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Always Give It One More Shot

By Larissa Weinstein

The art of following up entails carefully toeing the line between persistent and annoying. It's putting forth your best effort, but knowing when to give it up and move on. It's similar to chasing sales leads but is all the more high touch because you are ideally building personal relationships in the process. When you're pitching a partnership or collaboration, you're asking something of the other person. Their response to your ask is what will shape your follow up process, from the first contact to the last.

Follow these guidelines for determining how long to keep trying

1. Think of your follow ups (both personal and on behalf of your business) as a similar process to the workflows of a lead nurturing software program. The key difference to remember is that you're not an automated system, you're a human. So give it the human touch and tap into your intuition to decide the point at which you will be satisfied with the effort you have put forth.

2. After the first email or phone call, decide how long you will wait before reaching out again and stick to it.

3. If the person you are seeking to connect with does not respond at all, you should be quicker to reach your point of satisfaction. I usually attempt contact two to three times in such a scenario. No matter how compelling your copy or enticing your offer, you cannot force people to respond to you.

4. If the person initially responds and seems to lose touch on account of being busy or scattered, give them the benefit of the doubt and don't take the sporadic responsiveness personally. View this as a scenario in which the person requires gentle nudging on your part. You can allow for more leeway in this case, but there is still eventually a point at which you must determine it is time to move on.

5. Follow up to the point that you are beginning to become concerned that you're tipping to the annoying side. You're wondering if you should stop but you can still push past that inner voice. This is the time to give it one last try. You want to be able to look back and know that you put forth your best effort before accepting an unfavorable result.

I'm not going to tell you to "never" give up

Know when to cut your losses. Know when to accept a lack of interest in your services or products. But always give it one more shot before you make that call.