Learning to communicate better: following up quickly
This week, I gained and lost two big jobs in a flash.
In one of the two cases, for circumstantial reasons over which I had no control.
In the other one though, for lack of proper communication and follow-up on my part.
People who know me and work with me know that I'm very reactive, too reactive perhaps. I usually reply to my personal and professional messages very quickly and I generally find a way to make myself available to my clients.
This time, however, I didn't get the memo that I was the one who needed to react faster.
I was referred to another linguist by a colleague. That linguist had a client who needed both her and someone with my profile on a project to be launched as soon as possible. I was introduced to the end client by email and then waited for the client to contact us directly to brief us.
The following day, I sent a mail to the other linguist to suggest a meeting with the client, assuming she would be on point on the project and would organise it. She said it was a good idea and that the client had my number and my email.
So I assumed either the client or the other linguist would get back to me. I waited until this afternoon. When I realised I wasn't getting any news, I sent another email directly to the end client suggesting we organise the meeting before the end of the week, in order for me to start working on Monday.
The client then called me, apologising: since I didn't get back to them sooner and the project was urgent, they had contacted other copywriters and found someone else to do the job.
The issue here is both lack of communication and misunderstanding.
I assumed the deal was done and things would get going when the client chose to do so. However, the end client was still prospecting, waiting for various freelancers to send them an introductory message with their resumes, profile, samples, etc.
I assumed the other linguist would be the one in charge and I would be subcontracted for my part of the project. She thought she merely needed to introduce me to the client as a candidate copywriter and give my details, while I was supposed to provide all my credentials and call the client immediately to secure a deal directly.
I assumed the client didn't get back to me sooner for lack of time and because the project wasn't so urgent, while it was imperative they find a freelancer immediately for something that was supposed to be finished yesterday. I didn't get the urgency and I didn't want to seem pushy.
The moral being: always take charge, even though you're not supposed to be in charge, you're busy and you think the project can wait a day or two.
The important thing is to secure the deal and make sure you're the one who's being hired for the job.
It seems like there's no such thing as being too reactive in my line of work after all.
Today I was reminded of that a bit harshly.