In Sales Development, Persistence is a Mindset

SalesRepsI recently shadowed one of our top-performing sales development reps (SDRs) here at XANT, Remington. In the first few minutes of our conversation, Remington told me how he handles prospects when they are short on time.

From what he explained about persistence in sales, I could already see what made Remington a successful SDR.

“The way I see it,” he said, “I’m already taking this prospect’s time when I call them. So I might as well dictate the conversation to make the time productive for the both of us.”

It’s all really a mindset,” he further explained. “When you’re calling prospects, you need to overcome any fears. From what I’ve seen, the SDRs who have figured this out are the ones who have experienced the most success.”

Persistent SDRs recognize the value of their role

In my experience, sales managers don’t realize how big of a challenge persistence is for their SDRs. Often, SDRs are not equipped to know how to get the most out of a call without being overbearing.


I’ve seen reps hang up on gatekeepers to avoid angering them, salespeople who never leave voicemails, and SDRs who are largely apologetic, even when contacting inbound hand-raisers.

In a meeting with a sales development team I recently worked with, the VP of sales coached his reps to not be passive. This VP took a couple of hours one day to shadow his reps and noticed that they would say things like, “I’m just setting the appointment for our account executive.”

The VP would tell them, “Don’t minimize your function and your knowledge.”

This VP wanted his reps to remember the significance of their role, not only in the crucial task of assessing a customer’s fit, but in becoming the first imprint clients experienced from the company. Understanding the importance of their position needed to be part of their mindset.

Persistent SDRs recognize opportunities

In another experience I had shadowing a manager and rep at a client company, I listened in on a call where an SDR disqualified a lead, thinking there was no opportunity. The manager soon demonstrated to the rep how he could have shifted the conversation and mentioned another offering that was a good fit for the prospect. Having forgotten about the other offering, the SDR realized he missed a sales opportunity.

Missed opportunities can stem from a lack of product knowledge or a lack of experience. However, I’d argue that SDRs lose more opportunities than they realize because persistence has yet to become part of their mindset.

The mindset of a persistent SDR is such that he actively seeks and finds opportunities where other SDRs don’t. They’re not afraid to ask the hard questions, and have the confidence to navigate tough conversations.

For sales managers and reps, it’s supremely important that they remember: persistence is a mindset.

Here are some questions to consider to become more persistent in sales:

  • How do I respond to prospects when they say “No”?
  • Do I understand common obstacles and objections, and have a plan to overcome them?
  • Do I have the skills and preparation to persist professionally and respectfully?
  • Am I apologetic when speaking with prospects?
  • Am I confident that I will be able to help customers?

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