Get More Sales With Pugnacious Persistence

This is Rollo Tamasi – my Pug.

Movie fans will recognize the name; if you’re curious, just Google it.

That’s not the point of this piece, though.

You may not know (or even care) that since May 18, my family and I have been traveling the USA in our motorhome. Our family includes me, She Who Must Be Adored (my wife), our son… and two dogs.

Rollo discovered early on in this long journey (over 5,000 miles so far) that his preferred riding spot is in my wife’s lap. It’s pretty cute, if not always comfortable for my wife.

Because having a 25 pound dog on your lap for hours on end is not comfortable, my wife frequently banishes Rollo to the rear sofa. He usually obediently lumbers back to the sofa, waits a few minutes… and the next thing you know, there he is. At my wife’s feet. Looking up with those big brown eyes, silently asking, “Can I please get back on your lap now?”

Once she has noticed him, my wife will say “No, Rollo – go back to the couch.”

And he slowly shuffles off to the sofa, head hung down as if he’d been scolded for some really, really Bad Thing. Sits on the sofa for a few minutes. And then… you guessed it: he’s back at her feet.

I’ve seen him perform this little dance as many as half a dozen times in a row, in the course of 30 minutes.

No whining.

No barking.

No bad behavior, really.

Oh, occasionally my wife gets a little irritated and maybe firms up her tone of voice – but in therollo-lap end, she always sighs, smiles, and says, “Oh, okay. Come on up.”

And Rollo happily hops into her lap and soon is serenading us with the rip-roaring snores only an overweight Pug can manage.

I think there’s a very simple lesson here for sales people. And we’re all sales people, in one way or another.

Do you “get” the lesson? Post your insights here on the blog. I’ll pick one commenter to receive an advance, signed copy of my forthcoming book on copywriting and online persuasion, Writing Riches.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • Mark Henderson

    The meek shall inherit the earth (or lap, in this case), and all he did was to keep showing up. Rollo's an obvious student of Sir William of Ockham. Bravo.

  • Ray, it can be summed in two words “polite persistence”. And I have 15+ years of B2B sales to back that statement up. Everyone knows that persistence is a key trait of successful sales. But it is being persistence while being polite and professional that really make it work.

    John Deck

  • Shawn Horwood

    Looks like John said exactly what I was going to. It really is a simple lesson. Be persistent without being annoying. Keep asking until you get a yes, but don't be rude or obnoxious about it.

    Keep giving people reminders that you're there and you want something, and if you do it in a polite way, people will eventually give in.

    It also helps if you have cute brown eyes that can make people feel sad for saying no (we have a dog too and they really get you with the eyes)

  • donniebryant

    Great stuff as usual, Ray. Thanks for persistently giving us things to think about and APPLY.

    I once heard Gary Halbert say something like 90% of marketers are not mailing their lists often enough, and NO ONE is mailing too often.

    A colleague and I were just discussing the erosion of skepticism over time by staying in touch with your prospects (and providing valuable content whenever possible). Same idea, right?

    My children are the same. They know that I can only say no for so long…..

    • Good points all, Donnie. Why do you think I write every day? 🙂

  • Everet

    I love everyday stories like this. Fun article! Persistence is one key to sales success. Imagine how many times your pug would get on your wife's lap if he were to bring her something she wanted each time he wanted to get on her lap (slippers, a drink, book, snack, etc.). Everyone get this example when it comes to their prospects?

  • This reminds me of my “Ice Cream Truck Marketing” analogy. You know those annoying white ice cream trucks that drive through neighborhoods (probably yours) on hot summer days selling cheap but cold frozen goodies? They play the same song or set of songs over and over and wait for the kids to beg enough money from their parents to go buy something. So here are my obvious parrallelles to marketing:

    1. Play your song (USP) loud and often, even if it does annoy a few people.
    2. Advertise where the most buyers are likely to be
    3. The people who want what you are selling will find a way to get to you.
    4. Continue to work the area looking for repeat buyers

    Nice post Ray. Keep it up!

    Tim Hoeffel

    • Thanks Tim – good points. And I like your “better painting” site!

  • Joao

    pity (emotion) + persistance = sale

  • Mary Proctor

    Rollo's little dance performance reminds me of ME complete with the whining, barking, and bad behavior. Talking my evil id into doing what I'm supposed to do is harder sometimes than doing the work. But when I think of succumbing to the negatives vibes that lead to procrastination or giving up, the ole' determination and perseverance kicks in, and off I go.
    I hooked up with your blog last night and am turned on by what I see. Thanks for sharing your expertise with me.