Go For It Or Punt?

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You’re on a job interview or sales call. At the end of the meeting, both parties agree to touch base in a few days. So you follow through by phone or email but all you hear is silence. What next?

That’s where it gets tricky…

Follow through too aggressively and you risk annoying your audience or, worse, seem like a stalker.

Too lax and you’ll be perceived as not hungry enough.

Quit too soon and you may miss an opportunity.

(This reminds of a young woman I was interested in dating. Years later she asked why I had stopped asking her out, saying that if I had just asked again she would have said ‘yes.’ Ugh.)

Going For It
Larry Chiang’s counsel is to be tenacious. In a blog post on how to get a VC to mentor you, he advises to follow up in a methodical and diabolical fashion:

It’s an impressive skill to email and re-email in such a way that each email is a stand-alone, first-time communication that is slightly new and different. You never ever refer to the other (unanswered) emails. Each email is a new email.

Time To Punt
Then again, I’m reminded of an expression a former boss was fond of: when they ain’t callin’ they ain’t buyin’.  Meaning, provided you’ve successfully done everything to convince your buyer, at a certain point, silence means ‘no’ – it’s time to find a more receptive prospect.

What data points do you use to determine when to go for it or punt?

(Image: zrim)


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