There’s a line in the film The Hollywood Complex, a film that documents the annual migration of stage mothers and their offspring through movie-land’s pilot season, that caught my attention.

You could die of encouragement,” said one of the players in this movie after being sent to yet another talent agent’s recommended photographer or acting coach. Everyone tells these kids and their overeager parents that if they just get the right headshot, dance move or line reading, they’re sure to win the attention of some big agent.

How do you distinguish true praise from false promotion? Isn’t this what sales professionals learn in sales school: How to appeal to your pain and promise the solution, all in a prettily wrapped pitch?

I’ve long been suspicious of false praise and have spent years discerning whose opinion I trust. I’ve got three criteria for measuring a promise:

  • Is there anything to be gained monetarily from someone praising me?
  • What’s the feeling in my gut when I hear the compliment?
  • Does this information check out with what I already know?

This is where your support systems come into play, because you’ve built them to have your back when you need them. I’m in the habit, and recommend this process to you, of pausing before making any decision that involves committing dollars to anything where a whiff of doubt occurs. “I’ll get back to you” — the dreaded response if you’re in sales–is your best friend when you’re not sure. Trust me on this! I’m not selling anything here but your peace of mind.

Share This