While speaking earlier this week with a boy who's recently taken up bhakti-yoga, I realized how important purity and Vaisnava character are for distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and inspiring people to take up devotional service.
The boy was named Anchal. He had recently come to New Zealand from India, supposedly to further his studies but actually to meet his guru. He related to me how four months after his arrival here he had met a brahmacari distributing books on the street in Auckland. He had thought to himself, "If this person is really spiritual, a lover of God, then even if I provoke him he will surely be very patient and display his saintly character." Anchal described how he had tried to provoke the devotee this way and that way, but the devotee remained very patient with him and never lost his cool. Anchal was so impressed with the brahmacari that he thought, "I've never met anyone so wonderful in my life!" This despite the fact that Anchal is from India, the land of spiritual culture. Soon thereafter Anchal met Devamrta Swami, and during their first meeting he accepted him as his guru. Anchal is now chanting 16 rounds.
Good character is the most important factor in distributing Krsna consciousness -- more than our joking ability, our hairstyle, the spot we're given to distribute in, some new sankirtan lines, etc. We don't know the future of those we meet on Sankirtan, and so we should always display the highest Vaisnava behavior, even if someone tries to provoke us.