The word “NO” has the power to keep many people from reaching their full potential. In fact, for individuals and organizations, it is often this alone that spells the difference between success and failure. The key is having the right mindset in dealing with the word NO and how to handle it in the moment. Andrea Waltz teaches you how to both increase hearing NO and improve your results at the same time.
Andrea believes that by having the right mindset, you can turn this obstacle into your greatest asset. This is not just “motivational” – although you will be motivated (and you'll hear that Marc was motivated too!) – you will also learn how the ‘go for no’ strategy can help you build your confidence and grow your yesses all at the same time.
Andrea Waltz is the co-author of the best-selling book, Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There. Along with her partner Richard Fenton, they teach businesses, entrepreneurs, and organizations of all types how to overcome fears of failure, rejection, and how to "LOVE" the word No! It's a bit counter-intuitive and it works. Their philosophies have been embraced by people in a wide variety of industries and businesses to rave reviews and amazing results. Their book, Go for No! hit #1 on Amazon’s “Selling” list and has since remained in the top 20 of ‘Sales’ books for the last 3 years.
Additional Resources for Go For No for fundraising success
Listen to the audio here: Go For No for fundraising success MP3
Download the slides here: Go For No for fundraising success slides PDF
Get The Fundraising Coach's "Go For No!" Score card here: 100 No's in a Month Score Card
Transcript for Go For No for fundraising success
Marc: Good afternoon and welcome to another Nonprofit Academy Presents, I am so excited today that I even forgot to say I'm your host, Marc Pitman from the Nonprofit Academy.
I'm so excited today to have Andrea Waltz with us. I have been a fan of her work for years and it has really helped me in my own nonprofit fundraising, but also a lot of my private coaching clients have just, it's almost like they drank the Kool-Aid. I was just telling Andrea before we started that there is, somebody every week says, "GoForNo," or, "I was using GoForNo again this week," and telling me about her successes and her fundraising endeavor.
We are going to have a really content-rich time together, and this is your time. So please use the question and answer box that you see right on the page that you're watching this on. Type in those questions, I'll be interjecting them either at appropriate points during Andrea's presentation, or at the end. We're going to have a whole time for questions and answers.
Please also feel free to tweet, I have Twitter and Hootsuite open so that I can track anybody that uses the hashtag MPAPresents or just tweets me @marcapitman. Andrea on Twitter is @goforno. I'm not sure if she has an open window, so just stick to replying to me or using the hashtag.
Andrea Waltz is the co-author of Go For No. She and her partner Richard Fenton teach all over the world, businesses, entrepreneurs, organizations how to not only just face failure, but really overcome it. For me in my own personal experience, it's redefining what I thought was failure and realizing that maybe it's not, maybe my definition was a little bit off. So she helps people refocus their lenses as they go about their approaches in fundraising, and often in sales, for all of us here in the Nonprofit Academy we'll see that this fits so well for the work we do.
Andrea, I feel like I've hogged, already taken away two minutes of your teaching time, so I'm just going to go and turn it over to you.
Andrea: OK, perfect Marc. Thank you so much for that great introduction. I very much appreciate it. Hello everybody. I am Andrea Waltz. It's great to be here with all of you today talking about turning the no’s that you encounter in your world, and I know there are a lot of them, from obstacles into assets. Now, if you get frustrated by hearing no over and over and over again and getting those rejections, you can actually reprogram how you react to those no's, how you think and feel about them. By changing that, it will actually help you get more donors, get more donations, increase your fundraising in the process.
Now, I know that sounds almost too good to be true, but I believe that to be true if you're willing to keep an open mind, stick with it, try some of the things that I'm going to be teaching today. I also want to be clear about a few things as well. These concepts, this Go For No concept, was founded and created in the world of sales.
Of course, my business partner and I believe that everyone is ultimately selling something. They are selling merchandise, they're selling ideas, they're even selling peace of mind, or in your case maybe it's just selling that great feeling someone gets from helping out a group of people and their cause. I'm not, by my background of being a professional speaker, a sales trainer, I was in retail before that, but I have had a little in fundraising. I got involved in The Humane Society in my local community a few years ago and was really into procuring donations for our big annual event, which was a dinner and an auction.
Being that I was kind of this Go For No person, I figured I could apply what I do in sales to getting donations for our dinner, and it usually was hotel rooms and gifts, all that kind of stuff that people love to bid on at a silent auction. You know what? It was a great eye-opening experience.
What I realized was, first of all, what you guys do is very challenging, but it's so worthwhile. It has to be done. Somebody's got to be the advocate. The other thing I realized was that the things that I taught in sales really worked for procuring these donations. It was like this complete synergy.
I tell you all of this as the lead-in because as I talk about these concepts, what you will see is that these concepts have a distinct sales feel. Sometimes I'll even slip and I might use the word "salesperson" or something because that's kind of the background. I might but I'll try not to.
Here's the cool thing, and I know Marc appreciates this so much because he's so good at this. One of the things that I've learned in my business that Marc does so well, as well, is over the last 15 years, great ideas often come from learning things, strategies that I've watched someone do in their industry and I've asked myself how I can apply it to my business.
One of the Marceting people that my business partner, Richard Fenton, and I follow is a man named Dan Kennedy. He's so interesting because he'll get dentists together and pizza shop owners and people with online businesses, and he'll get all these people into one room that seem like they have totally different businesses and they brainstorm great Marceting ideas because they all know that if it makes sense for one person, like the pizza guy, the dentist can try it too, but she has to modify it for her situation.
