The path is as important as the destination

Yes is the destination.
No is how you get there.”
– Andrea Waltz

I used to hold an online event we called “Edgy Cold Call Day.” We gathered on a phone bridge at the start of a prospecting day for the launch and then checked in every hour to encourage and challenge each other. The objective was to get as many “No’s” as possible with 100 being the agreed-upon target.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

By the end of the day, we had lost a lot of people from the calls. No surprise there. But the ones who hung in and fought to get as many “No’s” as possible also booked a record number of appointments…even made a couple of sales.

The purpose of the game (yes, we called it a game) was to shift our attention from the goal to the process. While goals are important – you have to know where you are headed – along the way there are usually things that you might not enjoy. Hearing “No” is just part of the game. When we shifted the focus to letting the “No’s” happen, it brought a lightness to the project, and we all had a great time.

The difference between the ones who hung in for the day and those who bailed was accepting the “No’s.” They recognized that they are the path to “Yes.”

How do you get to the point of accepting, even seeking, “No’s”?

Start logging the “No’s”

Keep a daily tally. Once you have 100 “No’s,” you will have a ratio of “No” to “Yes” that is going to be fairly consistent over time. (Hint: the more you buy into this mindset, the better your ratio becomes. More on why that happens another time.)

Learn to distinguish the “Full-Stop-It-Is-Over-No” from the “No-For-Now”

Instinct tells us that the “No-For-Now” is preferable, since there is hope for business in the future. I suggest turning that idea on its head and recognizing that the “It-Is-Over-No” has just released all the pressure in the conversation and has allowed you to talk about the real issues. For most people, this is a sea change of a mind shift: when you get it, the real selling and real fun begins. You can just relax and have a real conversation.

You do want to follow up with the “No-For-Now”: use your newsletters, greeting cards, special reports, etc., to develop the relationship. Stay with people over the long term. Check in to let them know you are a person. (Aren’t we all tired of prospecting bots?) Your goal is to build relationships, not numbers.

Recognize and accept the “No-For-Now” and you release all the pressure from the conversation.

If you want to get into the weeds on this subject, send an email to mstammer at gmail dot com with the subject line “Selling Problems.” I’ll send you a link to my report titled “The Real Problem With Selling: How to Stop Using Strategies That Do Not Work.”

You can also listen to a discussion with Andrea Waltz, the Co-Author of “Go For No” (#1 bestseller on Amazon) by JUST CLICKING HERE. It is an interesting conversation.

Michael Stammer is a Sales | Life | Performance coach available for individual and group coaching and speaking to organizations. For more visit

Header photo by J. Mark Dodds used under Creative Commons License.
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