I have a startup called Snip that makes software for stylists and salons. At this point, I'm doing something similar to sales but not exactly. I'll explain: at this early stage, I have a product that works but it doesn't do enough to be useful. I'm trying to develop a relationship with a few different stylists/salon owners/salon managers so they can help me understand their business needs, so I can be sure my product meets those needs.
What I'm asking of these people is 15 minutes of their time, once every two weeks or so. Right now I have four people doing this for me. They were easy to convince because one is my girlfriend, two are my girlfriend's co-workers and one is a family friend. In exchange for this favor, I'm offering my product for free, forever. (For others it will be $20/month.)
Since I'm all out of friends who are stylists, I need to start reaching out to people I don't already know. It's tough. People weren't receptive to cold calling. I called one salon manager who is a friend of one of my girlfriend's co-workers and she was really nice, but she didn't call me back when she said she would, and when I called back today her receptionist wouldn't let me talk to her, and told me she might call me back later. Not too promising.
I know that persistence is important, especially with sales. However, I'm not actually selling a product yet. I'm just asking for a favor and offering a potential reward. So my question is, after this long-winded explanation, should I keep trying over and over when this happens or should I move onto the next lead?