The best sales professionals realize sharing valuable content with their connections is a great way to stay top of mind among their target audience and to generate leads. Originators have a number of different options when it comes to delivering content to prospects and referral sources. One of the most effective tactics is to write original material but not every sales rep has the time or writing talent to implement this approach. The most popular method is curation or re-sharing of quality content written by others. While curation is the easiest technique, if not done correctly it will not have the desired impact.
Today, there are vendors who will select the information and send it to an originator’s customer base. This is certainly a time-saver but oftentimes the content is too generic to make a memorable impression. Similar to sending mass emails, it is better than not doing anything but only marginally. To succeed at social selling, originators must consistently provide personalized content that will resonate with referral sources and former customers.
Delivering Valuable Content
One of the first steps originators must take in content curation is to separate former customers and referral sources into similar groupings of like data points. The most basic parameters for groups are by demographic and geographic characteristics. Demographic factors include age, gender, education, income level, etc. Geographic is about location.
Why is it important to create distinct customer groups and tailor specific messages for them? Demographic segmentation is critical because a customer who is near retirement age has very different concerns than a customer who has just purchased their first home. Sending all customers the same information guarantees that a percentage of your target audience will ignore your message.
Learning about customers’ interests such as sports, music and hobbies can add another way to further delineate target audience groups. During customer interactions, the salesperson may have already had conversations that tap into these other interests in the process of building a relationship. Customers might be fans of the local school sports team or professional team which can be a great commonality to leverage. One lifestyle question I recommend is to ask whether a customer is a dog or cat person. Animals are an excellent topic to break the ice with someone new.
Tapping into customers’ interests provides another opportunity for sales professionals to deepen relationships and become more of a trusted friend than just a financial adviser. It all starts by sending information that is relevant and meaningful to former customers.
Common Content Curation Mistakes
If handled incorrectly, content sharing can do more harm than good. Here are the three most common mistakes I see sales professionals make:
- Sending content that you have not read beforehand. Many times, originators are in a hurry and they think that sending an article out is enough. But, by not reading the article first, it can turn out that the piece is not well-written and may even have grammatical errors. This does not impress.
- Sending the same type of content out to all your connections. Case in point: How many times is it necessary to send interest rate announcements? If content is not personalized for the target audience group, it will not deliver results.
- Not commenting on the curated content that you have sent out. All curated material should have commentary from the originator. Without a comment on why the information is important, originators are missing a chance to establish themselves as an industry expert. By adding your comments and thoughts, your connections will be more likely to comment and re-share.
Curation of valuable content is an important tool for all sales professionals. Like any tool, it must be used correctly to increase the number of customers who will recommend you to their friends and family.