You had a great conversation with someone, they seemed really interested! …And promptly fell off the face of the earth. This is so common that it’s part of the job. Here are a few tips to getting your client out of the silent treatment and back to communication.
Consistent, friendly emails. Sending a “friendly reminder” weekly or every other week may help your silent client understand that you’re not giving up. If you had a great conversation about property, investments, and future plans they may expect their sales agent to use aggressive tactics. After the client has become silent, once-a-week emails or phone calls should be your max limit. Any more than that and you’ll look desperate, not aggressive.
Monthly newsletter. No time to pursue with weekly or bi-weekly personalized emails? Add this silent client to your monthly newsletter. These will provide monthly reminders of you and your business. Did they unsubscribe? There are laws against sending emails to unsubscribers, but there’s no law against sending physical mailers! Put together a series of postcards or letters and be sure your silent client is on the distribution list.
Provide an “out”. Leave a voicemail that simply states, “If you’re no longer interested, it’s OK. I just need confirmation before I can cross you off my list.” You may actually receive an email or phone call explaining what changed. If you’re waiting for an invoice, I suggest not providing an “out”.
Expecting payment from a silent client? Don’t be rude! Only request payment if the invoice is late. It’s annoying to be reminded that a bill will be due soon. Are they late? A friendly worded email about not receiving payment with the attached invoice should be enough. Did you not receive payment for a few months? There are agencies and law offices that provide services for small businesses to collect from a non-responding client. Don’t bother contacting one of these organization unless the invoice is over $1,000, otherwise it’s not quite worth the fees and effort involved.
Frankly, when a client has decided to go AWOL, you have few options! There’s a fine balance between being aggressive and looking desperate. After the silence has begun, a good rule-of-thumb is 1 contact per week, either email or phone. If there’s a long silence, add them to your monthly newsletter, either email, mail or both. If a client isn’t speaking they have either, (1) put the decision on hold, (2) decided to go with someone else, or (3) cancelled the project. Staying top-of-mind with monthly communications will keep your business in their minds if they decide to change theirs.