So if you hear something that sounds very sales-y, sales-focused, just look at it through your lens of your organization, your fundraising, what your goals are, and then apply it and ask yourself how it could work for you. With that said, my other goal today is kind of a two-part goal. What we're doing is we're going to add a skill to your toolbox, in this case it's the skill of handling rejection, or if you are a leader it's the skill of helping your people and coaching them through the process of getting no and handling rejection and looking at it more positively. This will ultimately give you and your team more confidence, reduced stress, and ultimately lead to more donations.
My second goal is to remove what we call a restrainer. So while we can have the skill of thinking differently about no, we're also removing one of the biggest restrainers that most people have.
This brings me to one of my absolute favorite analogies. If you picture your car and you have filled the gas tank with fuel and you're ready to go, and you can think of the fuel, the gas in the car, as all of the experience you have and all the training and skills that you've accumulated in the Academy and over the years. So you've got this full gas tank now. You put your foot on the accelerator and you're ready to drive off, but you don't move. The engine is revving but you don't go anywhere. You don't go because your other foot is on the brake.
If you think about it, there are accelerators and there are restrainers. Accelerators are things that speed or propel you forward, like the fuel in the tank. The restrainers are the things that hinder your progress, in this case the restrainer is your foot on that brake. That brake is all of the no's or all of the potential for all that rejection that's out there. But once you remove your foot off the brake not only is your foot just now on the brake, it's on the accelerator and you're literally racing off.
That is what can happen when you start learning this and applying it to your organization. You're no longer restrained by those fears or anxieties around no, around failure and rejection. I love the analogy because when I learned Go For No from my, again I say business partner, he also happens to be my husband now, I thought I was a superstar salesperson, but then I got honest and I realized that I didn't really like hearing no and my avoidance of it was affecting my results, so for me it was a little bit of both. It was an accelerator for me, but it was also the removal of something that had been holding me back.
That's why I have such a passion for this topic. It helped me. I've seen it help so many people over the years as Marc has attested to already. At the end we'll be doing a little Q&A so hang around for that. If you decide you want to bring me into your office or into your car, I will also tell you how to do that.
Not physically, of course, but I will tell you how you can get more in-depth Go For No training that we offer and a special that we've created just for the Academy. With that said, let me pose a really important question that we love to ask people, and that is, "When you hear the word no, what does that no mean to you?" In other words, how do you respond to it? You're making noises over there, Marc. Do you have anything to add?
Marc: I know, I was just having all the apprehension of, "Oh no, they said no to me. My world is crashing." They must hate me, they must not like me.
Andrea: Exactly, so that's the type of thing that I think a lot of people do. When they hear that no, what they say internally, all of the kind of things that you can say, like they don't like me. It's one of those things that takes you right down, like, "It's going to be one of those days. I'm not going to get anywhere today." Or I don't have what it takes, or who was I kidding?
Admittedly, even when I went out to procure for donations, I remember this isn't as easy as I thought it was going to be. I don't walk into restaurant after restaurant getting gift certificates. It's a little bit challenging. You have these voices in your head when you get those no's, then how do you respond externally in your actions? What do you do when you get all of those no's? Do you reduce your activity? Do you stop your fundraising activity and start avoiding the interactions because you don't want to hear no anymore? Or do you keep going?
We always start asking this question because the relationship that you have with the word no, what you think and feel when you hear it, how you internalize and respond to it, and what you do afterward as a result, whether you seek opportunities to hear more no's or whether you avoid it, is one of the single most important factors in determining the level of success you'll achieve, pretty much in our opinion this is the thing. But it's not you.
Most people do not fail anywhere near enough. In fact, most people, men and women spend most of their waking hours doing the exact opposite, spending enormous mental and physical effort trying to avoid failure, avoid people saying no with everything they have. That, interestingly, is a strategy guaranteed to produce average results.
I mention my husband, my business partner, Richard. He taught me this concept and it really changed things for me. One of the central stories that we like to tell has to do with something that actually happened to Richard. It was a thing that kind of changed this whole idea in his head. It was the launching point for every concept that we've ever created around Go For No.
So I want to tell you this quick story because it happened to Richard. When he told it to me, I got it. He had been working for a prominent menswear chain for several months, was not setting the world on fire, his sales were pretty abysmal. He was pretty sure that he was going to get fired if he didn't fix his sales, so he hears the district manager, a guy by the name of Harold, is scheduled to visit the store, and Richard is thinking, "If I can impress Harold, they'll give me more time to improve my sales."
The day comes, Harold comes in, everybody says hi, they have donuts, they have coffee. At 10:00 in the morning the store opens. Richard was the first salesman in that morning, so he got to help whoever walked in the door first that day. They called it the first-up in those days. In walks this well-dressed gentleman who announces that he wants to buy an entire wardrobe of clothing, and within 30 minutes Richard has an $1100 sale. It was one of the biggest of his career up to that moment. He's certain that Harold is going to congratulate him. This guy buys all this stuff.
After the customer leaves Harold comes over and says, "That was a nice sale." Richard was just waiting to get congratulated and nothing's happening. So finally Harold says, "That was a nice sale, but do you mind if I ask a question?" And Richard, who is now getting frustrated, says, "All right, go ahead." Harold says, "I'm just curious, but what did that customer say no to?"
So Richard in that moment is kind of annoyed, he's like, "What do you mean? That guy bought a suit and a sport coat and shirts and a couple ties and shoes and socks and the whole thing. What do you mean, what did he say no to?" And Harold said, "Richard, we know what the customer said yes to. Yes is the easy part. All we have to do is look at the receipt and we can see all of the items listed. Those are the yesses. I just want to know what did the customer say no to?"
