Talent Acquisition

How Many Times Do You Contact Prospects Before Giving Up?

Anyone tasked with new business development knows it can be a hard slog, albeit a rewarding one if practiced carefully and strategically. Sales people must be great at objection-handling, but if you can’t even get a potential client or customer to talk to you in the first place – then what?

We all know persistence is key in winning over prospects, but when trying to set up that initial conversation, whether it be via phone, email or social media, it’s hard to know when enough is enough. We asked our fabulous panel of careers, sales & recruitment experts to give us some guidance on how many times you should contact prospects before giving up. Here’s what they had to say:

Jon Gregory


“Keep going forever. Stalk them until they give in, or one of you dies. However, you need to be smart about it. Think in terms of brand-building, where frequency builds familiarity and trust. Continue until the trust is established AND they’re in a position to buy. Do it by making your communications interesting and offering them benefits, not just lambasting them until they give in.”

@LetsFireWalk (aka Jon) is a job hunt coach at

James Nathan


“Until they tell you to stop! But maybe there is a better way to contact them? Email is great for certain things, but as a communication tool it is limited. To have a real and meaningful conversation you must speak either on the phone or in person. If someone is not responding to you, it is usually because they are not interested. That means looking at other ways to contact them initially. Do you know someone who can introduce you? Could you find out where they network and be there too? Could you offer them something different that they would be interested in? Think around the problem before you reach for the keyboard or pick up the phone another time.”

@JamesNathan is the Managing Director at The James Nathan Experience


Lysha Holmes


“Prospecting is so different now because of the way we communicate before we even pick a phone up. We can look at someone on LinkedIn and find out their background. So to me, start with an initial InMail or email being very specific and introducing yourself. Say you will follow up with a call in X days. Follow up with a call. If no connection, send a follow up email suggesting that if they want to contact you, here is how. And leave it there.”

@LyshaHolmes is the owner of Qui Recruitment Ltd

Liz Sebag-Montefioreliz-sebag-montifiore

“I’d say about three times over a period of two and half weeks. But don’t give up, stay in touch with your contacts, even if it’s only once a year, to keep the door open, reach out, let them know that you are available. Usually it isn’t the case that they don’t want to talk to you, they were just busy when you made contact. Make sure you leave a positive impression. You don’t want to be a pest, one thing you can use is to ask when they would like to be contacted.”

@LizSM10Eighty is a career coach at 10Eighty

Rebecca Fraser


“This is always challenging to deem as it does depend on the industry that you work in. Generally, 3 contact attempts for anything is my rule of fun. 1 to make introduction, 2 to trigger the engagement and 3 just to see if there is any attempt at a response. The amount of time left between these attempts will definitely change depending on the industry sector you are targeting, however using your professional logic as this will always support you.

@RebeccaFraserCo is a career coach

John Feldmann


“In my opinion three is the appropriate number – the first to introduce yourself, the second to follow up, and the third to reaffirm your interest and persistence. Beyond that, you run the risk of annoying the prospect and coming across as a stalker, which may hurt your chances.”

John Feldmann is writer, blogger and content developer for Insperity Recruiting Services

Alison Cardy


“More than once! People often have full inboxes and short attention spans, so always follow-up with a second touchpoint if the first one doesn’t garner a response. It’s fine to continue reaching out after that too. Just make sure the energy you put forth is friendly, respectful, helpful, and appropriate to the client you’re targeting.”

@CardyCareers is a career coach and author of Career Grease: How to Get Unstuck and Pivot Your Career

Caroline Stokes


“Think long term relationship vs immediate transaction. I like to think prospective clients needing us one day (maybe tomorrow, or next year), or using some of our guidance to help move their career, leadership or hiring strategy forward. We might not be hired right now, and that’s fine – because we’re hiring for specialist, high-level innovation leader searches. If I’m doing my job right, my prospective clients would recommend us to other companies, or come to us when they really need us to deliver something their internal team don’t have the bandwidth to manage. It’s not about giving up, it’s about being of service when we’re needed.”

@theforwardco (Caroline) is an executive headhunter & coach at FORWARD



Farhan Raja


“Never give up. Just reduce the frequency and don’t spam. Persistence has its rewards. Always ensure that the email is personalised as much as possible.”

@interviewology (aka Farhan) is the founder, career & communications coach at

By Phoebe Spinks

Account Executive at Link Humans, download our 12 Essentials of Employer Branding eBook now.