As teenagers, we painfully learned that if you contact someone and they don’t contact you back, they’re just not into you. If you keep trying, you must be a total loser.
But in the business world, it’s the opposite. Persistence is polite. If you don’t keep trying, you must be a loser.
For example, imagine you are trying to contact me.
- You send me a message on Facebook, but you don’t know that I never use Facebook.
- You email me, but it’s the day I’m leaving on an trip, so by the time I see it, it’s buried under other emails.
- You call and leave me a voicemail, but you don’t know that I never check voicemail.
- You text our mutual friend and ask if she’s heard from me. She tells you I’m on a trip.
- You email me again a week later.
- This time I see it, and I’m sincerely interested in talking with you, but just swamped in other things, so I don’t reply yet.
- Another week later, you call me, and this time I answer, saying, “Hi! So sorry I was hard to reach!”
At this point, I am sincerely glad that you had the patience to keep trying to reach me, because I really did want to talk to you.
Imagine this, instead:
- You send me a message on Facebook.
- I never see it.
- You silently rage for years, thinking I’m an asshole, thinking I hate you, so you hate me, too.
Trying once, and never again, is rude and inconsiderate.
In this business, you have to prove that something is important to you by being persistent. If you send someone something, and don’t follow-up until you reach them, it means you didn’t care.
Persistence is polite because it shows that you understand that everyone is busy, and it’s nothing against you.