I am often asked where I get ideas for my columns. My answer without hesitation is… everywhere. A day does not pass, or a TV show perused, or an evening news soundbite heard, or a trip to the post office taken where I am not bombarded with “fodder” that has my mind spinning with ideas and some sort of reaction.
Today’s observation and resultant opinion stems from a conversation between my wife’s physical therapist and myself. We were sitting at our breakfast table while he was doing something therapeutic to my wife’s foot (bone spur).
During his last visit, I gifted this gentleman a book I wrote with tips directed toward high school graduates. This morning, he mentioned that his daughter was having trouble gaining an endorsement from one of her professors to gain support for entrance into medical school. His exact words were, “She is having trouble getting her professors to answer her emails.” (I am certain you cannot identify with this conundrum… getting prospects or even clients to respond to your well-intentioned communications.)
He then added that she did not want to appear pushy, which explained why she did not “follow-up” her initial email. After releasing my teeth from my tongue, I asked if I could say a few words on the subject. “Please do,” he responded.
I reminded “dad” that after the professor signed a testimonial, he probably would not give your daughter a second thought for the next two hundred years. She is worried about this man’s feelings at the expense of her future. I said without apology that this is “playing to the wrong audience.” It is a common error of entrepreneurs and salespeople from all industries and walks of life. It is like putting the wagon before the horse. Like “hitting your second shot first.” (A golfing phrase… forget it.)
This young lady has a goal and that is to get into graduate school. She should not “allow” a short-lived stranger get in the way of her plans. I then suggested that she forget the email strategy, as it is too easily ignored and used by virtually everyone seeking testimonials. I suggested a series of three letters, personally addressed to this man. This would clearly underscore her seriousness and position her far ahead of her competition.
I went on to say that this strategy is not guaranteed for many reasons. (1) The student is not testimonial worthy; (2) the professor is a lazy slug; (3) the professor is away from his office and is not reading his incoming communications.
If I had to pick a theme for today’s advice, it would spell PERSISTENCE. The goal is worthy. The action required is clear. To date, there has not been closure. There is still work to do, and the work is the responsibility of the student in this case.
I hope you are reading between the lines to see how the above pertains to your email shortcomings. Snail mail, phone calls, invitations, and introductions are all viable options at times. There is no magic pill but, like I told this student’s dad, persistence is the differentiator between entry to graduate school or to hosting that next group cruise.
One short clarification: Professional persistence. There is never room for overly aggressive, manipulative, or boorish behavior. After all, you cannot win them all.
Mike Marchev is always looking for a few more proactive travel professionals to join his Sales and Marketing Club. firstname.lastname@example.org.
*** You want more to think about? Check out my weekly podcast (Mike’d Up Marchev). Also listed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google, and iHeartRadio.