Fail Fast, Fail Cheap, Get Smarter

High- performing sales professionals 'fail' almost everyday…if they are following their sales process effectively. And inside each 'failure' is a success. Here's why.

Maybe you have heard of Doug Hall, the CEO of Eureka!Ranch and author of Jump Start Your Business Brain. Eureka!Ranch  provides research and innovation tools to accelerate innovation success for companies that want to grow. A big proponent of the 'fail fast, fail cheap' concept when introducing a new product or service, Doug takes this strategy one step further–fail fast, fail cheap, get smarter. And from any failure, be sure to take a lesson and move on.

How does all this apply to high-performing salespeople?

It's common sense to say that ideally, salespeople want to engage with prospects with whom they have the best chance of winning the sale. Each 'engagement' means that sales resources begin to be invested (time, knowledge, technical capabilities, estimating time, etc.) in the sales opportunity. These resources must be protected carefully by the sales team.

To accomplish this, a salesperson's focus at this point does not necessarily need to be on qualifying for the prospect as a possible supplier. Instead they should work to determine whether the potential customer qualifies for a fit with their product or service offering. Following this approach ensures that sales resources will be carefully and wisely spent.

Once the qualification process begins with prospects, it's vital that salespeople discipline themselves to a process whose objective is to determine if there is a potential fit or opt out of the opportunity. Here is where 'fail fast, fail cheap, get smarter' begins to apply.

The high-performing salesperson will see the value, even the necessity, when the circumstances call for it, of opting out of an opportunity to protect their resources, live to fight another day and more importantly use this 'failure' to be smarter in any future interaction with that particular prospect. (Salesperson: "When we last talked six months ago, you told me that low price was your main buying criteria and our higher priced value added offering was not a fit. Can you help me understand what's changed?")

Whether you are a CEO, business owner, sales manager or sales professional, how successful are you or your sales team at failing fast, failing cheap and getting smarter?


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