How to Turn Rejection into Success for Your SaaS Startup
Richard Fenton is a speaker, coach, and author of the bestselling book Go for No!. His latest book is “When They Say No: The Definitive Guide for Handling Rejection in Sales.
In this interview, Richard shares his personal story of how he initially failed at sales and how his experience led him to develop the “Go for No” philosophy.
He talks about the old and new models for success and failure and how to apply the “Go for No” mindset to achieve your SaaS business goals i.e. how to embrace rejection and turn no into a powerful asset to drive your success.
Richard also discusses the importance of overcoming the fear of failure and he shares some practical tips on how to get past failures quickly and move on.
If you're currently struggling to get more people on demo calls, struggling to close more sales, or having a hard time getting investors to say yes to your pitch, then you might find this episode useful.
Also, if you feel like you need to build your mental resilience, then you might get some useful insights here.
I hope you enjoy it.
TranscriptClick to view transcript
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[00:00:00] Omer: Welcome to another episode of The SaaS Podcast. I'm your host, Omer Khan, and this is a show where I interview proven founders and industry experts who share their stories, strategies, and insights to help you build, launch, and grow your SaaS business. In this episode, I talked to Richard Fenton, a speaker, coach, and author of the bestselling book, Go For No.
His latest book is When They Say No, the Definitive Guide for Handling Rejection in Sales. In this interview, Richard shares his personal story of how he initially failed at sales. And how his experience led him to develop the go for no philosophy. He talks about the old and new models for success and failure, and how to apply the go for no mindset to achieve your SaaS business goals.
In other words, how to embrace rejection and turn no into a powerful asset. To drive your success. Richard also discusses the importance of overcoming the fear of failure, and he shares some practical insights on how to get past failures quickly and move on. If you're currently struggling to get more people on demo calls, struggling to close more sales, or having a hard time getting investors to say yes to your pitch, then you might find this episode useful.
Also, if you feel like you need to build your mental resilience, then you might get some useful insights here. So, I hope you. Richard, welcome to the show.
[00:01:30] Richard: Hey, thank you Omer. Glad to be here. Do
[00:01:32] Omer: you have a favorite quote, something that inspires or motivates you that you can share with us? Yeah,
[00:01:36] Richard: I do, and I'm glad you asked that because it took me a moment to really think of what it was.
And my favorite quote is, you can have anything in life you want. But you can't have everything in life that you want. And that was a very great writer from 20, 25 years ago named Peter McWilliams. And that has proven to be true in my life. Any single thing that I want, badly enough, I can marshal all my resources and focus toward it and get that.
But when you try to get everything, yeah, that.
[00:02:04] Omer: rarely works. Love it. I haven't heard that one before. That's great. Okay so today we're gonna talk. About your latest book when they Say No. The Definitive Guide for Handling Rejection in Sales, and we're gonna talk about how Ready. We're gonna share some relevant lessons for early stage.
SaaS founders that they can take away. And both things think about this as a mindset thing and some practical, steps that they can take. I interviewed your your business partner and your wife, Andrea, several years ago. I just have to look it up as episode 183 where we talked about overcoming the.
The fear of failure with your SaaS startups. So, that's also a great one to check out. And so it's a continuation of that theme, and we're gonna get a little deeper into that. Before we do that, can you tell us about your background? How did you get into sales and how did you come across this concept of.
The whole thing where we talked about with Andrea about, going for no.
[00:03:04] Richard: Sure. Absolutely. And probably the best place to start is with my early sales career. I was working for my father in the automotive fleet industry. Which is the sale of corporate vehicles. And I did odd jobs around the office, and I was accounting sec for a while.
And then one day he calls me and said the office and says, hey, I've got some great news. And I said, what's that? He said, it's time to join the big boys. and I said what are you talking about? He said, he goes, you're going into sales. He said, effective today. He said, you're the Midwestern fleet sales manager for Long Chevrolet here in Chicago.
We've got an office set up for you downstairs. Your business cards are printed, your phone is hooked up, your name is on the door. And then he drops the bomb, he says, and sitting on the middle of the desk is a phone book for you to look for prospects to cold call. I did the little gulp oh my God.
And then he gave me the, he gave me the four-word sales training program. He said, go get 'em, tiger. And I had no sales experience. I just, and my dad, I have to tell you this, my father was a legend in the automotive fleet industry, number one seller of General Motors product in their history.
So, not only do I have this new job with no experience, but I'm trying to live up to the expectations. Having to function in the shadow of the number one salesperson in the industry. So, anyway, I go down to this down to my new office and sat behind the desk opened the phone book, looked at the names, written in the phone book, and I sat there for a full month and didn't make a single sales call.
