As we emerge from our pandemic cocoons, meeting and greeting one another and getting caught up on the business of our business, I’m guessing (hoping!) there will be exuberance in the air: the desire to make up for lost time.
When this occurs—that the last memory you have of a prospective client or business partner is their saying, “I’ll be in touch,” yet you find yourself a week or two later with a sinking sensation you thought you’d left behind in high school—it can be disappointing.
What can you do?
The first thing you need to do is to drop the temptation to take it personally.
The second thing you need to do is take it very personally—but from the point of view of the person in question.
You need to ask yourself what roadblocks/setbacks/crises they might be experiencing.
Perhaps their boss has been fired, their patent hasn’t been approved, their kid’s been arrested, their spouse is having an affair, their identity’s been stolen.
Any one of these scenarios is going to eat up the mental bandwidth necessary to forge a new connection. So, approach your follow up as mentally free of judgment as you can.
What might this sound like?
Something along the lines of, “It was great to meet you. I wanted to follow up on our conversation about X, Y, Z. I can be reached by email or phone,” etc.
Why does this phrasing work?
First, it reminds them the meeting went well.
Second, it doesn’t accuse them of anything; you haven’t said, “I was expecting to hear from you by now/You said you were going to call by the end of last week.” Instead, it’s pro-active: “I wanted to follow up.”
Third, including the X, Y, Z points discussed during your meeting refreshes their memory on the details, making it easier for them to call you back.
Finally, giving options for how to respond gives them the freedom to get back to you in the way they feel most comfortable—it makes staying in touch a reality.
For more waiting-time best practices take a look at “Ghosting: It’s Not Just for Breakups Anymore”