With this article, we continue our series of lessons from Jesus of Nazareth.
Again I’ll provide my disclaimer: we’re examining the sales techniques of Jesus of Nazareth, the greatest salesperson of all time.
This doesn’t mean I’m taking a jaded view of Jesus and only characterizing him as a salesperson. Nor does it mean I’m stepping on religious toes and pushing Christianity. I am simply and only focusing on lessons we can learn from someone whose “product” is still selling incredibly well after an unimaginable two thousand years—and this is two thousand years after he himself is no longer walking the Earth. There certainly must be lessons there to learn—and there are.
For this post, I’m going to use another one of Jesus’s parables. A parable is a short story designed to illustrate or teach a truth, principle, or lesson.
Parable of the Persistent Widow
In this story, Jesus told of a particular judge who had no respect for people and no fear of God. But there was a widow who kept coming before this judge, telling him to please deliver justice to her from a legal opponent.
The judge at first was unwilling. But he finally decided to see that the widow got justice, mainly because he knew she would keep coming back and making trouble for him—and in fact, he was afraid she would physically attack him.
In telling this story, Jesus pointed out the value of persistence. He said that God, too, would also deliver justice for those who persistently asked for it.
He ends the parable by posing the question: will you persist and have trust in me until I return?
In reading any of these parables, we can see that they are very fitting today.
In this particular case, the story deals with a judge who doesn’t fear God and who has no respect for people. Unfortunately, little has changed today. Technologically we have come a very long way in 2,000 years, but as human beings, we have advanced very little. Many in our time, just like this judge, simply don’t care about others.
More pertinent to the story, though, is the fact that many also just don’t persist–which is the lesson of the parable.
In Our Genes
What’s really interesting to me is that persistence is actually in our genes. One of our first major accomplishments in life is learning how to walk. What kind of persistence does that take? Well, how many times does a child fall down while acquiring the skill of walking? And in the end, the person is upright and walking like everyone else. Then they’re learning to talk and learning many other things with the same persistence.
But something happens along the way, and at some point, too many of us learn to give up when faced with adversity.
Relevance to Sales
How persistent are you as a salesperson? How do you go after your opportunities daily?
Going back to our parable, the widow kept coming before that judge and giving him a hard time. What usually happened? He refused her.
That shows us that persistence is never a single instance of reaching out or communication. Some people give up if they’re pushed back against once. Or they say, “I called 3 times, and nobody answered.” Or, “I reached out 10 times and never got them.”
Salespeople will never be successful if they don’t persist beyond this initial “push-back.” At the same time you can’t beat a dead horse—but who told you the horse is dead?
Our widow persisted until she got what she desired—and another thing to note is that the judge helped her because he didn’t want to be bothered anymore, which was a totally selfish reason. And we can relate this, too, to sales, for at the end of the day people buy for their reasons, not any that you’re trying to give them.
And so you as a salesperson must persist. Referring back to our previous article, you’ll observe as you persist in sowing seeds that some are going to fall on good soil.
Another reason for persistence is that, as anyone who has truly succeeded will show you, there are no shortcuts.
The media tries to convince us that there is such a thing as an “overnight sensation.” One example is a recent one, that of famed Finnish ski jumper Matti Nykanen. He rocketed to fame in winning medal after medal for ski jumping, and for 10 years, he dominated his sport. But once he retired as a ski jumper, his life became troubled. He became a pop singer for a time, which was good, but he also became known for heavy drinking and violent behavior, actually doing prison time. He recently died at the relatively young age of 55, after having ignored his diabetic diet and refusing to quit drinking.
There really is no shortcut, and you can, as illustrated by our parable, always get help as you go if you really seek it and just ask. In a sales scenario, help can be obtained from the team, from your company.
The last lesson we can take from this parable is one of trust, for Jesus asks at the end of the parable if people will trust in him and persist until he returns.
Trust plays an enormous role in sales. First, we must trust in the company we work for and their products or services. And then we must create trust with our prospects, for they won’t buy from you if they don’t trust you or feel they cannot.
What We Can Learn
So what can we learn from the Parable of the Persistent Widow?
1. You must persist, in a good way. If you persist, you will ultimately get what you want. Remember, though, that you can only get what you want when the customer gets what they want. We at Pipeliner persist because we truly believe in salespeople—that they are wealth creators and peace producers. You should be proud, as a salesperson, that you are going out and actually making the world a better place.
2. You must be able to trust in your product or service and engender trust with your prospects and customers.
3. You must persist!
Note: The Parable of the Persistent Widow can be found in the book of Luke, Chapter 18, verses 1 – 8.