Never dialed the telephone, and it was really simple. Why? I had a fear of failure. I had a fear of rejection. I certainly didn't think that my message. Hi, I'm Richard Fenton from Long Chevrolet, and I'd like to sell you some cars. I didn't think my message was as important as whatever it was that these people I was cold calling on were doing in that moment.
As you can imagine, after 30 days of not making any calls, I knew I had to do something, so I had to go back to my father and I had to say something that was the hardest words I've ever, ever passed my lips. I had to tell my, Sales legend, father, I can't sell. And Omer, he took it actually surprisingly well.
He said, rich, he goes, gosh, come on in here. He goes, you're right. I never gave you any sales training. He goes, come on in here. Let's make some calls together. Let's make some calls together. It meant that he was sitting on one side of the desk. I was sitting on the other side of the desk, and I'm going to date myself a little bit here, okay?
Because this was on a speaker phone that, so I could only hear my, my, father's one part of it. And anyway, so he opens up his phone book, he runs his finger down the page, and he goes, here we go. ABC Run. He goes, I've never called on them. Let's give him a call. He calls them, gets the purchasing agent on the phone.
10 minutes later he gets an order for 20 cars. And he takes the pad, he writes down all the cars, and he hands me the yellow legal pad. He goes, he says, here, these are the cars they want. And he goes, that's selling. As you can imagine, if I wasn't already feeling inferior when I walked into the office, now, I was completely convinced that I wasn't gonna be successful at sales.
I stood up, walked across the room, shut the door behind me, and that was the moment I decided to quit the car business. And I say that jokingly, but not really jokingly because I. I quit my job working in the car business and I did what I thought was the most logical thing. I moved from Chicago all the way to Los Angeles to get as far away from the car business and my father's sales legend, shadow as I could.
And then interestingly, cuz you asked what, what's my sales progression? Here's my next big job. I take a job in sales, right? Which makes absolutely no sense except for this time. I took a job in. I took a job selling suits for a living for a company called Hart Schaffner and Marx, and I thought, my problem is that I can't make outbound cold calls.
I, I have this problem starting conversations with strangers, but in retail, problem solved, right? Customer's gonna park their car, walk into the mall, come into my store, tell me what they want, I'm gonna give it to them, and I'm going to be this enormous success. So, you can imagine my great surprise when two months in I'm failing again, and I come to the realization that my inability to sell in Chicago had nothing to do with my father or the car business.
It was. And wherever I went, I was going to have this problem, this fear of failure, this fear of rejection, this lack of self-esteem where I didn't think my message mattered, right? I was always putting the customer on a pedestal, but somehow my message didn't matter, and I was completely certain they were gonna fire me.
and I heard that the district manager, a man by the name of Harold, was scheduled to visit the store. And I thought, gosh, if I could just have one good sales day, if I could just impress this guy this one time, maybe they'd give me more time to improve. So, Harold comes in, we had donuts and coffee. First customer comes in, I walked up, with my typical retail greeting, hi, how can I help you?
And the customer says, I'd like to buy an entire wardrobe of clothing. And I thought, oh, here it is. This is it. This is my moment. I am gonna show Harold what a fantastic salesperson I can be, and I proceed to take care of this customer for the next half hour. He bought it was a whole wardrobe.
It was a suit, sport coats, slacks, shirts, tie shoes, socks, belts, underwear, collar, pin, pocket square, the entire thing. Came to $1,100, which might not sound like a lot in today's money, but this was 40 years ago. It was a big sale. I ring the customer up, I send him on his way, and now I'm waiting for Harold to congratulate me, and he doesn't say anything.
So, I sauntered over, and I got right next to him, next to the cash register. And he finally, turned to my, faced me and said that was a nice sale. And I said, yeah, man, did you see that $1,100? That was a good one. He goes, yep, nice sale. And then Harold would ask me the question that would change the course of my life.
He said, Richard, out of curiosity, what did that customer say no to? And Omer, I'm gonna tell you, it really ticked me off. I'm trying to impress this guy. I just had an $1,100 sale, and he's asking me this weird question, what did the customer say no to? I said, Harold, were you not watching? I said that man bought a suit, a sport coat, slacks.
I'm running through the whole list of everything the customer said yes to. And Harold said, whoa, time out. He goes I'm not asking about the yeses. The yeses are right there on the sales check. What I'm asking is, what did he say? No. And I stopped, and I reviewed the sale in my mind, and I realized that customer hadn't said no to anything.
Every single thing I laid in front of him, he said yes to. I said, Harold, he said yes to everything. And then Harold asked me the other great question. He said then how did you know he was done? I'll tell you how I knew he was done. I was a young guy. I wasn't making any money. I'd never gone into a men's wear store and spent a thousand dollars on clothing on myself on a single trip into a men's wear store.
So, when you got to my mental spending limit, , you were done . I was selling from my own wallet, if you will, and Harold said, I watched you sell kid. And he goes, you're not half bad. He said, but your fear of the word no is going to kill you. But you know what he said? I think if you could just get over that.
