The Fine Line Between Persistence and Pestering When Selling

  • Sales

Telemarketers calling in the middle of dinner, spam flooding an email inbox, door-to-door sales people pushing their foot in the door — all these images are conjured up at the mention of salespeople. But being in sales doesn’t mean you have to fit that profile to be successful at sales. There is a fine line between being persistent and being a pest. Finding the balance between building a relationship with a client and annoying them can be reached, with some of these helpful tips.

Social Media

Advertising on social media sites has grown in popularity as quickly as the sites themselves. Facebook, with more than 1 billion users, is an excellent way to reach and connect to people. But there is a right way and a wrong way to use this tool. Status updates are free and only show up on feeds of people who have liked your page. But avoid flooding people’s feeds with numerous pointless, salesy, desperate status posts. Interesting, engaging and fun posts that relate to your business instead can have people responding positively to your page and your company, without even knowing that their trust for your opinion (and your business) is growing.

Email or Phone Calls

Both emails and phone calls are possible ways to contact people. Emails allow a person to read at their convenience, then save, copy, forwar, and respond on their own time. However, many people’s emails are flooded every day with sales type emails that get ignored or trashed. Phone calls can be more personal, but for busy people a phone call may be an annoyance. Leave a brief message with a direct action for the best results. Offer a few windows of time that would be good for them to call you back. Whether you select either, or both, as your method of contact, be sure to have a goal in mind for the contact. Just “touching base” will often result in being ignored. Once you try these methods, try to take note of what people prefer, and stick to that.


Repetitive contact just to push a service or product is a big turn off for most people. However, thoughtful, useful and friendly contact can increase loyalty, interest and results. Learning about the person’s needs, interests and lifestyle can prevent useless contact. Sales advisor Jeff Hoffman recommends avoiding listing every product you have hoping one of them is going to catch a person’s interest. Do some research into the person’s needs or wants and customize your contact specifically to them. Offer them products that help them in their life or business.

Build a Relationship

Paying attention and listening can be one of the most important parts to succeeding instead of annoying. This can include personal details about the person’s life, business needs, preferences and personality. Keeping notes about likes, dislikes, family events, names and interests can give you a leg up instead of a push out the door. Adding a personal touch to your contact, such as sending a Christmas card through the mail, stopping by and sending flowers for the birth of a child, or a calling to wish them a ‘happy birthday’ are all personal touches that will build a relationship. While you shouldn’t show up at their son’s baseball game to cheer them on, most people enjoy doing business with people who care about them beyond the sale.