I recently had a great conversation with someone I would like to hire*, and in it, discovered some mistakes I was making in my marketing strategy.
Good conversations will do that.
Originally I’d title this “Actively seeking being wrong”, but “wrong” can mean either morally unjustifiable or factually mistaken. By uncovering mistakes as fast as possible, one can get closer to truth, or if there isn’t a single “truth”, then a superior strategy or point of view.
First, a few ironies:
- “… fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts” – Bertrand Russell
- More simplistically, idiots think they’re smart, and smart people know they’re not.
- Anyone who’s a do-er is more likely to get “lost in the woods”, as a byproduct of being too close to the problem and/or swayed from course.
In my “bad news insight” referred to above, I wasn’t thinking enough about change management – i.e. how resistant or receptive organizations are to change and thus adopting our software. In short, I was asking clients to bite off too much change too fast.
With a slight adjustment to how we sell, the uptake and conversations are easier. My mistake was being too attached to my own vision, instead of putting the client first – obvious, in retrospect, but easy to do for an engineer type like me.
In sales coaching, celebrating mistakes is key to avoiding sales pro burnout. Embracing the mistake as simply another lesson and point in the game helps keep it all in perspective.
Most startups and small businesses fail due to traction, not failure to execute some software – this represents a fundamental mistake in premise.. the classic “if you build it, they will come”. While this truly may work on occasion for true disruptions, most businesses are innovations, small improvements to existing ideas, versus truly disruptive. Google, Ebay, Amazon, Facebook – none of these were first to market in their respective spaces, and all required marketing (audience growing) even if just carefully engineered virality. Each took missteps along the way (Google’s customizable “be everything” homepage, Facebook’s privacy issues), but recognized the mistake, recovered quickly and stayed focused on their missions.
My final takeaway? I’m scheduling mistake discovery, for just a few minutes of reflect each Sunday. Perhaps my mistake, relayed to you, of not actively seeking mistakes enough will help you. Smart people plus a culture of embracing truth over pride can lead any company to growth and victory.
And a healthy marriage.
* We’re not ready.. and I’m unwilling to chase investment, as I view it as a distraction.