Follow Up Email After Application Template

By Robert Williams

The follow up email you send after a proposal or job application is huge. It’s one of the biggest determinants of whether you land the gig. Why? Because that job post or RFP you applied to got A LOT of applications. So many, in fact, that the person in charge of hiring for it is now in a dark corner contemplating their life choices.

I’ve seen it a million times and their next action will be to create an email folder and put all of these emails in there. Spoiler: they will never open (or think about) this folder again. Your awesome application dead on arrival. 

Unless … you follow up.

How to send the right follow up email after sending a proposal or job application for your specific situation

So what SHOULD you say? It depends almost entirely on the situation. 

Here are a few common situations, with sample copy:

The “no response” follow up email template:

Let’s start with the most common scenario. You send your application and get back… radio silence. This will happen most often.

Here’s a game plan for this exact scenario:

A simple follow up email sample sequence for you A simple follow up email sample sequence for you

Remember: instituting something like this is boring. So no one does it. 

That’s why it DOUBLES your chances of hearing back from a job lead or a client after sending a proposal. If I wanted to have the most impact on my search with one single action, it would be adding this follow up sequence to every single lead I contact.

It’s that much of a game changer.

After the fourth follow up email in this sequence, the next step is to remove or mark them as lost in your CRM.

At that point you can rest assured knowing you followed up for over a month without hearing back.

Note: In Pipedrive you do this by dragging them to the “lost” tab.

The “in-conversation” follow up email template:

So after sending a great cover letter or introduction email, and following the sequence above, you will start to get replies.

Now comes the fun part: real sales conversations.

When a reply comes in from an interested hiring manager or client the first thing I do is drag them to the “in-conversation” stage in Pipedrive.

Moving a lead in Pipedrive changes the follow up email strategy

Moving a lead in Pipedrive changes the follow up email strategy

Why? Because leads that respond, even once, are much more likely to convert – and should therefore be treated differently altogether.

Putting them in a new “in conversation” stage means they get followed up with more often. This group should take priority. 

You should follow up every 3-5 days with prospects in this stage. The goal is no longer just getting a reply. You want them to:

  • Schedule a call with you.
  • Or give you a solid “no” or “not right now.”

It may seem like I’m telling you to man the battle station BUT

Avoid rushing the conversation at this point.

Don’t say things like “I can start tomorrow,” or “let’s schedule a call” right away.

Instead, get more information about the job/project SLOWLY.  Here’s one example:

Simple follow up email sample with a single ask

Example of simple follow up email with a single ask

You’ll notice I’m not assuming anything in this email.

I’m asking a yes or no question that is easy to answer, and will give me more information.

A few more ideas for you:

  • Ask what you will be working on to determine if it’s something in your wheelhouse
  • Ask what their timeline looks like so you know if it matches your availability (or you can schedule a follow up later)
  • Identify the main problem they need tackled so you know how to approach future emails
  • Ask what they’re currently struggling with or love about their business – again getting to know their business and tune your future emails
  • Find out how much they’re looking to pay – make sure the budget is at least in the ball park.

Rushing through these doesn’t help you, so take your time. Have a plan but don’t be afraid to ask for more information that you need. Keep it to one yes/no ask per email.

And keep your follow-ups short.

The “stay in touch” follow up email template for leads that you want to follow up with later:

Sometimes you’ll suss out that the hiring decision won’t be coming for many weeks or even months.

If this is the case, you might want to move them to a “staying in touch” stage and send a reply like this:

“OK I’ll follow up with you then. I love X about your company so you’ll be high on my priority list.”

It’s always great to take the ownership of a follow upon yourself because it means the client doesn’t have to do anything.

Again, putting this into Pipedrive and creating a task for it means you don’t have to do all that much either.

The “post-meeting” follow up email template:

The last email template I want to share with you today is one you can send after you successfully schedule and meet with a client or hiring manager.

At this point you’ve successfully qualified them and are ready to send a proposal.

Freelancers and job seekers tend to forget to follow up at this point and confirm that you will be sending a proposal. It’s a great idea to touch base here. For example:

Hi Bob

Thanks again for meeting with me.

I loved learning more about the job / project and have a few ideas for you. Will send those over next along with my proposal in the next few days.

This email will confirm you guys are on the same page. You can even throw in a few details like:

  • Meeting notes recapping and confirming that you understood the information that was shared
  • A rough ballpark price that you’re thinking (aim high)
  • A service package recommendation like a monthly retainer to see if they’re open to it.

Regardless, keeping the prospect in the loop after every meeting is part of being a professional. Do it.

Make no mistake – sending a follow up is required (if you’re serious.)

According to this report, only a tiny fraction sales happen in the first month of a sales cycle.

This almost guarantees that the job or contract you just applied for will take months to hire – and the people who follow up numerous times over that time will have the best chance to land the gig.

The good news for you is: very few actually will.

(Some reports estimate 60% of people never follow up on an application or proposal. I’d wager it’s closer to 90%.)

How to make sure you send a follow up email even though you don’t want to

Spoiler alert: nobody wants to follow up. No matter how psyched or determined you are right now, in a few days you won’t be. Accept it. Plan for it. 

Humans are bad at keeping track of minute details like the status of multiple conversations. That’s exactly why I don’t rely on my brain to do it for me.

Instead, I setup a follow up system in Pipedrive.

I outsource it so that it becomes automatic.

Like magic.

Here’s a quick walk-through of how I use Pipedrive and how it might make sense for you when you need to remember to send a follow up email after a job application:

Pipedrive is the best app I’ve come across for following up because it keeps things simple. I strongly recommend setting up a system like the one outlined in the video above to each and every Folyo member.

If you’re responding to jobs and projects like these, it worth setting up.

Remember: the most likely response to any follow up email is no response.

Sometimes, people are just really freaking busy man.

The key to turning contract proposals and job applications into real relationships is to actually follow up.

Not only is following up one of the most important pieces of a sales process, it’s one of the most forgotten as well.

It’s critically important because it’s the best way to increase your chances of hearing back from your lead generation efforts.

Everyone forgets to do it, so you stand out.

Plus, most large design projects have delays, set backs, or just slow sales cycles so following up is the only way to solve this.

Hopefully you’re crystal clear on how to setup an awesome follow up strategy now.

Beware: This Email Line is Client Repellent...

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: 85% freelancers/agencies will shoot themselves in the foot in their next email because they make ONE common mistake that repels clients away.

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