The Power of the Follow-Up

Shannel Wheeler
2 min readSep 20, 2023

Don’t underestimate the power of the follow-up.

I sent out a proposal to a potential client after a great introductory meeting. He seemed like he was excited and on board. That is, until (cue dramatic music) — I sent him a quote. Then it was crickets. Was my price too high? I almost defaulted to assuming the worst, but instead, I sent a short and sweet follow-up email about 3 or 4 days later:

Hello [ client’s name],

Following up to see if you have any questions I could answer.

Have a great day!
Shannel

And what do you know, a few days later I received a response from the client expressing his desire to move forward; he was simply busy wrapping up another big project.

Following up is an important life skill, but also very relevant to design and the opportunities you are attempting to gain.

A non-response to a job application, freelance opportunity, networking introduction, etc. isn’t always a “no”. It could be a delayed response because:

- they forgot
- they are unsure and need clarity
- they are delayed/distracted but intend to respond
- they were waiting to hear from you
- something else

The truth is that “no’s” are part of life. Sometimes we will hear more “no’s” than “yes’s” — and that’s actually to be expected in areas like the job market. But delays don’t always mean denials. The best we can do on our end is to be proactive and be excellent in our follow-up. This can be:

  • A short email
  • A direct message on a social media platform
  • An in-person conversation
  • A text or phone call
  • A personalized short video
  • A card, letter, or personalized gift (yes, some people still do this!)

The key is to discern how much follow-up is necessary, when it’s appropriate (versus annoying or overbearing), and the follow-up format to use.

You’d be surprised how much progress you can make and the clarity you can gain (or at least know that you tried your best) when you leverage the power of following up.

Not only is it important to follow up with others, but also with ourselves. Do you follow up on your own progress? This can include what you recently learned, the notes you took, or the concepts/skills you need to work on…

It often takes more than one attempt to get what you want.

There are positive responses, lessons, and confirmation that come with the commitment to communication.

Who do you need to follow up with?

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Shannel Wheeler

Left-brain creative | Brand/Design Implementation | Design Instruction and Inspiration | Creating with Purpose: https://shannelwheeler.com