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.
Here are some further resources that you'll want to check out that directly relate to the show.
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