The following is an excerpt from Go For No!
 by Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz.

Chapter 19… Setting “NO” Goals…

“Would you agree that the average salesperson slows down when he or she reaches their quota?” my mentor asked. “Yes,” I replied. “Why do you think that is?” “They’re rewarding themselves for their accomplishment, I guess.”

“Rewarding themselves by ruining their chances at having a record breaking week or month? No, I think it’s just another way of staying within comfort zones and avoiding the pain of rejection. Most people classify the amount of pain they must endure to survive in this world as necessary pain. Anything beyond that, by definition, is unnecessary pain. That’s why it becomes so easy to dodge that extra effort — we’ve labeled it in our minds as unnecessary.”

“That’s exactly what I did this week,” I finally admitted. “I had a great Monday going. I was three for three, and what did I do? I spent Tuesday doing paperwork, Wednesday in a focus group, and on Thursday I was going to play golf, until I fell out of bed and wound up here, that is.”

“Ben Franklin said it best: Success has ruined many a man!”

“Yeah, well I let having a great day turn into a horrible week.”

“Let’s look at what would have happened if you were setting no goals rather than yes goals.”


“What was your sales goal for the week?”

“My goal was to close four sales,” I replied.

“And how many calls do you usually make in a typical week?”

“I try to get myself in front of twenty prospects every week.”

“Okay. So what if, instead of having the goal of getting four yes’s, your goal had been to get a minimum of sixteen no’s. What would have happened on Monday afternoon after you closed your third sale?”

“Instead of being ahead I’d have been behind!” I exclaimed.

“Correct. So what would you have had to do?”

“I’d have had to increase the number of calls if I was ever going to get to sixteen no’s for the week!”

“Exactly! Your success would have led to an increased number of calls, whereas when you were going for yes you decreased them.”

“I get it!” I said excitedly. “Let’s use my friend Paul who is in network marketing, for example. If his goal is to get ten people per week to come to a meeting, and typically about five percent of the people he approaches are willing to attend, then his goal would be to get one hundred and ninety people to say ‘no thanks.’”

“Yes. His goal would be to get rejected by one hundred and ninety people. You might call it the get rejected and get rich plan.”

“Get rejected and get rich,” I repeated quietly to myself.

“Eric, I’m going to tell you the truth. I haven’t set a traditional

success oriented goal in almost ten years. I only set goals for the number of no’s I’m going to get.”

“You set no success goals at all?” I asked in disbelief.

“None whatsoever,” he responded firmly. “If I focused on how well I was doing in terms of results-oriented goals I’d probably slowdown just like you did. But, instead, I’ve focused on the behavior-oriented goal of constantly increasing my rate of failure. I have complete and total faith that if I set my failure goals high enough, and do my best in each and every sales situation, then the successes will come. And they always do.”

“I understand, but it’s still going to take some getting used to!”

“It took a while for me, too. And it took even longer for Elaine to get on board with the idea, but once she embraced it there’s been no stopping her!”

“How does Elaine get to apply the concept?” I asked.

“Well, she owns three galleries now, two in San Diego and one in Santa Barbara…”

“She owns them?” I stammered.

“Yes, with a total of forty-five salespeople who all have countless opportunities to go for no everyday with every customer that enters the store. Believe it or not, research shows that eighty-five percent of all interactions between retail salespeople and shoppers end without the salesperson ever asking for a buying decision. Eighty-five percent! Believe me when I tell you, a huge part of Elaine’s success has come from the way she’s trained her people. No one walks out of an Elaine Bratton Gallery without saying no at least once.”

Excerpt from “Go For No!” Copyright © 2000-2007. Go for No! is a registered trademark. Do not reprint without express written permission of the publisher. Please call us at 800-290-5028. Visit

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