Stranger Things in Sales: Combine Old and New to Break Through

October 31, 2017

Stranger Things

What is it about Stranger Things that makes the Netflix original series such a smash hit with audiences?

The Washington Post recently opined that this 1980s throwback, which first debuted in the summer of 2016 and released its second season this past weekend, is finding resonance in the “era of homage,” with viewers enjoying the new twist on classic cinematic styles and themes.

How might you incorporate this dynamic into your sales approach to captivate and delight buyers?

With today being Halloween, and with Stranger Things Season 2 now streaming across the country, we thought it might be a treat to examine modern sales strategies through this lens.

If you’ve already binged through the entire new season, nice work. If you haven’t, worry not: there won’t be any spoilers ahead.

Mix the Old with the New

The events of Stranger Things take place in the ‘80s, and the show does an excellent job of transporting us back to that time period through aesthetics and sound. Indeed, this follows a very popular trend in today’s world of entertainment (and especially Netflix content): delighting audiences with recognizable nostalgic callbacks.

It’s a strange thing to see the campy retro lettering, accompanied by synthy riffs, during a title sequence that we’re watching on a streaming video service through our high-tech new-age devices, but it works.

We hear it all the time: many sales professionals feel that critical elements of the job have gone amiss. A warm and personal touch tends to get lost amidst the proliferation of faceless interactions and digital static.

So why don’t we take a cue from Stranger Things and deliver a throwback experience through a new medium? Even while engaging on the internet, you can still deliver friendly service that harkens back to another time. Exercise emotional intelligence to forge deeper connections and differentiate yourself in an often impersonal online environment.

Get to Know Your Audience

The resounding, out-of-nowhere success of Stranger Things might have come as a surprise to the world at large, but not to the company behind it. In many ways, Netflix is a leading model in this era of ultra-customization and tailored experiences, with its deep well of usage data and viewing habits providing ample insights that direct content choices.

As a seller using LinkedIn, you too have a powerful data source that can inform your outreach and dictate which types of messaging are likely to click. Scan the profiles of target prospects for clues that might help warm up an introduction -- mutual connections, common interests, etc. Check company news feeds for updates that could serve as an opening for a conversation.

The goal is to be relatable and relevant up-front, rather than coming off as an unknown entity from the alternate Upside Down dimension.

Draw Inspiration from Legends of the Industry

The Duffer Brothers, who created and write Stranger Things, clearly follow in the footsteps of many brilliant creative minds before them who helped pave the way in the sci-fi suspense genre. The works of people like John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, and Stephen King are often brought up as thematic and directorial prototypes for the show.

Since you’re reading this blog, it’s safe to say that you like to stay up on the latest news and tactics, but it’s wise to occasionally look back on the classics, too. We can all benefit from the wisdom of sales pioneers whose words often still ring true today. If you’re looking for a little inspiration as we charge toward the end of the year, check out our list of 55 memorable sales quotes, many from trailblazers like Zig Ziglar and Mary Kay Ash.

With the right balance of new and old, a data-driven tailored approach, and a few historical lessons applied, you can hone your selling craft and achieve blockbuster success.

Just watch out for the demogorgon.

Want more tips for maximizing your sales success? Download the LinkedIn Tactical Selling Plan.