Stop that Stalling
It is unfortunately a fact of business life; the stalled project. The client starts all enthusiastically, and for one reason or another, before you know it, a month has passed and you’re finding it difficult to make contact with them.
So what do you do? How do you re-engage this client?
I’ve had this happen every year since I started my business nearly nine years ago. We’ve become quite adept at dealing with this situation, and I’ll take you through what we do.
Start by following up, alternating between email and telephone. Never leave the frequency of your contact attempts to drop slower than every two weeks.
If that doesn’t get their attention, I request a meeting with the client. It’s often a case of misunderstanding, rather than anything else. Getting together to discuss in person is a whole lot more productive at this point than the occasional contact attempt.
Point out they have a responsibility too. I always tend to let the client know I’m following up regularly, because I’m genuinely keen to see their website go live.
Ask them to delegate. Websites frequently get agreed to by someone either senior management, or the owner themselves. They aren’t typically the ideal people to deal with, however, because of their busy schedules. I suggest that you encourage them to delegate the task of dealing with the website to a subordinate.
Send them a gift at anniversaries. Should the project really drag out, I’ve been known to send a bottle of wine at the six month point, as a subtle way to get them back on track. This really works; they call to thank you and before you know it, you’ve gotten talking about the outstanding decisions, content, and material you need.
Clearly list what you require. I always end most of my emails with action points—both for myself as well as the client. In this case, I would ask them, repeatedly if necessary, for the information or content you need to finalize the work.
Best of luck getting that stalled project back on track!
If you want to read more from Miles, subscribe to our weekly web business newsletter, the SitePoint Tribune.
As Director of Bam Creative, and Chairperson of the Australian Web Industry Association, Miles spends his time managing his business or speaking about managing businesses. Recently awarded as one of the top Western Australian entrepreneurs under 40 years old, Miles can also be found writing at his blog.
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