May 16, 2022

#41 - Talking About Failure. And a Better Way to Think About It.

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Failure can be demoralizing. And discouraging. And cause you to want to go back to your shop and just build new features. But it doesn't have to be that way. And maybe it's all about perspective.

In this quick <9 minute chat, Brendan and Bob talk about why you need to make MORE mistakes and hear MORE critique and be on the lookout for rejections. And embrace this. Because what doesn't kill you and your solution makes it stronger.

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 📍 Okay. So it's another episode of Let's Chat Sales. And in this episode, we're talking about failure. And how to think about failure. And why it's not as bad as it  you probably think it is so. Let's dive in. And, uh, if you like. Then like, and subscribe and all that. Thanks.            

Okay, Bob, another episode of Let's Chat Sales. Very good. I'm inured to that now. Um, so, uh, let's talk about failure. Yeah, I know. So, I think we're kind of on the same page on this and that is it's not even a word that I choose to recognize, because I think there, there really isn't failure... in a sense it's not failure.

 It's figuring stuff out. It's experience. Right. 

I would say you, you develop your knowledge, experience and perspective from the experiences you have. If you're willing to look back and say... hey, what did I learn from this? So if you're not willing to do that... if you're just like, well, I messed that up then to me, that's failure.

The way to avoid failure is to take the lessons that are available from everything we do. 

Yeah. And in fact the idea of a lesson, and I think there's a school of thought around this, that you learned from your mistakes much more than you do  from your successes.

I've certainly the case with me. I find that I'm almost better off creating something and then having it be flawed and then get, get feedback, and then iterate and make it better. 

You don't mean having it flawed, you mean acknowledging from the start that it's not 

completely finished. Yeah, my philosophy.

The perfect is the enemy of the good, and that is... get something out there. Make, make something. The Minimum Viable Product. A Minimum Viable Product. The minimum viable answer.  Get going is much more important than thinking about getting. going Right, right. You're figuring out as you go. Yeah. And you learn from things along the way and you invariably learn the things you learned are  from the mistakes that you make or the, the, the suboptimal performances. Or the miscalculations you made.

Yeah. Whatever those happen to be. And I find that in some of my sales situations, like one of the things I've figured out is... it's mistakes I've made  or what I would call not failures, but unsuccessful sales efforts is where I've learned a lot of stuff. That's where I've tend to learn things.

For example,  there have been deals in the past where I've relied on an internal person to my customer, someone inside the company to do the selling for me. And that has become, I mean, that's just a bad thing to do. And until you do it a couple of times and rely on someone inside the company to sell on your behalf... or to have collateral sell on your behalf, or wait and hope. Those are behaviors that will cause you to... those are unsuccessful behaviors and  you almost need to do them in order to learn that they don't work. And so  the value of knowing... hey, it may be painful to reach out again or to do something... or to insist that... hey, I need to be on this call or you can't do it alone.

I need to be there. I need to talk to so-and-so because, quite candidly, you can't represent the functions that this product has or its capabilities or field the kind of questions, or make the sorts of decisions relative to our solution that needs to be made. And we want to make them in that moment.

And so I need to be in that meeting. And that's a tough conversation to have sometimes. But if you haven't made the mistake of relying on someone else to do it for you and then suffered the outcome... the negative outcome... you probably, aren't going to learn that. And if you're in sales for any length of time, you're going to experience that. And hopefully you learn from it.


and that's the key. The, the other thing is, I think for a lot of founders, they are reluctant to take their idea out of their head and put it in the real world. Because in their head it works perfectly. When they were in the real world. Now, subject to scrutiny. Right. So they are the perceived... well, what if it fails?

What if I've spent 2000 hours on this thing and it's not going anywhere. I've, I've coached some people through that situation. It's like, put it out there. You'll hear feedback and you can shift it. There's a core idea that is going to move forward, 

probably. Yeah. And so it's really, it's learning about those things that that aren't working that help you figure out what needs to happen. What you need to create to make something that is working. And so that is almost inviting failure,  inviting negative feedback.

I like inviting failure. I think that's a really healthy way to build something.

 One of the questions I like to ask is... what don't you like about this? Or, or why won't this work?  I'm ferreting out the possibility of failure, the possibility of a negative outcome, because you're, it's going to happen one way or another. You might as well find it proactively.

And then what you'll oftentimes find is you'll get the person... your customer, your prospect will  come back around and kind of help you figure out how to not have that failure. They'll actually come to your aid if you will. I find so, so I think you kind of have to embrace it... the failure, right?

Yeah.  Look at Elon Musk. 10 times his rocket didn't land on the barge. And it was public every time. Oh. And then on the 11th 

time it landed. And he knew it. They knew that it was going to go bad. They knew that they were going to launch rockets.

That's why you don't put astronauts in the first ones. Right. They know that they're going to explode. They don't, they millions of dollars 

public, you know, he failed to 

get success. They're launching it knowing that there are things about the launch that they don't know. That that are going to go awry.

And it's only by doing it that you're going to be able to figure it out. And so the doing is going to create its own set of failures. And over time, this is the 10,000 hours idea that you got to do. You do something 10,000. hours. Eventually, you streamline it, you perfect it, so to speak. In my experience, like I've, I've done this for so long... because of my advanced years... that, that you just to be while 

you're the entrepreneur in residence...

your, uh, I've done it just for so many years that you've seen everything,  you recognize the patterns, you know, where the... the Wayne Gretzky example... you know where the puck is going. You can kind of already anticipate. You've seen enough times. And you can't do that without a fair amount of failure in the process, It's part of the it's part of the equation. So anyway, did we beat that up? Well, I 

was just going to say that 10,000 hours sounds like very daunting. That's five years of 40 hours a week, right? Just so you can quite, so if you've been dealing with your product or service for three months, you're not anywhere close to 10,000 hours, you may think you are, but it does take a while

yeah, but at the same time, the 10,000 hours thing is... I mean, people have challenged that sort of thing. Oh yeah. 

Regardless.... You need touches. 

You got to get a lot of time, time playing or, or selling or doing. Right. And so  if you're  an early stage company and you're not talking to customers... you're not getting any better, you're not getting this sort of feedback. So you really do need have those conversations with customers very early on.

And I know a lot of tech founders in particular... startup entrepreneurs, they hesitate because they want to build because that's their comfort zone. And if they go out and start selling, they're inviting failure, criticism, negative outcomes. But those are all the things that you really kind of have to embrace.

Because once you start to do that, you're going to accelerate your momentum toward that outcome that you want to get. Which is a product, a customer that's successful. That's happy. That works well. That sort of thing. 

Yeah. I think we've kicked this really well down. Yeah, I'm done. I feel like I've got to go out and learn from my failures more now.

Very good. Well, this is good. Well, uh, that's another episode. Okay, talk again soon. We should do another one. We'll be back. 

Alright. See ya Bob! 

Okay. So that's another episode of Let's Chat Sales, and I hope that was a success and not a failure, although I'm certainly there I'm certain, there were flaws in there somewhere.  If you enjoyed it... click the dooblilee-doo (sp?) down here. And there's this episode up here, which I understand is really compelling. So thanks for listening and watching and all that stuff.