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I was coaching a client recently and she described how she was chasing a buyer. I asked her to tell me more about what was happening, and a lot of frustration and exasperation poured out.

It turned out that she was chasing the buyer for a response on a pitch, and when she did manage to get hold of him, he said he’d call back. He didn’t. This is not an unfamiliar story to any of us – and not one just about buyers. We’ve all been there, chasing, and we’ve all been guilty of not getting back to someone. The reason this particular story struck a chord was because when I asked what she would do in his position, she replied: “I’d wait for me to call again.”

A phrase, often attributed to Einstein, sprang to mind: “The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Pavlov’s dogs experiment (well worth a Google) seemed relevant, too.

I asked what her alternatives were, and she said that she had chased the buyer for three months and thought that her only next course of action was to chase harder. Eventually, after some other questions, she got it: “I need to change it up.” Again, we’ve all been there, in the trenches, doing the same thing and hoping for a different result. I felt for her.

We then agreed some dos and don’ts about chasing:


  • Use phrases like ‘Just making sure…’, or ‘I am just checking in’, or ‘please would you mind if I…’. They are, as my mum would say, too wet.


  • Change it up with a different format. Offer a piece of insight, compliment them, send a short video of yourself, highlight the consequences of not replying – ‘you’ll miss out on…’, or ‘I am worried about you’. Be concerned.
  • Be clear on what you want. Ask.
  • Give them an out: ‘If this is no longer of interest, it’s OK, please tell me either way.’

Also, remember that sometimes you need to stop. Think of two magnets – as one ‘chases’ the other repels.