Sales Prospecting Techniques

Episode 14: Sales Prospecting Techniques, with Tom Martin

podcast photo thumbnail



View this episode on:

Sales prospecting techniques will turn a conversation into a client. Listen to this podcast on how to implement sales prospecting techniques.

Sales prospecting techniques will be shared by Tom Martin in today’s podcast episode. Tom is a no-nonsense, straight-talking 30-year veteran of the ad agency business who favors stiff drinks, good debates, and helping agencies Sell Greatly by turning conversations into clients.

As an internationally recognized sales & marketing keynote speaker, founder of Converse Digital, and Author of The Invisible Sale, Tom marries his two passions, marketing & technology, to teach agencies how to leverage digital marketing channels to achieve and sustain sales growth, enhance brand perception and painlessly prospect for new clients.


What you will learn in this episode about sales prospecting techniques:

  • Strategic and tactical ways to turn conversations into clients
  • What is an invisible sale and how is it related to prospecting painlessly
  • Reasonable starting points for using system components in business development
  • How using propinquity helps gain exposure to invisible prospects
  • How a little work with focused efforts can produce a big impact
  • The best sales prospecting techniques used by many agencies



Sales Prospecting Techniques: Full Episode Transcript


Mastering sales prospecting techniques is an effective prospecting strategy that can help boost sales. Let’s hear about it in today’s podcast! 


Welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI. My team and I created this podcast specifically for you. So, if you’re an agency owner, a business coach, or a strategic consultant and looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality, well, you’re in the right place.


You want proven sales prospecting techniques for attracting a steady stream of well-prepared prospects into your sales pipeline. Yep, we’re going to cover that. You want to learn how to step away from the sea of competitors so you actually stand out in on the ground you’re standing on. Yeah, we’re going to cover that too. You want to futureproof your business so you can navigate the following challenges that come your way?


Absolutely. We will help you there as well, I promise you, each episode of this podcast will contain valuable insights and tangible examples of best practices, not theory from thought leaders, experts, owners who have done exactly what you’re working hard to do. So I want you to think practical and tactical, no fluff. Each of our guests have built a position of authority and then monetize that position by claiming their ground, by growing their audience, by nurturing leads, and yes, by converting sales.


But all the while they did it by being helpful. So every time someone from their audience turned around there they were with a useful answer to an important question. So their prospects never felt like they were a prospects. I also promise you every strategy we discuss, every tool that we recommend will be shared in full transparency in each episode so you can plant your flag of authority, claim your ground, and fill your sales pipeline with a steady stream of right-fit clients.


Learn more about sales prospecting techniques in this blog from Converse Digital


Sales Prospecting Techniques: Tom Martin’s Introduction


Okay, I am super excited for you to meet our exceptional guest expert today, Tom Martin. If you’re meeting Tom for the first time, he’s a no-nonsense, straight-talking 30-year veteran of the ad agency business. He helps agencies strategically turn conversations into clients. Tom is an internationally recognized sales and marketing keynote speaker and the founder of Converse Digital.


Tom Martin has two passions of marketing and technology to teach how to leverage digital marketing channels to drive sales growth, enhance brand perception and painlessly prospect for new clients. I invited Tom to join me today because of his approach to business development and his point of view around what he calls the Invisible Sale, which is also the title of his book.


He believes, and I concur with him, that prospecting for your next client can be some of the most frustrating and painful work you do when it comes to growing your business. You know you need to do it, but often, it’s the work that is the easiest for us to let linger on our to-do list.


Tom and I believe there’s a better way to not only get it done but to get it done painlessly and to get it done with excellence by using social media by using content email marketing. Tom teaches how to be a supercharged, highly automated digital sales prospecting system that creates influence, attracts qualified leads, shortens the sales cycle, and increases conversion rates.


We’re going to discuss all of the sales prospecting techniques. So here’s what Tom and I want for you. As a result of listening to this conversation, you and your team will see how best doesn’t have to be painful and that it doesn’t have to be something that you hate to do. With the right system in place, you can build and leverage your authority position, and then you can monetize it by creating a steady stream of right-fit prospects flowing into your sales pipeline.


Because when you have that, you build your business in a predictable, repeatable and scalable way and year for that. So without further ado, welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast, Tom. Well, thank you for having me. That was a great introduction. Well, I warned you in the green room. I said, “Brace yourself because it’s going to be a long introduction.”


