Trust me. You’re not.

For some reason, the following exchange from the movie “The Social Network” between Jesse Eisenberg playing Mark Zuckerberg and the lawyer conducting the initial deposition for the lawsuit filed by the Winklevoss twins over who created “The Facebook”, has been running around in my head lately.

And it struck me as something we could all learn when trying to influence behaviors that drive business results. 

Gage: Mr. Zuckerberg, do I have your full attention?

Mark Zuckerberg: [stares out the window]  No.

Gage: Do you think I deserve it?

Mark Zuckerberg: [looks at Gage]  What?

Gage: Do you think I deserve your full attention?

Mark Zuckerberg: I had to swear an oath before we began this deposition, and I don’t want to perjure myself, so I have a legal obligation to say no.

Gage: Okay – no. You don’t think I deserve your attention.

Mark Zuckerberg: I think if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try – but there’s no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention – you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook, where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing.


Mark Zuckerberg: Did I adequately answer your condescending question?

The jerk in me loved this exchange. It is the type of thing most of us have dreamed about saying to a boss or some other perceived authority figure. It is so well worded and delivered I could hear it every day to get me pumped up for the battles ahead. Like professional baseball players who have music play when they walk up to the plate, maybe I should make it my “walk-up” music (assuming I ever get drafted by the Cincinnati Reds.)

But the point is this…

The audience you are trying to influence – whether the audience is dealers, distributors, or employees – aren’t waiting with bated breath for your next email, your next promotion, your next marketing push.

They are worried about their business and their families and their employees’ families and their lives. They have 100 other things on their mind other than your business success.

Trust me. You are not that important.

But You Could Be

If you understand how little you matter to your audience AND understand the things THEY are interested in you can then design the appropriate initiative that WILL get their attention.

Ask yourself how your offer, incentive, reward, influence strategy, etc., will impact the things THEY are worried about. Use that list to drive your design strategy.

If your messaging is about how the program will help YOU sell stuff, it’s a failure. You will get the minimum amount of their attention. And frankly, that’s all you would deserve. 

But if you can show them how your program/initiative can drive their business and can address the things they are focused on day-to-day you will get more of their attention.

Will you get 100%? Never.

Get over yourself.

You are one of the dozens of things trying to pierce their attention shields every day. But if you can provide training and communications and information that will drive THEIR business success, and reward them for playing along, you will get more attention than someone else.

Remember this…

Focusing on your goals is a sure way to get them to engage their inner Zuckerberg.

That’s not a win.

I really hope this post gets more than your “minimum” amount of attention. If so, click this link and we can talk through how to design the best incentive program that is important to THEM!