I am a trainer and talent development specialist and experienced career consultant. I currently work at the University of Manchester Middle East Centre, where I support mid-level to senior-level professionals in various industries, to help them achieve their professional and personal goals.
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If you have ever job-hunted, tried to sell a service or product, or simply tried get a business decision confirmed, you may have felt uncomfortable in following up with the person on the other end. If someone doesn’t revert back it can seem that they are not interested, but that is not always the case.
It is up to us to do the chasing, remain on that person’s mind and ultimately get the feedback we need. Here are some tips for how to get answers and how to recognize when to move on.
When you meet someone for the first time drop them an email within 24 hours thanking them for their time and summarizing what you discussed. For example:
“It was great to meet you today. As briefly discussed, you mentioned it would be a good idea to set up a meeting with your team in a week’s time to discuss our collaboration. I look forward to hearing back from you in regards to their availability.”
Keep it simple. A person is likely to ignore an email if it’s too long, so keep them direct and short. It’s easier for them to understand and respond when they can see exactly what you’re asking for.
Pick up the phone
Although an email is quick and easy, sometimes making a quick call can go a long way. This is particularly important if you need an answer sooner rather than later as people often are unable to check their emails or may simply forget.
Time your second follow up well
If the other person has specified a timeline, as a general rule it is acceptable to follow up a day or two after that specified time. If they did not specify a timeline, then it is appropriate to follow up 3-4 days after you’ve first reached out. Some decisions are urgent and cannot wait, in which case make sure the other person is aware of your timelines as needed.
Know when to let go
If you have followed up initially 24 hours after the first meeting, then followed up a second time 2-4 days later, and a third 3-4 days after, and you’ve not heard back, you need to consider putting that lead on hold. You can send another email about a week after your last contact—after that put it to one side and revisit it later as you see fit.