Tom Martin is an internationally recognized speaker, an active blogger at, and a regular contributor to Ad Age’s Small Agency Diary. Tom founded Converse Digital in 2010 after a 20-year career in the advertising agency business to help companies learn how to turn conversations into customers.

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Since its founding in 2010, Converse Digital has had a 25% year-over-year growth rate each year—without making a single cold call or running any paid advertising. All of the firm’s clients are the result of inbound leads, which in turn are the result of content marketing and social media marketing efforts by Tom.

I invited Tom to Marketing Smarts to discuss his new book, The Invisible Sale: How to Build a Digitally Powered Marketing and Sales System to Better Prospect, Qualify and Close Leads.

In the book, Tom shares his secrets for building a highly automated digital sales prospecting system that supercharges your results.

Here are just a few highlights from my conversation with Tom.

B2B marketers can learn from B2C success stories (07:47): "A lot of times, people in the B2B space look at that [B2C success story], and they go 'oh, that's yet another B2C case study...' Don't focus on the who in that case study: focus on the what. Focus on what they did, because it absolutely applies in the B2B space, even though you might not see them as a traditional B2B company."

Use the power of propinquity—the science of relationships—to grow your business (18:45): "The science of propinquity says that the more you come into contact with a person, the more likely you will develop a relationship with that person. The exact same thing holds true in marketing. The more you come into contact with good, helpful content or good, helpful people from a company or a brand, the more likely that you're going to form a positive association with the brand, company, or person, and the more likely you're doing to want to do business with them when the time comes."

Connect with "the best customers who will never buy from you" (21:53): "What people don't realize is that social agents can be the best customer who never buys anything from you, because they're going to tell 100 people to buy from you. There are people out there who‚ for whatever reason, simply cannot buy from you.... But if they really develop that strong relationship with you...they can tell 100 people to do business with you, and those 100 contracts or those 100 sales are going to be so much more valuable than if they had just been a customer, because a customer will buy from you once, but a social agent will create 100 sales for you.... If you can get a salesperson to understand how social media and networking on social media can power that and amp that up, that can be an incredibly powerful, painless way to prospect. You just nurture a lot of great relationships. They hear about opportunities you don't hear about. They tell you what those opportunities are, they put your name in front of people, or they flat-out tell people to buy."

Remember the "social" in "social selling" (23:26): "Social selling is just networking at scale.... You've got all these networks you that can stay in touch with and touch people—and not only can you touch them, you can hear what they're saying when they're not talking to you.... For instance, I'm in a Facebook group [in the tourism space]. There are 300 marketing directors from convention and visitors bureaus from around the country. There might be 10 of us that are vendors. Of course, these conversations become sales op after sales op after sales op being posted, 90% of which make no sense for me: I don't do whatever it is they need, but if I know somebody that does, I will absolutely create a connection there, and that's social selling. I'm not selling my services, but I'm making myself valuable, I'm making myself top of mind when it does come time and they do put something out there that I can help with, I can slide in on the private message side.... I can source so many great contracts to that group, because...I'm networking."

For more information, visit or, or follow Tom on Twitter: @TomMartin.

Tom and I covered a lot more ground—including how to close the deal using "Aikido Selling," a simple three-step sales process you can easily apply—so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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