Our special guest on this week’s episode of Conversational Selling is Andrea Waltz, the Co-Founder of Courage Crafters, Inc. and co-author of the best selling book, Go for No!: Yes Is the Destination, No Is How You Get There. Andrea is a keynote speaker who’s known around the world as an expert on the topic of “No” and teaches through her online training and coaching course. She has also been featured as a sales influencer on lists curated by HubSpot, Salesforce, and Market Circle.

We chat about getting more comfortable with rejection, as well as:

  • Moving past the fear of failure in order to reach bigger clients
  • Implementing “no” goals and keeping momentum if you receive a “yes”
  • How to follow up with someone who says “no”
  • Adapting your language for success; turning “failures” into mere “setbacks”
  • And more

Mentioned in this episode:


Voiceover: You’re listening to The Conversational Selling Podcast with Nancy Calabrese.

Nancy Calabrese: Hello, everyone, it’s Nancy Calabrese. And it’s time for The Conversational Selling Podcast where sales leaders and business experts share what’s going on in sales and marketing today. And it always starts with the human conversation. Joining me today is Andrea Waltz, the Co-Founder of Courage Crafters, Inc. and co author of the best selling book Go for No! Andrea is known around the world as an expert on the topic of No, she’s trained and spoken with audiences in every corner of the globe on how to go for no and why it’s so important to having successful sales conversations. She is a keynote speaker and also teaches through her online training and coaching course. And she’s been featured as a sales influencer on lists curated by HubSpot, Salesforce.com, market circle, and many, many others. So this is going to be a great program, Andrea. No, I so believe that every no in a sales conversation represents, We’re just getting closer to that. Yes. So welcome to the show. I am so excited to have you on.

Andrea Waltz: Thank you so much, Nancy, it’s great to get to chat with you.

Nancy: Yeah, yeah. And then. So for those of you out there I’ve known of Andrea for two years. Persistence pays off. She’s here with us today. And you know, I want to start with the obvious to so many sales people and people in general, hate to hear the no word, right? They just don’t want a yes or no. So why is that?

Andrea: Yeah, well, I think we’ve got a few things going on one. We’re just all biologically wired to not want to be rejected. So we’re fighting, like what is inherently built into our DNA? To You know, I think as salespeople we look for validation in those yeses, and those noes three, I think there’s a big part of us. And this is certainly kind of where I came from, which is, I want people to like me, and you know, when you get that, no, you feel like, oh, I’ve done something wrong. So I think there’s this tendency to feel like if you if you get that know that you’ve somehow crossed the line into pushy, aggressive sales you salesperson territory. And of course, we don’t want to we don’t want to be seen that way. So we stay kind of far away from that. So that that doesn’t happen.

Nancy: Yeah, I really can’t wait to get into you know more about the philosophy. Why no is such an important part of everyone’s success. Start by talking about your unique idea that is different, and what you really believe sets you apart.

Andrea: Yeah, so it is the go for no philosophy. And I say that’s a philosophy because it’s kind of it’s a it’s a principle from which you can operate as a salesperson. And that is that the key to success in sales, in our opinion, is being willing to fail and hear the word no more often. And so the unique idea is really not to avoid rejection, but to seek it out to seek hearing no more often that if you as a salesperson, go home on any given day or even week and you think back to all of your communications and you’ve never heard the word no, then you’re not operating, you’re not performing to your full potential. And so we’re you know, what were our advices hey, you’ve got to talk to more people and be telling your story more often. Because you’re if you’re not hearing knows, then it means you’re something’s something’s not right.

Nancy: Right. Right. I mean, is there anyone out there that can say I always get yeses? I don’t think so.

Andrea: No, no, no, although, although it’s kind of funny, I mean, you’d like when you look at some marketing, sometimes you think that there’s some kind of magical mystery strategy out there where it’s like, you never have to get rejected. You never have to hear the word. No. It’s only get Yes. And of course, that’s impossible. And if that’s happening, then you’re probably shooting way too low, then and then at that point, that’s where we say, Okay, then why don’t you go after bigger clients if you know it easy. yeses produce little successes as we like to say. So that means that you’re not Shooting high enough?