But I wanted to give everybody the context about all of the smart things that we’re going to be talking about and get your expertise in this area because it truly is painful. So before we dive into that, take us behind the curtain. Give us some context beyond the bio and the intro that I already shared, and that would be about your path and journey and so forth.


And then we’ll dive in sales prospecting techniques. Well, you know, as I hate to say, it’s been 30 years that I’ve been in this business which marks my age. Still, you know, I came up as an account guy in the agency business and back in the nineties after I moved here to New Orleans, I sent a memo to the president of the agency who was also the owner and basically said, I thought the way we did business development was backwards.


Luckily for me, he agreed, or unluckily, I don’t know. And so, within about a week or two he said, “All right, well, 50% of your client-facing duties are now gone. You’re going to now be in charge of business development. You’re going to build this new, better way of doing it.” And I did. And so I set off on a couple of within about a year or two, I was the VP of Business Development.


I no longer had any client duties whatsoever. And I was out, you know, doing what agencies do a sales prospecting techniques to prospect for clients. I was cold calling and emailing and sending clutter busters and going to conferences and all the things you do, and it was great. Eventually, I ended up getting the opportunity to fulfill a bucket list item, which was to start my own agency.


And so I did with my wife. And that was great for about three years. And then Hurricane Katrina came along. And I had always thought, as long as I have a laptop and a phone, I mean, I’m in business right now. And that’s it, and it’s a between-your-ears kind of business. I had never considered a world where all my clients would literally go out of business and effectively fire me.


That happened on August 26th, 2005. Basically, all of our clients suffered this on the same day at about the same time. And we were like, this is not good. So I scrambled to find a way to make some money and keep going.


I got back into the agency world full-time. That’s when I got involved with social media and saw that coming along. After about three years at an agency, the owner and I agreed, mutually agreed that I was unemployable and I needed to be a boss. Yeah. And so I started Converse Digital in 2010, and we started out as a social media agency and we kind of started morphing into more of a social selling agency as I wrote the book Invisible Sale, and now today, 12 years in, we’re really much more of a sales enablement agency, and we provide the tools and the training to organizations, including, you know, traditional clients as well


We, as ad agencies, need to help them learn sales prospecting techniques and show them how we empower them to sell the way we sell, which is, by and large, virtually and painlessly through content, all the things you spoke about in the introduction. And that’s kind of where we are today. And that’s me in 3 minutes or less.


Read this related blog about “Sales Prospecting Techniques: Why Clarity Wins”


Sales Prospecting Techniques: Building A Relationship with Right-Fit Prospects


Okay. So, let’s go backward in using one of your words, going backward to the although I think you said back afterwords now, now that I think about it backwards and forwards and backward. So but let’s let’s talk about that. So when it was backward, what was backward about it? Like when you identified, hey, we’re doing this wrong.


Like, what was the? I think it’s something that’s it. It wasn’t just us. I think the vast majority of agencies do it like this. We really only do business development in a significant way when we need to be told that a contract isn’t going to be renewed, maybe we will get fired, or whatever.


We need new business and new clients so we don’t have to fire anybody or anybody off. Yep. Or we would be invited to a pitch, and so we would do it. So my point to him was, look, this is completely nonstrategic. We’re only getting to pitch to people who invite us to pitch, you know, or we’re only trying to pitch when we’re desperate and we really need business.


Quickly, wouldn’t it be better to sit down and say, where do we want to be in five years? What kind of clients do we want to work for? What industries, etc. And let’s proactively go out, target those people, and start trying to build some sort of a relationship, at least make them aware of who we are, what we can do, what we’ve done, so that when they do finally move into that space of, I need a new agency partner, we’re on the radar and we get invited to the pitch or whatever.


And you know, it worked, okay? We were consistent in our sales prospecting techniques. There were a couple of times when we were able to. I remember there was a barbecue company that was selling its barbecues through one 800 direct response. And they were at the range that word for that was our that was our sweet spot.


Learn more about sales prospecting techniques in this blog from Converse Digital


Sales Prospecting Techniques: The Importance of a Good Pitch


We were good at direct response. And so I had like 20 people in the agency all call the number and request information and then send me what they received. And it was a total cluster. It was ridiculous how bad it was, so I’m going to that. I’m like, Look at this.


