Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reasons You Never Heard Back About That Proposal--That Have Nothing To Do With You

t happens to all of us. You get really excited about a lead for a new project. You talk to the client at length, get to know their needs, spend all day crafting a proposal. Then you send it over and…nothing. For days. Weeks, even. Maybe you never hear back.

It can be easy to take it personally when you don’t hear back about a proposal. But there are plenty of reasons why that have nothing to do with you personally. Here are a few common reasons.

You’re too expensive. Yes, a lot of the time people never respond because you quote more than they were expecting to pay. That doesn’t mean that you’re charging too much. It could mean the prospect is inexperienced—they’re used to working with low-priced, inexperienced writers (or hiring summer interns or newbies to work for free in exchange for “exposure.”) Then they find you on the Internet or through a referral and fall in love with your portfolio and writing style. Having only worked with really cheap writing talent before, your realistic, professional price shocks them to the core—and you never hear from them again. OR, you hear from them months later—when they finally have the budget.

They’re trying to use your quote as leverage. Sometimes a prospect has no intention of hiring you when they ask for a quote. They’re planning to hire someone else. But they want to get a sense of whether that person’s price is realistic in the marketplace—so they gather a few quotes from other writers as well. If those quotes are lower than their preferred writer’s price, they might use your quote as leverage to try to talk him or her down.

They’re not ready. The process of gathering information for a quote can force a client to get really specific about what they want—sometimes before they’re ready. When you deliver a quote that’s based on, say, ten pages of web copy and two recurring blogs, they could see your price and decide they can only afford half that much work. Or, they could just not be ready to commit to that number of pages—just because they haven’t quite decided yet what shape the website will take. Sometimes a prospect asks you for a quote too early in the process.

A key person leaves. The person in charge of hiring freelancers on your prospects team might love your work and want to hire you. But if they leave the team suddenly, the person who comes in to take their place may have never heard of you. Or maybe they want to have the company handle the copy in-house. Or maybe they’re bringing their own stable of freelancers on board.

If you don’t hear back about a proposal within a week, it’s always a good idea to follow up with an email. You never know—a timely reminder that you’re still passionate about the project may just land you the job.


Lori said...

Great reasons! Love this post, Jen.

I get ones who change their minds. Why? Probably for your first reason - too expensive. I see projects put on hold indefinitely (corporations) or get scrapped for budget reasons.

I've never heard of anyone using a quote as leverage, but it makes perfect sense. It would explain the behavior of a few potential clients, too.

Jennifer Williamson said...


Yeah, I've gotten that as well. I've never had anyone use me as leverage to my knowledge, but I've heard of it happening to other people and with some clients who dropped off the face of the earth after I gave a proposal, it would explain a lot.