How to use Go for No to grow your business

I have to admit when I started looking into Go for No, I wasn’t expecting to find what I found. I was expecting the whole Go for No book/story/premise to be on getting as many nos as quickly as possible. I thought, ugh, that sounds icky, like churning and burning through as many prospects and customers as possible. That doesn’t feel good, and there’s no way I will do that.

But when I started reading the Go for No book, I was amazed at how wrong that expectation was. I now see how you can Go for No in many areas of your direct sales business, and it’s easy.

What exactly is Go for No?

Go for No is a sales book about improving your relationship with hearing the word no. But that’s just the beginning.

It’s a way to grow your business by not closing the sale before your customer is done shopping.

It’s about rethinking how we measure our goals to stop limiting our success.

Going for no is about getting so used to hearing the word no that it doesn’t bother you anymore. Let’s admit it, we all worry (if we’re being honest) when approaching someone about our product or joining our team. We get nervous, almost paralyzed by the thought of hearing “no” that we’re being rejected. So, we don’t make as many calls or talk to as many prospects as we want to.

The two most important lessons from the Go for No book are:

  1. How NOT to stop your customer from shopping before their actually done.
  2. How counting “nos” instead of “yes’s” will transform your business.

How do you know when your customer is done shopping

The first lesson I’ll talk about is right out of the book. If you don’t hear your customer say “no” to something, how do you know they’re done shopping?

The book tells the fictitious story of Eric Bratton, a salesman who is able to speak and learn from his future (successful) self. The future Eric tells a story that changed his life. Even though the current Eric had the same experience and didn’t put the lesson into practice, future Eric embraced the lesson, which changed his life by magnitudes.

Here’s how the story went.

Eric was a salesman for a clothing retailer. Harold, the district manager, was in the store one day when Eric had an eleven hundred dollar sale to one customer. Eric thought Harold would be impressed but to his surprise; he wasn’t. Harold asked Eric, “I’m just curious, to what did the customer say no to?” After a time of thinking, he sheepishly replied, “Nothing. That customer didn’t say no to nothing.”

“So,” Harold asked, “Then how did you know he was done?”

What do you think Eric said?

How would you know your customer is done with their order?

Think about that question for a few minutes before moving on.

When you’re at the dining room table taking orders after a home party presentation, how do you know your customer is done with their order. Do you just ask them what they want, fill out the order form, and move on? Or do you offer complementary products or other suggestions your customer might not know about?

If you’re only writing up their order and moving on to the next order, you could be earning so much more. Waiting until your customer says the word “no” to finish the order can add a lot of volume to your business over time.

And guess what? Going for no isn’t a sleazy sales tactic; this is you giving your customer the opportunity to purchase products you think would be good for them.

Now, this might seem like an unbelievable story, and of course, this book is fiction anyway, right? This can’t work for you or me in real life, can it?

Here is a real-life example that happened during the time I wrote this article.

My wife is a Norwex consultant and the reason we started Direct Sidekick. I told her I read the Go for No book and was writing an article for our website on it. I told her the story about Harold asking Eric how he knew the customer was done shopping, and we discussed what I picked up from the book (more below).

Shortly after that, she decided to run an inventory sale in her VIP group. She posted images of her products for sale in the group and asked if anyone wanted anything. Her customers commented on products they were interested in. Then she started talking one-on-one with them.

One of her customers was shopping for her daughter’s upcoming wedding. Her customer had a list of things she knew she wanted to buy for her daughter.

Can you guess what my wife did? Did she just take the order, charge her customer and say “thank you”?


She knew her customer’s daughter was moving into her first home and what products (“the basics”) she would need. So she started suggesting these “basics” to her customer.

When her customer said “yes” to these, she started offering complementary products and why they would be great for her daughter. Her customer loved the suggestions and added them to her order, including items for herself too!

Finally, when her customer said “no” to a few products, she wrapped up the sale and thanked her customer.

This sale ended up being one of her largest single customer sales. The total ended up coming to $491.

If she hadn’t continued “going for no,” she estimates the sale would have been around $160.

Wow, what a difference and a service to her customer!

Go for No Goal Setting

The second way you can apply going for no to your direct sales business is to change how you set your goals. For example, do you have goals for the number of parties you’ll host monthly or the number of sales you’ll have per month? If you’re not setting goals, you need to start doing so ASAP.

What do you do when you achieve those goals? What happens when you hit your monthly goal of $5000 in sales, and it’s only three weeks into the month? Do you let up the rest of your month? Do you take it easy on your host coaching or customer follow-up? Do you treat yourself with an extra day (or week) off?

Go for No goals are different and MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE.

Instead of setting results-oriented goals, you set behavior-oriented goals.

For example, if you know you need to ask 40 people each month to get four home parties booked and you set a result-oriented goal, your goal would be four bookings per month. However, if you are setting behavior-oriented goals, your goal is to continue asking until you reach 36 “no thank yous.”

As an aside, my #1 tip for filling your calendar is to have a consistent follow-up system.

As you can see, the difference is that even when you book four parties on your calendar, you don’t stop asking. You keep going until 36 people tell you no. You keep asking if they’d like to host a party with you, have a fun night with their friends, and earn free products! So even if you’ve asked 20 people to host and four of them say yes (16 nos), you keep asking the remaining 20 until you reach 36 nos.

And guess what happens sometimes?

I bet you can already see this coming.

You’re right; instead of booking four home parties, sometimes you’ll book six. Or even more. And that is when your business starts seeing significant growth.

And what do you think will happen when you start setting behavior-oriented goals for recruiting?