This we have a home run here. And, you know, we called the guy and said, Look, we did this research for all of ours. He knew he had a problem before I brought it to his attention. I don’t think you realize how bad the problem was, but he knew he had a problem with consistency and so did his.


Didn’t know where to go. He didn’t know who to turn to to fix the problem. So we brought him the problem. They said, Sure, you and your boss come out here and I’ll sit down, talk with you for an hour or so. And so we showed him what we got. We talked to him. We told him about what we do.


And, you know, long story short, six weeks later, they were a client of the agency. No review, no pitch, no nothing. And so I think in fact, I think it was right after that I got promoted to VP, and he said, you are no longer doing any client work. Your job is simply to make this kind of stuff happen.


And so it worked. That worked really well. In the four years I did it, I think we won about 35 —$40 million worth of business, you know, really to position ourselves, and things were running on. You know, we really had a good, finely tuned machine. But, you know, it was painful.


You know, it was hard. I literally a true story. I scheduled the birth of my second child around a pitch you know, we were in the semis. I thought we could get to the finals. I was the only guy that was a telecom. I was the only guy I really knew telecom. And so I told my wife, I’m like, You think there’s any chance your OB would induce you, like on this day, like right after the pitch at the semis.


And luckily for me, she was ready to be pregnant, so she was totally on board with the idea. But, you know, and then her OB somehow got on board. But I mean, that’s the kind of crap I was doing to try to do it. And then, you know, we got in the finals and it was great.


We win. But like, I had to disappear. I got to spend a day or two with my new son. And then I spent the next week at the agency preparing for the finals, right till all hours of the evening. And it just was I love the pitch. I love the thrill of the pitch. But man, and just in the cold calling and the cold email and I’ll put a pic in my head.


I hate that. She is well, before we get to the system that you’re such an expert in. Now, what is one more piece about this? Why do you think it’s that way? I mean, you work with agencies all the time about bills, stuff, and so forth. Why do you think that they’re so stuck?


And when I say that, that’s maybe an overgeneralization or a blanket because not every agency has. Of course. But why do you think there is such a prolific feast-and-famine mode of, geez, we lost a client, now we need to get creative? Does Dave like why it is like that as opposed to just a great consistent system?


I think a lot of it is that agencies are not generally run by salespeople, especially if they’re creative agencies. A lot of time, the owner is a creative, a copywriter, an art director by trade, or even an account guy, even though as an account guy, you’re kind of a salesperson because you’re selling concepts and so forth, you’re not really a salesperson.


So I think that’s part of it. And I think the second part of it, probably the bigger part of it is most people really hate selling. Yeah, me too. I mean, I hate cold calling and prospect. Yeah, I detest all that. Just makes me feel icky. And I think that and so, you know when you don’t really like to do something, you’re probably not going to invest a lot of time getting good at it or creating opportunities to do it.


You’re just going to hope that things are okay. And I just think that, you know, the thing is that people sometimes can be guilty of, well, that’s just how it is in the agency world. You know, you got to do the pitch. You have to do the RFP thing. And they’re unwilling to say no, there might be another way, but I just have to do things very differently if I want to play in that world.


Yeah, it’s just maybe easier to stay in that sort of pitch world. And so yeah, that’s, I think, the main reason. But I think the biggest is that if you look at the heads of most agencies, they’re really not salespeople at heart. They’re marketers, strategists, or creatives. You know, that’s just what they do.


Read this related blog about “Sales Prospecting Techniques: Why Clarity Wins”


Sales Prospecting Techniques: Figure Out to Do Things Differently


Yeah. So, let’s start talking about sales prospecting techniques. I’m going to ask you for your advice on which path to take. I want to talk about Invisible Sales and the system, and maybe this is a little chicken-and-egg situation when developing the system. My guess is that came first before writing the book.


Is that the right chronology? Yeah, yes, okay. So when did you start building the system? We’ll go into some of the system’s components and then sort of that moment of, Yeah, I think I got something here. I started thinking about building the system the day after my agency imploded during Katrina.


Because, my agency, it was in partnership with my wife. We were the only two full-time employees and then we used contractors. So not only did our agency literally lose all of its clients on that day, like our entire household income disappeared, like gone. Wow. And and and so she remember her looking at me saying like, well, bring me.


