Derek Sivers

Repeatedly follow-up to show you care

2018-01-14

I knew a music publicist in New York City when she was at the peak of her success. A few of her clients had hits, so everyone wanted to work with her. She was flooded with new music.

Here’s how she dealt with the flood:

Whenever someone sent their music, it would go into an inbox. That inbox was completely ignored.

Whenever someone contacted her to follow-up the first time, to ask if she’d received it, she would take their music out of that first inbox, and put it in a second inbox. That second inbox was also ignored.

Then if they followed-up with her a second time, asking again if she’d had the chance to listen, she would take their music out of the second inbox, and put it in a third inbox. That third inbox would get a listen if she had some spare time.

Finally, if they followed-up a third time, she would take their music out of the third inbox, and make it a priority to give it a real listen.

She saw the shocked look on my face, as she described her system. So she explained:

“I can’t listen to everyone, so I can’t know who’s got the best music. But the ones who follow-up show they’ve got the tenacity and drive to succeed. As long as their music is also good, then those are the ones I want to work with.”

It wasn’t ego. It was just a practical way to deal with a flood, and a pretty good filter for choosing new clients.

Maybe nobody else has an official system like this. But un-officially, they do. Overwhelmed people don’t have time for all the random first-contacts. Patience and persistence separate you from the rest, and show how much you care.