You may have been in those projects when all is well and the correspondence is good going back and forth and then crickets.
Radio silence from the client.
You’ve sent a few emails that have gone unanswered. Maybe even a few calls have gone unreturned.
Your client has disappeared!
What do you do next?
There are a few things, but first, keep in mind that no matter how good the relationship is remember that you really don’t know the full story of your client.
So before your brain starts jumping to conclusions, be empathetic first and foremost.
Are you ok?
First, you want to make contact, probably via email with a simple “Are you ok?” type of email.
Something simple, like:
I haven’t heard from you in a while. I called X times and sent emails on A, B, and C but haven’t heard back. I just wanted to make sure everything is ok? Please let me know so I know everything is good or if there’s anything that I can help with.
A nudge to move forward
After having sent that and then a couple of days go by and you still haven’t heard back.
I know things come up unexpectedly. I just wanted to see what your thoughts were about X so that we can move forward with Y. If priorities have shifted, that’s ok too. We are at a standstill and the project is in jeopardy of missing the scheduled date of completion.
If there still is no response, there’s a good chance it’s been a month or more since you last heard from them at this point.
It’s time to close the project and move forward.
I haven’t heard from you since X. I’ve sent Y emails and called Z times. As per our agreement, I’ll be putting your project on hold. When you are ready, I can re-schedule your project. Re-scheduling the project involves 1, 2, and 3. Please pay your remaining balance by
Sending an invoice will certainly awaken a sleeping client one way or another. You may not get the payment, but you’ll certainly get some sort of response good, bad, or otherwise.
Item of note here is that if you don’t have a “ghosting clause” in your agreement, here’s the time to put one in.
You don’t want projects to linger on for months, maybe years even.
This is a simple paragraph in your contract that states what happens if they are unresponsive. Put strict parameters around what "unresponsive" means and the consequences of this. State what has to happen for the project to be re-scheduled to be worked on and any penalty fees that may or may not apply.
Clients aren’t bad. They don’t go into projects with the intention of ghosting, but when it does happen, you’ll be happy that you have that clause in place.
Running your freelance business
More episodes in this topic:
What do you do when a crisis hits?
How to start building an email list as a freelancer?
How do you manage time wearing so many hats as a freelancer?
What software tools do you use for business? What is best?
How do you prevent, manage scope creep in your projects?
Do you schedule in time for exploring or reading articles online?
What is the best way to get income fast?
What happens if you can’t define a scope of work on a call?
What do I do first thing Monday morning?
How can I focus on my business when I’ve got a ton client work?
Do I have to be concerned with GDPR?
What are the tools and services that you use and would recommend to freelancers?
How do you have time for all that you do?
What podcasting gear do I use?
Does live chat bring you in business?
How do you followup with a lead after a proposal?
Did hiring a mentor really help you with starting up your business or your career?
What is my writing process
What is the easiest way to get a remote testimonial?
How do you determine a quality prospect?
How do you step away and actually take a vacation?
Are job boards reliable?
How to decrease the sales cycle or time to close?
How would you write a cold outreach email?
How to present different services that could potentially diminish your abilities in the minds of clients?
Should I bundle projects for clients or keep projects separate per client?
What product do you use for your business that you can’t live without?
What makes you stand out from other freelancers?
Do I drop this client?
How do I set a goal?
Do you meet leads and clients face-to-face?
How do I work “ON” my business and not “IN” my business?
What is the best structure for setting a goal?
How do you do a review of your week?
What do I say when a potential client says I’m too expensive?
What is activity based selling?
How to get more clients?
How to have a productive week?
Do you use a CRM for your business?
How do you choose the technology for your clients?
What is the structure of a weekly review?
What is the structure of a monthly review?
What are lead generation techniques to get me out of the feast and famine revenue cycle?
How do I know if I should buy a course?
What’s a polite way to tell existing clients you are raising your rates? And what is a reasonable percentage to go up?
How many email follow-ups should I send to a lead?
What do I do? I’m afraid to filter the tire kickers coming into my business because they are the only leads I have.
How to take the next step from contracting resource to solo business owner?
What do you think about Gutenberg? Schmutenberg!
How do I get better at sales?
How to overcome objections in sales?
How do I respond to an RFP?
How to respond to “I don’t need strategy, can you just do…”?
If you don’t have experience, how to you prove the quality without the education/experience?
How do you handle a client that has ghosted?
What do you ask during a sales call?
How to improve your sales process as a freelancer?
How to charge more as a freelancer?
How do you push past the imposter syndrome?
How do you segment your email list?
What to say when a client insists on adding something new?
What kind of content should I promote to potential clients?
Best of Season 3 - Get out of the comfort zone
Best of Season 3 - Building Relationships
S06 E12 - Undercharging, Targeting the Wrong Audience, and What You Should Do About It with Alex McClafferty
S03 Bonus - Tom McFarlin on Blogging, Balancing Work and Family, and Building a Business that Lasts
S09 E11 - Differentiation, Reputation, and Pivoting From the Top-Down with Peep Laja
S01 E11 - Kai Davis helping freelancers get more clients with outreach