Following up on leads is crucial for your freelancing business. Indeed, many freelancers lose business because they fail to follow up.
I definitely don’t want to diminish the importance of following up on your business leads. In most cases, any time that you make contact with an interested prospect you should definitely take that next step and follow through with the lead.
However, occasionally follow up can be over done or done incorrectly. In these situations, being overzealous can actually hurt your freelancing business. Here are some instances when it is inappropriate to follow up.
When You’ve Been Asked to Stop
There’s nothing more annoying than someone who continues to contact you after you’ve asked them to stop.
At least once a week a well-known phone service provider calls our home number and tries to persuade us to switch Internet providers, despite the fact that we’ve told them to stop. We are completely satisfied with our current service, as my husband has explained repeatedly.
Yet, they continue to call. I am sure that they think they are following up with us, but what they are actually doing is annoying us and invading our privacy.
If someone has opted out of receiving email marketing materials or has asked you to stop contacting you, you need to honor that. Not doing so is not only bad business, in some cases it may be against the law.
When You Haven’t Done Your Homework
Fairly often, I’m contacted by someone who I’ve never heard of who wants to sell me a product or services that I have no interest in and no need for. It’s important to learn as much as you can about your prospects. One size definitely does not fit all.
If I respond to these one of these “follow up” contacts, it quickly becomes evident that the person contacting me hasn’t done their homework. Despite the fact that my freelancing business is promoted online and I often discuss my business openly, these marketers seem to know very little about my business.
Just a few minutes spent reading several of my blog posts would be enough to tell them a little bit about my business, yet their contact makes it evident that they haven’t even bothered to do this.
If you want to sell your freelancing services to an individual or an organization, take the time to do your homework and really learn what their needs are before you contact them.
When You Are Really Cold Calling
There’s no doubt that cold calling works well for some freelancers. When handled well, cold calls can sometimes lead to new freelancing clients.
But, if you are cold calling someone, don’t pretend that you are following up with them or that they should somehow know you already or that you have already met somewhere. Nothing turns me (and probably also your prospective client) off more than insincerity or feigned familiarity.
Instead, be positive, friendly, and upfront about your business opportunity when you make your initial contact. Remember that your first contact with a prospect can set the tone for any future relationship. So, be honest and sincere.
Handling Your Leads the Right Way
Instead of making these mistakes, you can learn to handle your prospective client leads the right way. The following points will help:
- Identify your ideal client and project. This will help you determine which leads are the strongest.
- Respond quickly and courteously to all requests for information. Having a plan to do so will help keep potential clients from slipping through the cracks.
- Really listen to what your prospect has to say. Listening is an important part of customer relations, and unfortunately, it is a skill that many people do not have in today’s marketplace.
- Make sure that you have a high quality portfolio and references ready to go. Knowing that you’ve already done similar work and done it well is very persuasive.
Doing things the right way instead of the easy way is the best way to get repeat business and referrals.
What About You?
Are you careful about the way you follow up on leads, or do you take a “one size fits all” approach? Have you ever botched a prospect follow up? What advice would you add?
Share your answers in the comments.