One of the most important ways that a freelancer earns clients is by submitting freelance proposals.
But once that proposal is in the hands of the client or would-be client, you don’t just sit back and wait for the work to come.
A follow up email to your client after sending the quotation template or proposal is key. It can close the deal for you. But there are many considerations that go along with that strategy.
We’re here to help with the why, when and what of follow up emails after sending proposals or quotations.
Let’s explore the reasons for a follow up email.
The first is to consider why the client hasn’t yet responded to you.
If you built a great advertising proposal template, or SEO proposal template, and made a fair quotation but haven’t yet heard back, it could simply be that the client hasn’t had a chance to review the proposal. Or maybe it got lost in their inbox. Perhaps they reviewed it but forgot to respond.
There’s also the chance that they weren’t yet ready to start this kind of work, or that the problem you were planning to solve isn’t on the current horizon. Your reminder may arrive when they are ready to start the work.
That follow up email to your client may seem like extra work, time that could be better spent elsewhere. Or maybe it feels like you’re pestering the prospective client.
But here’s the kicker:
A follow up is valuable because it shows your would-be client that you’re interested in their success, that you have a vested interest in supporting their work, and that you’re a good fit for their organization.
After all, if you believe the work is worth going after, it’s worth the time to make an effort more than once.
It can also be helpful to provide them with a reminder. They’re likely busy and may need a gentle nudge. In fact, most clients will expect a follow up to a business proposal.
It also keeps your name top-of-mind with the client, particularly if you’re competing with others for the work.
Finally, from your perspective, it’s easier to get work from an existing lead or existing client than to do the work to find new leads.
But that doesn’t mean you should scatter multiple emails without thought.
The timing of your follow up email is important.
Don’t just send a note haphazardly, at any time or any interval. Be strategic.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one freelancing tool that allows you to write, design and send professional looking proposals, Bonsai offers a free trial for its services. It includes a read receipt function so you’re sure the client received the proposal.
Once the client receives the proposal or quotation, they need time to review it, so it’s best to wait one week before sending a follow up. That’s particularly true if the client needs to share the proposal with others in the organization.
However, if one week from sending the proposal falls on a Monday or a Friday, wait to send the note. Delaying one more business day won’t hurt, because it’s best to send on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
That’s because people tend to be catching up on Mondays, perhaps finishing work left from the week before. Fridays are another catch-up day, when people are clearing up the tasks of the week. There’s also the risk that the client will look at the note on Friday but not take action, and forget about it by Monday.
And don’t send your emails at midnight or on the weekend. Act like a business, which means connecting with clients during business hours and work days.
If it’s a particularly long proposal, two weeks may be a better time frame. If the client has asked for longer to review, abide by their wishes and send a note once that time has passed - never rush sending a follow-up email to your client after a detailed quotation.
You’ve got the why and when, let’s get to the what.
Your subject line is the first thing your would-be client sees, so make sure it’s clear and focused. It could refer to previous conversations, to the proposal directly, or reflect what’s contained in the email.
Avoid language such as “just checking in,” “following up” or “just touching base.”
And make sure your subject line is mobile-friendly, because most people now conduct business on smartphones.
Here’s the deal:
The first 50 characters or four words of the subject line are key, because that’s all that will be seen on a mobile device. Make them worthwhile.
Make the email personal, using the client’s name, and focus on them rather than yourself.
Be sure you’re clear about the objective of the email before you compose it. Your call to action has to be clear to the client. Feel free to ask the clients if they have any questions or concerns about your Facebook marketing proposal template or general social media marketing proposal template, for example.
Be specific about why you’re sending the email. Remind the client that a decision is needed for the project to move forward.
Consider including a timeline, in which you explain that by making a decision by X date, the project can be completed by X date.
You can also suggest that you will call them on a certain date and time, which will give them the impetus to read the proposal and prepare any questions. Leave the client enough time between the email and the phone call.
If you decide against the phone call, or the client declines the call, don’t give up. Send a maximum of three follow up emails, the second a week following the initial one. If there’s still no response, send a third and final email one month after the initial follow up.
Your goal is an answer, even a “no.” And if that happens, have a backup plan in place.
Perhaps there’s another client or prospect who could receive a similar freelance proposal. You’ve already done the work, so why not try to re-purpose at least some of it.
Or maybe there is another product or service you can pitch to the client. You’ve made the effort to find this lead, so don’t give up too easily. Ask to follow up at a later date, let’s say in six months, to see if the client will need the work by then.
If you feel comfortable, you can ask the client what would have made the proposal better, or what might have encouraged the client to formalize the project with a freelance contract.
And if they say yes, you also need a plan! Be ready to discuss next steps and start the work when the client wants.
Whatever you hear back from the client, be sure to say thank you for their business. They’ve given you their time, provided you with experience, and they may change their mind in the future and become a valued client.
If you don’t hear back from a client after preparing a contractor proposal template, it shouldn’t be a concern. In fact, it’s not unusual that this would happen. Clients are busy, have multiple priorities, or may have several decision-making stages in their organization. It’s not a reflection on your proposal or your business.
Clients will usually appreciate the time and effort you take to send a follow up email after your proposal. That’s why having a system to follow up with clients is an important part of the proposal process.
Turning leads into clients is one of the most important tasks you will do as you build your successful freelance business. Now that you understand the key aspects of follow up emails after sending a proposal, you’ll be able to find more new clients. You can also consider the option of the integrated tools available to you as part of Bonsai’s freelance suite by signing up for a free trial now.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?