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Following Up, Down, and Sideways

Following Up, Down, and Sideways

I received two separate apologies this week from people who owed me responses but had found my original email in their junk folders. (Like me, they check their junk folders before erasing them.) I understand that these things happen, and was about to follow up anyway.

Don’t assume someone has “gone dark.” And never assume that by following up you’re harassing or hounding someone. If you have value to contribute, you’re certainly justified in doing all that you can politely and professionally to provide that value.

Preventive Action: Always agree on a date, time, and action for follow up. Example: Let’s talk about my proposal options on the 14th at 10 am using Zoom. The invitation is attached.

Contingent Action: Call “as promised.” Example: I’m calling Joan as promised to pursue which proposal option she prefers. Please have her call me back before 5 at this number….

John Paul Jones said, “I have not yet begun to fight,” and defeated a larger British ship which he had to take over to sail home since his ship was sinking under him. “I have not yet begun to follow up” is not a bad approach. Don’t assume the other person has “shut down” or is rude. You need that business to keep your own ship afloat.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 2

  • nick

    July 18, 2020

    I agree! Follow up is key. The sad thing is that most coaches and sales professionals lack the confidence to do so. I have closed many sales by following up and many times the person on the other end was glad that I did.

  • July 19, 2020

    Hello Alan,
    You are right! no body should be afraid/ hesitate to follow up as long as it adds value to business. Agreeing on a plan for follow up upfront not only helps one to gain courage to follow when its time, but also demonstrates that you can hold others accountable on their deliverables, thus increasing your credibility.

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