As the deadline for the RSVP approached, I grew disappointed each day after checking the mailbox. By the time the RSVP due date came and went, 50% of the replies from one list and 60% from the other came in. So I did the uncomfortable thing of emailing folks who hadn’t replied.
Good thing I did. Some said they never received the invitation, or maybe it got lost with the holiday season mail. By the time I emailed everyone whose email I had and weren’t obvious nos (out of towers, recently widowed, etc.), the replies went up to 65% and 85%. Not bad considering I didn’t have addresses for some of my son’s friends. (He had to hand deliver these, some of which never made it to the recipient.)
When I selected the invitations, I debated whether to do RSVPs by email or by mail. I asked the stationery vendor if one method had more success. She said it varied. Besides, it’s easy to make a mistake in typing an email address. A recent invitation using email RSVP used an email address that wasn’t short — something like firstname.lastname@example.org. I opted for the traditional route: a reply card with a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE).
Working with clients is similar. Sometimes if you haven’t heard from a client, you need to follow up. This makes it easier on them like a reply card and a SASE because they hit “reply” and don’t have to look up your contact information. I have one new client, a very small business. He paid half up front and hadn’t had me do much by the time the first of the year rolled around. I followed up with him every couple of weeks.
Some clients need nagging. Not in a bad way … They actually appreciate it. Every client has a different style of getting things done, and for some, it helps when the contractor or freelancer is proactive.
Even checking in with former clients leads to new business. I worked with one client during the early days of his start up. The business did so well that it bought two companies and closed multiple venture rounds, including one from a top venture capital firm. The company moved its headquarters and hired full-time employees. I helped until they found full-time employees.
I contacted the CEO of the company, who originally brought me on board, to see how things were going. It turned out he left the company and went to work for another start up. He’s been assigning a variety of projects to me.
Another client hadn’t responded to my submission for a small project. I followed up with her to find out the status. She said that we were almost there and to follow up with her the next week.
If you find you didn’t respond to an invite by the time the deadline passed, still follow up. A late reply is better than no reply. I believe many people think they don’t have to reply if they’re not coming. We still need to know. RSVP stands for répondez s’il vous plaît, which translates to “Please respond” not “Please respond only if you’re coming.”
What’s your experience with RSVPs? Following up? How do you decide when to follow up and how often?