So Rich thought about the interaction and then he realized the customer never said no to anything. Everything that Richard laid in front of the guy, he purchased. Then Richard said back to Harold, "The customer didn't say no to anything." Then Harold asked him the really important question, he said, "Then how did you know he was done?" That was the question that really hit Richard like a lightning bolt. He realized that he wasn't the one to end that sale, that interaction. He had never spent over $1000 personally in his life on a shopping trip.
This was many years ago now at the time, and he was young, and whenever anybody got to around $1000, that was his mental spending limit, they were done. So he figured he didn't want to press his luck, he certainly didn't want to look pushy, so he ended the sale.
So Harold said to Richard, "I watched you sell during the whole interaction and you're not half bad." That was literally what he said, "But your fear of the word no is going to kill you. If you could just get over that. Instead of avoiding no, if you could learn to go for no, I think you could be a great salesperson."
So Richard goes home that night, he's thinking his job was to avoid no. He realizes he's two letters from greatness, N-O, no. He goes home that night and pretty much the next day comes in and starts going for no, starts asking people if they would like to get extra things, and upselling and all of the things they did back then in that retail environment, and ended up getting promoted after a year.
He became the top salesperson, got into training, eventually moved up the ranks and we ended up meeting at LensCrafters where I am a leader of a store. Richard is in the training department and he's telling me this story, and I realized I kind of had this epiphany too. I thought, "I don't like hearing no either." I thought I was really good. So that launched us into exploring this in our own company.
When we launched our company doing training, this particular topic was the thing everybody really fell in love with, so we dug into it for several years. We created training programs around it and really looked at every nuance.
So what I'm going to share with the balance of our time, are some extra nuances beyond this foundation of, "Okay, I think I get it. Don't stop at the first no." It's all of the underlying things, some of them more tactical things, some of them more psychological/emotional-type strategies to help keep you going when those no's do start happening, and we all know that they do.
That's the one thing, for those of you listening to this, you won't find is us trying to convince you that rejection doesn't exist, it's all in your head, and you're just crazy. That's not what we do. We deal with the reality of the situation. The reality is people have their reasons for saying no to you. Some of it is legitimate, meaning they just are tapped out, they involve themselves in other ways of donation, of gifting. Or a lot of times it's just excuses or just bad timing or a wide variety of things. There are all of those no's out there. So there are ways of . . .
Marc: Andrea, those tactics are going to be great, but one thing I don't want anybody that's listening to miss is that Richard had mentally capped himself at about $1000 as a good sale. Andrea, I can't tell you how many times I see this in fundraising where I've had to stop people from, whether it's a fundraising letter or face to face saying, one client had written "maybe a gift of $100 or if you're particularly blessed, a gift of $1000."
That was because of her own mental block where, for some people their thousand dollar gifts are what $100 gifts or $10 gifts are for other people. It's just chump change. They just throw that at people, so you don't want to pre-qualify, or you don't want to restrain yourself by having your mental block. You have to be clear on what your mental blocks are as you're going to, it's so important.
Andrea: Yes, you're so right. That's a really great point, Marc. I don't actually cover that particular little nuance, I'll just mention here since you brought that up, one of the fun things to do at a meeting, especially for the people that are listening to this that are leaders, and I'm sure you have meetings where getting everybody together, one of the fun things to do is to list those blocks.
I know in our business training, one of the things we do is say, "What's a lot of money to have someone spend with you?" So what's a lot of money? What do you guys consider a big donation? Everybody has their number, right? It's like that number where you say, "I would be amazed if somebody wrote us a check for $5000. That would just blow me away." Everybody has that number. It's a fun exercise to do because that's your block right there.
Marc: The other one that I've been doing around the country actually, this year oddly, it has taken me 20 years of fundraising to do this, what are the messages that you had about money growing up? When I ask this in a room it's all over the place, from don't-ask-don't-tell, the original don't-ask-don't-tell, to "We don't talk about it. You have what you need. You never ask for help," to, "We always give even if we don't have money." Those can also create some of those restraining influences on our ability to ask.
So it's both our mental caps of what's a big amount and other messages that we often don't even, and I'm sure this is in sales too, you just don't think about. They're in there, they're in the stew and you don't even identify them unless you take that reflective time as a leader to say to your team, "Let's go through this."
Andrea: Yeah, I love that. That's really fascinating. I totally agree. That's a perfect . . .
Marc: That was a freebie. I know that wasn't part of this, but I just thought that was a great thing to highlight, so thanks Andrea. Thanks for letting me . . .
Andrea: Absolutely. Jump in all you want. It's great, because I think it's such an important point, and I love that you're helping me weave through this material and make sure that it's the perfect thing for your audience, so I do love it. Now that everybody understands the idea of the Go For No story and all that, I want to lay the foundation of really, the underlying philosophy.
When I say underlying philosophy, what Marc just said, you alluded to this idea of what are those early programs that we have about money and what's available and all of those things and mental caps and the whole thing, is, we believe your underlying philosophy of your mission in terms of failure and success. So one of the things we show in our book, we've got this very simple model, but it's a powerful model, and I talk about it every time I teach Go For No because without this I think you kind of lose the whole foundation of your mental mindset going into this.
Basically the old model is where you are in the middle, failure is on one side, success is on the other, and we've all been taught and trained and brought up to avoid failing, and in our world that means getting rejected, hearing no. Avoid those failures and only seek success, whereas in the new model, in the Go For No world model, you are on one side, failure, rejection, hearing those no's, is in the middle, and the success that you're seeking, ultimately the yesses, achieving your goals, is on the far end of that.
