Clients Not Responding?

Your dream client asked you to send her a proposal …

She told you what you have to offer is exactly what she needs …

You put in your best effort, read through the proposal and tweaked it numerous times, attached samples you were sure would knock her socks off …


Rebecca Matter here — a marketer with over 15 years of experience working with freelancers. And without even seeing your proposal, I can narrow it down to three reasons why she most likely isn’t responding.

And they have nothing to do with your ability.

Why am I so sure?

Because if your proposal or writing samples were bad, you would have heard back by now. It’s very easy for a marketer to say no.

So if you haven’t heard back yet, there’s a good chance it has nothing to even do with you … or your ability.

For starters, she could just be busy.

Seems like a simple answer I know, but it’s often the truth.

Marketers are notorious multitaskers, always working on dozens of projects at any given time. That’s not to say moving forward on your project isn’t a priority on their list, but when marketers become overloaded by “fires” that have to be put out, or deadlines they have to meet TODAY, a response to you can easily be put off until “tomorrow.”

Until, of course, the project you’re working on (or hope to work on), becomes one of those big deadlines.

The next reason she hasn’t responded?

Take a look at your proposal or email.

Is it easy to understand? Can she quickly tell what you’re proposing, or what you need her to do to move forward?

Marketers are scanners — often moving fast from one thing to the next. And if they can’t quickly figure out what you’re trying to tell them — or you’re adding work to their plates — it’s easy to push off a response until they “have more time.” (Which, ironically, is never.)

Says AWAI’s own Marketing Manager, Jaclyn Mehler …

“I hire freelancers to make my life easier. If I have to do even more work to figure out what someone is offering or proposing, it’s far too easy for me to put it off.”

The third most common reason a marketer hasn’t responded yet is that the project you’re hoping to work on has been put on hold, or has been trumped by something more urgent or profitable. And until your project is the next most urgent or profitable thing on her list, you may not hear from her.

Fortunately, all three of these scenarios can be turned around with well-planned follow-ups.

Which leads me to a quick pop quiz …

How many times do you think it’s okay to follow-up with a client — regardless of whether or not you’ve worked with them yet?

Do you know the answer?

I get this question all the time from freelancers.

And when I give them my answer, they let out a sigh of relief …

Until they say stop.

Now, I’m not saying to go out and pummel prospects and past clients with emails.

But I am saying that well-executed follow-ups are actually perceived as valuable to many marketers. And without them, you may never move past the proposal stage with a client.

That’s why learning how to effectively follow-up is essential to a successful freelance business.

And this week, I’m going to show you the ropes, so you’ll get the answers you need, and help your clients move forward, without fearing that you’ll lose the job by being a nuisance.

I’ll even give you best practices for writing follow-up emails, as well as share some follow-up ideas that will actually increase your value in your client’s mind.

And later in the week, I’ll cover one more reason your client may not be responding. It’s a sensitive topic for some, but one that I feel I need to hit head-on, because I witness it happen on a weekly basis.

Remember, just because you sent in a proposal doesn’t mean the initial steps are done. Not following up — or following up haphazardly — with potential and past clients is a big mistake freelancers often make.

And in his article, 4 Mistakes to Avoid When Marketing Your Freelance Business, Nick Usborne explains four more.

Check it out, and if you have any questions for me about following up with clients, feel free to post them in the comments section below.

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Published: March 26, 2012

6 Responses to “Clients Not Responding?”

  1. Rebecca, Thanks for the articles on getting a client to respond after you meet with them and send out a proposal. I feel quite challenged by this part of the process.
    I've partnered up with a woman who does websites and knows all the ins and outs of getting a new client. I'm learning alot from her and we're sharing clients which is awesome. I'm still a little nervous to go on a client meeting by myself but I'm sure it will get easier soon! Any thoughts?

    Guest (edna)

  2. Rebecca, Always enjoy your articles.
    The follow up is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of any proposal. How many of us have created what we consider to be a brilliant proposal and then just email it in. We wait for a reply and nothing happens. The client on the other side may be having second thoughts on the concept or too busy to evaluate your proposal as you point out. Following up three times on a poor, less-qualified proposal will get you farther than no follow up on a great proposal.

    Guest (Geoff Wood)

  3. Hi Rebecca thanks for such a good article i am working as a Client Relationship Manager and I know the how much it is important to do the follow up. Your article prove to be very helpful for my team.

    Thank you and keep posting.

    Guest (Ankit Bhardwaj)

  4. I had sent an email twice to the client but no response yet.

    Could anyone send me the sample follow-up mail?

    Thanks in advance!

    Guest (Bhanu)

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