Benjamin Spall


Earlier today I was speaking with someone about the importance of following up with people. How often have you sent an email, made a call, or physically knocked on someone’s door, only to receive nothing in return, and then decided to give up altogether?

I discovered the power of following up a few years ago, when My Morning Routine first started accepting sponsorships. Whether I was reaching out to potential sponsors directly, or they had initially reached out to me and I was trying to supply them with further details, I was often shocked at how effective following up on an otherwise dead-looking email chain could be.

And this has continued to be true. When Michael and I were approaching people to be in our book, we would sometimes have to follow-up a couple times (three total emails) before we got a response—often in the affirmative. This consistently surprised me; why—I thought—would they reply enthusiastically to my third email asking them to take part, instead of the first or second? If they were interested in being interviewed, why didn’t they get back to me right away?

There are many reasons for this, but they all ultimately come down to being busy. Maybe the person you were reaching out to receives so many emails that they archive as many as they can every morning, and yours accidentally (or accidentally on purpose) was filed away before being read. Maybe they have an assistant take care of their emails and their assistant didn’t believe your request to be a good use of their boss’s time. Or maybe they just wanted to see how important a response from them really was to you. After all, if you give up without following up, you couldn’t have been that desperate to speak with them in the first place.

There is, of course, a difference between following up and harassing someone. Feel out those boundaries and, when in doubt, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Whatever you do, make sure you follow-up at least once. Your message deserves it. ∎

Benjamin Spall is the co-author of My Morning Routine (Portfolio/Penguin). He has written for outlets including the New York Times, New York Observer, Quartz, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, CNBC, and more.

How to Reference this Article

Spall, B. (2018, November 13). Follow-Up. Retrieved from