I love dogs.
Not only are they great companions, they can often sense your mood and offer affection when it's most needed.
Our daughter has a petite Yorkie named Maggie. Maggie is attentive, obedient, and just the cutest she can be. Upon seeing her for the first time, strangers often compliment us on her behavior and appearance.
But Maggie has an obsession.
She loves to play ball.
Maggie will catch any ball thrown even remotely in her direction. She will play incessantly, never tiring, catching the ball and returning it to you so you can throw it again. Throwing her a ball (or scratching her tummy) moves you instantly from questionable stranger to lifelong friend. Major league baseball teams would sign her to a multi-year contract if she could teach her skills to their outfielders.
But after so many throws and returns, fatigue sets in.
Not for Maggie. For the person throwing the ball.
Your attention wanders, and you turn to other things.
But Maggie returns the ball to your feet, waiting for another throw.
The throw doesn't come. You converse with others, directing your gaze away from the cute little Yorkie and her ball.
Maggie is undeterred.
She moves the ball nearer your feet, then crouches down, her short tail wagging in anticipation. Maggie glances up, her look asking: "Please throw it again. Please?"
You ignore her. You've moved on to other interests.
Maggie lets out a sound between a bark and a whine. Just to get your attention. Then, she moves the ball slightly closer to your feet. And gives you that look.
"Please, throw it again."
Now you're annoyed. You've tired of throwing the ball. You look down and say: "No! No, Maggie!"
Maggie understands "no". If anything, she looks sad and perhaps disappointed that you won't continue to play with her. But she doesn't give up.
Maggie moves the ball again so it's touching your feet. She watches the ball closely, hoping -- knowing -- you'll change your mind. Quickly, she glances up to see if she has your attention, then returns her intense gaze to the ball. (Major leaguers could learn from this dog.)
"Please, throw it again."
Finally, you give in. You throw the ball once more. And Maggie leaps to catch it in mid-flight, returning triumphantly to place it at your feet.
For one more throw.
Maggie has learned what many of us never do. Ask for the order with an expectation of a "yes". And be persistent without being obnoxious or pushy.
Many businesses don't advertise consistently -- they don't ask for the order day after day. There is power in consistency...and persistency; of sending your message repeatedly, inviting your customers to come shop your business.
"Business goes where business is invited," says sales expert Dave Gifford.
And after your customers buy, ask them to come back again.
For just one more throw.

P.S.: After 14 wonderful years, Maggie -- our persistent little Yorkie -- passed away on December 18, 2007.

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