So people always ask me, "How do I keep the momentum going after time?" People after a while fall back into their bad habits, they forget Go For No. This model is the thing that people have to remember. It's kind of that driving, underlying why does Go For No work? It works because of this model.
I always talk about this because it's not just, "I get it, it's a cliché, fail your way to success." No, literally you have to adopt this model and remember this, so in those moments where you fall back into the habits, maybe you get discouraged, you remember that this is the way, this is that path. This is really the model that Harold brought to the surface for Richard in teaching him this idea of failure and rejection and that no's are not things to be avoided, no's are things to be sought, really, stepping stones on the road to success, and that really this is the key to the entire thing.
So kind of as the launch off with that as the real foundation, here's a real tactical thing, and this is one of the things that we teach in our training program that we came up with as a fun way to get people implementing and working Go For No, because I think people get the philosophy and then it's, "How do I apply it?" This is probably my favorite way of applying it. It's the fastest, easiest way of applying it, and it all has to do with goal setting.
So a core Go For No strategy is to set what we call No Goals. We all know how important it is to set goals. I know in fundraising, it's what's the goal number? Come up with it. This is not ditch that, just so we're clear. This is not that we ditch, this is just an interesting way to get to that ultimate number goal. The background is, we all operate with our Yes Goals, the dollar amount that we want as we get closer to the ultimate goal, it's like, "This is how much we need to raise," all that kind of stuff.
The interesting flaw in our mindset is that once we achieve the goal, and especially for salespeople, when they get to their sales goal they're done, that's it, they just slack off. If they hit their sales goal by the 20th of the month and they didn't need to hit it until the 30th, that last 10 days is like, "I'll just slack off, I'll slow down because I reached my quota. I met the goal; I don't have to sell anymore. I don't have to do any of those things now because I hit that Yes Goal that I was searching for. I hit that quota."
So Richard and I went through this in our own business where we were trying to speak. Initially we wanted to speak four times a month early on in our business. We would get on the phone and call and email and send packages, and sometimes we would book the programs we wanted, and then with the rest of the month, if we hit that goal we would take time off, we'd go to the movies, we'd get involved in all kinds of other tasks and activities which had nothing to do with the actual dollar amount and bringing actual dollars into the business. So we decided to set goals, and set these No Goals instead.
So our goal became to have 100 companies say no to us each month. When someone said yes to us we didn't stop to celebrate because we knew we had to keep going to hit the No Goal. What was amazing was that we found in any month in which we hit the No Goal, we ended up with more business than we knew what to do with, and whenever things got tight, we have a lean period or whatever, we could look back three or four months and discover that we weren't having fun and playing around with those No Goals.
That's why I say you don't have to throw out, obviously if you're trying to raise $100,000 or what have you, that's the ultimate goal, it's not about throwing that out, but it's about how can we have fun with this and encourage people in such a way to not be just focused on the thousand dollars that they're trying to raise today, but could they set a No Goal and try to get as many no's as possible that day and then the next day set an even higher No Goal and let the results be as they may?
A couple things that happened with this, Marc, and I know this is kind of where the psychology comes in, it's certainly not to do a poor job of the presentation. It's certainly not to do things in such a way that you do get a no. It's to do the best job you can, but what it ultimately is, is to focus on the activity because, especially from a sales standpoint, the insidious thing about having Yes Goals is sometimes they limit our performance rather than push us.
But if you're just staying on that behavior of hitting your No Goal, the yesses will come. They usually do. A lot of times people will be on a hot streak. Everybody's talking to you, everybody loves you, and it's like you hit this goal that you set, this Yes Goal, and then you stop because you're done. So having those No Goals keeps you on the hot streak, and it does make it a game for some people, it does reduce some of that stress and allow people to have some fun.
Marc: And it's totally, based on my experience, I'll just jump in and say that any Nonprofit Academy member, just go to the online vault. After this recording I'll post the Go For No hundred no's card that I created a few years back for my fundraising kick members. It's just a simple PDF with my logo and a hundred no's. It gives you a check board that you can cross off.
And Andrea, when I've done this, it totally changes your responses to yes. They almost become, before this the yesses are exciting and adrenaline filling and confidence boosting, and when you're doing, especially in a phone-a-thon or something where there are high numbers where you can get those hundred no's, when you get a no, it becomes exciting and when you get a yes, it's a hassle of filling out, you still are happy, but you have to make another call because you haven't gotten your hundred no's yet. It really reprograms your response to no. It's really fun to play. It's a great game that really does change things.
Andrea: It is, it is. Great. I love that you said that. That brings us to this whole idea of, you get a no. What kind of mindset should you have around that? This might be familiar to some people watching, but Rich and I have a mantra and it's something that we learned from Jack Canfield, actually, who wrote the Chicken Soup For The Soul books, and he says, "Some will, some won't," it's called the SWSWSWSW mantra, so some will, some won't, so what, someone's waiting.
The point is some will, you're going to make your presentation, they're going to like it, it's going to be easy. We all love those, right? Some won't, no matter what you do. The key here though, of course, is that we don't prejudge because we never know what someone is going to decide to do or donate. We don't know their number.
Then so what? This is really where the response to the no comes in. This is where your response, your attachment to the outcome, your attachment to the yes, needs to become "so what?" And I know it does sound cliché, like so what? This is where, I think especially for fundraising when you're doing it in blocks of time and periods, this final idea of someone's waiting.
