As soon as I was reasonably able, and probably far before it was smart, I abandoned the notion of pursuing client leads.
In the beginning, when I had no other choice, I chased. Not hard, or for very long, but still: an inquiry on the part of a potential client would yield follow-up phone calls and emails, even after the line had gone silent.
I don’t know why I did it (other than putting food on the table), only that somehow doing so felt obligatory, like it was what one did in business.
Now, I can’t remember the last time I followed up with someone again, by which I mean without actual provocation to do so.
In the beginning, I had more free time on my hands to follow back up–that’s one good reason why I’ve stopped. I had fewer clients, and thus more mental head space to invest in potential clients.
But the real reason I stopped chasing clients is Simple. Over the years, I’ve learned that the best kind of client scenario is the one in which an individual has intentionally sought out my services. He or she is ready enough to initiate the process, make the phone call, and schedule the appointment.
Flaky potential clients have only ever panned out to be flaky real clients.
Unresponsiveness is not an invitation to try harder to get a response, but an indication that an individual has either lost the necessary interest and motivation, or was never serious about it to begin with. In either case, I’ve learned to trust that if and when their situation changes, they’ll get back in touch with me.
Ultimately, there is only work to be done when there is a willingness to do it on the part of my client. I cannot be ready enough or passionate enough for anyone else.
Each of us would do better to remember that what we are chasing without experiencing reciprocal pursuit is not ultimately the best use of our efforts or focus.
No matter how amazing we think we’d be at the job, or how adored we think we’d be by that guy if only he got to know us a little more, or how impressed that client would be if only they’d commit to hiring us, a one-sided relationship of any sort has a tendency to be a flop.
Following up one more time is not only disempowering, it’s also distracting; distracting us from other people or opportunities that may truly be interested in what we have to offer.
What is beneficial for both parties manifests organically, with both parties pursuing each other.