EP 3 - When should I be communicating and how often?

The fear of looking desperate for work really holds Subcontractors back when looking to secure work with a new client – it all stems from appearing vulnerable and someone taking advantage of us.

Fear not! Here I talk about how to keep control of the conversations, so you appear interested, but not desperate for their work.


Ever thought about how much and often you should be communicating, let’s have a little talk about it.

The age-old dilemma of trying to look keen but not too keen plagues us all when looking to work with new clients, so I’ve broken down some steps to help you take control of the dialogue between you and the new client.

Before we delve in to when and how, lets look at the mediums of communicating, and how we rank them:

      Email: Email is the cheapest way of communicating, and probably the worst when looking to build relationships. Emails should really be used for accuracy, as they are a great way of recording what was discussed; however, they fall short when looking to convert new business as they lack emotion and it’s easy to ignore an already full inbox.
      Phone call: Phone calls are a quick way of communicating and they give you the ability to obtain more information and feedback from a prospective client, than an email would. Sadly, phone calls can go unanswered, so you may need to be look at alternatives if you cannot get through on the phone.
      Face-to-face: No other medium can compete against the quality and opportunity of a face-to-face meeting – not even Oculus. Getting to meet in person to communicate should be the number one priority when looking to convert new clients.

Let’s get back to when and how. In this scenario, we’re going to assume you’ve just received a tender from a new client, completely out of the blue. Here’s what to do next:

      First contact: you’ve just received the tender, the first thing you need to do is at least acknowledge receipt – you could say something like this “Hi there, Thanks for sending the tender, I can confirm receipt of the documents. We will review the information and will be in touch to arrange a site visit/meeting in the next couple of days. In the meantime, please can you confirm your availability to meet in the next week?”. It’s a big no, no, if you don’t respond for days or weeks after you’ve received a tender, and you need to be first through the door if you want a genuine shot of winning the project.
      The meeting: Let’s say you’ve managed to get the meeting arranged - in this meeting you need to create the next touch points. By doing this you’re effectively agreeing to make contact, so it doesn’t look like you’re chasing and bothering them.
      Follow up 1 – a visit to your site: In the meeting you will have asked if they’re free to meet on one of your sites. This is the best form of communicating as you get to meet them face-to-face again, and you should be pushing for this meeting.
      Follow up 2 – tender analysis or decision: In the meeting you will have obtained the approximate dates of when they will be analysing the tenders and making a decision. By understanding these dates, you should be trying to make an excuse to meet them, this could look like a phone call where you say, “I’m near your offices next Thursday, shall we grab a coffee?”.
      Follow up 3 – no news: It’s likely you’ll experience some radio silence during the touch points. It’s natural, things slip back and something more important comes along. However, if you’re unsure on how the package has progressed, weekly or bi-weekly contact via phone is a great way to keep in touch. If your calls go unanswered for a couple of weeks, drop them an email to ask how things are progressing with the package.
      Follow up 4 – still no new; you think it’s gone elsewhere: Unfortunately, you can’t win them all. But this doesn’t mean the relationship is dead. If you’re still struggling to make any contact, you can send one final email to them, which will help make them think about how they interact with you. You could say, “Hi, I hope all are well, and things are progressing well on your project. I just wanted to get some feedback on the tender we submitted? I’m assuming it may have been let now, so I’d be grateful if you provide us with some detailed feedback so we know where to improve for you next time?”


There is no optimum frequency of when you communicate. The way to communicate effectively is by taking control in every discussion on when you will next communicate.

The easiest way to do this is after every meeting or phone call you have, to quickly follow up with a polite email summarising what was discussed and when you will touch base again.

By agreeing when you will next make contact, you won’t look desperate nor feel like you’re annoying them.

Remember, phone calls and emails are secondary forms of communicating, and you should always be pushing for a face-to-face meeting.