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Persistence or relentlessness?

“To tell you the truth,” said the company president, “the only reason I agreed to take your call is because you’ve been relentless.”

This was a gruff, hard-to-reach guy who I was calling to help out an old client. He was known to deal with programming code better than with people. Within fifteen minutes he had done everything I needed from him.

He also reminded me of something I had started to forget about persistence.

Before the big-shot company president took my call, I left a total of three–count them, three–messages with his receptionist. This was hardly a Herculean effort, but to his mind, I had been “relentless.” He isn’t used to someone making three attempts to reach him. This was such unusual behavior that he considered it relentlessness.

What this tells me is that most people give up after the first call.

I’m lazy, but it seems that most people are lazier than me. And this means you’ve got yet another reason to do what you already know you should.

If you’re in marketing, sales, or really any profession in which you have to get other people to do things, you can easily place yourself above your rivals. Just keep going. Be persistent. It seems that most people won’t do this.

You’ve probably heard the statistic that it takes seven contacts to make a sale. I don’t know of any actual research to back this up, but it’s a good principal. Back in my freelancing days, it was normal to do business with a client after sometimes a year or two of calls, postcards, and email. Most of my competitors gave up before they were even tired, and soon I would be the only one left.

You know that persistence pays off, even if you don’t yet know it in the core of your being, even if it’s not yet tattooed on the inside of your medulla oblongata. You’ve heard people say it enough. Get the tattoo.

The lesson I’m trying to give you here is that it doesn’t always take as much persistence as you’d think. Just be persistent once or twice, and you’ll soon be labelled “relentless.”

Relentlessness gets things done. Relentlessness is persistence that talks.

Be relentless.

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