He said, I think you're gonna become one of the great ones. And it was interesting as I went into work that morning thinking that I was gonna get fired and I went home that night saying, Oh my gosh. Have I entirely misinterpreted what my role is? I thought my job was to get people to say yes to me. Obviously, that's part of what sales is, but what Harold made me realize was that my job was also to get people to say no to me, to increase the number of times I got customers to say, no, I don't want this.
I don't want that. And I made a decision. The decision was to go in the next day and I decided that I was going to fail my way to. I was going to intentionally increase the number of times that I had customers say no to me with the faith that the number of times customers would say yes to me would increase automatically.
That's exactly what happened. Within a year, I became an award-winning salesperson. I went on to go into management and eventually training, and then Andrea and I launched our own company after meeting at LensCrafters, where we were both in the training department. My, my history is one of failure, but it's also one of great serendipitous luck that I happened to run into somebody who took the time to explain to me that I was operating with an erroneous.
That I was supposed to hear yes and avoid. No. And what Harold got me to see was you're supposed to hear yes and no. It's a package deal. You can't have one without the other. So, if you want to be successful, increase your failure rate. It's a very counterintuitive, but it works. That's a
[00:11:57] Omer: great story and it's particularly important because a lot of the times, we see books about sales and you think of these people who've written these books as being natural sellers.
And so, for you to put that into context and share that story is important because ultimately it gives everybody hope that we can go out and do something and this idea, Not getting a no from that customer. I think it's, it happens a lot when, you may have a founder who's going out and maybe talking to enterprise customers and they're testing their pricing, so they're not quite sure how much they should be charging, so they get to a point where, they've gone through the process, they've met all the right people, and it comes to what the price.
and they throw a price out there, which maybe they're slightly uncomfortable with, and often the customer's okay, great. Sounds good. Let's do it. And yes, you should celebrate that. You close the sale, but then the question should be is if it was that easy to get a yes, how much did you miss? What was the opportunity you left?
[00:13:08] Richard: Absolutely. Matter of fact, I did a workshop for a company once and we went around the room and everybody was sharing their closing rates, their closure rates, and this one very belligerent person. There's, there's not always one, but a lot of times there's a heckler in the room.
There's somebody who's just not gonna be with the program, and he said, I never hear. I said, I never hear no. I said never. You close a hundred percent of your sales. I close them all, and I was just in a little bit of a prickly mood, and I said, then you must be picking the low-hanging fruit, my friend, because nobody closes a hundred percent of the sales if they're going after high quality prospect.
I said, let me tell you this. Go try to sell your product to the President of the United States. Okay? Get on the phone and go after somebody big. Just try to get through the gatekeeper, first off, okay? And you're gonna hear a lot of nos. So, if you're shooting high enough, the number of nos you hear are going to be significantly more, but your point about, how much you can or should charge for, for a service we all think that somehow that if our price is low enough, everyone's gonna say yes to us.
and that is just not the case. People say yes usually because they see the value in the thing that it is, that you're presenting, and they believe it's going to make their life or their business better. That's why they say yes. And if the product or your case, the service is going to make someone's life that much better.
they might pay two times, three times, five times. What you think is a lot. And I'll tell you one other really funny story. The very first customer we signed 20 years ago when we launched our business was The Limited. And I signed a series of seven programs teaching their company to recruit.
And I traveled the whole country. I finished the seventh program, the president wrapped his arm around my shoulder, and he said, nice job. I said, thank you sir. And he said, I got a little bit of feedback for you. I said, what's that? He said, raise your price. He says, your price was so low, we almost didn't hire you.
We thought, what could we possibly get for that little of a price? Talk about getting a whack on the side of the head. And we went back and immediately increased our prices, by 35% immediately because just cuz one person said, hey, if you charge too little, people aren't gonna value it.
It's a very important factor in the process.
[00:15:31] Omer: Yeah, I spoke to a founder a few months back who very similar story where they had pitched, basically a deal to a customer and everything seemed to be going well, but they never heard from that customer again. And years later he found out that the main reason was because the price was too low, and this customer was.
If this company doesn't really understand the cost of delivering a product and a service like this, how can I rely on them? And then that same founder, interestingly enough, also had a meeting with a customer at an event. They were demoing the product and everything. And the customer asked them, how much would this cost us?
And they threw out a number, which. We're nervous about, but it was an annual price. But they threw this number out. The customer heard that as a monthly figure and went, okay, so if it's that much a month annually, it's gonna be those times 12. Yeah, I think we can make that work.
And again, it's always like this. There's just. Th this I think is like the key lesson here that, it's really about, like em embracing rejection is part of that process. And we've already talked about, some, several examples about how you can end up either underpricing yourself and potentially even losing that sale because of that, or you can leave money on the table.
