Attacking is deftly persisting through every challenge coming your sales way without losing your enthusiasm. And persistence is an admirable quality-even to those who do not manifest it.

While attending a funeral out of town last Friday, I was reminded of the importance of persistence to successful selling.

Several hawkers were present, each selling  the same wares- biscuits, soda, water and groundnuts. Unlike the rest, this particular one went beyond inviting me to buy his wares. He first teased me with the idea of selling me this dog because, “You people of Nairobi have issues with security.” He went on: “This dog is hardy. It’s cheap to maintain too. It doesn’t need any special food and will eat even ugali.” The joke was that it was a police dog and part of the patrol at the funeral.

Top of mind

Later, as I was passing by he called out to remind me that, “My water still awaits me. Could he open it now that it is was this hot?” Forget that I had not even suggested interest in buying water, let alone laying claim to any.  And this invite to buy this or that would continue with unabated enthusiasm, every time he would see me. As he did this, the other sellers were spectating entertained. Unbeknownst to them, this hawker had become top of mind when I decided to buy. His persistence was that infectious.

To use football parlance, selling is attacking not defending; a sale is pushed through to gathering traction before it comes through of its volition. Attacking is not bulldozing which will only serve to irritate the buyer. Attacking is deftly persisting through every challenge coming your sales way without losing your enthusiasm. And persistence is an admirable quality-even to those who do not manifest it. That is why the other hawkers were spectating as their colleague continually attempted to get me to buy. Of course, there were those who would not do that because they ran the risk of looking foolish especially if I didn’t buy. Truly it is hunger that separates (sales) men from boys.

Why some don’t persist

And that attitude is fine-for those who are fine with the mediocre results it yields.  It’s true you may face rejection. What is also true is that, that comes with the territory. In any case, whereas I may not buy now, I have filed you in my mind as the go to person when the time comes to do so. That is why experienced sellers will tell you of buyers who call them months, even years later asking to buy then. And why?  They were left in your thrall because you always kept them updated of the latest changes in your product and how they can benefit. Or, you continually, sent them links to information their business could benefit from. You were in their face without being a nuisance, making you a natural choice for purchase when the time came.  If you hadn’t persisted, very likely the sale could have gone to the seller who happened to be there at the time the buyer wanted to buy. In other words, he would have reaped where you sowed.

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