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The Social Network (the movie): What we can learn from Facebook’s Beginnings about Sales

Andrew Cross

The Facebook movie is out and getting strong reviews. One of the most useful points that the movie made very effectively is that when something is cool, let it be. When The Facebook (as it was initially called) was in its infancy, it was clean, simple and didn’t involve money. We as consumers like cool things that are free because we don’t have to wonder if we are getting ripped off. Best of all, it was a progressive idea. It met a desire that people had to get to know about each other in an anonymous way through the internet.

As more and more people began to register and post profiles, Facebook began to define what it was going to become, or what it could become. This same sort of excitement happens in a relationship once 2 people decide they want to date and get to know each other. Everything feels new and it’s a lot of fun. One of the biggest reasons it’s so fun is that no one knows what’s going to happen next but everyone is happy to keep going.

In a sales process, this happens a lot. The sales person has done some homework, knows about the prospect’s situation and initiates a relationship. When you begin to see the prospect getting engaged, chatting freely, getting excited, stop everything you had planned and be with them. That’s right, just sit there and listen. Or flow with where they want to take you. Forget about features and benefits, forget about moving the sale along. Just be receptive and encourage the excitement.

This will have a wonderful effect of creating a bond. It’s all the more effective if you really get into it. Then the prospect will feel an energy from you and will trust you. The worst thing you could do would be… well, think about the relationship metaphor. What if you are into your first month of dating, having a great dinner out, totally connecting with each other and then she says, “Hey, why don’t we pick a wedding date?”

Even though, to be honest, you had wondered if this one might become your wife, now the whole energy changes. So don’t bring up the wedding until the prospect starts hinting that she’d like you to meet her parents, if you know what I mean.