Yep, the same thing will happen. You won’t stop when you hit your success goal of one, two, or three recruits per month. You keep asking/inviting/offering your hosts, vendor leads, customers, etc., if they would like to join your team and earn extra money or get a discount on their orders until you’ve reached the number of prospects that tell you “no” that month.

And you’re right again; some months, you’ll achieve your old results-oriented goal of one, two, or three. But some months, you’ll blow that out of the water and really grow your business.

See the difference; you don’t stop when you succeed. Instead, you keep going and keep growing.

Now, take this to the ultimate level, and set behavior-oriented goals for bookings, sales, and recruiting. Then go for no when you’re working with your customers on placing their orders.

Wow, do that for the next three months and see how much your business grows!

If you haven’t read the book 12 Week Year, I highly recommend it. An extremely powerful quote from the book is:

“You don’t control the results; what you control is your actions.”

What Go for No is NOT

Go for No is not burning through as many contacts as quickly as possible. Burning through good leads, customers, and hosts does not lead to a growing business. Just the opposite happens when you do this.

The book does give a very successful example of an insurance company’s consultant doing a test door-to-door with a wild pitch (“you don’t want to buy insurance, do you?”) to show the importance of calling on enough people. That wasn’t a suggestion to burn leads; it showed the importance of asking enough people to hit your goals and to “fail quickly.” See, in the example in the book, the agents weren’t talking to enough people. That was the only thing holding them back from success.

Failing quickly, in my opinion, just means you figure out who doesn’t want to work with you so you can focus your energy on those who want to work with you.

Go for No challenge

Go for No Team Challenge - Direct Sidekick

Maybe you’ve heard of a Go for No challenge. I’ve seen many teams run a Go for No challenge to motivate the team, add a little competition, and help consultants not to fear hearing the word “no.” A Go for No challenge is simply a challenge to hear 100 “nos” in a short period of time, usually a month. You can apply it to any or all of your Go for No behavior-oriented goals.

Setting goals will make a huge difference for your business, and a Go for No challenge will help jump-start those goals.

You can do the 100 no challenge yourself, or it’s super fun to do it with your team. Set a timeframe and a hard deadline.

All you have to do is ask your customers, hosts, leads, etc., some of the questions below or come up with your own. When their answer is “no,” simply circle a “no” on the worksheet. You can circle it, cross it out with a black Sharpie, or whatever is the most motivational for you. You’re done when all of the nos on your sheet are crossed out! If they tell you “no” to two separate questions, circle two nos.

That’s it; simple, isn’t it.

It’s important to point out here that a “no” isn’t one person you asked to host a party or join your team. A no can be asking a current customer if they’d like to add a complimentary item to their order. Or it can be asking someone at a vendor event if you can show them your favorite product. Or it can be asking a customer if they need a refill.

What questions can you ask when you call your contacts or see them in person? Here are some examples to start with:

  1. Would you like to earn free [company name] products by hosting a party with me? I’ll make it super easy for you and help you along the way.
  2. Would you like to get some friends together for makeovers and margaritas?
  3. Would you like to hear the December specials?
  4. Can I show you _________ and _________, some of our great new products?
  5. Would you like to hear about joining my team and earning extra money?
  6. Have you ever thought about a side hustle? Can I tell you about mine?
  7. Would you like to hear how you can get a 35% discount on all of your orders?
  8. You seem to have a big wish list; can I show you how to get it for free?
  9. When at vendor events, get out in front of your tables and ask, “What is your favorite [company name or product type] product?” Wait for an answer. “That’s one of my favorites too. May I show you something I think you’ll love, too? Or, have you tried [complimentary product]? For example, “What is your favorite Norwex product? If they say they love the mop, “I love that too. Have you tried the rubber brush with it? Would you like to see how it works?”
  10. Does your child love to read? Can I show you some books that a lot of early readers love?
  11. How are you enjoying your products? Do you need any refills? (Be specific here)
  12. Would you like to try a free sample of [name product]?
  13. Would you like to borrow my [name product] for a week?
  14. Do you know anyone else you think would like to try [name product]?
  15. Would you like me to send you our monthly specials?
  16. Would you like to join my VIP group, where I share product tips, tricks, and savings?

Go for the no now by downloading our 100 nos worksheet!

Does 25 “nos” sound like too much for the amount of time you schedule for your business each week? You do schedule your business time, right? If not, give it a try!

What about setting a goal of 10 “nos” per week, then? Is that more doable for you?

If yes, do that!

This way, you’ll complete your 100 nos challenge in two and a half months. Guess what, that’s progress! That’s you doing what you need to do to grow your business and create the life you want! Isn’t that why you started your direct sales business; to create the life you want?

Don’t miss this great way to grow your business and see the success you want because you think it’s only for full-time sellers. Instead, make it what you want, just like your business.

The important thing is that you start!

Start a go for no challenge by yourself or with your team, even if it’s just two or three of you. Just start going for no! If you don’t know what to say, who cares? Use the scripts above for ideas.

Don’t know who to ask, start with your past hosts. Then go to your current customers. Then your vendor event leads. Don’t have vendor event leads; go schedule a vendor event or two or however many you can find and start getting some. Then go back to your FRANKI list (friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors, kids’ friends’ parents, internet connections).

The key is to just start!

I’ll close with this last illustration in the Go for No book; when we were kids, we could hear the word no over and over again without it bothering us. What changed?

FYI: Direct Sidekick is accounting software built for direct sellers, network marketers, crafters, vendors, VRBO owners, and many other home-based business owners. Create an account and start tracking your income, expenses, and inventory.

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