Many times we wrap up a call about our services with someone who seemed very interested in buying. The conversation was fluid. What we have to offer seemed like a perfect fit for their needs. They even asked us to send them a proposal. We do so right away, expecting to hear back shortly.

For whatever reason, a week or so goes by and they still haven’t gotten back to you. Crickets start chirping whenever you check your inbox. You know that your prices aren’t exorbitant and you consistently deliver above average work. You’re wondering what went wrong. After replaying the conversation in your head, you’re still puzzled. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Push through the awkwardness

If you’re new to the sales process, just understand that this can happen. Outside of feeling a little uncomfortable, you might be wondering how long you should wait until after the initial proposal is sent before reconnecting with the person.

A week is a standard amount of time to follow up. It isn’t an unreasonable thing to do because they did, in fact, sound interested. Send a follow up email. If you’re not sure what to write, Hubspot tends to have tons of sales email templates for multiple scenarios such as follow up. This way you’ll have a sample  to get an idea of what to write. They’ll even distinguish between a first follow up, second follow up, etc. This can truly help you improve your closing rate.

2. Reality check yourself

We also have to remember that even though the call went well and the person sounded interested, they asked for a proposal which means you’re still in the “maybe zone”. While it’s disappointing to be in limbo land not knowing if they will  work with you or not, remember that technically they aren’t your client yet. Many people are just window shopping. They could be looking for a ballpark figure to get an idea of how much this type of service costs. They might not even be ready to have the work done. They could have just started doing their research.

3. Accept it as a part of the process.

Though it might not seem polite when people don’t come out and say they are just getting estimates, sometimes they will loop back to you when they are actually ready to buy. It could even be months later. That’s why a follow up email is appropriate and an essential part of the sales process. It can give you a better indication of the person’s plans if they get back to you or let you know that perhaps, they weren’t really a qualified lead. You also want to make sure that you are constantly filling your sales funnel with leads that can in fact turn into paying clients. As Barbara Corcoran often says, “Everything is a numbers game.” So you want to put your name out there as much as you can to always have enough work. If you’re networking, attending conferences, presenting or directly reaching out to people, you will eventually pull in more clients and won’t feel bummed out if someone doesn’t get back to you right away.

The Bottom Line

Though this might sound like a post for beginners, knowing the importance of following up can help anyone in multiple scenarios. Whether you’re a podcast guest booker, freelance writer or dog groomer, having a system in place to follow up on a regular basis will help you land more clients and get you more comfortable with the process in general.


Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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