My freelance business, in its current form, has been around for six years now. And for the first three of the six, I chased up on every quote I sent out. I e-mailed, called, sometimes even texted – because I felt I deserved some feedback. Or, at the very least, to know that the prospective client had decided not to go with my cost estimate, and why.
For the last three years, however, I’ve backed off. I send the quote through… and that’s that. If they want me to do the work, they’ll let me know. Eventually. And hopefully I’ll still be available.
Vanessa Clark wrote a fantastic column for Freelancentral, entitled ‘The Silent Treatment (or Zen and The Art of Stress-Free Pitching)‘ – inspired by Peter Bregman‘s similar piece: ‘When Your Voicemails and Emails Go Unanswered, What Should You Do?‘. So I checked out Peter’s piece, with which I agree wholeheartedly. His position?
“Follow up once, after the meeting, and the moment you send that follow up — not a week later but as soon as you hit send or hang up the phone — assume they’re not interested. They’ve said “no.” Close the book. Take the follow up off your to do list. Move on to the next thing. If they do call or email back, it will be a nice surprise and you can discuss how to proceed. If they don’t reach out, you haven’t stalled in your other work, knocked your head into a brick wall, or wasted any energy stressing about it. You can always send other information unrelated to the open issue — articles, updates, referrals — that might be of interest and deepen the relationship. But don’t follow up on the open issue.”
For many freelancers, this is an entirely new way of doing things. You may find it uncomfortable at first; even painful. But trust me – there’s a lot of power in making the move, confirming receipt once and once only and then taking that big step back, so that you can focus totally on what you’re currently busy with.