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The Importance of Following Up with a Client

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 31 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss

Freelance workers spend a lot of time following up with clients. It is important to follow up on a variety of business items so that no part of an assignment or working relationship is ignored or neglected. Freelancers often find themselves following up with clients about queries and pitches, assignments and revisions, payment and client feedback.

Following Up On Queries And Pitches

Most freelancers, at least at the start of their careers, must market themselves and chase down professional, paying jobs in order to build up business. This means that freelancers may send out a number of queries and pitches to potential clients. Following up with these items is important in order to prove a freelancer’s commitment and desire to potential clients as well as to make sure that the queries and pitches were even received in the first place. For example, a freelancer may send a pitch via email while a potential client is on holidays which gets forwarded to others and lost in the system. Or an email could be blocked by spam filters. Or a potential client may arrive to work to find 101 voice messages and delete them all.

Freelancers have no control over what actually happens to the pitches and queries they send, so following up on them greatly increases their chances of success. Similarly, freelancers who are asked for more information about a pitch or query should follow up immediately as this is a sign of interest and could easily lead to a new professional project.

Following Up On Assignments And Revisions

Freelancers will often find that the work they completed needs slight tweaking or revising in order to perfectly fit a client’s expectations. While a never-ending cycle of revisions is not appropriate, following up on a submitted assignment or completed project is always in a freelancer’s best interest. By actively soliciting a client’s opinions freelancers can help bump revisions onto a schedule of their choosing and maintain professional communication with a client until the close of the project.

If, however, a client is completely unhappy with a project and asks for major revisions then a freelancer must know whether (s)he is willing to take on this extra work or if (s)he prefers payment for completed work and advising the client to find another option for the new project.

Following Up On Payment

Unfortunately, many freelance workers find that they need to consistently follow up with clients about their payments. For some freelancers consistently late or missing payments is enough to sever a relationship with a client. To avoid getting to this point, freelancers should submit an invoice at the close of a project.

Invoices not paid within a set period (for example, 14 or 30 days) should be sent again. Some freelancers add a late charge at this point. Invoices not paid within another set period (for example, 60 days after original filing) should be sent with a formal letter reminding the client that payment is late. After this final round of invoicing, freelancers may need to get their solicitors involved in order to demand action from a client about a payment. Sadly, some clients may even wait to see if a freelancer will go to these lengths before making payment so following up on late payments is a must for all freelance workers.

Following Up On Client Feedback

At the end of a successful project a freelancer will also want to follow up on client feedback. Something as simple as an email soliciting an overall review or sending out a general client survey will help freelancers find out what the client thought were their strengths and weaknesses. Armed with this information, freelancers can adjust their approaches and work to ensure repeat business from this and other clients if they so desire.

Following up on this feedback may even yield freelancers some good quotes to use as client testimonials, though these should only be made public with client agreement. It is important for all freelance workers to stay on top of their work and follow up with clients about a wide range of topics. Following up on queries and pitches, assignments and revisions, payment and client feedback are all common for freelance workers.

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