Beyond that, are there any other consequences of. Trying to avoid rejection in the sales process.
[00:17:06] Richard: First off, there's a lot of people who think that yes and no are opposite. They think yes is good and no is bad. We all love the sound of the word yes, right? Yes. Is positive. It's empowering. It's how we make money, and then there's no negative draining the antithesis of yes, and this is such bad thinking.
it is such bad thinking because what that leads you to believe is that when you get up in the morning and you put on your headphones or your head, your stuff, and you get ready to dial the phone or get on the computer, that when you get ready to do that, that you believe that your job is to get people to say yes to you and while simultaneously doing everything within your power to keep them from saying no to you.
And the reality is you don't get one without the. You don't get the big sales with the big client who's going to, who's willing to pay what you might consider to be five or 10 times more than you know that, that price you get out and you gulp right? You're not going to get, you're not gonna get those customers to say yes to you unless you're willing to have a lot of other people say no to you.
You've got to increase the quantity of your presentations before you worried about the quality of the presentations. See, that's the thing here is this quantity, quality, dynamic. A lot of people think I'm not selling enough. I need to increase the quality of my presentation. So, I'm gonna get my manual and I'm going to study the pitch, and I'm going to look at the seven different objections, and I'm gonna be perfect at handling every single one of them.
And I'm gonna be so good that when I get on the phone, when I get on the phone with somebody, when I'm looking at somebody you know, through the screen, there's no way they can say no to me. The reality is sometimes even the lowest price in the world or the best product in the. Okay. People aren't gonna buy it.
They just aren't going to say yes. And your quality of your presentation will not create the right fit for the wrong customer with the wrong product. Quality of presentation does not solve it. Quantity of presentations solves it. Now, that does not mean that I am anti. Andrea and I believe that you should do the best high-quality presentation you can do every time with every customer.
But let me tell you this, if you've got the perfect sales presentation that you aren't delivering, that is not gonna be as effective as the worst presentation that you're delivering a hundred times because even at its worst. If you present your service to enough people, there's gonna be customers that are gonna say, wow, that's amazing.
That's exactly what I was looking for. Sign me up. So, it's always quantity first, quality second. And if you're gonna go with quantity first, you've gotta be willing to hear a lot of people say no to you. And so, get rid of this idea that it's one or the other. It's a package deal.
They're opposite sides of the same coin. They, the, it's always the two together.
[00:20:16] Omer: Yeah. I think I remember when I spoke to Andrea, the one thing that resonated with me with this concept was, almost turning it into a game and seeing how quickly you can get no’s every week or every month. Oh yeah. And it's, when you think of it like that, it's it takes away some of the pressure from the whole situation.
Especially if you're like, super hung up about hearing, no, getting rejected, fear of failure, all of that stuff, and just saying, you know what, like I need to get 20 nos this week. The quicker I can get them out of the way, the better.
[00:20:46] Richard: I'll tell you a very funny and short story.
We had a client named Mike and we were coaching him, and he had set a no goal of getting 10 nos for the week. He said, I'm gonna get 10 nos this week. Friday afternoon, four o'clock, he's got nine nos and he want desperately to get the 10th. No, he's a high achieving goal setter, and if he set the goal to get 10 nos, he's getting 10 nos.
So, he's oh, who can I get a no from in this last hour? And he thinks of this client who had said no to him every single heat time. Time he'd called on him for five. He goes, ah, perfect. I'll call Bob. So, he dials the phone and gets Bob on the phone. Hey, Bob, Mike, or thing he goes, oh my gosh, Mike, I'm so glad you called.
I'm ready to go forward. Sign me up now. The funny part is Mike said, so I ended up getting a yes because I was going for no. Because I was trying to increase my number of nos and I got a yes, and he said, my thinking is so changed now. I'm not sure how to feel about this because I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad.
And that's really where you want to get to. You wanna get to the point where yes and no have the same equal emotional impact on you, and that neither one is devastating you or even over elating.
[00:21:54] Omer: Yeah, I love that. And so that's the, this whole idea of rejection and going for, no, obviously that was the theme of the, the year of the book and is like the foundation that, that was my takeaway with this latest book.
But then part two of the book, which I think is the meat, is I, it really starts off saying when they say no, you are just getting started and you have, I think 40 plus chapters fairly short with lots. Stories ideas in there that, people can take away and learn from. And obviously we can't cover all of them, but there were some themes in there that I took away that I'd like to uncover.
And one of them was this idea when people say no that you should be spending more time listening and understanding. The customer. And so, can you tell us about that? Like why is that important and what are some common mistakes that, that people tend to make in that situation?
[00:22:45] Richard: And it's funny because we have these 41 things in the book and there's a certain amount of overlap and they connect to each other sometimes.