It is interesting because for fundraisers there's always someone waiting. There are seas of people out there and it could be that there's someone waiting that maybe you have ignored because you've prejudged, assumed that they would never say yes. Maybe it's a business that you wanted to donate and assumed they would never go for it. Most of the time, because we live in a Go For Yes world where we're always operating in a way that has us avoiding situations where we could be rejected, avoiding those no's, we sometimes ignore the someone's waiting list, or sometimes may be complacent with some of the easier yesses rather than getting out there and forcing that "someone's waiting."
What happens when you have that so what attitude is that next person, and this is really key again for when you're soliciting donations and you're doing it over and over again, if it's on the phone or you're going door to door or whatever, when you're going to the next person, who is that "someone's waiting," they need your best. We know that. They need your smile, they need your upbeat attitude, they need the positivity, and if you've just heard 6 no's or 60 no's, it's hard to have that, but that next person could be the biggest donation of your day, the biggest donation of the year, so you've got to have that as a mindset.
That's why that "Some will, some won't, so what," that "Someone's waiting" person could be the one, but you've got to be positive. Again, it's Go For No, and yet have that positive attitude, have that positive mindset because that "someone's waiting" is out there. That's very exciting I think.
Marc: It's real, too. Absolutely.
Andrea: Exactly. So don't take it personally, it is not about you. It's easy to take no personally. We all do I think, to some extent. And most people have spent so long on the yes-no emotional roller coaster that they're used to the ups and downs. It becomes this habit. You just mentioned it, Marc. You get a yes, you're up, you're happy, you celebrate. You get a no, you're depressed and it's deflating and it's negative, but that yes-no emotional roller coaster is really exhausting and draining and it doesn't serve you. It's not helpful, it's not inspiring.
We all know the last thing that you should do is beat yourself up. Again, someone's waiting. Anything less that upbeat and excited, even-keeled at the least, voice that helps you project that great attitude, anything less than that can influence that next "Someone's waiting." So if the no's become these devastating things, that really wreaks havoc with potential results.
So that's why we say in addition to engaging in the strategies like the No Goals, simultaneously, constantly be working on your mindset around no, reprogramming how you feel about it, getting yourself off that emotional roller coaster to make that transition to living and thinking in a Go For No way and not that Go For Yes world. I think that you do that finally and truly by ridding yourself of the notion that no is personal.
Make sure that, we always say don't place your personal value, in other words your self-worth, on whether that person says yes or no. It's not you, it's not your presentation, you can't get tied up in your value of being good, of "I got a yes," or "I got a no." Because that will be deflating. Again, it impacts your results because that next person who's waiting doesn't get your best if you're reeling from that last no.
Marc: I think it's really hard for nonprofits, too, because we so often feel like this defines who we are, this cause, this work. Especially for founders, it feels like it is a personal no, but you guys need to hear that it isn't personal. Just like Andrea said, there are all sorts of different reasons for a no and there are ways to move beyond it, but it's not personal, no matter how personal it feels. But absolutely, good work.
Andrea: Exactly. And again when you . . .
Marc: Here you go, doesn't mean never, perfect.
Andrea: Right. And no doesn't mean never, no means not yet. This again goes back to that sales idea that I warned everybody about early on, but I think these are interesting statistics and I'm sure one of the things that everybody knows is follow-up is so key. Right?
Following up on people who've told you no, especially one-time donators. I can't tell you what we get just in the mail from the one-time donations that we've done. We're on lists now; we get these things over and over again, obviously for a reason, because they know these numbers.
So here are the interesting statistics, and that is 44% of people give up after one no, 22% more give up after the 2nd no, 14% more give up after the 3rd no, 12% more give up after the 4th no. This is from a research project from many years ago. Great Sales Project, which means they came up with this whole thing, and obviously if you add those numbers up you get 92%, so this means that 92% of all give up before getting this 5th no, and yet 60% of all customers, in this case, said no four times before finally saying yes.
So this research project showed both of these sides, so obviously, and I'm sure that everyone's experience bears this out. You don't have to be a math genius to see that the place to be in that select group of people that finally gets the yes, is in that 4th ask, 5th ask, 6th ask. To the extent that you can, sometimes you can ask two or three times in the same conversation, but I think the follow-up is also, part of a good Go For No strategy is to understand that no one makes a decision, oftentimes no one does the first go around. Multiple contacts.
And the interesting thing is that eventually they are going to make a decision. Often times it's not because someone's better at the presentation. Again, it's just not personal, right? This goes back to the no isn't personal. The offer wasn't necessarily better. It's not that they're more connected to that charity or that organization at that moment, it usually is at that moment they're just finally ready, you know? The timing was right.
So in order to stay top of mind that's why we do say follow up, creating that follow-up campaign where you hold real estate in that person's mind so that then, when they're finally ready, you happen to recontact them or they see something, that they're ready to move forward, they're ready to say yes. So it's so great to have those numbers fall into your favor, but you've got to hold the real estate in their mind long enough . . .
Marc: Part of, I'm sorry.
Andrea: No, I was done. Long enough for them to say yes. Go ahead.
Marc: What we're finding is, there's this great blog for major gift fundraisers that Veritas Group does, and one of the things that they reported on is what we're finding to be true across sectors. The Go For No could be not just for the gift. It might not just be the one-time solicitation, and I think some people may be having a hard time with, "It's not like we're selling knives. We don't have another belt we can add on. We've asked for the $100,000 gift. We're not going to then ask if they want fries with that. But it could be setting up the appointment, what they're finding is echoed in our experience. It's taking six to seven calls to sit down and have an appointment with a prospect.
