You Don’t Know, Jack


“Well Jack, that may be real, but it sure as hell isn’t interesting.”

Interesting how an insult Jack Nicholson received over 40 years ago is so relevant today.  The insult was one he deemed the best piece of advice he’d ever gotten. (See extras in The Shining DVD at Netflix)

I think it is great advice for us too.

The “insult turned advice” as Jack puts it, came from a film director back in the 60’s after reviewing Dailies in which Jack (like many actors of the period), performed scenes with great effort on being as “real” as possible on screen.  Hey, it was the 60’s and “being real” was where it was at. 

“Well Jack, that may be real, but it sure as hell isn’t interesting”

If you are in sales or marketing (and the reality is, we all are), this advice is perfect and a little more of what we need these days.    You can be “real” all you want with customers/prospects; stay the course, keep the message clear and lay out the values.  You can even do it like you’ve never done it before using YouTube or Twitter or WebEx or whatever, but truth is since everyone else is doing it that way, and you are largely just changing your mediums,  that may be just a different kind of real.

 And while that might be a different real, it sure as hell isn’t interesting.

And that’s a problem.  With all the clutter and all the short attention spans and all the competition, we should worry a lot less about being real, and start to get more interesting.

When you are selling for real, skip the “real”.  Sell with a story.  Sure, you can lay out the benefits of your product, it’s solving a problem or driving more clicks, or how that new logo can create a lasting impression with a prospect, or you can be interesting and start a “mental movie” in the customer’s mind by saying the same thing but with a story.    A story about the prospect that followed the van with the super cool new logo just to see where the business was who owned it, is way more interesting than the customer focus group data about changing a logo.  The stories are out there, and they are compelling.

When you are selling for real, skip the “real”.  Sell with emotion.  Nicholson learned “real” doesn’t work on the big screen, but ‘interesting” does.  Make a big deal with whatever it is you are selling and let’s hear the passion in your voice or on your video.  Let’s hear the energy about your 5 favorite products as you describe them to your client in breathless, halting, excited tones.   Go big with emotion and storytelling when selling, it intrigues and it works.

Assume that camera is filming live as you converse with your client or your media is making its first impression.   Your audience is critiquing you. 

Don’t be real.  Be interesting.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.



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