“Why won’t they get back to me?”

We hear this frustration all the time.

Wondering why they just won’t call back to give you your next big client or introduction to a valuable referral source? Recently I did a little research. What actually keeps people from responding?  I’ve been asking colleagues: “think of the last time you did not promptly get back to someone, can you tell me why?” The answers fell into four distinct categories:

  1. The legitimate reasons – e.g. I was on vacation, sick, my wife is in the hospital
  2. I’m human and I screwed up – e.g. Forgotten email, deleted v-mail, waited too long and now am embarrassed, forgot what we spoke about in the first place
  3. Complexity – e.g.  too many steps or too much to think about, needed input from others, required money that I don’t have, need to resolve other things first
  4. Rejection – putting off telling them, no.

The research showed that of the 20 people asked, only two were putting off the call because they were going to reject someone.

As you wait by the phone, ask yourself if there are ways you can help the other person get back to you.  Check in to see how they are doing. Provide a gentle reminder of why you are reaching out and what you want them to do. Simplify your request and break the response into smaller steps.

Whatever you do don’t just wait, get into action.