “Checking in.” These will work better: “Time to talk?”, “Idea for you” or “A few reminders…”.
- Get face-to-face. Send an email or leave a voicemail letting the recipient know you’ll be in their area later in the day and will stop in. More than likely, they won’t want you to make a trip if they’re not going to be in the office, so they’ll counter with a time for a call.
Before you act …
Tempted to give up? Don’t. Most professionals in decision-making situations are overworked and under-the-gun. Focus your communications on how you can make their lives easier—and their companies more profitable. And leverage personal connections. With some relationship finesse—and the right tactics—perseverance will pay off.
If you enjoyed this edition of Spill the Truth, drop me a note below to share your thoughts.