I learned a humbling lesson over the last few days. A potential client called me up last Friday and mentioned she was referred over by one of my best clients. She left a message in the morning and I got her back in the early afternoon. It turns out she was heading to the doctor's office to pick up some antibiotics for flu she was developing, but she still wanted to talk with me for a few moments.
The conversation lasted about 10-15 minutes and I (if I do say so myself) was great - I was genuine, relevant, funny and I was hitting all of her "buy" points. During the conversation she'd mentioned 2-3 times that I sounded "wonderful" and that she was really excited about the direction I was proposing for her brand and business. In passing she did mention that she was looking at one other freelancing company (probably just to keep me honest), but she made it clear that I had the inside track because of the referral and the fact that we were getting along so well.
After about 10-15 minutes had gone by she politely but reluctantly told me she really needed to get to her appointment. No big deal, I thought, "This is a done deal - she's already sold in working with me!"
Then I figuratively shot myself in the foot and made a critical mistake that lost this account.
Feeling confident there was no way I'd lose this prospect; I asked HER how she would like to proceed with things. Big mistake.
She again told me she was very excited about continuing our discussion and that she'd call me the Monday after the weekend. She never called.
Lesson Learned (Sadly I learned it again because I knew better):
NEVER give responsibility to follow up to the prospect/client. Even if you feel you are a lock to get the project. I should have suggested that I follow up with her on Monday, not wait for her to call me. You never know if a potential client may get distracted, forget about calling you, etc. Take the responsibility out of their hands and ask something like this, "Why don't I follow up with you on Monday, we'll finish off this conversation and see if we can get you moving forward with things."
Seems like a little mistake, doesn't it? Probably cost me thousands.