Ghosting & an Unresponsive Client
Sometimes you get a client who doesn’t respond to emails, phone calls, texts or social media messages. They don’t care about you or what you are doing. This is the worst feeling you can experience as an entrepreneur. It is similar to the ‘ghosting’ online daters get when a potential match just vanishes into the ether.
Stay Calm, Don’t panic.
It’s right to be frustrated and confused when a client suddenly stops responding, but it’s essential to maintain a professional tone. Maybe your client just decided to go on a trip. Maybe he. or a family member has Covid. Unexpected events indeed happen in every life, and some of them cause massive upheavals. A better decision can be made when you thoroughly assess the situation.
So take a few deep breaths, meditate, work out or whatever else you need to do to keep panic at bay.
Look Dispassionately at the Situation
Your ideal outcome will vary based on your circumstances. You can review your deliverables with the unresponsive client and agree on the current status. This is the obvious business rationale. If you wish to get your payment for work done, it is best to reach an agreement as soon as possible and document any agreements in writing. Similarly, if you want to end the relationship with your client quickly and entirely, reach out and let them know you are closing the connection.
Send a Diplomatic Message to the Client.
If your unresponsive client hasn’t paid, it’s essential to check in with them to make sure everything’s okay.
Try sending a friendly email or text if you have a good relationship with them. You don’t want to appear confrontational.
To ensure you come across the right way, read the follow-up email out loud to a trusted colleague or team member. Ask for their first impression.
If the client doesn’t get back to you, it’s time to start looking for another project. You don’t want to keep calling and messaging them to ensure they got your messages.
Many entrepreneurs have difficulty following through on an ultimatum. If you haven’t heard from the client within a certain period, it’s time to end things. “We hope all is well and if you’d like to resume our work in the future, let us know” is an excellent way to say that. What’s next for your business? Be creative and come up with a new plan.
It’s All Part of the Self-Employed Learning Curve.
This experience helps you prepare for a future work situation.
What lessons can you take from this? Could contractual clauses help resolve this issue?
As your business grows, consider hiring a solicitor or a law firm to write up and execute a standard document that gives your business the right to view a lack of response to the client’s consent and approval of your work and to convert a flat rate to an hourly one in the event the client fails to respond.
This will help you save time when negotiating contract terms with new clients, as it removes any ambiguities. If you clearly explain how you want things to work, this will reduce disputes and potential misunderstandings.
Over the last 40 years, we have heard similar tales of woe from the thousands of small business clients we work with. Working as a freelancer or a small business is never easy. There are always challenges. But you can rid yourself of so many annoying everyday tasks by using the services at Hold Everything. What is more, when you are a client, you have access to our unique network of business professionals, from accountants to web designers, who can ease many of your worries.