Most of the time, we rely on others to get what we want. I know this better than anyone. I had a full-time sales job for six years before starting my own eco-tourism company, and now I run a paid ads agency, Snowball Creations. All of this relied on me learning how to sell things to other people so that they could help me reach my goals.
With my eco-tourism company, I needed someone to invest £180k into my startup, so I needed to sell potential investors on the idea and on the dream that I had, even though I had nothing concrete to show at the time.
Even now, running my paid ads agency, I need to convince clients of the value that we can offer them so that they are willing to give us a shot.
I promise there’s a point to all of this rambling, and that point is that I’m damn good at sales. I like to say that I got my sales skills when I was a child trying to convince my mom to buy me Pokemon cards and sweets.
If you’re in the business industry, you already know that the ability to make sales is one of the most important skills you can have. And the entire point of sales is to convince someone to give you what you want. However, one thing that many people fail to understand is that one of the key elements of sales is getting a prompt reply from people rather than having your message sit in their inbox for a week.
Before we get any further, I would like to mention that I also have a YouTube video discussing this, so if you’d prefer to watch that rather than read this post, click here.
Why is getting a response important?
We live in a world of digital communication, and while this is great for many reasons, it also provides its own challenges. After all, it’s much easier to ignore someone’s text-based message than it is to ignore them in person.
Learning how to get people to respond faster is a truly valuable tool that will help you in all aspects of your business. You need to get responses from emails and other forms of outreach, whether you’re contacting a potential client or someone in your company.
Not only that, but it will also help you in your personal life. You’ll be able to have a higher success rate when it comes to things like Tinder messages, WhatsApp messages, and more.
With “ghosting” becoming increasingly popular, it’s more important than ever to know how to get people to respond to you.
(P.S. “Ghosting” refers to when someone just stops responding to you).
While ghosting used to be a thing mostly found on social media, especially on dating apps, it’s started to infiltrate the workplace as well. In the past, someone might have ghosted you on Tinder when you made a lame joke or used a cringe pickup line. But now, even employers are getting ghosted. A study by Indeed showed that 28% of potential employees ended up ghosting employers, which is a drastic increase when compared to previous years.
Luckily, I’m here to help by sharing some tips on how you can get a response from someone, whether you’re contacting them via Tinder, WhatsApp, email, or anything else. As I said, this is pretty much my area of expertise, so I want to give you some of the tips that help me get responses from people. I’m also going to drop two nuclear options at the end, so even if everything else fails, you have some steps that you can take.
Tip #1: remove all emotion
We’re people, so we have emotions. It’s natural. But there are some cases where it can be very helpful to remove emotions from the situation, and getting a response is one of these situations.
As I said, my first experience in business was working in sales. And if you’ve ever worked in sales, you’ll know that people can be really mean! You need to have tough skin in order to make it.
I was doing two hundred to three hundred calls a day, and I think the reason that I was so successful at what I did was that I didn’t let my emotions get to me. Now, I’m not a robot, so sometimes I failed, but most of the time, I just shrugged things off.
If someone hung up on me, that was their choice. If they called me a piece of shit, so be it. I knew that it wasn’t personal, and that allowed me to simply move on to the next call rather than obsessing over what they said.
And it’s the same with responses. If someone doesn’t respond to me, I’m not going to get emotional. I’m not going to be surprised, or angry, or disappointed. Because in the end, that doesn’t help. In fact, it only slows you down. I know it’s easier said than done, but just try to take emotions out of the equation.
Tip #2: make it clear who is responsible and set a timeline
People are busy. I’m busy. I’m sure you’re busy. And the person you’re contacting is probably also busy. So if you want them to respond to you, you need to make sure that you are being very clear about who is responsible and what the timeline for a response is.
Something as simple as saying “I’m looking forward to a response” will help remind the other person that they are responsible for responding. Similarly, giving them a timeline for when you expect them to respond can help gently pressure them into responding. If that feels a bit too upfront for you, you can always ask them when you can expect an answer from them.
Asking questions is another great way of showing them that you’re expecting a response. If you just close a conversation off without a question, the other party may assume that the conversation has ended.
Tip #3: keep it short
We’re all so used to short-form content thanks to things like TikTok, which means our society collectively has the attention span of a goldfish. You need to cater to this by making your messages as short as possible. This will help you grab someone’s attention and ensure that your message gets heard. Focus on what’s important, and get rid of anything else that doesn’t matter.
If you send someone a giant block of text, they’re probably not going to stop what they’re doing to read it. They’ll think “Oh, I’ll get to that later”. And then later never comes.
One tip that I’ve found very helpful is to read through a message before you hit send and ask yourself whether there’s anything that you can remove while still retaining the information. You essentially want to try to shorten the message while still keeping the same impact. Trust me, this will help your response rate.
