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Persistence Pays Off!

In Inspiration and Motivation, Life Lessons, Pursuit of Happiness on January 29, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Is persistence a positive or negative character trait?  The answer to that question really depends on who you ask.  Those who are persistent tend to think of themselves as “determined,” even though others may think of them as being “pushy” or “overbearing.” It also depends on what the situation is.

People who need to make sales to put food on the table have no choice but to embrace persistence.  This is not to say that this mindset comes easily, especially since the underlying fear of alienating people is always lurking in the background.  But overall, the positives of being persistent outweigh the negatives.

There are many days when people in sales feel like they are pushing a boulder up a hill, and it can become very frustrating.  This is especially true if the prospect has given an indication that they are interested in your product or service, but still won’t make a commitment.

Being patient is easier said than done.  As Tom Petty sang… “the waiting is the hardest part…everyday you get one more yard…you take it on faith, you take it to the heart…the waiting is the hardest part.”

Very often, the prospect will be caught up in their day, and ask you to call back at another time.  Even if you call back at the exact time that they asked you to, there’s a good chance that something will come up to further delay the process, causing the call or meeting to be rescheduled again.  Unless your offering has an expiration date, or is simply something that the prospect needs for their business immediately, it can be challenging to get a firm commitment.  This is especially true in a weakened economy where price shopping is the norm.

However, price shopping takes work, and it can be a tedious process.  Business owners who already feel like there are not enough hours in the day aren’t necessarily going to find the time to shop around.  So they delay the process as long as they can, promising themselves that they are going to make the time to do their research and then make a decision.  After a few contacts with no positive results, salespeople have a tendency to get pessimistic and move on to the next prospect.  After all, new prospects bring new hope for success.

This week (today in particular) a number of deals finally came to fruition.  About half of them would not have happened without persistence.  These people may very well have had the best intentions, but put off making a decision for one reason or another.  Had I given up on them because of frustration or fear of becoming a nuisance, everyone would have been worse off.  I wouldn’t have made the sales, and they wouldn’t have taken advantage of an opportunity to save money.  A lot of money in some cases!

In the end, I wasn’t really risking anything by being persistent.  Although, the prospects could have thought of me as being “pushy,” I didn’t know them before, and the chance of crossing paths with them in a business or social way was remote at best.  They could have told me “no,” but that isn’t actually a bad thing in sales.  At least then, it is a clear indication to move on to the next prospect.

When it comes down to it, there are usually only two reasons not to be persistent:

  1. FEAR OF REJECTION – This is something that most people have to some degree because of our egos.  In my case, I never really liked walking up to a group of girls in a bar when I was single.  However, being rejected in sales is part of the job, so I never look at it as a reason not to take action.
  2. FEAR OF PERCEPTION – People generally want to be liked.  They don’t want to be thought of as being “annoying.” This never enters into my mindset.  If the prospects were total strangers to me before, why should I care what their lasting perception of me is going to be, especially if they are not going to work with me anyway?

The biggest deal that closed this week was the one that I had been working on for the longest time.  I had called this prospect more than any other, and continued to do so even when I started to feel like I was becoming a nuisance.  As a result of my persistence, a big deal was closed, and the client is going to save a lot of money over the next year.  The client had absolutely no negative feelings towards me whatsoever.  In fact, the client gave me credit for my tenacity in one of the final e-mails leading up to the closing of the deal.

It took a while, but this week, my persistence finally paid off!

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  1. Wonderful! HOORAY FOR YOU!

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