Okay. Right. Like, you’re this is your bailiwick. You’re the business dev guy. This is what you’re good at. I had looked into it in our database, and everyone who was in my database looked just like all the people that just effectively fire us right? Yeah. And I had to look her in the eye and go, I know.


I don’t know what we’re going to do because of all the people, I got nothing right now. I’m spinning. And, you know, I think you’re married, right? I see the ring. Are you married? Yep. That’s a horrible thing. Of course. Have to tell your wife or your business partner like they’re looking to you for the answer. And you’re like, I got nothing.


I’ve literally got nothing here. And I remember she went inside, and I sat there, and I saw myself. That will never happen to me again. I will never, ever be in a world without sales prospecting techniques. But I knew that I needed to figure out a way to do things differently than how I was doing them. So that was when I started thinking about it.


And that was, what, 2005? It took me about three or four years before I finally really figured out the system, and I kind of backed into it by accident. Okay. I was speaking at a conference, and I came off the stage, and I never ate before I spoke.


The meeting planner had, you know, lunch held for me. So I sat at the table and ate my lunch. Back then, people would live tweet when you spoke, like they would live tweet conferences. You know, nobody does that anymore. It’s a shame. And so I’m doing what all speakers do.


Learn more about sales prospecting techniques in this blog from Converse Digital


Sales Prospecting Techniques: First Experience of the “Invisible Sale”


I’m reading the tweets to see, you know, did my jokes land? Did somebody hate me? Did they like me? You know, what things did that resonated, etc.. Then in between all that was this tweet from this guy who I had no idea who he was. And he said, Hey, that’s to two votes for you. I have an international speaking gig.


Call me, okay. I know who this guy was. I didn’t follow him. He didn’t follow me and like, tells us all about it. So I started looking them up. And then long story short, he had done a gig in Singapore, and the company who had hired him had said, “Hey, we want a social media guy and we want somebody from the United States because we were way far ahead of them.”


Do you know anybody? He didn’t. And so he had crowdsourced. He had asked his 5000 followers, “Does anybody know a really good social media person?” But they need to be like brand marketing, sales oriented, you know, not this tree hugger, Kumbaya stuff, which was the preponderance of folks at the time. And to people that follow me must follow him.


And they both said, you need to call Tom Martin in New Orleans. He’s the business. And as I was sitting, I was like, holy crap. And that was that was my first experience of what I now call the Invisible Sale. I had no idea this guy was I had no idea there was a company in Singapore looking for somebody like me.


And I was like, Wow. And literally, like I talked to the guy. He vetted me a little, gave me the I did another call with the guy in Singapore. Next thing I know, I’m flying to Singapore for a week to do Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and do these workshops and get paid a pretty nice little sum of money.


And I got to go to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and some other nickel. And I’m like, this is the bomb dot com. This is the way to build it. Okay, did you do anything? I just walked off a stage, and there was a tee-up leave that was already kind of sure they wanted to say yes. 


Read this related blog about “Sales Prospecting Techniques: Why Clarity Wins”


Sales Prospecting Techniques: Engaging A Conversation with Your Audience


With sales prospecting techniques I just had to go close the deal. And I was like, “This is it!” And then I started trying to figure out, okay, you know, I tried reverse engineering it. Yeah. What led to this? And I started and that’s that then became what I then called it Painless Prospect, and I still do. And that really sort of became the beginning of the process which has refined over the last I mean, I wrote Invisible Sale in 2013, so we’re coming up on ten years.


They refine the process a little bit over time, but the core, the framework, the bones are still very much the same. So there are a lot of cool nuggets in that story toward the end. You mentioned that they’re already pretty sure that they want what they want. You know, now obviously, they’re going to vet you. They want to talk to you.


They, you know, do like everything that they read. Is it true like they want to do a little bit of kind of with fact-finding? I get that. But like Robin Bowler and Steve Bowler from the Mercer Island Group say all the time and there’s strategic workshops that they teach for our mutual friend Drew McLellan at the Agency Management Institute about 70 to 90% of the decision, the selection process, all of that is done before you even know your prospect exists.


They reach out to you and they’re already pretty sold. Now, your job then is to like get that ball over the goal line and not mess it up. But like that probably felt like a pretty great sales call because it wasn’t really a sales call, right? No, it was a close call. Yeah. I mean, that’s what I tell people all the time.