You also don’t want to make your messages overly complicated or formal. I’m not saying you should write at a third-grade reading level, but you’re also not writing the next great American novel here. Simple, understandable language is the way to go.
Tip #4: practice makes perfect
If you want to get good at anything, you need to practise. Think about it: Olympic swimmers don’t just wake up one day with the ability to swim at near-superhuman speed. They put in hours and hours of practice.
So if you want to be the equivalent of an Olympian when it comes to getting a response, you need to practise. When I was working in sales, I was obsessed with sales targets. If my coworkers were doing a hundred calls a day, I was aiming for two hundred.
Not only was this helping me get better sales, but I was learning what worked and what didn’t. I would essentially A/B test my follow-up message, my sales intro – everything. I’d greet people in a specific way and see how they reacted, and then using those reactions, I would tweak my greeting until I found the perfect one.
If you can land a career in sales – specifically telesales or door-to-door sales – you will have ample opportunities to practise your sales skills, which will in return help you figure out which strategies to use to get a decent response from people. Jobs like these offer you a lot of experience, whereas if you’re only doing a sales call every three months, you’re going to get pretty rusty.
Tip #5: assume that they are unorganised
Most of the time, I’m going to tell you not to make any assumptions about anything, but this is one exception to the rule. Most people aren’t organised. And while there may be the rare person now and then who has their shit together, you shouldn’t rely on that being the case.
As I’ve said before, the world is full of busy people. And they have short attention spans. So, when you combine that with disorganisation, there’s quite a big chance that someone will simply forget to respond to you.
That’s the reality of it. The majority of the time, someone isn’t ignoring your initial email because they hate you or because they’re a horrible person. They probably just got distracted or lost it. Life gets in the way, so you need to keep that in mind when trying to get a response out of others.
Assume that they’re not organised and that it’s fallen through the gaps rather than getting offended. One way of combating others’ disorganisation is to be extra organised yourself. If they don’t respond to your first message, make sure to follow up with them. Write it in your calendar or daily planner. Make it a priority to get a response from them, because they won’t make it a priority to respond to you.
Tip #6: look at it like it’s a game
Games are arguably more fun than work, so why not gamify your work? I love doing this. Seeing this whole situation as a game makes it fun, especially when you win. It’s not personal, it’s just a game. That’s how I view getting a response from people.
I love seeing how people interact. It’s fascinating to see how someone’s response can differ depending on what you say and how you say it. In the sales game, you need to get into the mind of others to help you understand them, and then use that information to get what you want.
As mentioned, you can A/B test! If you say a specific thing over and over again, you’ll quickly learn how most people react to that. You can then work on dropping the bad and keeping the good. Eventually, you’ll master the game. Everything else that I’ve mentioned so far will fall into place if you think of getting a response as a game
In case you’ve already forgotten what tip number one was, here’s a summary:
- Take emotions out of it
- Make it clear who’s responsible and add a timeline
- Keep it short
- Assume that they aren’t organised
- Look at it as a game
If you do all of these, you will be a sales master in no time, and you’ll get a response from people.
The nuclear options
Remember how I mentioned that I was going to share two nuclear options that you can implement if all else fails? Here they are.
Nuclear option #1: be aggressive
If someone isn’t responding to you but you need an answer, be aggressive about it. There’s a time to be polite, but there’s also a time to be annoying and chase the hell out of someone. They might be busy, but you’re likely also a very busy person, so send the follow-up message. Make sure that they understand that it’s urgent.
You could be subtle about it and send them a weekly follow-up, or you can go hardcore and message them daily, or even hourly until they respond. Obviously, you want to be smart about it and not piss them off, but at this point, if you’ve tried everything else, you may have no other option.
Either they will break and respond to you, or they’ll block you. Either way, you’ll know where you stand.
Nuclear option #2: give up
I know you were probably told never to give up, but sometimes that’s the best option. While this is certainly true in a professional setting, it can also apply to personal relationships like friendships or romances.
If someone just isn’t responding no matter how hard you try, it’s time to take the hint and let it go, since they clearly aren’t interested. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but you’ll be better off. Not everyone likes me, and not everyone is going to like you.
So, if it’s reached that point, why would you continue to spend so much time and energy chasing someone for a reply when you can just let it go? Use your time to chase new opportunities and find new potential leads instead.
I can convince a lot of people to work with me, but that doesn’t mean I should. Sometimes it’s just not a good fit, so it’s best for everyone involved to just accept that and move on.
I hope that this has helped you in some way, and that you’ll be successful in getting a response from that business partner or Tinder match or whoever it is you’re talking to. Also, I love chatting about this stuff, so feel free to reach out to me by subscribing to my YouTube channel and dropping a comment, or connecting with me on LinkedIn.