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The Art of Following Up

Annoying calls, relentless emails. They just won’t stop following up. Another sales rep trying to close the deal, another recent college grad looking for a job. Another person who wants time that you don’t have to give.

So, we ask ourselves does following up really accomplish anything? Or does it just make potential buyers more annoyed and the reporters we’re pitching less likely to pick up a story that they’re tired of hearing about?

Truthfully, following up is essential and effective when done tactfully, but only then. Have you ever been in a personnel hiring crunch and the right person just happened to follow up? There may have been 20 other qualified candidates in the stack of resumes on your desk, but the one who made it easier for you to schedule their interview got the job. You just saved hours of sifting through resumes.

Maybe you’re a news producer trying to fill your evening news slots. You have 50 segment pitches in your inbox, but you don’t have time to read all of those. It’s the person who follows up that gets a spot, because they accelerated the process for you.

That’s the key –– make following up beneficial for all parties by simplifying the process for the person you’re trying to persuade. If they need what you’re trying to sell, then it won’t be annoying, it will be helpful. If you know they won’t be interested in what you’re trying to pitch, then have some tact and lay off. You’re not only wasting their time, you’re wasting your own time too.

A strategic follow up will create opportunities, while an irritating one will inhibit them.

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