Nancy: Yeah, you know, and I know that part of the go for no message is taking risks, right and not making the classic assumptions like, well, we’re not big enough for that client, so I won’t even contact them, or we haven’t done enough work with that a client like them. Can you expand on that?

Andrea: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a huge piece of it is just making those assumptions and not being willing to take a chance and get a big rejection. In fact, that’s what my husband and I did. When we launched our company. We, we had this I mean, it was just the two of us. We literally were working out of our home office before that was a thing, which is now a thing these days, right? Yes. But I remember the first tradeshow we went to it was for the American Society of training and development, and all of the biggest competitors, our competitors were there. It was like more training and development and Harry Friedman, they were a big retraining in the retail industry. And it’s funny, I call them competitors. We weren’t even like a competitor. I was like, we were not their competitor at all. These people had, you know, full color brochures, and they had a booth at the tradeshow with carpet and a chair. And we had nothing. I mean, we literally showed up at this thing. And we were our goal is to network and meet people and have conversations. And that’s exactly what we did. But, you know, we were talking to people at fortune 500 retail organizations. And so that’s, that is going after, you know, a big client a big No. And sometimes I think what we do is because we fear like messing up and we fear, sometimes, you know, failure, of course, then we say, well, we’re not ready for that client, we’re not ready to talk to them. We’re not ready to try it. And sometimes it takes a long time to get your foot in the door. So of course you want it you’ve got to start going after those big deals.

Nancy: Hey, it took me two years to get you. Right, right.

Andrea: I suppose you can say that. But you I was probably going to say yes, much earlier.

Nancy: Okay, well, you see, I just learned something to talk about the background, how did you come up with the go for no book?

Andrea: So Go for No, it was something that my husband had been teaching for a long time. And it actually is based on a kind of funny story that happened to him when he was working at a men’s wear clothing store for a living. And he had this great sale, the sales manager, the district manager came in and saw him have this great sales like $1100. And then asked my husband, you know, at that time, he said, What did that customer say no to? Because he had had this fantastic sale and the customer Actually, my husband, Richard had to admit that the customer didn’t say no to anything that everything he laid out in front of that man he purchased. And then the district manager said, well, then how did you know he was done. And it’s kind of like this funny story of Wow, you oftentimes we assume people are done, we, we don’t hear the word known, we shut things down, we shut the sale down. And so that was one of the things that when we launched our business, we were teaching to retail organizations, and we were teaching them how to implement go for no, and all of the kind of nuances and there’s a lot of psychology behind it as well. And we decided that we should write a book, you know, we should write a short, a short fable. 

Because people love stories and engage them. And that was really kind of the beginning of us starting to say, and it took them by the way, go for no forever to find a foothold in the marketplace. From a book standpoint, that really took it took forever. In fact, when we published it, it was in 2000. And we hit Amazon sales and selling list in 2010. So it was we joke, it’s like a 10 year overnight success. You know, the book really communicates the philosophy and the strategy of how to do it. And so that’s kind of why we decided to go with the book, somebody reads it, then they they usually get the concept really fast and easily.

Nancy: Yeah. So would you say that this applies to those of us in sales, selling B to B? Could it also apply? To B to C?

Andrea: Yeah, it really applies to anyone who has what we call like a gopher, no moment. So if you are b2b, and you’re just literally prospecting and you’re appointment setting, or you’re just trying to get to have a meeting with somebody to do a demo or something like that. You know, that’s your classic b2b. If it’s b2c, then obviously you’re face to face and you’re literally trying to sell this product right? Now it’s not about following up with them in six months, it’s about here and now having that sales conversion and and having to ask so the gopher emote, no moments kind of changed. So sometimes it’s more long term and multiple knows what the same person and getting creative and finding different ways to approach them. And then in the consumer setting, it’s really having that courage to say, Okay, well, based on everything you told me, here’s the product I recommend, would you like to buy it? And if they say no, it’s, you know, okay, how do we deal with that objection and get around that. So it really kind of applies to whatever go for moments happen to be for you. In fact, it can be like an actor going on an audition, or a writer sending in a submission for their work, right, they’re gonna get rejected, too. So everybody has that moment where they can get rejected. And so from a gopher note standpoint, it’s definitely ask like, take the risk, take the chance and make the ask.

Nancy: So make the ask and I know you developed a go for no strategy, that might be something people need to employ in their day to day lives, can you describe it to the audience.

