Why It Doesn’t Pay To Be Arnie

For my 30 Days Of Arnold challenge, I’ve been watching a lot of Arnie’s most famous films and there’s a pattern I’ve noticed through these movies which you should apply to help you make more sales. I’ll explain shortly…

You see Arnie plays a certain role in what I’d call a Classic Schwarzenegger action movie.

He’s a good guy.

Something goes wrong, which pits him against a bad guy.

(Or through some confusion, everyone thinks Arnie is a bad guy but he’s not)

Arnie finally meets bad guy.

Arnie wins.

It’s that simple. Arnie always plays the good guy…

(… even when he’s a bad guy. Think Mr Freeze in Batman & Robin… and then try to unthink it again)

He’s The Hero.

Now, in marketing we like to see ourselves, our product or service as The Hero to our customers.

When they have a problem, we love the idea of being able to swoop in like Batman, come to the rescue like The Lone Ranger and save the day like Arnie does film after film.

It makes us feel good and it makes us feel valued.

Problem is…

You’re not The Hero.

When we ‘think’ we’re The Hero to our customers and prospects the focus is all on what we can do and we’re capable of.

And it sounds kinda self-serving and narcissistic.

Here’s the truth.

Your prospect is The Hero.

You’re ‘just’ The Sidekick.

But you’re the one who needs to show them what they’re capable of and what they can do.

And it’s up to you to show them how you’re the right Sidekick to get them to that place.

Make your customer The Hero in the sales stories you tell.

Highlight your prospect’s achievement once the hit Hero status.

Put the focus on them.

Just think of it in terms of True Lies.

In the film, Arnie plays a secret agent trying to thwart a deadly terrorist nuclear plot which keeping his wife in the dark about his real career.

Yet, it’s his indefatigable agency partner and sidekick who has all the gadgets, plans and gizmos needed to help him save the world.

That’s who you want to be to your customer.


Yes, that’s right… you’re Tom Arnold.

(And no, it’s not even April Fool’s Day yet…)





2 thoughts on “Why It Doesn’t Pay To Be Arnie”

  1. This is such an epic piece Jody! Thank you 🙂

    1. I love movies, so this hit the spot
    2. I’ve thought about the sidekick analogy before, but love how you framed it here
    3. You’ve taught an OLD lesson “it’s not about YOU it’s about THEM” in a whole new way.

    Thanks for this memorable piece.

    PS: I’m about to go download and watch TRUE LIES – never seen it
    PPS: If you haven’t seen Kindergarten Cop, it’s one of my favorite films (haha, not joke)

    1. Hey Jacqueline – thanks for your comments.

      Glad you like the analogy and you’re absolutely spot on when you say it’s a re-iteration of the old lesson about focusing on the audience. So much about developing the sales story focuses on how you position yourself, yet this has to be done in the context of keeping your focus firmly on the target.

      As for True Lies – I’ve just been watching it again. It’s crazily out of date now (like most Arnie movies) but good fun.

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