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Go for No!


Book reviews > Go for No!


Fenton, R. (2005). Go for No!, Fenton


This is an intriguing title for a book on sales, and perhaps intentionally so, but it has a very serious message that, in the vernacular 'could seriously affect your wealth'.

Like many books, this has one core idea that is expanded in the text. Unlike other books, it does so in relatively few pages (75 of them). Like a few other books it does this in a story format: here, an average sales person goes forward in time to meet his successful future self (a neat trick: how can you not trust yourself?) who teaches him some secrets of success.

The basic principle is that life is a numbers game, and that the more sales calls you make, the more conversions and success you will gain. The insight that Fenton brings is that fear of failure and a focus only on targets leads many sales people to minimize this pain. The trick on top of this, described in his 'five levels of failure', is to turn failing from pain into pleasure.

The paradox that Fenton points out is that a successful person has lots of failures, whilst a person who is a failure gets to be there by fearing and avoiding that failure. This does not mean you should take rejection lying down -- quite the contrary -- as many customers will go from no to yes if you persist in the right way. Failure is not an alternative to success: it is a normal step on the road to success.

Fenton also correctly points out that this is a critical principle also for sales managers, and that if if you punish  or ignore failure, then you will not get more of the desirable failures that step you to success. Thus, for example in the story, a 'Go for No' trophy gets awarded for the most rejections -- but which often goes to people who also gets the most sales.

It is interesting to contrast Fenton's approach with Werth and Ruben's High Probability Selling, where 'no' is avoided by early qualification. Perhaps each method is better in a different selling context and perhaps the best of both can be combined for even more effective sales. In the end, you have to try things out in practice to find out what works for you.

Overall, this book takes a powerful message and communicates well it in an easy story format. If you are in sales and fear of failure is stunting your (or your team's) performance, then this book could make a massive difference to you.


Richard Fenton is also a speaker with an impressive client list and great references. You can find more information about him and his book at:


Buy Me

Richard Fenton, Go for No!, Fenton, 2005

A small book that is easy to read, but with a powerfully simple message: If you can enjoy rejection and hence make lots of sales calls, then you will win, big time. Delightfully contradictory sense.

Note: The book can also be obtained from

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