And so this whole idea of listening in order to listen, you have to get the prospect, right? You gotta get them. You gotta get them speaking. It's not just doing a demo and then saying, so yes or no, and they go, no. No, it's to. It's to ask great questions, to learn about the business, to gather information.
That's what a consultant does. They ask questions, they review the answers, and then they make recommendations. So, you have to have good listening skills. But a lot of times when people hear the word no, they hear. They hear the word no and they think, Ugh, it's over. I'm not going to, I'm not gonna sell this.
I'm not gonna sell this customer. No, doesn't mean never. No means not yet. At least nine out of 10 times, it means not yet. So, what you really need to do is, and in this case, when somebody says no to you, or even if they're throwing out a price objection or whatever it happens to be, a lot of people, a lot of salespeople act like they've just been handed a.
Oh gosh, keep that away from me. We say think of it as a gift. They're giving you a gift. Here's this little gift you got in your hand. You unwrap it, and you look, and you see what's inside. Because inside every No, inside every objection is a reason that the person has said no or offered the objection.
Your goal, if you're listening well, Is to try to understand what that reason is and see if maybe they're just making a mistake, maybe they misunderstood what your service was. Maybe they just don't get the value proposition yet. And so listening to this and saying here's would be one of our favorites would be to say wow, I'm surprised based on everything you told me about your business and what I know our service can do for you.
I thought this was the perfect match. Could you explain to me and tell me why you've decided not to go forward today? So, that question sets up the opportunity to listen. And unless you're giving the, the prospect, the opportunities to talk and to give you feedback, a lot of salespeople just oh, they said, no, I wanna get all, I wanna get click terminate no. This is what selling is. Selling is asking questions, reviewing the information, finding out where the common ground is, and then con constantly narrowing the. And so, listening becomes very important and the willingness to say, could you tell me why is super important?
[00:25:14] Omer: Firstly, that's a great question, and I think a lot of us who are not very good at sales, when we hear the no, we're like, okay, no worries. We'll move on. The, I think the reluctance that people have is they've said no to me, and if I keep asking questions, I'm gonna come across as annoying. Sure.
What would you say to that concern that people might have?
[00:25:40] Richard: First off, and this is not what people want to hear usually but the reality is it's easy to step over the line. with a prospect in terms of whether you're quote being pushy or whether you're asking too many questions, or you just haven't clicked off.
But I would ask this question, and the question would be, how could you possibly know if you're selling to your potential, if you don't step over the line every now and then? Most of us are so afraid of stepping over the line of irritating a customer, of making them think that we're being salesy. We're so afraid of it that we're nowhere near the line.
We're like way backed up over here. And the worst part of the line is it's invisible. and it's different for every single prospect you're gonna talk to. And so the reality is the only way that you can discover whether you've pushed hard enough is when you get to that point where the other person says, Hey, listen, I understand and I, I appreciate, you know what you're offering.
But you know the answer is no. Or I don't want to go any further with the conversation. And then you take your toe back, right? And you just step back from the line. We have to start to embrace the line. We have to start to enjoy it. Now, I'm not saying you should intentionally go out and tick people off.
That's not the goal. But if your fear of ever ticking anyone off, is an overriding aspect to your sales philosophy, then you're gonna leave a lot of business on the table, and it's worse than that. If you've got a service that is going to make prospects life or business better, and you don't have the courage to step up to the line to get them to understand how it will improve their condition, then you're hurting them.
you're hurting them. A lot of people think, I don't like, I don't like sales because I don't like doing things to people. You're not doing it to them. You're doing it for them. And if you think you're doing it to them, then you have not worked through the value proposition yet to understand what it is that your service does and how it will improve.
How it will improve their business. And I just wanna make one little quick thing about cost. It's so funny. It's you know what's it gonna cost us if we do. What's it gonna cost you if you don’t? When you sit down and you're looking at pricing and you're thinking, how do we price our product?
The first thing I would ask is, if they don't take our service, what's it gonna cost them? Because now you can start coming up with a price that's probably much higher than if you're just sitting here trying to come up with a price arbitrarily.
[00:28:14] Omer: The other theme I think in the book is, finding value and offering solutions even when you hear, no.
I think a lot of us who maybe have tried to learn sales, the conventional advice is figure out what the objections are and then have a response to overcome those objections. Finding value in offering solutions maybe is one way of overcoming. Objections, but I think it's more than that, right?
[00:28:51] Richard: Sure, sure.
Absolutely. You wanna elaborate on that just a little bit more?
[00:28:54] Omer: What's the importance in trying to find value offer solutions? Maybe it's the same thing as overcoming objections, but it's a mindset in terms of the way you approach it. So, I guess my question is what's the difference in, in those two approaches?
Is it. Is it just mindset? Is it just a different way of approaching?
