It’s the wild west for attention out there, baby.

The most profitable businesses (Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc) this decade are the ones that buy and sell attention. If you can’t be interesting, you can’t win in sales.

“Real as real is a tough sell,” said the one of the most respected fiction writers Steven Pressfield. Steven released a new novel this year the Knowledge, which is based on his life. It is a writer’s coming-of-age story. It is real, with a criminal twist. It is great. In one of his blog post about using his real life as the basis for the fiction, he emphasized the importance of detaching yourself from you and gaining perspective. When you’re too wrapped up in your emotion (your services, or your job, or your whatever), you exude too much self-indulgence and pain. It’s real. It’s just not fun.

Whatever is happening to you now, the same thing used to happen to someone else in the past and will happen to someone else in the future. The story is not unique to you. It’s common human experience, so recounting the occurrence is not that interesting. Wallowing in self-pity is even less interesting. What would be interesting is how you give a new spin on what happen, how it looks from a new perspective, what meaning you brought to the narrative, and how you make it funny.

People love stories that have meaning and surprises. As a salesperson, it is your job to get attention for your company and your services with the right stories. So spend sometime and learn from the best fiction writers on how to communicate a real story with the flair of drama that is on theme and traps attention.

Don’t be a cliche. Don’t be boring. Be the best and quirkiest version of Real.