A Few Good Men: Why Kevin Bacon’s Presentation Is A Benchmark For Salespeople?

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Kevin Bacon’s character, Jack Ross, is a benchmark for sales people to follow in selling effectively. The key to great and effective selling is the presentation. The presentation should explain the product in easy to follow language. It should answer all the customer’s questions, and it should freely flow to the close.

Closing a sale is the reason why you are talking to that client. To close you must connect and be comfortable with your client and they with you. This connection and comfort level is created in the presentation. If there is a comfort level, the close should be natural flow from the presentation.

The best presentation that I have ever seen is Kevin Bacon’s opening statement to the jury in the movie, in the character of Jack Ross in “A Few Good Men”. In his presentation, Jack explains his position (his product). He explains his product to his customers ( the jury). He explains why his product is the only alternative to solving their problem (reaching a verdict). He anticipates objections. In his presentation he explains that only he has the evidence that would explain the crime that was committed. Jack does such a masterful job that Tommy Cruise’ character, Danny Kaffee, readily admits that he has no real case.

Let me briefly explain the plot of the movie. The movie takes place in a military setting. A marine is not performing to standard. His commanding officer (Jack Nicholson) decides to “motivate” him with two other Marines. This action is called a code red and it is unauthorized. A rag is stuck in the Marine’s mouth and he dies, with the two Maries charged.

Let’s observe Jack’s masterful presentation to the jury. “The facts in this case are simple. Two Marines killed a third marine. This case is just that simple. Now the defense is going to put on a show for you…and mind you it will be quite a show. It will be entertaining, you will enjoy it. They (Tom Cruise) will entertain you with words like “code red” (A code red officially doesn’t exist in the Marine Corps.) Now mind you, all they can do is entertain you, because they have no evidence to support their claim. So beware. Once you get past the entertainment and focus on the evidence presented you will only conclude that the defendants did kill this Marine and your only verdict will be guilty”.

What is happening here? Jack has many “customers” that he is trying to sell. The Marines are on trial will be executed if found guilty. Jack is trying to convince them to accept a plea. They don’t want that because they feel that they following orders.

Jack is trying to sell the parents of these Marines to accept the plea. In the movie, Jack’s best friend, Danny Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is being pushed by Demi Moore’s character (Lt. cdr. Jo Ann Galloway), to pursue a code Red issue. This is critical because if you charge an officer with this offense, a Marine lawyer must have conclusive proof that this actually happened. If this evidence can’t be presented, then the attorney (in this case, Danny Kaffee) can be charged and court martialed. He is also trying to convince the jury that a murder has been committed.

Jack masterfully tries to sell all of his clients. The presentation is meant to convince all listeners that only the evidence counts. The defendants have no real evidence. Only a confession by Jack Nicholson will exonerate the defendants. A code Red can only be proven if Col. Jessup (Jack Nicholson) will confess. There is not chance for this happening.

He wants the jury prepared. He knows his good friend Danny may smoke screen them with secondary issues. He prepares them masterfully for this in such a way that anything Danny does will not move the jury. In the presentation, a close is arrived at through smooth transition.

“A Few Good Men” is a true movie classic. I think the presentation is the central point in the plot of the whole movie. After the presentation, Danny and his team understand that a confession is the only means by which an innocent verdict can be attained.

How this confession is gotten by Danny makes for one of the most riveting scenes I have seen in a movie. The court room questioning of Jack Nicholson by Tommy Cruise is spell binding and something you must see if you haven’t already seen the movie.

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