Andrea: So the strategy is really to create a know awareness and think about and be mindful of the nose that you aren’t getting, or are getting. And then to set a no goal that that’s like the main tactic that we talk about in terms of implementation is set a goal for the number of nodes that you’re going to hear. So to use the kind of to use the writer example. And actually, my husband and I, when we were in Hollywood years and years ago, our dream was to be screenwriters. And so we decided that we needed to have an agent. So we were willing to send out we said, we’ll send out 200 letters and try to get 200 rejections. And that’s the kind of no goal that we’re talking about. So salesperson could have a no goal of say, getting five noes to appointments. But in pursuit of the no goal, what happens is that you Those are where you find those yeses, and oftentimes when we’re just focused on getting Yes, when we’re just focused on, on that, we tend to limit our performance. Because when we get that, yes, then we slow down and we’re done.

Nancy: Right? So you know, I know, at our company, one of a kind sales, we believe that a no just means not now, and we play into the B2B audience. So somebody gives you a No. How do you get permission to follow up after a No, do you have any, you know, words you can share that we might be able to use? right away?

Andrea: Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think first of all, it’s First off, it is really having the mindset, that it’s not the end. I think a lot of people, you know, they get that no, and they go like, Okay, great, thanks. Bye, you know, whether they exactly handle it that way or not, and they feel like they failed, and they feel kind of like, oh, that didn’t go well. It’s in that moment, it’s really having that mindset of, I’m, like, still in the game. This is just about moving the ball down the field, I just need to keep the door open. So how can I metaphorically speaking, kind of put my foot in the door, wait a minute, like, let’s, let’s figure this out. So there’s a couple of things that you can do. And I think it really has to do with your comfort level with the person that you’re that you’ve been working with, that you’ve been talking with. If it’s someone in my experience, what I have what I’ve done, what I recommend is, me if you haven’t been dealing with this person for long, and you’re still just trying to you’re kind of in that beginning stage, at that point, I think the best kind of language is Oh, totally understand, like, really maintain that positivity. 

So they feel good about you and say, totally understand. But hey, do you mind if I check back with you in eight weeks, 12 weeks next quarter just to see if anything’s changed. And I love that line. Because the the anything’s changed thing, like we all know, changes ubiquitous, it’s gonna happen. Like, no matter what we know that, that that’s just a part of life. It’s another go for no moment. It’s another go for no opportunity. And if they say at that point, yeah, I really do. Like, don’t contact me again. Great. Now you can take them off your list. But if they say no, Sure, go ahead. The doors open. Now, if you happen working with someone, though, and you feel like you’re kind of at a different comfort level with them, then you might take it a different direction and say, oh, I’ve actually kind of surprised you said that, because when we talked last time, you said you were really kind of tired of the supplier and they were you know, you had had some problems. So I’m really surprised that you didn’t want to go ahead and you know, start with XYZ product or start the service. Now, when I ask why, you know, and so it’s kind of that two pronged path where you have that decision to But it all starts with that mindset of Hey, it’s not over, like keep figure out how to keep the door open and what your next move is.

Nancy: Yep. It’s all about the human conversation, keeping it going. Right?

Andrea: Exactly. And try not to make it. Try not to, like my whole methodology in my mind is just keep it simple and keep it honest. Like, don’t go into a long thing. You don’t have to have a bunch of plans. Just it’s almost like when you get to know from your significant other or your friend who’s like, you know, hey, do you want to go to have Mexican food? And they go like, no, and you go like, Oh, is it because you like hate that restaurant or you’re just not in the mood for Mexican food? Like you, you kind of want to dig in and figure out what’s the why behind the No. So just yeah, simple like that.

Nancy: Oh, cool. I like that. the why behind the No, that’s very interesting. So what I’m taking away from you right now is everybody should know their no number. Is that correct?

Andrea: Yes, absolutely. Everybody should. And this is to kind of fun to Nancy’s, we have a no quotient quiz, we even do so people can kind of find out what their mindset is around failure or rejection hearing the word No, but everybody should set a no goal. And it doesn’t even have to be something crazy. I mean, you could start with saying, I’m going to try to get one note a day. And can you imagine what that would be? Like if every work day? You got one? One? No.

