"I never sell, I help people buy."
His agents are probably the most relaxed group of sales people I have ever met. They never "close hard." Instead, they spend time understanding prospects' needs, then explain why certain plans would work better. The conversion ratio is very high. So is his referral business. Below are my recommendations on applying this principle to online content strategy execution:
1. Great Content. Create relevant and interesting content that helps prospects understanding and solving their challenges. Brief, interesting articles / blog entries several times a week can help transforming your site into an industry "water cooler," where people can find news and practical information on their challenges and the ways to solve them.
2. Content Mix. Try to have a mix between industry news, industry "guest speaker" opinions / interviews, customer stories (not too product focused), industry event commentaries and "non-marketing articles". This will provide a variety necessary for visitors to stay interested in keeping coming.
3. "Non-marketing Articles". Find a specific challenge that your market really cares about and your products help to solve. Write about this challenge and best practices for solving it. Then talk about the approach your company took to solving it and why. This should be an "approach discussion," and not a product pitch. Not mentioning the product name often is a good idea at this stage. At the end of the article, you can provide a link to solutions and tools. That link will lead to a landing page with product info and a call to action. This way your article is credible, interesting, and actionable. And it is not pushing products.
4. Landing Page. The landing page picks up the discussion and shows how your product or service solves this specific problem in details. Later, you can add other features that you think the reader may find interesting. Finish the page with a call to action, such as a free trial, purchasing options, etc.
5. Promote The Content. Since the article is fairly neutral and is not talking about products, you can promote it at industry communities, social media and forums, generating a lot of traffic to your web site that you can turn into leads, opportunities and sales.
To summarize, with this approach your prospects are learning more about their challenges, ways to solve them. Once they decided on buying your product, they feel like they are making a purchase decision vs. somebody forcing them into buying something they may not need, understand or may not be ready to buy. So, they are more enthusiastic and excited about their decisions and your products they are buying.