It was the night of my first full-blown cabaret show. I’d worked for eight months creating the theme, selecting the songs, rehearsing with my piano man. I’d rented a hall, hired a caterer, and made sure there was someone to handle lights and sound. I’d chosen a non-profit organization, the Lomi Counseling Clinic, to be the beneficiary of all the profits.
The title of the show was, “Insomnia: What Keeps You Up at Night.” It was one-woman musical journey through my year-long battle with persistent insomnia and the strange phenomena that can keep any one of us awake at the night.
Between songs like “In the Wee Hours of the Morning,” “Go to Sleep, Girl,” and “Gotta Get Me Some Zs,” I told stories about what it was like to not be able to sleep night after night after night, the strange paranoia that sets in and all the desperate and crazy things I did to try to get some sleep. But this wasn’t a public therapy session; I told these stories in a way that expressed the truth of what I went through, but in a lighthearted, funny way.
After the show, a dear friend and fellow musician told me how much she loved it. She said, “It reminded me of a comedian in San Francisco who had a one-man show called “Only the Truth Is Funny,” where he shared some difficult stories about his life, but he made it funny. And you did the same thing. Your show was funny because you were telling the truth. And the truth is funny.”
(By the way, in writing this post, I got curious, did my research and found out that the comedian my friend was talking about was Rick Reynolds. His “Only the Truth Is Funny” show was recorded and aired on Showtime. If anyone can find a recording of that show, please contact me! I’d love to see it.)
The truth is funny. It can also be horrifying. It can be motivating and inspiring. It can stop you dead in your tracks and leave you gasping for breath. It can do all these things because the truth is captivating. We’re hungry for it. We want the truth, and we hate being lied to.
If you want to build relationships of trust and loyalty with your clients and customers, tell the truth. Be honest. Because, as I always say, honesty is sexy. By that I mean it’s incredibly attractive, captivating and, yes, even exciting. There have been times when someone has told me something true, something they didn’t necessarily need to share, and their honesty made time stand still. It was as if all the noise, chatter and buzz of the earth stopped, and my attention became completely focused on this person and what he was telling me.
That’s the power of honesty. It stands out. It stops time. It holds attention. It makes you lean in because you crave to hear more.
Just this morning I was watching a video of a very famous, very successful Internet marketing guru. A trusted colleague had told me about him, so I signed up for his free teleclass. I was immediately redirected to a video of him talking about… well, nothing, really. It was just his welcome and thank you for signing up.
But then the bullshit started. He started talking about how he’d helped several well-known Internet marketers to become millionaires (which is probably true) and how he was offering this free course because he was tired of watching people struggle, tired of seeing them give up on their dreams when just a little bit of help from him could have made all the difference (which was probably, most certainly not true).
I literally screamed at the screen, “I don’t believe you!!”
Nope, sorry. Not buying it, buddy. I’m sure you have a lot of great information to offer, but don’t offend me by saying that you’re giving it away because you care about other people’s hopes and dreams. You’re doing it to build your email list, send out autoresponders and hopefully get people to buy something from you down the line.
So, why not say that? “I’ve packed this free telecourse with the best information I have on blah blah blah because I know, if you get something out of it, you’ll be back for more, and I’ll get the chance to keep offering you services and products that will make a difference in your business.”
Now, this particular guru does very, very well and he doesn’t need any tips from me. That’s for sure. All I know is I will attend his telecourse (because it’s free), but I won’t be rushing to buy anything from him. I’m holding him at arms length. He’s on probation.
As an entrepreneur online, if you want to engender trust AND hold people’s attention, tell the truth. Your honesty will outshine the hype, slime and sleaze. You will be believable and trustworthy, and when it comes to ANY relationship, that’s worth a whole hell of a lot.