All of our sales training clients in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto constantly wrestle with the difference between being a pushy or persistent Salesperson.  While we know the key to success is to be persistent, when does that self-discipline get misinterpreted from the buyer’s perspective as being over-the-top?

Think of all of the areas of the sales process that involve persistence on the part of a Salesperson:

  • Prospecting for appointments with new potential buyers
  • Trying to get all decision makers in a room together
  • Attempting to deal with dysfunctional buying committees
  • Dealing with buyers who say they aren’t happy with their supplier but won’t change
  • Knowing the difference between who has the title and who has the audience
  • Dealing with clients who have been misinformed
  • Decision makers who have all the answers
  • Trying to get decision makers to return calls and emails on proposals presented
  • Convincing buyers who are the perfect match for your proposal

That’s a long list of obstacles and roadblocks in your way.  Each of these topics is a great blog article alone.  Self-discipline and tenacity are required to best deal with them.  While it’s easy to give up and move on, we have all been beaten by a top-producing Salesperson who knew how to deal with these issues creatively and who ended up making a sale.

Your Approach

The single biggest factor in your success is how you handle these challenges and communicate with your client.  Experienced Salespeople know they have to be tactful, diplomatic and direct in their positioning.   You don’t want to sound like the last dozen Salespeople that were given the brush-off by a decision maker who doesn’t have time to invest with every person who thinks they can help them. In order to come across as persistent versus pushy use the techniques below depending on the situation.


Stop calling decision makers and telling them you have a great idea for them.  Give them  a valid business reason to want to meet with you.  Do research on their company and industry to find out their key issues and motivators.  Offer to work with them to find solutions together.

Dealing with Decision Makers

Find out who the real decision makers are by asking these questions…

“Whom besides yourself is involved in making decisions for your company?  Is it one person or a buying committee?  Who has a real stake within the company to be involved in influencing that direction?  Who stands to gain from that kind of decision?  Who might feel differently?  Why is that?   What do you think the best approach would be?  What internal factors might influence the decision?”

While these are very high trust questions, asking them once a relationship with your contact has been established is essential to laying out the road map to your approach.

Disgruntled Customers

When a buyer says that they’re unhappy with their current provider, get as much information as possible.  Many Salespeople only scratch the surface of the issue by finding out why. Be sure to also ask these questions…

“How long have you experienced this?  Is the supplier’s Salesperson aware?  What are they doing about it?  What’s prevented you from moving on?  What would keep you from making that decision?”

Client Misinformation and Know-It-Alls

Tread carefully.  What you say can easily be taken the wrong way.  Here are my suggestions:

“Everyone has reasons for feeling the way they do.  Do you mind me asking what’s influenced you in your thinking?  What’s caused you to feel this way?” 

“Would you be open to a new idea or another way of looking at it?”

Returning Calls and Emails

I always back up every voice mail message with an immediate email.  Because I don’t know which one has the priority with my decision makers, I use both.  I leave a quick message and short email indicating my request and the benefit in them returning it.

I have a three-strike rule with reaching out.

First contact:  Subject line/Voice mail message – Friendly Follow-Up

Second contact:   Subject Line/Voice Mail Message –  I hope I’m not being a pest

Third Contact:  Subject Line/Voice Mail Message – Perhaps this isn’t the best time for you.

I could wait for a few weeks and start the process of follow-up again if I chose.

Please read The PROSALESGUY BLOG – Three Steps to Getting Your Messages Returned

Convincing Buyers Who are the Perfect Match

This is where your sincerity has to be genuine.

“(name of buyer), every so often I see what I feel is a perfect match between a potential customer, our products and my service.  When that happens, it’s my obligation to tell you why.  You tell me if I’m wrong… (List the reasons.)”

Follow this with a de-pressurizer if necessary…

“I apologize for being so adamant on this.  I’d rather be guilty of being too persistent than not passionate enough.”

Make Them Yours

Nothing sounds worse than someone presenting another person’s speech.  You have to customize these techniques to make them sound authentic and original.  You have to feel them to be able to deliver them.

The Biggest Difference Between Being A Pushy or Persistent Salesperson

It’s the interpretation of your true motive.  While every buyer knows the nature of a Salesperson is to sell, he or she needs to feel that you have their best interests at heart at all times.  That’s what will make you stand out from the pack and get the decision maker to buy you first.


If you’re a Manager interested in training your Salespeople or an individual Salesperson looking for cost-effective sales training, check out our online program The Sales Skills Incubator ($199 Canadian) or our book  SHUT UP!  Stop Talking and Start Making Money available on Kindle and paperback on Amazon.





Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY