Fail Fast, Fail Often, And Fail Forward In Digital Selling

Arif Johari

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

Technology has made businesses more human, and customers can see through the veil and phoniness. When you are being your authentic self, you have the best opportunity to build strong relationships, which is the foundation of being a successful salesperson.

Obviously, businesses have self-serving messages they want to communicate. The marketplace can tell whether those messages are force-fed by the company or come from a place of personal belief. I call it applied personal branding. How do you take what is authentic and unique about you and use that to promote your company? You recognize you’re a brand ambassador, but how do you tell that story, in your authentic voice, in a way that will engage people?

“I never look back, darling. It distracts me from the now.” – Edna Mode, The Incredibles

The character Edna Mode is one of my heroes because she works excessively to enable some of the best superheroes in the world. She is prescriptive in the suits she makes for them. In my mind, that parallels professional skills enablement and helping empower salespeople to put their best selves forward on social media. She also pushes the superheroes outside their comfort zones to make them better. This future-focused and challenging-yourself mentality is really what allows us to improve in the now.

Fail fast, fail often, and fail forward

“Negative results are just what I want. They are just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that do not.” – Thomas Edison

Digital selling should be an intuitive process, like the process Edison described for finding effective solutions. You try different things, you experiment, you measure results, and then iterate to make changes to keep improving.

In design thinking, we often hear the concept of fail fast, fail often, and fail forward; but what is the tolerance level for trainees who do not get it right the first few times and for mistakes that are very visible and can’t be retracted?

For me, the trick is to rotate or move quickly in the iteration process; to be nimble. If you make a mistake, back away from it, apologize, and try to do better. People are generally forgiving of mistakes, so there is a high level of tolerance, and people have short memories. This combination of forgiveness and short memory will probably help you fail fast, fail often, and fail forward, as long as you do not make it worse by trying to cover it up.


Top salespeople have mastered how to use social networks to grow revenue potential, exceed quota, prospect efficiently, and maintain a robust pipeline by playing by each social network’s etiquette rules. Learn more by listening to “Secrets to Great Content Curation: You Can Do It!” on Changing the Game with Digital Selling hosted by Bonnie D. Graham.


Arif Johari

About Arif Johari

He is a Communications lead, Digital Marketing generalist, and Digital Selling (Social Selling) advocate. He enables marketing and sales employees in Digital Selling so that they’d leverage social media as a leads-generation tool. He is responsible for executing innovative marketing strategies to increase engagement in social media, customer community, and landing pages through content, events, and multivariate testing. He is passionate in making the work processes of the marketing and sales team more efficient, so that they can generate more revenue in a shorter time.