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7 Tactics of Following Up Without Being Annoying

7 Tactics of Following Up Without Being Annoying

The significance of following up, touching base and chasing the client shouldn’t be undervalued. Many people, especially people like me who are in PR, have seen it in action; whether it’s sending a lot of pitches and follow-up emails or making phone calls. Conscientious follow-up has helped me win business, get a story published in the newspaper, and pitch multiple ideas to clients and the media.

Strong and active following-up conveys a message to the potential client that you want to work them, that you are the right person for the job, and that you are just waiting to get started on one call. But whether you are looking for a job, a salesperson, a publicist or a businessmen, it could be a test to be persistent without being seen as annoying when you are doing strong follow-ups.

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While each situation needs to be handled differently, here are seven ways to follow up without being seen as annoying:

1. Being persistent doesn’t mean daily

Doing follow-up every day doesn’t indicate your gumption or passion; give respect to a person’s time. The common rule of pursuing or following up is to give at least one week before sending a reminder. Doing follow up daily can come off as annoying. Start out with an email or phone call every week, and then switch to every couple of weeks.

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2. Select a communication medium

There are no guidelines or rules on the best way to follow up; however, it’s always better to follow the indication of the individual you’re contacting. If they prefer email and your past conversations have taken place over email, it is better to follow-up via email.

3. Try multiple channels

Selecting a communication medium does not mean you should keep one communiqué method. Occasionally using other communication methods can initiate a quick response. Use social media like Twitter, Facebook, or a message on Linked-In, if you are not getting a response to your emails or phone message.

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4. Don’t act like you’re owed anything

There is a strong possibility of getting disheartened and irritable when you are not getting response after a solid follow-up. Remember that it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve followed up, or how impeccable your proposal or pitch is for that client; nobody is obligated to respond to your request. Each follow-up call, email or message should be as respectful, polite and humble in attitude as your first one was.

5. Your objective is an answer

Don’t set a quota or sign to classify an answer, whether your offer is turned down or receives a non-actionable response, such as “I’ll get back to you.”

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Some people might have a rough time saying no, so they’ll attempt to postpone the inevitable. Minimize that propensity by giving the person an intention to respond, such as offering a limited-time price cut. Be proactive and schedule a time to contact the person when they say they’ll get back to you.

6. Have a plan

You can’t simply keep calling a prospect after getting a negative response. Make an active plan for your offer or proposal. Find out other prospects that can be reached, look for other products that can be pitched to different clients. A negative response should lead you to the next step according to your planned track.

7. Say thank you

Whatever response you get from the client or contact person, always remember to acknowledge the time he has spent to read your proposal, or communicate with you on the phone. He gave you time and consideration, which is a difficult thing for every professional these days. He might help you by giving some information that can improve your offer or proposal, or offer a new contact, or ideas about how to sell it somewhere else. Always thank them for their time for considering your offer; they’ll remember how polite you were–and might consider your proposal in the future.

Featured photo credit: www.coffeesh0p.com via static3.coffeesh0p.com

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Tayyab Babar

Tayyab is a PR/Marketing consultant. He writes about work, productivity and tech tips at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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