Sales · Business Development

Fake it till you make it?

Martin Scott ► ► CyberSecurity Consulting

January 13th, 2016

I'd like to hear others input on the "fake it, till you make it" motto. I'm not talking about deception, but more of over selling yourself and then filling any gaps as you go. Or maybe that is deception. I really have no idea. Whats considered too far or shady? Or is it just best to not go down that path?

Matt Filios Growth Catalyst

January 13th, 2016

Hi Martin, 
I'm not a big fan of the "fake it 'til you make it" philosophy. It is generally easy to sniff that out and realize that someone is not upfront with reality, and they quickly lose much to all credibility. I'm more a big proponent of "act like you've been there before" mentality, which was taught to me ironically by my peewee football coach. Visualizing what it would mean to achieve success, or failure for that matter, and how you would act and react prepares you much more for what you have in front of you as a business leader, or really anyone in life. It's much more rewarding in the long run as well.
Hope that helps.

Jeff Mills Global Vice President of Sales at iMerit Technology

January 13th, 2016

Also, follow up with the client you lost.  They will be frustrated in 90 days if your competitor didn't deliver.

Sage Vann Building User Joy at Rooster Park

January 13th, 2016

I think the key here is not in the faking it part, but the 'making it'. Many times the internal emotional response to doing something grand or new is one of fear. Many popular neuroscience books discuss 'Impostor Syndrome', the feeling that strong, intelligent people often feel as if they are an impostor and that if everyone know how much they were 'making it up' or 'faking it' that they'd be laughed off. The truth is, that's where learning and growth happens. At the end of the day, you do it, do it, do it, and then one day, you realize that all the actions you have lined up in sequence along the way have empowered you to become the image of the person who was 'doing it' all along. I like Amy Cuddy's rephrasing of this old phrase, "Fake it, 'til you become it".

Josh Miller EVP, Country GM - Zapper USA

January 13th, 2016

Shocking candor is more powerful and more sustainable than faking it till you make it.

David Still Founder of Start-ups, Entrepreneur, Financier and Advisor

January 13th, 2016

Never, ever fake it - at any time. It will ruin your business and professional reputation. 

AJ Johnston Owner at Law Office of Ann E. Johnston

January 15th, 2016

"Fake it, until you make" is not referencing lying.  It is referring to being assertive and confident, but, not aggressive, candid and decisive, but, not wishy-washy, and willing to learn and grow, not fudging. Yes, it stings when you lose to a competitor, but, you can look at yourself in the mirror without cringing.  Lies will catch up with lairs.  Maybe not today, but, it is going to catch them at some point.

Misha McPherson Passionate about building great companies, culture, and the customer experience. Currently hiring for sales.

January 13th, 2016

Martin, if this is about a sales cycle, just stay in touch with the customer. Over-promising/under delivering is one of the surest way to increase churn. Not only that, but I'd start digging into that competitors customer base. If they have lied to one customer, they have lied to others. Good way to pick up new customers.

Remember that this is a very small world. I remember which sales reps and vendors are good partners and which are not. I both buy and talk about the sales reps and vendors who are ethical. I avoid (and tell others to avoid) those who are not. 

Keep it clean :) 

Ema Chuku Designer. Product Developer. Founder @ NuPad

January 13th, 2016

Deception should not in any way be in this motto.. In my view, "fake it til you make" is giving positive and true perception (answers) to the audience, hold back the negative ones, until you make it, then give full throttle.

Dmitry Tyomkin Software/Operations Exec Evaluating Busdev/Tech Leadership Opportunities

January 13th, 2016

I think it depends on where you are in the product life cycle. If you are building initial set of customers and they know you are a startup, it may be fine to combine real capabilities with things on the roadmap in one list in order to try and gauge what are customer's priorities, before you build it. I would be totally against faking it all the way, like building a fake interface that has no substance. If you are instead in the steady growth phase, your reputation becomes paramount and "fake it" becomes a no-no, it would be enough for few disappointed customers to bash you in the corridors of a conference to spread the word and cut your growth short. 

David Albert Founder & Principal at GreyGoo

January 13th, 2016

I think it's pretty simple. Fake it all you want, just never promise anything you can't ultimately deliver on based on the expectations you've set for a customer or client. If you are 100% confident you can, then you aren't truly being deceptive.