You don’t have to blag it like a limbless torso


Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

You’ve seen it, haven’t you? Surely?

It’s one of those rites of passage movies you have to see before you’re 18. (If I had my way, you wouldn’t be allowed to vote till you can rattle off the Trojan Rabbit scene under lab conditions…)

Anyway – you’ll remember, there’s a grisly bit early on, where Arthur hacks the Black Knight to pieces.

He chops both his arms off…but the knight won’t surrender!

So Arthur swipes off his legs.

Leaving a furious torso seething on the forest floor.

And as Arthur rides off, the severed knight yells out:
“Oh I see! Running away…come back here…I’ll bite your legs off!”

It’s a shameless bit of bravado. Pretending he’s invincible, when he’s desperate and helpless.

Pathetic, huh?

But I reckon we’d all do the same. Because in business, bravado is an unwritten law – and we obey, no matter what.

I mean…think back to the last time someone asked you the big question: “How’s business?”

Did you give them the honest answer…?
“Well it’s been a tough quarter, we lost a good customer, but we’re turning it around”

Or did you blag it like the limbless torso…?
“I’ve got a penthouse with its own helipad and a hareem of supermodels”
…Even if you’re living in a shed and having lard for tea.

Come on. Be honest here – which is you?

Whether business is good or bad, you say it’s all great – right?

Look, I get it. You have to put out a positive vibe. That’s how it’s done around here.

You don’t want potential customers knowing you’re desperate for work. You don’t want suppliers knowing cash is drying up. You don’t want to give your competitors ammunition.

And you definitely don’t want to look like a failure when that rival of yours is telling the world he made $10 million this morning from the deck of his luxury yacht. In his pants.

Really, I get it. You’ve got no choice.

Have you?

Or, um…have you?

Maybe it’s time to realise, this BS we’re all spouting creates a false environment. Where we’re all talking crap. We all know we’re all talking crap. But we do it anyway, because we don’t want to be the first one to drop the facade.

Well…I say, drop it.

Quit posturing, and ‘fess up.

Okay, maybe you feel you can’t be straight with the world at large. But there are people you trust…your inner sanctum…so what about them?

I’ll bet they get your BS version too. When you could be confiding.

Instead of:
“I’m working 18 hours a day to keep up with demand”
…admit it:
“I’m behind my sales target, so I need referrals…and I could use your advice.”

It doesn’t hurt. Needn’t dent your pride. And it could turn things around.

Your little black book of business contacts is the best resource you own. Those people you’ve referred…bought from…sold to…(even the odd competitor!)…they all know stuff.

Stuff you don’t know. Stuff they’ll share with you. Stuff that’ll solve your problems.

So whether it’s for a fee or a favour…drop the act, and get some answers.

You don’t have to be that severed torso – stranded in the forest, pretending it’s all good.

UK Copywriter James Daniel

James Daniel

You might not know who I am, but no doubt you've read my copy. If you've ever bought a hearing aid, a pizza oven, flat roof or vacuum cleaner. If you've hired a will writer, an IT guy or accountant. If you've been to events on marketing, acting or how to buy a business. There's every chance it started with a bit of my copy - a few simple, chatty, gently persuasive words. Ring any bells?

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