Persistence is a virtue. So is prudence. How many times have you heard: "Winners never quit and quitters never win?" Or, how about this old chestnut: "It takes seven "no's" to hear a "yes?"
You can be persistent without being a pest. Most salespeople (80 percent) give up after the first "no" and another 5 percent after the second no" The goal is not to hear three "no's"-but why would you quit when you face resistance? Maybe it's a slight misunderstanding that can be resolved with patient persistence and open communication.
I used to feature a senior buyer in my sales courses to explain to salespeople what buyers expect. He clarified the difference between pushy and persistent. He said, "If you press for an order after I say 'no' because you need to sell something today, you're pushy." On the other hand, "If you press for a commitment when I say 'no' because I really need and should buy your solution, you're persistent." It has everything to do with your motivation. Are you pressing for the customer's benefit or for your benefit?
Is persistence important? Yes, but how much persistence is too much? Do buyers view your persistence as an indication of how hard you will fight for them after the sale?
You can persist by asking questions. Ask open-ended, non-threatening questions that draw out the buyer's concerns. Try to understand why the buyer is hesitating. Demonstrate empathy by acknowledging these concerns. Offer information to reassure the buyer. Provide additional evidence and proof that your solution is the correct one for the customer.
Demonstrate your value added. Give the buyer more reasons to say "yes" than "no."
Prudence knowing when to walk away from an opportunity. Do you want every order or every opportunity? There is some business you want the competition to have. Too many salespeople persist ad infinitum because they don't know how or when to walk away. They may call on a buyer too many times because they have convinced themselves that one more call will do it.
Successful salespeople persist. The most successful salespeople persist prudently, as I illustrated with my story about Percy - "How Percy the Persistent Pigeon Finally Got to "Yes, I'll Buy"
But equally, this how "pushy" alienates: "Cambridge Who's Who - Hard Sell or Scam? Both Actually (Allegedly!)"