Frankie Valli and Jersey Boys Metaphor for Recession Worn Companies

You’ll have to read this entire article to connect all the dots – it starts out somewhat off topic.

The Broadway shows All Shook Up, featuring the music of Elvis Presley, Movin’ Out, featuring the music of Billy Joel, and Mama Mia, featuring the music of Abba, were all very enjoyable, fun evenings, but the stories were contrived to fit the music. Like so many sales calls I’ve been witness to, the presentations (shows) were created to fit the product (music) because they didn’t have a good story that stood on its own.

Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is a true story – a dark, bittersweet story of their rise to fame and the never-ending adversity that Frankie Valli had to overcome throughout his life.  No need for a contrived story here because the real story was so riveting.  Add in the absolutely incredible singing and it was a more enjoyable, memorable experience than seeing Frankie Valli in concert.

Which brings me to the point:  Is your company’s story memorable, riveting, powerful or relevant? How much adversity has your sales force overcome?  How strong is their character?  Are they so hell bent on success that they will truly do whatever it takes to succeed?

Frankie Valli had a bad guy – an honest to god felon – as his band leader in the hay days of the band.  Franki ended up taking on $1 million worth of the thug’s debt at a time when the band was flat broke as a result of the gambling and mismanagement of Tommy the thug.  Frankie’s song-writing partner literally had to write hit songs.  They had to play where ever they could get a booking.  As we watched the show, I couldn’t help but think of the similarities to so many businesses in the past 18 months.  They were broke, in debt, experiencing declining revenue, and faced with adversity and challenges – just like Franki Valli.  But how many of those executives, and their sales forces, while refusing to quit, dug in deeper, worked harder, smarter and more effectively?

Fittingly, one of the Four Seasons’ hit songs was Walk Like a Man.