Cybersleuthing for Sales Success

Over past few months, I’ve been hit with identity fraud issues through my bank account. Several weeks ago, I headed to the bank branch where my account was originally established. Within 24 hours, they had ironed out 75% of my issues—and had my balance resolved by Friday afternoon. They took a horrible experience and, through their actions, created a more loyal customer.

While I plan to bring cookies to the banking team that went above and beyond, I needed to do something more immediate to express my appreciation. So, I took it to Twitter. At 4:16 p.m. I wrote:


At 4: 45 p.m. I received this Tweet:

How did @AskUSBank know about my Tweet? Why does a huge national firm even care what I Tweet? How were they able to respond so quickly? They were listening.

At ShoeFitts, we work with advisors and advisory firms to establish effective profiles, social media strategies, and listening channels. (love this.)

Cybersleuthing for Sales Success

Many folks view social media as a one-way communication vehicle—a broadcast and marketing medium meant to sell products, share news, and post opinions and ideas. They miss out on the opportunities to research consumer trends, investigate competitors, and actively engage with clients and prospects through listening. So many thoughts, opinions, and dialogue are transmitted through social media channels. If you’re not being a cyber sleuth, you’re leaving one of the most valuable pieces of social networking uncovered.

A recent Forbes article, “Who is Your Chief Listening Officer?,” points out some firms that are using social media listening as a brand differentiator. Though these initiatives tend to source from multi-national brands with vast resources in place to safeguard their brands and brand experiences, they still provide a valuable model for advisors. Paying attention to the two-way communication in the social media space provides valuable information and feedback; it’s worth dedicating time to this effort.

Set Up Your Listening Channel

To develop a listening channel, here are a few tools to get you started: (I suggest you create a separate email address (ex: to help you sort through all of the email updates you will receive.)

• Use Google Alerts to stay on top of news in your area, specific clients’ activities, and prospect news. Track your name, as well as the name of your firm and the names of your competitors.
Newsle is a service that helps you track when your contacts are mentioned in newsletters, articles, white papers, etc.
Twilert is a Google Alerts version geared for Twitter.
LinkedIn Signal allows you to search the updates of everyone in your network using specific phrases or words.
Mention, currently in beta mode, claims to be a be-all and end-all in monitoring personal and professional brands, offering a Google-like alert for most every online space.
• I am experimenting with IFTTT (If This Than That) as a way to create automated filters and notifications. This is an extremely powerful tool that requires additional digging.
• Social profile settings provide a simple way for you to be notified when someone Tweets your name. Check the setting area under mobile and email. Facebook has a similar function.

Take a step; embrace listening.

Remember that social media is a two-way conversation. Just as your teachers said, we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. You should be listening twice as much as broadcasting.


In our upcoming Social Media Boot Camp we’ll spend one complete session focusing on cybersleuthing and listening. More information on our site.

Choices: Courage or Commonplace?

I was faced with a challenge: Which subject line would I use in that first ShoeFitts email communication? I had two options—was I over thinking things?—and needed to choose a direction. This was a newsletter announcement letter being sent to thousands of people. Let’s face it: It’s easy to offer up the expected.  Or, I could get courageous and step outside of my comfort level.  Granted, the success of my bottom line wasn’t hinging on that initial contact, but I knew my words would determine the voice for all future communications and it would set the stage for my relationship with my valued newsletter readers. These were people that receive hundreds of emails a day regarding ERISA, fees, and fiduciary and retirement readiness. Certainly important words, but other people already had those covered. What are my words? The strategies I’ve developed, my creativity, and the words I’ve built around that are what I sell. Was I willing to walk my talk?

One of my passions is the art of fusing glass. I’m fascinated by the science of combining glass and heat to create beautiful patterns shaped into bowls and plates. (I love it so much that I have a studio in my garage.) When I was first learning this craft, I didn’t share my creations with others. Over time, as my confidence grew, I would display pieces on my desk. Colleagues and friends were impressed and expressed interest in purchasing them.

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Generation D

The Digital Generation

It has been unseasonably warm during the first few days of May here in Portland. This weekend we hit 80 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday. And, of course, weekend + sunshine = barbecue.

My plan was to purchase a new grate replacement for our little Smokey Joe grill and call it good. But I coveted a gorgeous orange-topped number that caught my eye on Saturday.  I returned on Sunday to bring it home, adding it to our grilling family. Its inaugural production was the colorfully name Beer Butt Chicken. (One of my friends made it last summer and it was amazing!)

Where did I go to find the recipe? My iPad of course. Why bother my girlfriend when I could put the Google on it and locate what I needed in less time than it would take me to dial her phone number?  I use resources offered up by the Internet for so many things: recipes, directions, information, color palette suggestions, article inspiration, telephone numbers, book reviews, music, networking, and bill paying. I am Generation D, defined.

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