You’ve been talking to a prospective client about his or her writing needs. So far, everything sounds good. You know you can do the work and give the client what they want, but they haven’t made you an offer. Now what?
In this situation, you do have some options. You can back off and focus on the work you have in front of you right now and give the client some space and hope that when the time comes to hire someone that you will get nod.
You have another option, though, and that is to assert yourself and get the client to make a decision. Even if the answer is No, you have an answer, and in that instance you are free to move on and consider other opportunities. Discussions with clients can get to the point where having an answer either way is less frustrating than waiting for someone to just get on with it.
Giving a client a nudge can be a simple matter of asking if they need anything else from you to make a decision about the project. This is a good tactic if your discussions have been going on for some time and you don’t seem to be getting closer to starting work or finding out that the client has decided to hire someone else.
If you are feeling a bit more bold (or just plain frustrated), you can say something like, “I have some time available to start on this on [X] date, would you like me to go ahead and schedule you in?” Then the client has three choices, Yes, No, or start on [X] date instead. At least you have an answer and you haven’t reduced the likelihood of getting hired at all by saying something like, “Would you make up your mind already?”
What strategies have you used to get a client to make a hiring decision?
Good post, Jodee. One of the rules of negotiating is to go in certain that you will win. WIth that in mind, when I make a move to “close” the deal, I always phrase it so that it’s a foregone conclusion I’ll be working for the person. Since many assignments start with an information gathering interview, I’ll say, “I can get started next week if you’d like. Should we schedule a call so I can get the information I need to begin writing?”
If the client seems on the fence, I will do as you advised and say, “Is there any more information I can provide?”
If they haven’t said yes in so many words but haven’t said no, I may even be so bold as to say, “I’ll send over a contract then.”
It’s a matter of reading people and knowing which tactic they will respond to. Some may feel forced by my third example. Others, who are on the fence, may feel bad about saying no at that point.
There’s a similar topic I’d love to see you address here, Jodee… What do you do when a client wants to hire you but then drags their feet getting you the necessary material, putting you behind on schedule on their project AND others? (If any of my clients are reading this, of course I’m not talking about you! LOL) I have a few tactics I have used in the past, but they all make me feel a bit guilty.
Issa @ Ajeva says
I think that clients sometimes need that gentle nudge for them to trust you with the work at hand. They may be busy at most times, but by helping them out with a friendly reminder – your enthusiasm alone will make clients say ‘yes’ without thinking twice. I love your tips here and I might as well apply them in my future dealings. Thanks!
Well, pretty much like you stated it — ask for the job.
Say, “Is there anything else I can answer for you about this project?”
“What timeframe are you looking at? I want to make sure I leave room in my schedule for you if you’re interested in proceeding.”
I try to always convey that I am not a starving freelancer. I’m busy. I’m usually booked 4-6 weeks out these days, so if they can’t decide I do let them know that without a deposit check to get me started, I can’t guarantee I’ll be available when they want me. That often gets them to “yes.” They don’t want to have to start looking for writers all over again.