[00:29:12] Richard: it? Yeah, I think one of them is a very, the first, which is, okay, here are the six most common price objections that we hear, and let's come up with a standard answer for each of these price objections. It's better than nothing.
It's better than, it's better than, or not just price objections, but any objection. It's better than not having any way to respond. And we say in the book, you should never be surprised when you get an objection because you've heard these things again and again. So, to be surprised by it, is a little ridiculous.
But if your answers are always just standard cookie cutter things that you can read off of a piece of. Based on what you've said, Tom, and then you like read some statement that's not gonna be as effective as deciding who you represent when you are on the I always say the word phone.
When you're presenting to a prospect, you have to think of who's involved in this deal? The four parties, are you the prospect? The company you represent and the prospect and the company the prospect represents. Generally, we have these four parties involved and I think the reason that most people can't overcome objections is because they keep trying to, salespeople can't, is that they keep trying to represent their company and they keep trying to do what's in their best interest.
I like, instead of a two, two configurations, I want a three, one consider. I want, as the salesperson to say, my job here is to be an assistant buyer. My job is to get on your side of the desk with you and to look at the offer my company's making, and based on everything that I know about your company and your needs is to help you make the right decision.
Even if the decision is no, don't. Because if you can get on the other side of the desk, if you can become the assistant buyer to the people you're selling to now it's all about value. It's all about a, asking the question how much value is this going to bring to the company if we do this?
And so this whole idea of just this, cat and mouse back and forth, let's all fill our roles and then, and then hang up. It's sad is what it is. It's sad that people don't realize that you are. You know that if you're selling correctly, you should always be doing something in the customer's best interest, not just your own company or yours.
[00:31:36] Omer: I think the best salespeople that I have experienced have done exactly that. You feel like, or I felt like I'm talking to a, an advisor, somebody who's helping me. Think through the problem, understand it better, evaluate the different options, like that consultative approach. And it doesn't feel like selling at all.
And so typically when this happened to me, I'm more likely to open up. I'm more likely to talk. The situation. And as a result, I get more, more value back in terms of somebody who's helping me think this through. So, I think that's a great example. Just generally I think in terms of, making this a little bit more practical.
What are some ways that, you know, people listening to this, if they're in a situation where they've heard. What are some things that they could be doing to find that value and try to at least. Help the customer. Are there a set of questions or one or two questions that I can help them move in that right direction?
[00:32:42] Richard: Yeah. I can't give specific questions because every time we do that, we find out that everybody's business is so different that we actually lead some people astray. The questions are not effective. But if you think about especially, with a SaaS service I don't know of any SaaS organization that does a demo.
Whether it's in person live or whether it's a group thing where you're watching a video, whatever it is, where they don't capture the email and the prospect's name. And so why do we capture the email and the prospect's name? We don't have to. We could just say, hey, click here. Watch this thing.
We don't need to know who you are. No, we always get that information. Why do we get the inform. And the answer is to follow up. The answer is to stay in contact with that individual because the chances of somebody actually. Signing up for a service the very first contact. It's pretty slim actually.
In, in, in baseball, if you hit 300, you're in the, you're in the Hall of Fame, that means seven out of 10 times you're not getting on base. I venture to say that in, in your industry, it's, A lot worse. I would have to say that the success rate is probably lower in many cases.
And so in, so if you're offering a free service, maybe you're signing a bunch of people up for the free, but I'm talking about the actual paid product. And so the question really becomes how do you provide value? And the answer is, if you've asked great questions and you understand this prospect, you should be able to contact.
Again, and again in the future. And I don't mean every day, and I don't mean every week, but I certainly do mean probably every four to six weeks maybe every two months with something that's not me, oriented. See, it can't be, oh us. Let me tell you some more features that we have.
No, it's gotta be you. It's gotta be, hey, I thought of you because this is something we learned about our industry, or something we learned about your industry. It doesn't even have to be about the service. It can be just general information that might be of value to that person. Because the thing that I think most salespeople don't put enough emphasis on is this thing called K l t.
No. And trust all things being equal. People want to do business with people they know and. You get to know somebody through contact. You get to like them through the quality of the contact, and you get to trust them over time. And so if you're not making regular contact with somebody, you're not leveraging, knowing, liking, and trusting.
And my, my attitude our attitude is really simple. Six months is gonna come and go. Whether you contact this prospect every six weeks or. The question is, at the end of six months, if you contacted them every six weeks in a customer centric way, will they know you like you and trust you more?
And the answer is yes. And so that is my number one thing. If you're gonna bring value, it's literally delivered value. Literally find things that will help that individual's business and deliver it, even if isn't directly related to the service you're selling. We
[00:35:40] Omer: often hear this idea of delivering value and.
Many people struggle to figure out what that value is, but I think you, you hit the nail on the head that if you are asking questions, good questions, and you're really trying to understand the customer, their business, their situation, the needs. It's actually not that hard-to-find opportunities to provide value if you are just very superficially contacting someone.
