Persistence is Futile…(or was that… “resistance is futile?”)

noAlright, that joke was for my wife and all those Star Trek fans out there. I also wanted to throw in 2 cents for the Borg, as Davene’s mention of cults and brainwashing in Sunday’s  presentation. I haven’t actually heard that from anyone, but I could see it. It is amazing when you have a group of like minded people acting together and what they can overcome. The ND Pipe Line and Standing Rock protest is a good example of that. Fear is a big factor in keeping society where it is, and without it we might actually find freedom. But that is a discussion for another day.

This week I wanted to reflect on persistence. I feel like I could write my own book on this topic, but I wanted to give everyone here just a small gift. From the presentation, and from Og this week, I felt that persistence was being portrayed as an uphill climb. As the ability to push onward and upward over and past all the hurdles and failures. I think this is a slight case of stinking thinking. The gift I have for you is the ability to embrace failure as a small case of awesomeness. Failure can be marvelous.

I was first introduced to an incredible life changing sales philosophy by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz called “Go For No”. It is a great book if you want to boost up your library and can be found at But the skinny of the book (the Mike’s Notes version) is this: When keeping track of your sales approaches, don’t count the Yeses, count the Nos.

Alright, so maybe it needs a little more explanation. Richard does a great job of explaining how he came to the concept here:

There are two parts as I see it. 1. The counting and the 2. The not quitting
1. The counting – We are all in sales one way or another. Whether you are selling insurance, a car, a network marketing company, selling your art, selling your boss on your ability to do your job, or selling kids on learning, we are all selling something. So this little “Go For No” cheat was about reversing these goals we normally set for ourselves. Most sales people will set “Yes” goals. So if your goal was to get 2 people to buy your product, or watch your presentation, you might quit by 10 am if you got those two sales or agreements first thing in the morning. This, is what most sales people do.

So what you want to do, is take an average of people you normally have to talk to to get those 2 sales. Let’s just say it is 20 people. So instead of setting your goals to 2 sales (YESES), you set them for 20 NOs. (Or if you are really good at Mark’s approaches, 3 No’s to get to 2 yeses. For the rest of us, we might have to work harder) This does two things. The first is that it will keep you on your hot streak. If you are in the zone, getting two sales by 10 am, then you want to stay in the game. No one in sports gets out of the game when they are on fire. Yet sales people do this ALL THE TIME. “I’ve earned some time off” they say. “Don’t want to ruin the high” they say. “I’ll rest up to tackle tomorrow” they say. PishPosh. Stay in the game and have the best week of your life. Don’t quit until you get the 20 NOs.

The 2nd thing it does it changes your mindset. Instead of getting angry or upset at the NOs, now you get excited because you are getting closer to your goal.

2. Not Quitting. The 2nd part of the Go for No philosophy is conquering being pleasantly persistent. Richard uses a great example of his experience in a clothing store. My example comes from my experience in the insurance business.

I worked with a salesperson named Mark that wanted to increase his sales. I was having some good experience getting more products per customer than he was, so he asked me what I do. I decided to go with him to see his approach and where I might be able to help. His next client he had already done an assessment on and we were going back to present the policy and options.

We get there and all is going well and he presents the policy, premium, and coverage wonderfully and the couple seems great with it. So he collects the check and lets them know their policy will be in the mail shortly. This was for auto insurance. Well, as we are getting up, I decide to throw in my two cents. I simple said, “Mary…Bob…I noticed your new crib in the corner there. Is that for a friend or are congratulations in order.” They both blush a bit and Mary says, “No, that’s for us. I’m not due for another 5 mos. but my mother is a little anxious.” “Well congratulations .” I say. At this point my protege was wondering what the heck I was doing. After all, we have a check in hand, we wouldn’t want them to change their mind. “Just out of curiosity Mary, is the school giving you some time off from teaching (I already knew she was a teacher, I’m not really psychic) or will you have to go back to work right away?” “Actually”, she says, “I’m going to stay home for a few years until the baby starts school.” “Awesome.. No pressure there right Bob?” “Right!” he shouts, “But we feel its worth it. And my job’s pretty secure.” “Well Bob, I don’t know if you and Mark here every explored our life insurance discount program. We offer great specials for multi-policy owners. And since you are now saving money with us on your auto insurance, maybe we could save you more on the life insurance as well. I know how much less stress I had when my wife was home with the kids, when I knew that she would be taken care of no matter what happened to me.”

And that concluded Mark’s education. By the end of the evening, we got them both covered with life insurance and opened discussions for disability and a children’s college fund. I didn’t stop asking for more business until I had covered every line we offered. I made them tell me they weren’t interested. I got my NOs.

BONUS MATERIAL: I know this is getting a bit long, but I love this subject. Buy me a cup of coffee and we could talk for days on different sales approaches. This is one of the best ways around hating the word NO I’ve ever seen. People love saying NO over saying YES, so organize your questions to get NO to mean YES to your product or service. This is so powerful it knocked me out of my chair when I first heard it. I’ve read that many of you are in network marketing companies so I will use these examples:
1. Bob or Mary, Can you see any reason why you wouldn’t want more time and more money in your life? (Spin on Mark’s line)
2. Bob or Mary, if you could retire in a year from now, would you want me to get in your way?
3. Bob or Mary, if I knew a way for you to bring in extra money, without learning anything new, would you want me to keep it to myself?

These are just a few ways to turn NO into your friend. Embrace the NO, and your life will never be the same.

And for those of you stuck on worry about failure, check out this site of 10 great failures that are by no means failures. 10 Things Invented by accident And then figure out how you can fail awesomely today.


8 thoughts on “Persistence is Futile…(or was that… “resistance is futile?”)

  1. From the start of reading Og, I have had to overcome my discomfort with the “salesman” theme. At first I was “I am not in sales. I don’t want to be in sales. How is this applicable to me?” But slowly I have come to realize that “sales” is in everything we do. When I am applying for jobs, I am promoting and selling my experience and skills. I like the notion of counting the NOs. It is a mind shift. Thank you for sharing your perspective on this. I am actively thinking of this perspective.


  2. I once tried to convince my mother that she was in sales, having spent 40 years as an insurance claim adjuster. I just reminded her that every day she “sold” the doctors and hospitals on getting their paperwork right, and she “sold” her boss on the idea that she was the best person for the job. She wasn’t buying it, but it doesn’t make it any less true. All sales is really just “effective communication”. Once you change things up, it takes the “sales” stigmatizem out of it.


  3. I learned a version in sales training: if you know your ratios of yes:no then you forge forward eager to get the no’s out of the way to get to the yes’s. How does this align for you with Haanel’s and Hill’s DMP of there concept is to envision the result you want. So I want to envision a day of no’s or a day of yes’s? Just askin’. A very thoughtful blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew, great question, I don’t think anybody wants a day of nos. But so many people are crippled by the fear of the word. Being accepting or welcoming of the word no, doesn’t mean you have to love the word no. And I think sometimes, sales people especially, embrace the word yes so much, that they miss many more yeses by not pushing for the no.


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