Most people, and I can't tell you how many times the persistence factor, people wimp out after two. "They don't like us, they're not responding back." No, we're just not top of mind. We're not the center of their universe, which is a good thing because they wouldn't have money. If they were working for a nonprofit they couldn't be a donor prospect probably, at least at the level we're thinking of. So it's good that we're not top of mind. It's our job to be persistent. Can I just tell you a quick, crazy, fun story?
Marc: OK, great. One of the times I did, I called almost every week, sometimes every other week with one top prospect for a nonprofit a while back, for six months. I left a message, sent a note, left a message, always voice-mail, never got to talk to the person. Finally after six months, the person picks up his phone and he said, "Oh, Marc, thank you so much for your persistence. I have been so rude to you. This charity is so important to me and I haven't, even if it weren't, the way I treated you is not right, but it is important. I'm right here in my chateau in France right now. Can I please call you back when I get back to the United States?"
And that became an immediate $25,000 check a while later. It opened the door for a lot longer gift. So that persistence, even when we feel like, "Surely now we're bugging them." How many times do you set up the appointment or call them before you set up the appointment? That could be right along the lines of what's your idea of a big gift? How much is too much?
Andrea: Yes, exactly. I love that. First of all, it's a great story. One of the things that we teach is that any assumption is really kryptonite to Go For No because we all come up with these assumptions of, they're not interested, they're avoiding me. It's really [inaudible 00:40:35] it's just, it has nothing to do with us. But we think, "What would I do? What would this reflect on me?"
Certainly I've had both things. Yes, I've had situations where I haven't wanted to talk to somebody, I haven't wanted to pick up the phone, and I've had situations where it was just always bad timing. The person would contact me at the absolute wrong moment, you know? So it goes both ways. We just can't make those assumptions.
Marc: And you're right about, we fill in that silence with a story of, "They must not like us." We start making all of these judgments to justify the silence when it reality, getting back to reality, it could be just silence. That's all it might be.
Andrea: Exactly. We become Steven Spielberg with our stories. Here's what happened, right? Here's the great story that I'm going to come up with. So here's a fun, this is very different, I think.
For those people who are going through this program who've heard of Go For No, maybe they've heard you talk about it, this may seem a little bit more normal, but for people this is new for, again this goes back to the failure idea and the fact that what we're doing is we're saying that failure is not a person. Failure and getting no happens to be an event, that when you intentionally go out of your way to increase the number of no's you hear and to increase your failure rate, we're quoting Thomas Watson here. To increase your failure rate, when you go out of your way to do that, the yesses and success will show up at your door, often times faster and easier than you ever expected. But we have these misconceptions about failure, that it's bad and that it somehow makes us failures.
So these are the five failure levels. It's kind of a fun way to demystify that, to help reprogram your mind for looking at this in a more empowering way.
So here's level one. The first level is the ability to fail. That's where everyone starts, obviously. We all have the ability to fail. But few people move past this because they're hung up on, "I don't want to get a no, I don't want to fail. I'll embarrass myself, I'll be foolish. This person will never say yes to me." So they stay here in level one, a very dangerous place to be, especially in the world of fundraising.
Level two is the willingness to fail. It's reaching the point where you understand that, "Okay, I'm going to hear no, I'm going to fail. I'll tolerate it." Now interestingly we find that, depending on the person, often times it's about 20% of people who make it to this level for a sustainable period of time. But when you can get here, it's a great place to be, but still there's not that enjoyment. You're kind of fighting through it.
Here's where it gets really interesting. This is the wanting-ness to fail. This is level three. It's get beyond just the willingness, it's really pushing past any fear of those failures and rejections, and really developing and seeking out those opportunities, seeking out those no's, and going to bed at night saying, "I didn't hear no today. I never failed, I never took a chance," and that's where things can get really interesting.
Level four is failing bigger and faster. So if failing is good, then failing bigger and faster is better. This level is reached by only a handful of people who understand, we love this, easy yesses produce little successes. What we mean by failing bigger, too is, failing faster obviously, you can take that and apply that to your organization and say, "How can we get a lot of no's in a fast way?"
And also, those big donors, and this goes back, Marc, to what we were talking about. Big amounts, the big businesses out there, those big people, trying to get appointments with them, trying to sit down with them, asking for the gift, all of those things are opportunities to get those really big no's. It's scary for us because often times these people are wealthy, they've got great stature in society, blah blah blah, again it's all that programming, but those are great, big, fun no's. That's where really exciting things can happen, and then that brings us . . .
Marc: Those are the chicken lists. I learned about it when I was in direct sales. I learned the chicken lists. You want to test it out on these other people because I don't want to embarrass myself in front of the people I really respect. You find out the people you really respect are the people that actually are the ones that are going to make a decision in your favor. It's shocking. It's really funny.
Andrea: Yes, for sure. I love that. So finally, level five is a function of leadership, failing exponentially. Obviously if individual failure can drive personal success, this is about teamwork, it's about everyone driving their failure rate, increasing their success by going for no as a team and doing it together. That's that final level of failure.
Marc: It's so interesting to think about, getting together at your weekly staff meetings or your annual reviews fundraiser and say, "That's great, you hit your goal. Where did you fail?" I can't imagine what we would say. You know what that would do actually, is make it safe to take the risks that we have to take to be vibrant in 21st century fundraising. We need to take risks for the right reasons, not stupid risks, but we need to take risks in reaching out to people. We need to take risks in making our donors feel ludicrously loved by our organization, and not inappropriately, but surprise and delight as my friend Shannon Doolittle talks about.
