Editor’s Note: This essay was first published in 2013 and appears in the author’s business blog.
I love my cat. Her name is Ms. Kitty. She was named after Mr. Cat, who died 13 years ago, and after Amanda Blake of “Gunsmoke” fame.
Those of you who are cat lovers are nodding your heads and smiling. The rest of you probably think I’ve totally lost it. But before you tune out completely, let me share some of the sales wisdom that I have learned from Ms. Kitty and from all the cats in my life.
- Be clear in knowing your goal. Ms. Kitty always knows what she wants. Whether it’s more food or to be petted or not to be petted, she knows what she wants and when she wants it. She spends much time pondering her wants. All that time spent sleeping on the couch is not what it appears. She’s really planning her next move.
- Ask for what you want. Once Ms. Kitty has determined her goal, she asks for it. Clearly and concisely. “Meow.” She lets me know in no uncertain terms what she wants. And if I’m not clever enough to understand the first time, she is patient with me until I do.
- Ask again. If at first you don’t succeed… Ms. Kitty asks, and asks and asks. She won’t go away. She won’t stop saying, “Meow.” She wants what she wants when she wants it, and she lets nothing stand in her way.
- Ask a lot of people. Ms. Kitty has learned over time that I don’t always immediately accede to her demands. That’s okay. She just asks someone else. And then someone else. Eventually, some human being says, “yes.”
- Be persistent. Ms. Kitty never judges herself. She doesn’t worry about being “too pushy” or “too aggressive.” She doesn’t worry that her prospect might be “too busy” or “already have a cat.” She believes in herself, she knows what she wants, and she keeps asking until she gets it.
- Don’t take “no” for an answer. Ms. Kitty is clever and creative. She keeps asking. She asks many people. She reworks her pitch and starts over. She does not hear “no.” She realizes that sometimes humans are slow and she just has to keep after us till we “get it.” It’s a process.
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