I have never contemplated the fact that I might be even slightly voyeuristic, but now I am not so sure. You see, for the past month, from the comfort of my study, I have sporadically been witnessing the exploits of a very resilient pigeon, who I have affectionately named “Percy” – and yes, my choice of name may have a deeper Freudian meaning, after all wasn’t it Freud who said “Anatomy is destiny?” – but let’s not go there for now.
Percy the pigeon, and his flighty female companion Prudence – yet again, a name chosen after careful observation – first came to my attention after what I perceived to be a minor high-wire altercation, at least that was my first somewhat naive perception. Pru was clearly making her feelings known, and Percy made a pretty swift exit – well as swift an exit as a pigeon can make, which actually is not really very swift at all.
Ten minutes later he was back. Obviously he had made a quick flight around the block, summoned up his courage once more, and was ready for another tilt at this finely feathered girl of his dreams. Again he was rebuffed, and once more he circled the neighbourhood, only to return again.
By now it had dawned on me that I was not witnessing an aggressive contest of wills, but rather an intense passage of ornithological courtship. As a consequence, I became even more intrigued as to how this would all pan out for poor Percy, and prudent Pru.
Gradually, I observed, Pru appeared to becoming more responsive to our heroes’ overtures, and for a while, they seemed to be cuddling up. Perce would nudge her with his wing, and I chuckled imagining what he might be whispering: “Come on love, you know you want to” At which point she would move away a little: “In your dreams bird brain” she may have been responding.
Well, to cut a slightly long story somewhat shorter, after about another hour of this frankly hilarious performance, dear Pru’s resistance was worn down. At that point, I averted my eyes to allow them as much privacy as they might reasonably expect whilst indulging themselves twenty feet above the ground, clinging to the most thinnest of telephone wires.
So, what is the moral of this story? What on earth could this possibly have to do with professional frontline selling?
Isn’t that obvious? It’s persistence! Percy demonstrated amazing patience and persistence – he never once thought about giving up. He simply would not accept that “No means Never”
A recent survey carried out by The Results Corporation PLC discovered:
- 60% of clients buy after five “No’s”
- 22% after the second “No”
- And 14% after a third “No”
Yet 44% of salespeople give up after the first rejection! That is almost one in two?
If Percy and his chums adopted the same mentality, pigeons would soon be an endangered species
A well-known oil company whose name I cannot mention, (but let’s just say that their senior executives will not be vacationing on a certain US gulf coast for a while) discovered that it took their best salespeople an average of three visits and five follow-up calls to convert a prospect into a client. Yet their average sales performers only visited prospects twice and then gave up, costing the company millions of pounds in wasted sales effort and even more in lost potential sales opportunities.
Make no mistake, persistence pays – just ask Percy and Pru!