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The Thin Line Between Persistence and Stalking

The most recent movie which I watched, “ Lipstick under my Burkha”, well illustrated the role of Konkona Sen as a persistent saleswoman, who made cold calls during the morning hours to sell and demonstrate the Magic Cleaning brand of her employer.

When she rang the doorbell and the occupant of the house opened the door, she pleaded to make an entry into the house to demonstrate the product, ignoring the fact that the housewife said she had guests and had a party in progress. A careful analysis of this method to prospect, best describes Konkona's character; the saleswoman who is persistent and looking for a final sale. On the other hand, the housewife who is her customer may feel perturbed with this entry into her private space and it could leave behind a feeling of being persuaded to the point of being harassed to oblige.

This scene in the movie is fictional but becomes a real plot for people who use persistence beyond a point and it starts feeling like they are being stalked. I am sure many of us have at some point, experienced the doorbell ring and find the water purifier salesman.

I don’t know if you’re a persistent person, but this is something you simply can’t ignore. Persistence is the foundation of taking anything you can imagine, and then creating it in your life exactly as you planned. It may not turn out how you want it to be the first time, but when you add persistence to the equation it will only be so many attempts before you achieve perfection. Persistence looks like this:

  1. Most successful people have failed at least once, which makes persistence important to the aspiration of success.

  2. People like to test you on persistence. The common quote “Persistence Pays” holds true.

  3. What comes easily normally isn’t worth it, the “hard to get” aspect makes the grass look greener on the other side of the fence.

  4. Knowledge isn’t gained without persistence.

  5. The more you do something, the better you get at it. It’s like passion makes you more persistent.

Think of persistence as a sketch you’re drawing. The first time it’ll be rough, not quite how you want it to be, and then you grab the eraser and re-do the bad portions, smoothing out the lines. Some people are unhappy with the rough design and they think they’ll never be able to get it how they want it. So, they quit. The aspect of not wanting to quit and finding another way to prospect and engage makes a person cross that line between being persistent and trying to enter the world of stalking.

Stalking is a pattern of behaviour that makes you feel afraid, nervous, harassed, or in danger. It is a crime. It is when someone repeatedly contacts you, follows you, sends you things, talks to you when you don’t want them to, or threatens you.

Stalking behaviours can include:

  • Knowing your schedule

  • Showing up at places you go

  • Sending mail, e-mail, and pictures

  • Calling or texting repeatedly

  • Contacting you or posting about you on social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc)

  • Any other actions to contact, harass, track, or frighten you

How does Social Media fuel Stalking?

The high point of Social Media is the ease of connection through WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. At the click of a mouse your campaign can reach and engage with your prospect. The downside is the extreme side of persistence which is stalking. There’s a very thin line between persistence and stalking. A very thin line. For prospecting, the key to success is knowing where that line is drawn when it comes to building relationships with stakeholders viz. clients and partners. Persistence pays off. Stalking kills relationships and makes you, well, a Stalker. Not sure if you know where persistence ends and stalking begins? See which scenarios below you can best relate to: 1. When pitching an idea!

  • Persistent: You continue to call until you finally catch your prospect on the phone, and then you present your idea to her. You engage in a real, live conversation with her. She thanks you for calling because she missed your e-mail.

  • Stalking: You continue to call her and leave at least five voice mails and umpteen WhatsApp messages. When you finally catch her on the phone and she tells you, “Yes, I received all five of your voice mails, and I’m still not interested”, you continue on trying to convince her otherwise. At wit’s end, she exasperatedly tells you to go away and to stop calling her.

2. When trying to get a client to respond to a meeting request

  • Persistent: You try all ways possible to reach your client and to present the interview opportunity through emails, phone calls and text messages. You let them know the urgency of the request and ask for a quick reply on whether or not they’re able to accommodate. If all else fails, you reach out to other members on your client team to find out if your client contact is unavailable, if someone else is qualified to participate in the opportunity. In short, you pursue all possible routes to success.

  • Stalking: You blow up your client’s email, phone and text line with every little, teensy, tiny question you can think to ask. You send at least 237 messages to them per day, on an average. Tweet and get a band of tweeters to ask them similar questions on their inefficient response system.

3. When trying to present a new project strategy to your team

  • Persistent: You gather data, build a sound business case and use every possible opportunity to weave your strategy into the conversation with your team. You show how the ideas will impact all areas of the project and build consensus through the feedback of team mates on the weak areas of the project. You spend a few days/weeks, monitoring changes with edits of your team members, taking suggestions before submission. The intent is to make this an inclusive process around your idea.

  • Stalking: You hear through the grapevine about a new idea. You tell anyone who will listen to you about it, but no one seems interested. You whine a lot about how no one listens to you. Then, you whine some more. People start avoiding your calls and are late in responding to your emails. When your idea gets shot down, you pout in a corner and plot to approach your team through social media expressing dissent.

Finally, fact or fiction, persistence remains to be definitely a virtue, whether it’s building solid relationships through prospecting, presenting new ideas or researching team engagement. It is important to remember that there will be many battles in the war. You certainly won’t win every battle, but persistent people look for new opportunities, re-trench after a setback, review past successes and failures as learning lessons and fight for their greater good. The crossover to Stalking takes place when the aim is to engage through hook or crook. This feeling stems out of being rejected, humiliated or mistreated. Safe to say:- “Persistence pays if it’s not stretched beyond a point that you crossover to being called a Stalker."

(Disclaimer: These are independent views expressed by the author and is meant for educational purposes only.) #persistence #stalking #difference # karankaushish

Written by Karan Kaushish

Edited by Aruna Nidamarthy


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