Going For The NO

Today we learn how to cherish “no.” Our guest is Andrea Waltz, co-author of the bestselling book, “Go For No!” Along with her partner, Richard Fenton, they teach people how to overcome fears of failure, rejection and the word NO. Their philosophies have been embraced by people in a wide variety of industries and businesses to rave reviews and amazing results. “Go for No!” hit #1 on Amazon’s best sellers list and has remained at the top 20 in sales books for the past three years. If you’ve ever avoided asking someone for something because you thought you’d be rejected, you really need to listen closely to this interview.

Andrea:  It had, in part, a lot to do with my husband and business partner, Richard. We met while working at LensCrafters® together. I was running one of their highest volume stores. He was a trainer. We both actually did training and that’s how we came together and compared our philosophies. He said to me one day, “There are companies that would really appreciate all of our sales insights, all of the things that we teach here at the company, and all the things that we believe, and we could actually be consultants and outside trainers for other companies.” I said, “Really? I didn’t even know that existed.”  And he said, “Yeah, and they pay you about 10 times as much money to do that.”  And I said, “Well, we should do that then.” So we left LensCrafters®.

We launched Courage Crafters together and started teaching our strategies and philosophies on customer service, management, and sales, primarily to the retail industry. One of the concepts that we’d talk about is this idea of “go for no” and helping sales people overcome their fear of the word NO, and that really took off. It was the thing that people loved the most, so we just followed it. I loved it, too, and I have a huge passion for the topic. So we just followed that and continued to grow that side of our business until we finally made the jump and decided a few years ago to make that the only focus of our business.

Meredith:  Can you explain, for someone who doesn’t know, what “go for no” is?

Andrea:  Yes. “Go for no” is a philosophy. We sometimes call it a strategy. It’s a mindset where people are taught to “go for no” instead of avoiding NO, which we all tend to do. We don’t want to ask for the sale or maybe ask out the person that we want to date or what have you because we don’t want to deal with that no and that rejection. “Go for no” is a philosophy about asking. It really says, “The worst thing that could happen is you would get a NO, but at least you tried.” We teach people to “go for no”, to ask. And when you ask, when you put yourself in the position to get that NO, oftentimes what happens, as you guys can imagine, is you get surprised and you get YESes along the way.

Meredith:  Anything in life, to some extent, is a numbers game. You talk to so many people. You try so many things. And 80% of it is doomed to fail just because that’s the way life goes. But if you know if you’re going to try 10 things, two of them will work, then it’s worth trying the 10 things just to get through the list.

Andrea:  Exactly, and that’s really the whole point, Meredith. You’re so right. It is about trying a lot. But I will tell you this. There are a lot of different issues and things that people struggle with — fear of failure, fear of rejection. They don’t want to put themselves in a position to have to try those things and do those things, and so part of the mission of “go for no” is to retrain people, recondition them, if you will, to think of failure
as not something that’s negative but something that’s part of the process and part of the path. Just like you guys have done so many experiments in your business and podcasts before, and finding that sweet spot, and finding the thing that’s perfect takes some attempts until you finally get there.

Jasper:  I’m interested in the psychology of this because it’s all very well to say, “We’ll retrain you so that hearing NO is not the problem that it was when you first started.” That’s easier said than done, isn’t it, because it’s so ingrained in us? How do you actually get over that?

Andrea:  Yeah, it is easier said than done, absolutely, and I am glad you brought that up because we are dealing with a lot of background psychology, what people are bringing to the table. I will say that when we share this concept with people, we get all different reactions. Some people are excited and they get it and they say, “Oh, I can do this. I’ll just go out there and fail more and get more “NOs” and be more successful.” And then you have people who say to us, “I can’t do this. This is crazy. I’m terrified. I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to have somebody reject me.”

Dealing with that psychology is really tricky because how do you help somebody get over that fear? And as cliche as it may sound, when you say, “Well, action is the only thing that can get rid of fear,” unfortunately, it’s the truth. It’s only by showing people that they can ask for something and having them do small experiments and start trying these things can they see that they did in fact survive and they go, “Oh, okay, I didn’t die from getting a rejection.”

Their confidence is built a little bit and then they can try something else and then something else. It’s really those small baby steps, if you will, with some people to show them that, hey, this is the process to where, finally, after what could be a long period of time – it could be weeks, it could be months, it could be years – before they finally see that they have slowly changed and slowly gotten over those fears.

Meredith:  Okay, do you think people should start out with their biggest, scariest NO, or do you think they should work up to it?

Andrea:  I love that question, and that is so challenging for me to answer, because on one hand I think, “Oh, just go for it.” It’s funny that you would even say “big NO,” because we talk about getting a big NO. We talk about the idea of there is that dream client or the dream girl or guy, or whatever it is that you want to go out there and try to get. If it was a dream girl, well, just ask, get the big turn down from her, and then you can move on and know that you just got the biggest NO out there. For some people, I think that might be fun to do. I usually recommend it to the people who have some confidence around the “go for no” philosophy, and they seem pretty good with it.

For people who have a lot anxiety around fear of failure, fear of rejection, in their business career — and a lot of these people are people in sales — I say, “Well, don’t really worry about it for sales right now. Just do it in life. The next time that you can ask for something, do it, try it, make it that “safe NO”, like you said, Meredith. If it’s just asking for a better table in a restaurant, just a different table, just the cute table up at the front.

An example is I was at the grocery store a few weeks ago and they give cookies to kids. They don’t do it for adults for some reason. I’ve really wanted one of these cookies and I would have happily paid, but they don’t even sell them. I happened to go up and ask for one and they gave it to me. They gave me the kids cookie, which was kind of embarrassing, but I wanted it and I asked for it, so that’s a perfect example of just making that attempt, getting that small NO, and saying, “Okay, that was no big deal. Now what can I try next?”

Favorite Book: The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Favorite Resource: PicMonkey

  Want to get a free audiobook version of the book recommended by this week’s guest?  Click here to download it.


Andrea Waltz’s Top Tips on going for the “NO”

1) Understand and accept that you can have virtually anything you want, if you are willing to hear “no” often enough.

2) WANT to get more “NOs” because you understand that it leads to the success you are seeking.

3) Set a goal for there number of “NOs” you are going to hear in a given day.

4) Equalize out your emotional intensity when it comes to “YES” or “NO” – don’t over-celebrate the “YESs” and don’t beat yourself up over the “NOs”.

5) Learn from the “NOs” and value the learning – what can you do differently next time?
And definitely – TRY AGAIN!

AJW-Headshot2014-WEBGuest: Andrea Waltz – Courage Crafters


Andrea Waltz is the co-author of the best-selling book, Go for No! Along with her partner Richard Fenton, they teach people how to overcome fears of failure, rejection, and the word, NO.
Their philosophies have been embraced by people in a wide variety of industries and businesses to rave reviews and amazing results.
The book, Go for No! hit #1 on Amazon’s “Selling” list and has remained in the top 20 of ‘Sales’ books for the last 3 years.
If you have ever avoided asking for someone because you thought you would be rejected – you need to listen closely!

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