A friend of mine owns a very successful business called Westside Rentals. He built it from the ground up over 10 years ago and now it’s a multi-million dollar company. Mark is a very generous and friendly guy and being an extrovert he gets asked to speak frequently and accepts more times than not. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with him on occasion and hear him present. No matter where he speaks, he always concludes with the following:
Here’s my email address (usually it flashes on the screen), feel free to contact me, I’d love to hear from you.
But here’s where it gets interesting. The more successful you are, the less available time you have. So the caveat is Mark check’s his email several time daily, but one tactic he uses is if he responds to you, he’ll ask that you send him an email 2 weeks later to follow up. 90% don’t. For the 10% who do follow up, he’ll usually stay in contact with you.
This story is unique, but the principle is not. I can’t stress enough as a coach how much people today don’t follow up. We live in a world where distractions are plentiful and focus is becoming a lost art. For example if you send an email to someone you’re trying to contact, the rule of thumb is try 3 times. That means if you don’t get a response within a week, try again. If you don’t hear back after that, try once more reminding the person you understand they are busy, but you’d love to hear back from them. Be specific. Be brief. Be courteous.
Since only 10% of people actually do follow-up, those are the ones who usually reach their goals. Not because they are pushy. Not because they are arrogant. But because they are persistent. Most people give up after contacting someone once because they take it personal. Someone not responding to you isn’t rejection, it’s usually them being too busy or intending to respond, but forgetting to.
Following up is similar to sales. Rarely do you get the sale the first time around, but if you keep at it (albeit you’re not sleazy or annoying) you usually get better results than not. When you follow up, you stay on that person’s radar. Just because they don’t respond initially doesn’t mean they’re not receiving your message. That’s why the “3 times” rule comes in handy. If after 3 tries you still don’t get a response, it probably means you’ll never hear back from them. Go back to what I said earlier: the more successful a person is, the less available time they have. So don’t take it personal, rather take it as a challenge.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to do what everyone else isn’t doing. Follow up like a boss and be a part of the 10% that makes it happen.