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confessionI have a confession to make.

Less than 1 percent of all salespeople who contact me for an appointment actually get one. I find this amazing because, if you know my formula, I’m the easiest guy in the world to get an appointment with.

But, you’ve got to know my formula—and it’s a closely guarded secret that a brilliant lady taught me more than 30 years ago.

This lady, who had been described to me as being one of the toughest “sells” on the face of the earth, became a prospect for me when I was still making cold calls. She was the proverbial whale, a woman who controlled a huge amount of print and marketing business, and so I set my sights on landing this big fish.

Just one small problem. She didn’t see salespeople…period! But that didn’t stop me. I mailed her a package and called for an appointment, but got no response. Next, I dropped off samples, then mailed and called. Still no response.

Finally, I decided to make a personal call even though her office was 200 miles away. I sent a note saying that I was going to be in town and mentioned that I’d just drop by around 9:00 one morning for a quick meeting. When she didn’t respond, I figured: GAME ON.

At promptly 9:00 on the given morning, I arrived—only to be told that she was “out” for the day. Then I decided that I was going to make getting an appointment with her my mission.

I drove the 200 miles once a month to ask for an appointment, only to be told she was either busy or out. Finally, several years into this mission, when I walked in on my regular day, the receptionist said, “Hold on a minute, she can see you.”

The door finally opened and this 5-foot-1-inch woman walked out and asked, “When are you going to quit coming to see me?”

Blown away by the diminutive size of this “whale,” I said, “That depends.”

She asked, “On what?”

I said, “On which one of us dies first!”

She invited me in for coffee and asked why this call made so much difference to me.

I explained my mission and then asked why she was so difficult to see. She said that she had developed a “formula” that kept her from having to meet most of the salespeople who called on her. Her formula? The salesperson had to find four ways to contact her, suffer through one appointment cancellation and one time of being “stood up,” and still keep coming back.

I asked why the four different contacts didn’t work for me. She told me frankly that she didn’t see the need for anything I was selling. It did take me a few more years to sell her anything, but by the time of her retirement, she was buying an annual $3.5 million dollars’ worth of my products.

So next time you think that you can’t get through to a prospect, remember my client’s formula and try one more time—because persistence pays off.

And, if you want to have a proven, no-nonsense mailing program that has brought salespeople success for 36 years, email me ( I’ll also provide my unique insights into a real estate prospect’s behavior.

John Wendorff is chief encouragement officer with The Personal Marketing Company.

For more information, visit