We need to do that with donors. There could be ways that doing that, you're going to fail, but that's for the right reason. Wow, what a culture that could be if your whole leadership were encouraging that and sharing those stories. I love it. Now I want to get to the question and answers, and I've got a ton of notes. I'm thinking I'll take a picture of it and post it after, but a ton of notes here that I also want to help unpack some of this for fundraising, but before that, I know as we were setting this up I asked you if you'd be able to put something together for us.
Could you share with the listeners what, and even if you're listening to this recorded, this is still going to be good, right? The special bundle?
Andrea: It is. Yeah, because you and I, I think we've done this, it's been a couple years, but I love being your partner. So we'll keep this up, this will . . .
Marc: And I'm definitely a fan boy if anyone didn't know. I love it.
Andrea: So here's what it is, this is what I alluded to when people could bring me into their car or office or whatever. This is something that we call the Go For No Breakthrough Pack. It is a CD/DVD combo training pack. The main item in here is the Mastering Go For No program. It's got 20 core Go For No concepts.
I covered a small handful today on this webinar, just sharing some of the philosophies and some of the strategies. This has 20 of them. It's Richard and I in the studio. And then there's a 36 page personal implementation guide that kind of leads you through the 20 concepts. You could work that first, you could listen to the CDs, you could never look at it if you didn't want to, but it's a great tool to use either before or after listening, to enhance the learning and take each strategy and say, "How do we apply it to our organization?"
The last two items are the DVD movie which is really fun and interesting. We drove around the country interviewing top achievers in a bunch of different industries about how they've used the ideas of Go For No in their business and in their lives. That's a documentary. We are not even in it. We interviewed people on all of these subject matters, so it's kind of a cool thing.
Then finally our Reprogram How You Think About No audio affirmation CD that kind of takes all of our philosophies, all of our training, and boils it down into affirmations. That whole package, and this also comes with another program that is a downloadable thing called Achieving Breakthrough Performance, it's over a $300 value as it's laid out on our website. The retail price is $167, but Marc, for anybody in the Academy now and ongoing, they can get $70 off. Just be sure to use that coupon code or call our office and give us the coupon code of NPA1 and you get the $70 off, it's just $97.
Marc: My system formatted it funny, the way the coupon code goes over that, but what a great package. Thank you so much, because I'm reminded of so many things whenever we talk. One of the things I'm reminded of is Zig Zigler. People use to say, "I'm not into that positive attitude motivational stuff because it just wears off." And his response, you do remember his response?
Andrea: Yes, about bathing?
Marc: Yeah. So does bathing, but I still do it every day.
Andrea: Yeah, right.
Marc: Committed to do it, too. My personal mission statement I have, it's about a page long, and one of the things I commit to is feeding my mind at least as much as I feed my stomach, so it's packs like this that definitely make it so that you can, when you need it in the moment, go there.
` I feel so dorky when I say how powerful affirmations have been in my life because I think of Stuart Smalley and "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me." But it's true. I've had to keep falling back on those things, and it's great to have them to fall back on.
Thank you so much for this. I'm going to leave this up here so people can know that's up there. One of the questions that came up, I don't know if this is something that this is the right forum for, but I'd love your take on it anyways. I'm not putting you on the spot to be the subject matter expert, but way back in the beginning you talked about Dan Kennedy and the idea of learning from other industries, somewhat like what we're doing here on this session of NPA Presents, to apply it to the nonprofits here, or to our industry. Have you seen people do that well at board meetings?
The question is more, we've got a lot of board members that we bring on to our boards and we forget to remind them why they're there. So they just figure, "I don't know how to feed the poor, I don't know how to spay and neuter animals. I'm really ignorant here." And they'll make a lot of silly decisions that, I had the benefit of having a board member say, "You send the same direct mail message to every single person in your database?" And I said yeah, and he said, "I would go broke if I did that. I have to segment and I have to research who these people are and what message they need to be getting."
So he freed up some of my budget to do some analytics, but have you seen anyways to help people, particularly board members, but people bridge that in between their industries or take their industry knowledge and politely suggest ways it might apply to another industry?
Andrea: Yeah. First of all, please excuse the wildly loud train going by.
Marc: I was wondering, it's not on my end is it? There's no train near me.
Andrea: No. It's not coming through your living room, or your office. My experience, first of all, in that world is very limited because we're typically not involved in anything like that. But I like it in general because I think what it really comes down to and why having a wide variety of people on your board is so important is because people do have those kinds of insights.
Really what this whole thing comes down to as you know, and everybody on here listening to this knows, this is all about communication, creating, getting help for people to solve an overarching problem. It does come down to being able to communicate the message, communicate with the donors, like you said, I love surprise and delight. That's such a key because it is about ultimately, and it's funny because I have this as a wrap up, about helping people do something that's above and beyond what they could do on their own. It's being able to be a part of something greater than themselves.
In order to do that, it so comes down to communication and I think with different businesses, they all communicate in such different ways and they have these interesting philosophies and strategies, so tapping into that, it's important I think in general for everybody to be open minded and say, "What did you do with this?" We all have the same business challenges, you know? To be able to learn from those business challenges and to see what someone else has done even if it's completely different. There are ways of taking that and saying, "Could we do that same thing here even though we may not have that exact tool or that exact process?" I think that's . . .
Marc: Did everybody hear that? Because I think many of us, not so much now as when I started speaking in the space 15 years ago, but 15 years ago when you said sales, it was the S word in nonprofits. You didn't talk about sales, and I'm so glad we're beyond that.
What Andrea just said is so important for, especially for founders and executive directors. It is pastoring. I pastored a church for four years and I know that my colleagues that were pastors were shocked at the whole business aspect of running an organization, that there was cash flow, there was cash flow management, there were either volunteer or employee issues. We didn't have any, I wasn't even paid, so we didn't have any employee issues, we just had a lot of volunteer issues because wherever there's a team of humans, you have issues.
