It’s been a while since I’ve been on a first date, but I remember well the awkward timing issue of the follow-up. Many of my buddies insisted on the “two day rule,” so as to strike a balance between seeming too eager or too aloof. If they wanted to play it really cool, they’d push out to three days. Any more than that and the assumption was “I’m just not that into you.”
I have often wondered if these same principles apply in a business context. Most would argue that, when following up with an institutional prospect, two days is too soon. After all, the company is likely interviewing other firms, plus they have to meet with the steering committee before they make their decision, plus two of the key decision-makers are out of the country… (you get the picture). But I maintain that the rules of dating are still relevant, at least in part, when pursuing a prospective client. I try to send a follow-up email on the same day of the pitch meeting, thanking them for their time and clarifying the expected deliverables and time tables. I also set their expectations on when I will circle back to see how their decision process is unfolding.
This excerpt from one of our Practice Boomers videos sheds further light on the art of the follow up. Check it out… and call me sometime.