💭 A quick note on follow-ups...
Updated: Jan 27, 2022
“Hi Alycia - I answered you a couple of weeks ago via the Proposal page. It said you would receive notification in your email?”
Friends, today I want to talk about the concept of FOLLOWUP.
After I have a discovery call with a prospective client (and I feel like it’s a good fit for us to work together), I will craft a customized proposal for them to review. I include all the details and scope of the project and then build and send it to them via my accounting platform. I’ve used this method for years.
As I’m sure many of you who are also in service-based businesses know all-too-well...
sometimes emails and proposals simply get buried. Everyone is very busy, and sometimes life happens and folks get overwhelmed.
I never take it personally, because I know that sometimes I, too, need a zillion nudges/reminders before finally moving forward on something! So if I don’t hear back right away, I always make it a point to check-in with my prospective clients several times after I send a proposal.
The other reason I do this is because (several times) I have ended up eventually booking projects after periodically following up for ages and ages. Once, it was TWO FREAKING YEARS later! Hey, listen — like I said, life happens. And guess what: they ALWAYS apologize and they thank me for nudging them and keeping the reminders coming. Believe me, when I first started my business, it was tough to start this habit!! I never want to be seen as annoying or gross or “salesy” blah blah, you know what I mean. Sidebar — heard this awesome quote from Jen Gottlieb last week
“Self-promotion is not gross…it’s your responsibility.”
I LOVE ITTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!
Ok anyway, back to the point — just think of how many damn emails you get each week… each day! I had to learn that even the most eager and excited prospect can get distracted. It’s all good. But by remaining visible in their inbox, I’m bumping myself up to be front of mind for when they ARE finally ready.
The other cool thing that following up does is bringing things to an end!
Let’s be honest, of course sometimes clients pass on a proposal or decide to go in another direction. And by following up until I get an answer, I am now able to close out and archive those proposals and move on. This clears space and brain cells for dreamy clients and dreamy projects that are just around the bend.
(Btw, have you heard of “The Magic Email”? You can check it out at themagicemail.com/ but basically, marketer/educator Kai Davis created a very basic email message that literally gets a result almost EVERY single time. His tagline for it is: “Stop being ignored and start getting shit done.” I encourage you to go check out the very simple wording of his email but the part that I think I enjoy the most is that it lets your prospective client know that you [the prospective service provider] have moved on. For some wonky reason, this usually makes them spring into action! Whether they end up being a “LET’S DO IT” or a “THANKS ANYWAY”, you have your answer and can finally move on. I do use this email once in a while, or at least pull some inspiration from it. ✨📧✨)
So hey, remember how I mentioned sometimes "LIFE HAPPENS"?
Well, that happens to me, too. And sometimes, I lose track of when I last followed up with someone. Or more time has gone by than I intended. Or sometimes, technology has a glitch. Sometimes, all of the above! Which is what happened to me the other day.
It had been more than a month since I had sent off a proposal to this one prospective client and I hadn’t heard anything since. This person had been very excited and I thought it was strange that I hadn’t heard back. I should have sent an email sooner but I figured they were just busy. I checked in this morning via email and immediately got this response:
“Hi Alycia - I answered you a couple of weeks ago via the Proposal page. It said you would receive notification in your email? Is there a place there for messages? Because now I can’t find the answer.”
Omg! I felt horrible!
I double and triple-checked my inbox and my proposal platform but did not have any messages since sending it.
They relied on the technology I trusted and it crapped out on us, unbeknownst to us both!
Here I was, waiting to hear back from them. And here they are, wondering why the heck I’m not responding. Ugh! I should have trusted my gut and sent over an email a week after I sent the proposal to check-in. Of course, I immediately sent an apology and I will be submitting this to tech support as well because that is SO not cool.
I wanted to share this story with you all to show you the importance of following up. You can do this by using a CRM, or even something low-tech like setting reminders on your phone or writing on a calendar.
By following up, you are keeping the conversation active until you hear back. It takes patience, but it can be very worthwhile. Do you follow up? What is your process? Or do you click ‘send’ and let the proposal float into the ether and cross your fingers?
Btw: The followup to my followup story? Proposal accepted, and contract signed!