What to do when someone won’t get back to you

Every Tuesday, sales expert Andy Bounds shares his top tips to improve your sales and communications (you can get more of his advice at www.andyboundsonline.com). This week’s is…

Email Tennis. Telephone Tennis…

You know the sort of thing – you leave a message, they leave a message, you leave one back, they leave one back…

Or even worse – you leave a message. And they don’t reply. So, you’re faced with the joyous decision: chase and feel like you’re pestering; or wait and feel impotent?

I hate Email Tennis. So I don’t play it. Here are some things you can do instead:

  • If you work in the same office, walk to their desk
  • Change something. If you’ve chased by email and not had a reply, don’t send another email. Instead, ring them. Or – often better – text. People tend to reply to texts. Something like ‘Hi X, Let’s catch up today. I’ll call at 4pm. If this time doesn’t work, please text me a time you’d prefer’
  • During Conversation One, agree when you’ll have Conversation Two. And get it in both your diaries before you finish Conversation One – ‘Let’s avoid Telephone Tennis – that’s just a waste of our time. When would be good for you, for us to have our next chat? Let’s put it in our diaries now’
  • Confirm Conversation Two’s timing in any follow-up communications – ‘As agreed, I’ll call you at 10am on Thursday’
    (Be careful with this one) If person X just won’t get back to you, ask one of their close contacts for her advice – ‘I’m struggling to get through to X. How would you advise I contact him?’
  • Which of these is best? Well, it depends on the situation, the person you’re speaking with, etc.

But I find a text often works well. And it makes sense. People get hundreds of emails a day – most of them boring. It’s easy for yours to get lost in the noise…

But they get fewer texts. And people tend to reply more quickly to them. Worth a try?

Action point

Identify the people who aren’t getting back to you. Now identify a new way to chase them. Remember: if your last chasing technique didn’t work, it probably won’t work next time either. So try something new. It’s often as simple as that…

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