Freelancers Never Fail to Follow Up

Several years ago I met the owner of a professional services firm at a business lunch.

We got to talking and he asked me what I did. I told him how I worked with business owners to help improve their marketing and bring in more leads for their business. He was interested and said that he could use some help as well.

Good start and a worthwhile lunch I thought.

I later found out that another person I knew at that lunch had actually told this business owner about my work and put in a few good words … they had already started to grease the wheels for me (even though I didn’t know it).

Sounds like a simple story of how I landed another client, right? Wrong. There’s much more to this story.

After this business owner and I talked I told him I’d be in touch. There was too much good food and drink around and many others to talk to … so we said our goodbyes and the day went on.

The next day I sent the business owner an email and let him know we could setup a time to meet. Yet I didn’t receive a reply back.

A couple of days went by and still nothing. A week later I shot him over another mail. Still the same thing, no reply.

For many new to the consulting business this can be a time when you get all down on yourself. After that initial talk you’re all high on the joy of landing a new client.

But it doesn’t work like that.

You quickly learn that a new client is not a new client until you’ve deposited their check in the bank. Got it?

Seriously, don’t ever count your chickens before they hatch … it’s too painful and emotionally draining to get all excited about something that has yet to materialize.

And that’s why I wasn’t overly bothered and concerned that I wasn’t hearing back.

Besides, I had plenty of other business going on already.

It took another couple of emails checking in to see how things were going and over a month to have our first meeting.

I picked up the phone one day and got a hold of this business owner. Now, many people would think that he’d be all pissed because of my constant nagging…however, to me that’s called follow-up.

And guess what happened?

The owner gets on the phone and says, “Michael, thanks for calling and not giving up on me. I’ve been so busy but have wanted to get together and talk about our marketing.

It’s simple, always follow-up.

Don’t call everyday. Don’t get all worked up. Just make a note in your schedule to continually follow-up with people that have shown interest in working with you.

You’re going to love the positive impact this will have on your business. Go on, give it a try!

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  • Rick Peters

    Michael, that's true. It's easy to give up when you don't hear back from the person you are trying to reach. This is good story to prove otherwise.

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  • So very true yet so difficult to internalize when starting your business, any business: "You quickly learn that a new client is not a new client until you’ve deposited their check in the bank."

  • Not counting chickens before they hatch isn't just a lesson for consultants – I have trouble getting my own consulting clients to understand that. Follow up is one of those things that everyone talks about and touts but very few actually deliver on. It's great to see a story like this and the success that came with it because all too often people get over emotional, spiteful and just end up giving up on the prospective client. Like all things you have to take it in moderation and be systematic. Nice work!

    • Nunzio – thanks!

      I'd welcome stories from others on this topic too.