Go for No

Mar 17, 2010 | Closing, Follow Up, Objections, Training Salespeople

Hooray! The Prospect Said NO!

by Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz (reprinted from the Sales Gravy Newsletter)

You walk out of the office, shoulders slumped and head hanging low. The meeting did not go the way you had hoped.

Shoving through the glass doors and exiting the building you heave a sigh, the words of your prospect still ringing in your ears, “No, we’re going to pass.”  Motivation is dwindling fast. For a moment, you think about heading back to the office and blowing off your last call of the day in favor of catching up on paperwork.

But what if it didn’t have to be this way?

Imagine getting a “no” from a prospect and then pushing through those same doors happy, excited and energized.  Imagine actually thinking to yourself, “Hooray, the client said no!”

In order to tap into the “power of no” there are 3 key strategies that you can apply today.

1) Change your mental model of “success” and “failure.”
Most people operate with the following mental model:


They see themselves in the middle, with success on one end and failure on the other. They do everything they can to move toward success and away from failure. But, what if that model was wrong?  What if that model was reconfigured?

YOU >>  FAILURE (No) >>  SUCCESS (Yes)

What if, rather than seeing failure as something to be avoided, it became a “stepping stone” on the path to success? Put another way: Yes is the destination, but “no” is how you get there.

To achieve significant success in today’s world, top performers do not see success and failure – yes and no – as opposites, rather opposite sides of the same coin that depend on each other.

Success is, to a large degree, a numbers game.  As such, one of the fastest ways to increase your success is to intentionally increase your failure rate. In other words, increase the number of times you hear prospects say “no” to you.  Of course, increasing the number of times you hear “no” will eventually increase the number of times you hear “yes”.

2) Create “no-awareness” by counting  your “no’s”.
Here’s a question for you: How many total “no’s” did you personally obtain yesterday?  Last week?  Last month?  Where are you for the year?  Do you know?  Well, you should!

Most people, if they actually counted the number of times they hear “no” during a typical day or week, would be shocked to see how low that number actually is.  If you don’t know your number, it’s time for you to start counting every “no” you hear, because the very act of counting your “no’s” will increase your no-awareness and that, in turn, will enhance your no-focus.

3) No doesn’t mean never, it means not yet.
Woody Allen said that 80 percent of success is simply showing up.  While the power of showing up should not be underestimated, the reality is that showing up – in and of itself – is usually not enough.  The key to success is to show up, and then to keep showing up!  In a word: persistence.

Is this to suggest that when someone keeps telling you “no” you should stay at it forever?  No. Though Winston Churchill famously declared one should never, never, never quit… knowing when to quit is an important skill.  The problem is most people think that time has come long before it actually has!

How do you know the perfect time to quit?  Unfortunately, there is not a definitive number of “no’s” at which one should throw his/her hands up and go home – after all, every situation and every prospect is different.  So the answer always begins with an analysis as to whether the person you’re trying to sell to is a qualified buyer.  If they are unqualified (they neither want nor need what you have to offer), then you should pack it in and move on.  However, if they do need what you’ve got – even if they don’t want it yet – then pursue them for as long as it takes!

So the next time you walk out of a prospect’s office having collected another “no”, remember these five key points and say, “Hooray! I just got a no!” Because when you increase your failure rate and go for “no”, the “yes” will eventually come… they always do!

Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz are the authors of “Go for No!”, a short powerful story written specifically for sales professionals in every industry who must learn to harness the power of no to be successful.  They are also the creators of the new personal development video documentary, “Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There!”  To learn more, visit www.goforno.com or call 800-290-5028.

Alice Heiman

Alice Heiman

Alice is nationally known for her expertise in elevating sales to increase valuation for companies with a B2B complex sale that have exceptional growth potential. She’s originally, from the widely known Miller Heiman Group. Spending her time strategizing with CEOs and their leadership teams to build the strategies that find new business and grow existing accounts is her passion.  Her clients love her spirit and the way she energizes their sales organization.


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