Didn't really take the time to ask the questions or understand them. It's very difficult to then say, I'm gonna keep having touchpoints with them for the next six months, 12 months, whatever, with value. Cuz I don't know what that is. Yeah,
[00:36:27] Richard: absolutely. And a lot of, and a lot of people they think that when they lower the price, they've delivered more value, which is really funny, and now all you did was cut your profit. You're not really delivering more value. Value is what they get out of your product after, right? They've purchased it or what you deliver at through the relationship. Cutting the price does not increase the.
[00:36:49] Omer: Another theme from the book that, that I think I had taken away was this idea of keeping a long-term perspective that, you need to find a way to balance the short-term and the need to close the sale with the importance of long-term and building relationships with customers.
I, I wanna understand that a little bit. Like how to find that balance because at the end of the day, if you're running a business and if you're, especially if you're in the early stages, revenue is more important than ever. And you're, you are always focused on short-term, but just give us some perspective in terms of why that long-term view is also important.
[00:37:31] Richard: very easy to constantly be trying to oh, I'm just gonna say move towards free , to, to think okay, we'll just get 'em started. Let's just get 'em in for free. And there's nothing wrong with that. I saw a company recently has 75 million free. SaaS customers and 5 million paid.
I know that 5 million paid is in part because of the 75 million free. And I understand that when you're walking through the mall and the person standing in front of the, Panda Express and they offer you a free taste of the Kung p chicken that you're not gonna taste the chicken and immediately walk over and buy it.
You, it might not be hungry that day. And so, we have to understand that when people say no to. And when we make a presentation. They've gone through the demo; we've recontacted them several times. We have this feeling like every time they say no to. That we haven't gotten closer to the yes, but just like I said, with the no and trust, you're always moving the ball down the field.
You're always getting closer. And so my question about this long-term idea of the way you've envisioned the business is, and I'll give you a very quick story here. Andrea and I called on a company Discovery Network for seven years. and they said no every single time. And then after seven years, they finally hired us.
So, the question is where all of the no’s had no value. And then the yes was finally valuable. And the answer is no. Every single contact, every single touch. And so, in your industry in particular especially when you're dealing with a high priced product, you know the $99. 2 99 a month, thing for individuals, that's nothing compared to your enterprise software and some of these very large clients.
Just the number of people who have to be involved to sign off on the deal. Then it's not just even getting one person to know and trust you. It might be getting five people to know and trust you, and then they've gotta go sell it to another 15 people. And so if you do not have a long-term attitude about this, then at best you're going to maybe scratch the surface of the income potential if you're planning on staying with a company for over a year.
You should make huge progress with a certain number of people that you're contacting regularly. And if you're doing that with enough people, then it's a, it has a cumulative snowball effect. It's not something happening as it's happening, right? It's like falling in love. You go out on a date, and you go on another date, and you go on another date, and you just think you, you think, Hey, I'm not sure if you know there's gonna be anything here.
And then suddenly one, You're in love. How did that happen? It didn't happen because it happened like this. It happened because it happened gradually over time. So, you have to have a long-term attitude about this. And if you don't, then you know, then I question, man, I'm just gonna be very blunt.
I question if you're in the right business because this is a long-term business if you're gonna do it right.
[00:40:25] Omer: Going back to that story you originally shared about you. And that call he made in front of you then closed, a sale for 20 cars, just that one example. But just generally in terms of, you knowing him how much of his ability to sell was the mindset, which is really what we've been talking about today versus sales techniques.
And the reason for asking you this is somebody listening to this. Early stages of their SaaS business, and they may be thinking about that similar question, okay, how much do I need to learn about sales? How much do, is it a mindset thing? Probably the answer is like pro. A bit of both how do you look at that?
[00:41:12] Richard: I'm glad you asked that question and I think it is a very important one. My father was the quintessential sales. He was somebody who could start a conversation with anyone, anywhere, anytime, about anything. He didn't need steps; he didn't need process. He didn't have the, the six ways to overcome the objection or the doorknob and the puppy dog closed, and he didn't have any of this.
He was natural at it. But what's interesting about that is that when it came time to try to teach me a cell, he was totally ill equip. Because he didn't have a process, there was no way for him to say, you do this first, and you do this second, you do this third. And if they say this, you say that. And that's where it really comes down to the understanding that selling is part art and it's part science.
A lot of people think it's mostly art, that the majority of salespeople are naturals. They're not. Very few people are sales naturals. Most people need the process. They need to know the seven steps of the sale. They need to know, the closing techniques. And when you build on the science part of it, and you do that long enough, eventually it turns into.
