While I’m sharing this post from an entrepreneurial perspective, the spirit behind it applies to everything in life.

As someone who is literally building her business from the ground up, I’m networking and reaching out to past colleagues + peers, people I know, people who know people I know, etc. And in this process, I’m learning that some people get back to you with a response somewhat quickly while other people are either a little slower to respond, or they just flat out ghost you.

It’s simple when they respond back with their version of ‘no, I can’t help you.’ Easy, done, move on.

It’s a little trickier when they take a long time to respond or ghost. Less clarity in that space.

My usual response to the latter scenario is to wait 5 days after my initial response and follow-up. If I still don’t hear back after that, I move on. That’s always been my answer to the question – “When should I give up?”

A few weeks ago, I was at a networking meeting, and we were divided into triads. One of the guys in my group is the owner of a very successful marketing agency, so I asked him, “When do you give up on following up with people?”

And his response really blew me away.

He doesn’t give up until he gets a no.

He responded with (and I’m paraphrasing here) – People have so much going on. Most of the time, it’s not that they don’t want to get back to you. It’s that their inbox is packed with emails and spam and junk. Also, we don’t know what they have going on personally. Maybe they’re taking care of sick children or aging parents. Maybe they have something going on in their marriage. We just never know.

With this mindset, he follows-up weekly with people he hasn’t received a clear no from. If not every few days.

His philosophy is – why would you ever say no to yourself for someone else?

I thought about his response and his philosophy and applied another lens. Let’s say someone is looking for a coach, and they contact me. We have our discovery call, etc. And then it’s been a week, and I still haven’t heard back. Should I just wait? NO! I need to follow-up with them. Chances are they’re also scoping out other coaches, and by waiting, I’m just putting myself further back on their list. I need to stay top of mind. I need to show that I want to work with them/connect with them.

Now let’s imagine all the other coaches they’ve contacted also hear nothing and decided to wait. If I’m the one who follows-up first, what does that say about me versus everyone else? Who has a greater chance of landing the opportunity? ME (or so I believe!).

This thinking applies to everything. Job interviews, promotion conversations, assignments at work/school, friendships, marriage, etc.

Never say no to yourself for someone else. If their answer is no, let them tell you themselves. Until then, keep pursuing, following up, and asking.

By Parita

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