Do You Fail 97% of The Time?

| 4 Comments | 0 TrackBacks

Hello, my name is Andrew and I am a principal of Synergy Sales & Marketing (an outsourced, more results based executive sales and marketing leadership team) and I have a confession to make...

I am a failure.

In fact, I am the CFO - the Chief FAILURE Officer for many corporations around the world!  

Seriously, I am.

Rewarded more for the results rather than the services my firm provides and time it takes to render them, we have an extraordinary high tolerance for failure.  A tolerance that over the years has enabled us to look at the very concept of failure in a different way.  A way that has taught us a whole new truth.  A truth that at first seemed implausible.

For those who are not in the sales and marketing profession, you should know that our profession is riddled with failure.  In fact, it is more about failure than success.  This is an indisputable fact. For example, well done direct mail campaigns yield a 3% conversion, social media advertising, less than 1/2 of 1%, sales, dozens maybe even hundreds of no's before you get your first yes.  

Also, very often (an no matter how talented your marketing team is) website messaging is notoriously never right the first time or the second or the third... not resonating with its hyper-specific audience and buyers.

So, if this is the case, then why is every consultant, every book, every coach, every sales and marketing pro focused solely on how to do things the right way?  Why are they all instructing us how failure is averted even though that "right way" still statistically yields a terrible result?

Well, something amazing happened.  Or, should I say, I allowed it to happen.  By allowing myself to have this intimate relationship with failure for over 10 years now, through the good times and the bad, I came to realize something.  Something of paramount importance.  Something that will cause you to at least pivot and very likely make a completely shift.

In the never ending process of always trying to "figure it out" I realized that predominance of our best solutions, our largest paydays came from those lessons in failure.  I learned that:

  • the faster and more frequently we failed,
  • the better we emotionally detached from those failures,
  • the better able to objectively observe the process of what failure could provide (give back), and,
  • the faster and more frequently the solutions came to us.
  • the fast solutions came, the faster the incremental, measurable results.

Ultimately what I observed is that failing, failing fast and failing often helped us find a way to significantly improve upon the present statistical paradigms.  Most importantly, I realized that failure is not only a good thing, but if you can actually change how you (and everyone around you) feels about failure and control that process, the reward is almost limitless.

At Synergy, we change not only how our clients look at failure but how they FEEL about it.  Leading by example we not only interrupt the corporate culture, we change how they all collectively feel about failure.  And, what that new feeling engenders (spread person by person, task by task) is a collective willingness to fail.  

A change in cultural behavior that renders the collective:

  • Smarter than most,
  • Faster than most, and
  • Better than most.

Through massive yet compressed (expeditious) failure, our clients know better than anyone in their space how NOT to do it.  They also know however, better than anyone else, how TO do it.  How to figure it out faster; find that sweet spot faster.  Succeed faster!

Success today, or scaled conversion as I like to call it (aka getting customers to buy in mass) has really become less about the practice of "here's how" and more about the science of "here's how NOT to".  The science of allowing measured, controlled failure to reveal key learnings that ultimately allow for rapid and advanced solutions, adaptation and evolution.  And by fundamentally changing how we all feel about failure... now that's where the real magic happens!

So yes, I am now a failure scientist.  I like to call it that because I really am a former (environmental) scientist... a university adjunct professor in fact.  I am, and always will be... a recovering geek!  A recovering geek who realized that his talent was never actually doing the science but communicating it.  Taking difficult subject matter and making it more easily digestible for people to understand and BUY!

I realized this because I started landing huge clients for the firm for which I was last employed many years ago.  Then I landed MANY huge clients.  It was at that time when I knew my calling was of all things, not science, but sales!

Now, I am a business man.  An entrepreneur.  A chief sales officer.  And yes, the geek in me will tell you, a failure scientist.  Sales and marketing departments are now my laboratory.  Companies, leaders, hire me, hire us to figure it out.  To actually figure out how to get people to buy... and buy in mass.  They hire us not just build it and orchestrate it, they hire us make what we build and orchestrate WORK.

Leading my client's sales and marketing efforts, I have an awesome responsibility.  A responsibility to pass on my wisdom.  To lead them down a road less traveled than mine.  And that responsibility has taught me more about courage, specifically the courage to not only say I fail but, I am actually good at it... and you should be too.

If you and your company truly embrace failure what you will find is that you will create an entirely different culture.  A culture that embraces rapid change, adapts to it and reaps the rewards by creating incredibly inventive and rapid solutions.  Something we a Synergy call The Culture Of Conversion.

Hello my name is Andrew and I am a failure and... A Chief Failure Officer.


For more about me, Synergy and Creating The Culture Of Conversion for your business go to my Linkedin profile at

Our Franchise Commmunity on LinkedIn

Join & Contribute to our Franchise Commmunity on LinkedIn.

Be Recognized as an Expert.


I love the angle of humility that you take with your article - you certainly got my attention. Why is it that everyone is so busy working out how to win that they don't so easily share where they went wrong?! It's those stories that help us learn more since human nature tends to tune into the bad things that go on. If bosses shared them with their team they might even realise that the boss is human!

Thank you Viv for the kind words.

It is in the journey where we live and learn the most, not the destination. Therefore, we all need to embrace the journey and all the wonderful lessons it provide us... good and bad.


We all like to be perceived as being
on top of our game, but you're right
that it's often best to not know it all
and learn things differently.

Ah, you bring up a great point Joe! The ability for us to UN-learn and be open to new ideas, new ways, new approaches (even know though you think you KNOW) is of paramount importance. More today than every before in human history.

With the rate that business and life is changing, the days of how things are done... is done!

Take off those rose colored glasses and fail fast and Often.

Leave a comment

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:



Search for Articles

Follow Us

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Andrew Kolikoff published on February 19, 2013 2:23 PM.

5 Important Lessons From Massachusetts's HealthCare Reform was the previous entry in this blog.

Who Else Wants to Get Things Done? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.