Is Facebook Good at Sales?

With over 500 million members (100 million more people than the entire population of the USA) there is no question that Facebook has become one of the most powerful entities in the world. However, would you say they are good at sales?

The company is currently valued at around $50 Billion. At the beginning of the year Goldman Sachs invested $450 Million into the social networking juggernaut! However in 2010, Facebook only made a total of $1.86 Billion in revenue. At first this confused me. How can a company be worth so much with such little sales? Then I realised it really depends on your definition of what sales is. Wikipedia defines ‘sales’ as, “A sale is the act of selling products or services in return for money or other compensation”. Interesting how it says ‘other compensation’. Does that mean you can be good at sales without bringing in money??

I am constantly listening to people that say “I could never do sales. It’s just not in me” or “sales is so hard, I can’t handle the pressure”. Well guess what? You just sold me on how much you can’t sell. The truth is we all sell in some way or another, we just don’t realise we’re doing it. We sell to our children that junk food is bad for them, we sell to our colleagues our work ethic and likeability. Sales are a part of our everyday life, whether you like it or not.

I think someone that can receive some form of compensation, whether that is money or something else of value, without making it obvious that a sale has been made, are the greatest sales people of all. For example, have you ever bought something and then someone asked you what was one of the main reasons you bought it and you answered “Because it didn’t feel like I was sold to”. That is why I believe that Facebook is one of the greatest sales organisations in history. They have sold to over 500 million people a service that most of that 500 million now can’t live without and they did it without us even realising!

So what can us ‘sales professionals’ learn from Facebook, one of the greatest sales organisations in history? Here are a few things I’ve learnt:

  1. Leverage. A sale doesn’t have to result in money be attained. It can be many other types of compensation. In Facebooks case it is access. Access to hundreds of millions of people’s personal information. Like it or not, that is extremely powerful.
  2. Exclusivity. What do you need to do every time to access Facebook? Enter your username and password. This action creates a sense of exclusivity (I’m a part of the Facebook society). Think of ways you can make your services or products more exclusive.
  3. Simplicity. Keep it simple. If you can’t explain the benefit of your service or product within a line or two, take the time to do so. How does Facebook do this? A little button with a ‘thumbs-up’ on it. Can’t get simpler than that.

And on that note, if you’ve ‘liked’ this post and found it helpful/interesting. Press the ‘like’ button below 😀

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Posted on May 9, 2011, in Sales Advice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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