Where Sales Trainers and Selling Experts share advice, tips, and techniques on how to become a sales champion!

Sales Skills: Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz interview – co-authors of Go For No!


Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz are owners of Courage Crafters, Inc.; creators of authors of Go for No! which reprograms the way people think about failure, rejection, and how they respond to the word NO.

The “go for no” ideas have been embraced by people in a wide variety of industries and organizations including Country Insurance, Labor Ready, American Express, Jennifer Furniture, Juice Plus, Pep Boys, and many, many more. You can Visit them at GoForNo.com.

It’s my pleasure to bring you Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz — get ready to enhance your selling skills in a big way…

Josh: If you could only share one piece of sales training advice which would help people sell more, what would you tell them?

Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz: Understand (or, more accurately, remember) what we all knew as children, which is: “No doesn’t mean never. No means not yet.” The reason the vast majority of salespeople do not succeed is because they simply give up too soon.

It’s like the story of the hikers who got caught in the blizzard, only to give up and lay down to die 100 feet from the cabin! The cabin is the ‘yes’ we’re searching for, but we get blinded by sNOw.

Josh: What do you think are the key ingredients needed to become a top sales professional? Do you see any common traits among leading salespeople?

Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz: There are two, and really only two, key ingredients to being successful in selling. Number One is a high concern for RESULTS; in other words, a burning desire to make the sale. Number Two is a high concern for building RELATIONSHIPS that lead to repeat sales and willing referrals.

Of course there are many skills, strategies and techniques that need to be learned and mastered in order to achieve results and build relationships, but if the salesperson doesn’t have those two desires at their core, long-term and sustainable success is extremely unlikely.

Josh: How do you feel about cold calling?

Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz: Warm calling is better. So if you must cold call, invent a reason for the call to make it as warm as possible.

For example, convert something completely cold like, “I got your name from the internet”, to something with a little warmth like, “I was searching the internet for people who fit the profile of our best customers, and I found you.” It’s not as good as responding to an inquiry or contacting a referral, but it’s better than nothing.

Josh: In your opinion, what is the best approach a salesperson can take to prospecting for new clients and or customers?

Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz: The best approach, hands down, is getting referrals from happy customers. Second is getting referrals from unhappy customers. Third is getting referrals from your dog.

Josh: What forms of motivation work best for inspiring salespeople in your opinion?

Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz: The key when it comes to motivation is to understand that ‘one size doesn’t fit all.’ All motivation must be personal, targeted to the specific wants, needs, desires and dreams of the individual.

That’s why so many well-intended sales contests fall flat; they offer one ‘motive’ (a trip to Hawaii, for example) which might appeal to 30% of the team, but that leaves 70% who are unmotivated by the reward being offered.

Some people want trips, others want cash; some want to be pulled up on stage and recognized at the annual conference, while others want to be left alone. You can’t motivate someone with something they don’t want.

Josh: How do you encourage sales referrals?

Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz: The only referrals that are really worth getting are referrals from TOTALLY THRILLED customers. By definition, a ‘customer’ is someone who buys… not simply someone you talk to.

So the first step in getting worthwhile referrals is to SELL SOMETHING! Then, THRILL that customer totally and completely with amazing service. Then… and only then… ask that totally thrilled customer who they know who would benefit from the same amazing service you provide.

If you’ve done your job, they’ll fall all over you offering names, numbers, and even to make the calls for you. And, if they don’t, perhaps your definition of ‘thrilling” isn’t thrilling enough.

Josh: Talk to me a bit about the book, ‘Go For No!‘ — Can you share some ideas from it as well some specific takeaways that sales professionals will learn and be able to apply after reading it?

Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz: The book is a short (only 80 pages) fable about a copier sales guy who happens to -kind of magically – meet himself 10 years in the future. Both versions of himself. And in doing this he learns that “go for no” is the one strategy that can make him truly successful.

The premise of the book is that most people spend their careers seeking SUCCESS… the YESES… while doing everything within their power to avoid failure… hearing the NO’s… a recipe that ensures mediocre performance.

Intentionally increasing your failure rate; and by that we mean intentionally increasing the number of times people say “no” to you is the ultimate strategy for achieving long-lasting and sustainable performance. When you go out of your way to increase the number of NOs you hear, the YESES will show up at your door in greater quantities than you ever could have imagined.

We share a method in the book that we call “NO GOALS.”

Most of us operate with what are commonly called Yes-Goals… goals for the number of times people say “yes” to us and for how many sales or dollars we need to generate. This approach that we’ve all been taught to use and follow has a serious flaw.

The flaw is that, once we achieve the goal we tend to divert our attention to other tasks, or reward ourselves for our success. But how do we reward ourselves? By slowing down, by taking time off, or simply getting involved in non-sales oriented tasks like catching up on paperwork!

But there is a better approach that can dramatically increase your performance and that approach is to start setting NO-GOALS instead.

That is, setting a goal for the number of times people do say “no” to you. For example, when we changed to setting “No Goals” in our business, our goal became to have 200 COMPANIES say “NO” to us each month.

And, when someone said YES to us we didn’t stop to celebrate… because we had to keep going to get our NO-GOAL!

See the difference? What was amazing is that we found that ANY month in which we hit our no-goal we ended up with more business than we knew what to do with! And whenever we’d experience a lean period we could look back on our calendar and we’d always discover a time that we weren’t hitting our no-goals.

And that’s the insidious thing about only having YES-Goals. Sometimes they end up limiting our performance rather than driving it upward. But if you stay focused on the behaviors necessary to be successful, in this case, hitting your NO-GOALS… the YESES will come.

-Happy Selling! Josh Hinds 🙂
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  • Honorée

    Another great interview! Way to “go for no!”