You know how it is. You’ve figured out how to do the job and written a great proposal. Under time pressure you’ve worked late into the night because the client wanted something urgently. You delivered the proposal … then nothing.
Welcome to the sound of silence.
We’ve all experienced it. That hollow feeling of powerlessness as we wait, and wait for some news about a project we desperately want to work on. And you know you should follow up, but aren’t sure how to do that without seeming needy, desperate, or pushy.
So how do you prepare yourself for the sound of silence and to be in the best state for the subsequent follow-up conversation? Here are six ideas to get you started:
- Don’t panic. The silent treatment is very normal. In most cases it simply means the client has nothing to report back.
- Let go. After the proposal is in it sometimes seems that we are more vested in the client’s outcome than they are themselves.
- Increase your personal value. Be useful in the proposal submission phase and then through into the decision-making process. (If you don’t know how to do this get in touch.)
- Put yourself in the decision-makers shoes. You’ll be surprised at the insights you get about delays and strategies for following-up.
- Consider other relationships. The client’s self-interest often includes bringing other stakeholders into the decision.
- Position yourself as a peer. Make sure you’re seen as a true business partner, not just a supplier looking for work.
These ideas may not get the client to take your call or respond to your email. What they will do is help you think about your own state of mind and the relationship you’ve created.
Then ask yourself how that mental state and type of relationship don’t allow follow up in an easy and natural way.
The bottom line
Get real: The sound of silence is a direct result of the relationship you’ve set up.
Get prepared: Your own state of mind affects the ways you’re prepared to follow up.
Get savvy: When executives see you as a valued peer they will take your calls.
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