Mastering the art of the follow-up: tips for freelance designers

Have you ever pitched to a potential client or perhaps responded to a request for proposal and then never heard back from anyone on the project? If you don’t hear back from a potential client, it might have been your fault, not theirs.

Mastering the art of the follow-up is a difficult thing. But with the tips you’ll find below, you’ll be landing new jobs and finding new clients left and right.

Assuming you did great in the interview, submitted a rocking request for proposal, or gave an awesome pitch, here are some ways you can master the art of the follow-up.

The first follow-up email

The first follow up email should happen as soon as possible right after meeting with your potential client.

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Briefly review key points discussed in your meeting to show you were paying attention. Then be sure to attach any information they may have requested from you in the meeting.

Lastly, express your excitement for the project and thank them for considering you. Make a promise about being the best candidate and close.

Make the email only as long as it needs to be. A super-long email can make you seem needy. Also be sure to avoid too much flattery. Don’t be fake. Be sincere and honest when expressing interest in working with them.

The follow-up phone call

If you still haven’t heard from your potential client within a few days, consider giving them a phone call. Don’t call over and over again if they don’t answer. Simply leave one brief message expressing your interest in connecting with them.

Making the first phone call shows initiative and helps them reconnect with you as a person instead of words in an email. Sometimes a phone call can be just the small motivation a potential client needs to wrap up the process and hire you.

Another follow-up email

If, after a week or so, your potential client still hasn’t responded to your email or phone call, feel free to send them another email. This one should be extremely short with a message explaining your interest in hearing from them and offering any help they may need in making a decision.

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Sometimes potential clients just need help moving the process forward, sometimes they have more questions about your ability to fulfill their design needs, and the list goes on.

This is the time to resolve any doubt they may have been dealing with for the last week or so. Make them confident you can do a good job for them.

One last phone call

After a week and a half to two weeks, make one last phone call. When I say last, I don’t necessarily mean you’re giving up on them.

You’re simply leaving the ball in their court.

For those of you not familiar with sports euphemisms, you’re leaving it up to them to call or contact you. It’s possible they will contact you, but you have more important things to do for your design business than chase down clients who are uninterested.

To use another euphemism: There are plenty of fish in the sea.

If you feel so inclined, put them on a list of potential clients, file it away, and when you experience times of client famine, bring out the list and make a few more calls.

What follow-up secrets do you have?

I know you all have some great tips on making the follow-up process as successful as possible. What tips can you share with the rest of us?
Share your wisdom. Leave a comment.

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