I recently had the chance to travel to Maputo in Mozambique. I was there on business, but was also able to spend a little time exploring some of the city. One afternoon, I ended up in the market, walking though the different stalls, and chatting briefly with the traders. They were all friendly, but were obviously eager to sell me something – anything – and were not too subtle in the way they went about it! Quite often, such dogged persistence has the opposite of the intended effect, and instead of being persuaded to buy something, all I want to do is leave the market as quickly as possible to escape the constant hounding.
On this occasion, however, one particular trader stood out from the rest. He was selling some very pretty teaspoons, which caught my eye and I went over to have a closer look. I admired the spoons, but decided not to buy them, and so started to walk away. The seller called me back, and began what I thought would be the normal sales pitch in an attempt to get me to buy the teaspoons. But he was different. He was so inoffensive and non-threatening in his approach, and he seemed so genuine, that I was drawn to him and actually stopped and listened to what he had to say, rather than thinking of the quickest way out of the situation.
In the end, I bought the spoons!
The lesson here is that persistence, backed up with the right approach and a positive attitude, will – in many cases - go a long way towards getting you what you want.