Nancy: That’s all my business, we get it every hour. And we really look at that as the opportunity to move forward. And really get that yes, I guess you know, here’s another thing that’s just come to mind. You know, Andrea, every business is different. Right? So how do you notice set a realistic? nogo? Do you go back? And do you look at stats to see you know, what you’ve trended? What would you recommend?

Andrea: Yeah, that’s a great question. And it really depends on and I liked that you were saying you said that’s all one. No, because you see, I deal with so many different people. And sometimes when this concept is new to them, they think I’m crazy. Like they think, you know, 10 knows a day 100 like Richard and I, when we were setting no goals. It was like, okay, calling them companies was like 100 a month. So yeah, so that one a day thing? Sounds, uh, sounds aggressive to some people like, wow, that would be really hard. Because sometimes it is hard to get a no and their production is not, you know, their activity and their production is really low. So for you guys, you guys are in there, you’re producing, you’re at a high level. So you can back into it. Like you can say, you know, I’ve analyzed, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks looking at the nose that I get now and I get about three a day. My Yes, goals is to get three appointments, so and you can kind of cross reference that and figure out, Okay, why my no goal should be about 15 a week. And then if I want to get four appointments, instead, it may be up to 18 a week. So you just figure out what your comfort level is. But that’s why I was saying, hey, if this is like new and and seems scary to some people just start with no start with one, see what happens.

Nancy: Start with one and see where it goes. Tell me something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

Andrea: Well, you know, I get a lot of pushback on using the word failure. In fact, I actually somebody messaged me today, and they were like, I really think that maybe that you should consider using and so failure, like just call it a setback. It’s really funny because we actually believe that failure should not be like this four letter F word. Right? That, that that we should actually take away the its power. And so we talk so much about about failure in the book, and go for No. And so don’t like think of failure as this horrible, embarrassing, shameful thing. It’s just part of the process. And so that’s why we use the word I don’t want to change it into some softer word and say, Oh, we can’t use the word failure, because it’s so horrible. And it’s so embarrassing. And we should be you know, we should run from it. That just gives it more power.

Nancy: Yeah, you know, it’s so funny. You’re You’re saying that I’m looking at my wall and I’ve got I don’t know if it’s a poem, but it says don’t be afraid to fail and what it really focuses on like, I’ll give you an example you you fell down the first time you tried to walk you almost drowned the first time you tried to swim and it gives further examples. And one last one would be Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? At the end worried about the chances you missed when you don’t even try? Don’t worry about the failure and so Again I’m in your record with that for sure. And I you know, just finally because we’re coming to the end of the program and I could stay on for a long time. But what is the takeaway you’d like to leave the audience with?

Andrea: What’s the big takeaway Nancy is just it really comes down to having the courage to ask and I kind of define courageous selling is putting your desire to not get a no on the you know, backburner and putting the customer’s need to hear your information and hear your story first, without letting your fear and desire to not have to hear no come in between that so that’s it’s really about having that courage to ask and then executing in those go for know moments and practicing it not only in the sales world but practicing it in your personal life too. When you get the opportunity. Yeah, wow.

Nancy: I think you’re terrific. How can my audience get in touch with you?

Andrea: Oh, it’s easy. I’m well branded so I figured that out thank God I’m doing this for Tony here so goforno.com or on all the social media platforms Twitter I’m at go for no go for no on Facebook. So it’s really hard to not find me.

Nancy: Well, I think in summary, everyone no is a good word. It’s a good word. And I encourage that everyone know what they are. No is and thanks so much, Andrea, and I hope you’ll come back and we can talk more about knows.

Andrea: Absolutely. Nancy, there’s plenty to talk about. So I will be back.

Nancy: Awesome. Thanks. And to everybody else out there. Happy hunting.

Voiceover: The Conversational Selling Podcast is sponsored by One of a Kind Sales. If you’re frustrated that you don’t have enough leads or your sales team complains that they just don’t have enough time to prospect, we can help. To work with Nancy and her team one on one to help you manage your sales team, install her proven outbound sales process and create more bottom line results, email her now at Nancy@oneofakindsales.com. To learn more about Nancy and her outbound sales secrets, grab your free copy of her book, The Inside Sales Solution at oneofakindsales.com/book.