There is nothing more frustrating than when a prospective client pulls a Houdini act. You’ve met them in person, discussed the project a few times via email and on the phone, put together a proposal, discussed the proposal, heard the prospect say more than once, “I’m so excited to get going!” and then – poof. They’re gone.
You follow up a few times, but … nothing.
At this point, restarting the conversation is tricky. You don’t want to look like you’re stalking them or are desperate for their business, but you want to find out what happened – and if this project is actually going to happen.
Based on my experience, here’s how to restart conversations with prospective clients:
Send an “Are you OK?” email
I always get a response when the subject line reads “Are you OK?” My message is short and goes something like, “I wanted to check in and make sure everything’s OK. The last time we talked, everything sounded fine – and you were especially excited about our project together. Hope to hear from you soon!”
Notice that I don’t ask for anything other than confirmation that their health and happiness are both good. I also sound like I’m genuinely concerned for their well-being, because I am. I’m a mom – I can’t help it.
Forward an article
My mom still clips articles from my hometown newspaper (or The New York Times) and mails them to me. It’s so sweet. I try to do the same for prospects and clients – only I do it electronically.
And the article doesn’t have to be about work-related stuff, either. It could be about vacationing in Capri – and your prospect mentioned that he’s always wanted to go there. Either way, remembering this small detail and then taking the time to send the article will elicit a response.
Offer to make an introduction
When you meet someone that you think your prospect should also meet, make the introduction. You’ll get a response, a thank you, and maybe an introduction to someone in that person’s network.
Mention them on social media
Maybe you retweet an article they wrote – and add a nice comment – or mention them in a Facebook or LinkedIn group you both belong to. Or you comment on their Instagram. Either way, if they are active on that social media channel, they will notice it. You might not get a response, but you’ll definitely be on their radar again.
How do you restart conversations with prospects who go “poof?”
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