May 8, 2017
Following up on proposals like a pro
Reader Paul Minors wrote in to ask:
What is your advice to following up with a client once you’ve sent a proposal? Do you have any best practices around how often you email them asking for feedback (as I want to strike a balance between keeping momentum high but not being too annoying), do you call? Would love to get your thoughts on this.
My advice is to include an expiration date in the proposal.
Doing so has several advantages:
- Adds a bit of urgency to the matter
- Positions you as “in-demand”
- Gives you a perfect excuse to follow up if they go dark
I usually set my expiry date two weeks from the date the proposal was submitted.
If I haven’t heard anything back after 7 days, I’ll email with something polite but brief like:
“Hi Bob. Just wanted to confirm that you got my proposal last week. Thanks, —J”
If I haven’t heard back or don’t have a decision the day before the expiry date, I’ll email something like:
“Hi Bob. Just an FYI - My proposal expires in 24 hours. If you guys want to move forward please let me know ASAP. I can’t guarantee pricing or availability after tomorrow. —J”
(NOTE: Adjust the tone of this email based on your relationship with the buyer. Try to be polite and helpful, but firm. Be careful not to release “the stench of desperation”)
As with most of my advice, sticking to this approach is difficult if you’re desperate for the work.
If that’s the situation you’re in, it will make your life a lot easier if you establish what I call “keep the lights on” money (i.e., predictable baseline cash flow) first.
P.S. Not sure how to establish predictable baseline cash flow? I’m available for a limited number of 1-on-1 coaching calls each month -> Book a call and I’ll get you started