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The Social Network is about the rise of Mark Zuckerberg and one of the most popular social media sites in the world, Facebook. I don’t need to tell social media junkies that they need to see this movie but someone in a sales position might not make this their first choice for a Friday night flick. There are many lessons for sales people in this movie and I’ll highlight some of them.[tweetmeme source= “insideview” only_single=false]

Find your niche

Zuckerberg had an idea or more of an epiphany that all college kids want to know is what their friends are doing, their relationship status and other everyday information and had no way of aggregating this information into one location. He realized that the creation of a site that contained everyone and let them share information across a tight network of ‘exclusive’ friends was something that would have a high level of appeal. With 500 million active users, I think he was right.

You sell a product designed for a specific market. If you are a good sales person you will understand that you within every market there are sub-markets that you might be able to penetrate quicker. Look for the sub market that isn’t getting a lot of attention or might be completely overlooked by your competition and embrace them. These companies could be you biggest advocates.

Test your network

Mark wanted everyone in Harvard to have access to Facebook but knew that getting the word out quickly to this site might take time so he used his friend’s connections with Phoenix S-K to get the launch off to a quick start. Soon the entire school was on Facebook and the phrase was coined “Facebook me”

I can’t tell you how many times my territory was changed or moved completely and I basically had to start from scratch and build a sales pipeline from nothing. I didn’t have a magic list of names to email but I did have my own network of people that I had collected over the years and collected in LinkedIn. If you haven’t started building your LinkedIn network then you should start today. I can’t tell you how valuable it has be over the years to have a ‘connection’ at a company or been able to reach out to someone I only knew only because they knew someone that knew someone at a company I was trying to work with.

Expand your network

Nothing bothered Mark more than when he went to the restaurant, saw his ex-girlfriend and she had no idea what Facebook was since she went to a different school. Since Facebook was an exclusive network for Harvard it made sense but Mark wanted the site to expand so he could get the attention of more people.

Once you have started getting a little traction and your network is working for you, start expanding. Use your Sales 2.0 skills, social media and your current connections to find other groups you can get in front of. Maybe it’s a webinar you can host or a physical event you can attend but whatever it is reach beyond your existing network and build relationships with other people.

Don’t care about the money [it will come]

One of the continuing threads through the movie as they were explaining the history of Facebook and the legal battle afterward was Mark’s disconnect from the millions of dollars he was making. It was never about the money and he never let the money go to his head. Some would say the money made him more egotistical but from the movie, he seemed to be an over confident, bordering on arrogant person well before Facebook was launched. In the end he was guy that had a great idea and didn’t let anything stand in his way of making turning that idea into a reality and growing well beyond what anyone would have imagined.

As a sales person you are focused on the money. Your manager is making you hit your goal and you have to chase the money anywhere you can. I’m not saying that you tell your boss to pound sand or anything but you should take a different position when it comes to your daily activities. How would your sales activities change if you didn’t have a number to hit or if you already had? If you say that you would take the rest of the week/month off and play Xbox then we have another problem. Sales professionals that consistently hit their quotas have it just as hard as most sales people but they take a different approach. There is a lot of work into bringing in deals and sometimes it seems impossible to hit the numbers you are given. If you focus first on building better relationships and networking to expand your reach, the money will come.

 

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