Even if you think that there's a hard break or a hard divide, there are still ways that we can learn to apply things. I guess that leads to another question that came up, we were talking about going for yes and how you coast, you relax, and I totally get that, but I didn't hear you saying, I'll preface it with that. I didn't hear you saying that you just become machines and automatons and never enjoy life, but the question was, "When is it right to treat yourself to that movie? How do you know when to," is it when you hit your No Goals?
Andrea: Marc, thank you so much for bringing that up. I can't believe I left that out. I think I was on a tangent and, yes, absolutely. That's so key from a leadership standpoint and you personally, celebrating when you do hit that No Goal. Absolutely.
Marc: I love that.
Andrea: Celebrating it, have fun. You hit the No Goal. Reward yourself, reward the team. That's so key in the way that you can reprogram how you feel about it. Instead of berating yourself, say, "Oh my gosh, I got 20 no's today. That's incredible. Before I would have gotten five or two or something." I think that celebrating is so important, and also to remember, too, that it's not about being a machine. It could, on a day that was a total telethon, phone-a-thon, whatever. Those can kind of be.
But you are dealing with human beings and it is ultimately about building that relationship. That's why, in that moment when they say no, you mentally say, "Okay, no problem." You celebrate it; respect their decision in that moment. No is a perfectly acceptable answer, but no doesn't mean never. No just means not yet. You think that immediately and now you figure out, "How do I handle this no? Can I get creative? What do I do with it? Do I get permission to contact again? Do I hang up and we will contact again?" Whatever your process is, but it's that staying positive and upbeat and celebrating in your own head in that moment, and then physically celebrating later.
Marc: OK, great. Thank you. I didn't realize that we are running short on time, so what I want to do is sum up, I've got a story and I know you've got a summary, and then we'll just let people off. Then, people, if you've got questions you can go to GoForNo, check out what they have there.
Obviously if you want this pack which is awesome, use the coupon code NPA1 for that really generous discount. Thanks for helping all of us out there, Andrea. That's really cool. For those of you who still aren't convinced that Go For No works, you've just got to try it and trust me.
For those of you who are familiar with the Hebrew scriptures, there's a great story of going for no in the book of Nehemiah. Are you familiar with it Andrea? I didn't mean to put you on the spot.
Andrea: No, tell me.
Marc: Oh my goodness, this is beautiful. One of the first stories of fundraising ever in the history of mankind.
This guy, Nehemiah, is an Israelite in exile, a line-bearer to the king, I believe it was Xerxes. He hears that Jerusalem is down, demolished. I don't know how he didn't get that, because he was in exile, but whatever. He hears about it and it sends him into this real introspective time of prayer and fasting, and he goes and asks, I think it's chapter two of Nehemiah. It talks about his solicitation of the king, and if you really read it closely, he makes two or three asks in there.
So first of all he goes in sad. That's bad. Usually in these cultures if you go in sad in front of the king, you get killed. So he goes in sad and the king says, "What's going on?" And he says, "I just heard this awful thing, and it wasn't just." He's been fasting and praying for a long time, but he says, "My city is ruined. I would like permission to go see it."
So the king's response is, "When will you be back?" So apparently Nehemiah sees that as a yes. So he says, "I'd like you to fund my expedition with an unlimited credit line to actually rebuild the walls." I believe there's one other ask in there, and what's beautiful about it is he just keeps going, to the point where he is then sent with an entourage by the king. Not only does he have his credit line to rebuild the walls and the time off and the job when he comes back, but he also has this entourage which historians tell us means he was elevated to the level of governor.
So he found tremendous favor in his boldness to keep asking until he finally reached the limit. And he didn't seem to upset the king because his life was literally on the line in that. It reminds me of a story, just two nights ago I was talking to somebody who had gone to a donor they hadn't talked to in a while and thought his mental cap was $150,000, so he asked for $150,000 thinking he might, didn't expect to ask on the first ask, and the guy without batting an eyelash said, "Yeah, sure. We can do $150,000. That's great."
So when you're going into an ask with the Go For No philosophy, it's also, what are those other things you can ask for? Is it saying calmly and collectedly, "A year for the next three years?" Or is it, "And providing for a scholarship and doing this?" It's okay to try to experiment with that because what we're actually doing is providing joy to donors in a very real way. If you don't believe me, you just haven't asked enough. With that I'll turn it over to you to talk about the last slide, because it's absolutely correct.
Andrea: I love that. I love those stories, Marc. That's so great. Just to wrap up, we always say that Go For No is a tool that can be used for good or evil. Obviously we're using it just for good here, and when all is said and done it really is to serve others. It's obviously to serve your organization which has a great mission.
We always say as you're going through remember that mission. If you have those moments of discouragement, remember the mission and the service that you're performing and that you're also helping people do something that's bigger than themselves. They can't usually, most individuals, the average person on the street can't do what the organization can do when they are the ones taking on the, bearing the weight of their mission.
So ultimately you allow people to give, which is a way of serving them and allowing them to be something that's bigger than themselves. So I leave that as a thought for both ways, to apply Go For No. I hope everybody got something out of this. Thank you for having me, Marc.
Marc: Andrea, thank you so very much. I'm always motivated, every time I hear this. Everybody, please remember to go into the online vaults. You can listen to this over and over again. Go to GoForNo, use coupon code NPA1. Andrea, if you could advance to the last slide, we will wrap this edition of NPA Presents.