It's like artists. We think that artists, just splash paint on the canvas and, oh my heaven look, they're a natural artist. No, most of them had to go to school and they studied art and they learned how to do line drawings and they learned how to mix the colors. And then eventually they develop their own style and that's where the art emerges.
And so I encourage anybody who's listening to this to understand that, yeah, you can be actually discouraged when you watch a sales natural do what they do, cuz you can think that somehow you're. Like I did that you don't have talent because other people are so good at it. You've gotta start somewhere.
You start with the process and you just keep doing it until you feel comfortable and eventually it does turn into art. Love it. Great.
[00:43:00] Omer: That's a good place to. To close. Let's move on to the lightning round. I've got seven quick fire questions for you. Try them as quickly as you can. What's the best piece of business advice you've
[00:43:10] Richard: ever received?
Go round and ask everyone you know whether you should do something or not, and what their advice is. Take all of those index cards, lay 'em on a desk. Then put 'em all together, throw 'em in the garbage can, and do what you were gonna do in the first place, because your gut's almost always better than other people's opinions.
[00:43:30] Omer: Love that. What book other than yours, would you recommend to our audience and why?
[00:43:35] Richard: I would recommend The Go-Giver by Bob Berg, and I think it's very germane to the conversations we had today because the Go-Giver concept is give, and then people will give.
[00:43:47] Omer: What's one attribute or characteristic in your mind of a successful entrepreneur?
[00:43:51] Richard: I would say willingness to fail is number one, but I would also say being excited about something is probably right up there with that. What's your
[00:44:01] Omer: favorite personal productivity tool or habit?
[00:44:03] Richard: Oh boy, you asked the wrong person. And I say that because I tried every productivity tool.
I tried every possible habit things, and I found that waking up in the morning and doing what I feel like doing motivates me to do more. I don't recommend that approach for anybody else. But in my particular case, I wake up each day and I just let the day take its way with me Totally against the.
[00:44:27] Omer: I love that. I've been a productivity nerd most of my life and recently have been reading a book called 4,000 Weeks’ Time Management from Mortals, which basically Breakdown says if, if you lift to 80, you're gonna have about 4,000 weeks. And just that realization alone makes you realize that you can never achieve everything that you think you want to do.
And it's completely changed the way that I think about. Productivity, it's much more about what's really important to me rather than a list. So, I'm glad you. You said that what's in your crazy business idea you'd love to pursue if you had the time?
[00:45:02] Richard: I don't know if it's a business idea so much is I've been thinking about writing a book called The Death of Truth , because I'm not sure where to look for the truth anymore.
You don't find it in the media. You don't find it on the internet with chat. C p t I'm not sure that anything we, we learn is the truth. And I'm toying with that. Not a business idea, but it is something I'd like to work on.
[00:45:20] Omer: What's an interesting or fun fact about you that most people don't?
[00:45:24] Richard: Gosh the first thing I was gonna say was that I used to be a marathoner. And most people wouldn't realize that. Now that I've got an extra 50 pounds on my frame, I'll just say that I won the I won Toastmasters International humorous speech contest about 25 years ago.
And that was probably one of the highlights of.
[00:45:42] Omer: And finally, what's one of your most important passions outside of your
[00:45:44] Richard: work? Actually walking. I don't think there's anything that I enjoy more than just, putting my gym shoes on, getting out of the house and just walking around, whether it's around the neighborhood or, down, down the street doing window shopping.
I think walking's probably my greatest.
[00:46:00] Omer: Great. So, the book is called When They Say No, the Definitive Guide for Handling Rejection in Sales, and folks can pick that up on, on Amazon and the usual places. If people wanna learn more about, yours and Andrea's business where can they go to learn?
[00:46:17] Richard: Yeah. After checking out the book go to when they say no book.com. If you wanna just check out us, go to go for no.com, just the way it sounds. G O f o r n o.com. And we've got a quiz that you can take on the website that shows you what your no quotient is. In other words, your willingness to fail in order to succeed, it's free.
You can come and watch some of the videos we have on the website just to see us in action. And if you want to contact us for any reason and we invite you to just write us at info[at]goforno.com. Great.
[00:46:50] Omer: Richard, thank you so much for joining me and sharing some of your wisdom with our audience.
I think. Both the new book and the previous one, the Gopher notebook are both great resources, certainly for rewiring the, our mindset, especially if you love to avoid. Rejection, which I'll put myself into that category. So, every time I go through and look at that, that, that information it changes my perspective.
And it's actually not I always thought it was much more about being, okay, you need to overcome this fear of rejection by being courageous and Bob Mom and, and actually it was. No, it's a lot easier than that. It's just, yeah. So, thank you for sharing that with us.
I appreciate your time. Give my best to Andrea and wish you guys the best of success. Great. Thank you, Omer. My pleasure.
- “The Go-Giver, Expanded Edition: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea” by Bob Burg and John David Mann