I’m like, look, my philosophy is, you know, I cold-call it content. I am known for knowledge. I allow all of that to proceed so that when I finally get on the phone with somebody, I really very seldom sell, right? I’m not really spending time proving my worth. I’m answering questions. I’m closing loops, and I’m in, and I’m just making them realize, yeah, he actually is as good as his content makes him sound.


Or he did actually write that content or whatever. Like you’re just sort of, kind of, you’re giving them that nice lobby to make them feel comfortable, right? And you’re kind of closing that little trust door so they can feel confident, you know, giving you the business hire wherever whatever it is we’re being hired to do. And, you know, and the beauty of that is and that’s why I you know, I say, you know, like our tagline for our agency is turning conversations into clients or turning conversations into customers.


And because that’s kind of what we do, right? All that content sets up a conversation. I mean, anybody can get on this. I mean, any of us can get on the phone and just have a conversation. Everybody’s comfortable with that. And that’s the beauty of and that’s what I think to me, that’s what makes it painless, is that you don’t really feel like you’re selling like this person.


I talk to anybody that says hi to me, I’m really bad about going and saying hi to them. So my whole plan is how can I get people to call me first and give me that permission to talk and then we’ll just sit, have a really nice conversation and if I do a good job in that conversation, we should find a way to do business together.


So I’m sure you have our audience, our listeners, quite intrigued by that. Okay, so there is a system that’s together social, content, email, and what are some of the other components and so forth. So if you were to go like 30,000 feet first and give us sort of some overarching what are some of the pillars, the big pieces, however you want to describe that of the system, and then we’ll get a little bit more tactical?


Well, I think that the first pillar is getting known for knowledge, and that’s really bad. I think aid agencies especially are bad about this. They try to keep all of their knowledge, their proprietary thinking, and so forth on their own website. It’s a bad idea, you know, to spread it out liberally around the Internet where people can trip over it and find it as what I call a cobblestone.


Learn more about sales prospecting techniques in this blog from Converse Digital


Sales Prospecting Techniques: Make Them Realize That You’re the One


In sales prospecting techniques, you know, if you put enough cobblestones together, it’s a nice little path back to your agency’s website where you can really let them deep dive and they can finally make a decision to reach out to you. So that’s sort of one. Secondly, this to me was really big, I think sort of where it really gelled for me was I discovered this concept called propinquity, and I actually wanted to name the book Propinquity, and the publisher wouldn’t let me because it was too hard to spell.


Nobody can say it, you know, yadda, yadda, yadda. But it is really what makes it all. It’s the science of propinquity. Basically, what it says is that the way you form relationships with people is that if you are in close proximity to that person than someone else, the likelihood that you will become a friend, a lover of marriage, etc. I extend it to business partners is significantly higher.


It’s the number one predictive variable of the future formation of relationships. And it’s about two things. One, it’s about proximity, you know, getting an opportunity for them to be exposed to you, or as I would say, your knowledge more often than someone else’s. And each time they’re exposed, they have to get the opportunity to learn something new about you or something different.


That’s why advertising is not really good at creating this. And so what that does is it’s basically like dating, right? Like if you would go on a date, like I’m, you know, you’re married, so you want to date with your wife, you have a lovely conversation. You say they have a second date, right? Well, if you’re going on the second date and have the exact same conversation, it might have still been fun.


You might have had a third date because you both like to go out. But again, if you had that same exact conversation word for word, like you would have never gotten to the finish line of marriage unless it was love at first sight. So by dating but each time she got to learn more about you, you got to learn more about her and vice versa, what happens?


It’s really comes down to math. You finally get to this critical mass of things you like about the other person that you say, You know what? I want to be a friend of that person or you know, I want to marry that person or whatever. I want to hire that person to help me in my business. But it’s about that.


And so it’s a combination of proximity. Lots of touch is always given opportunities to learn new things, dive deeper into your thinking and your process so that they can finally realize, I want to hire these people. They can help me if and when they get to the point, they’re ready to go in. Really, that is the process.


It’s can you define what the propinquity points are? You know, what are the podcasts, the websites, the media, the trade shows, etc. that your audience or your prospects are going to or looking to for information, either to make a buying decision or just to do their job better. And then how can you make sure you show up at all those places in a way that they like because there is an asshole rule and every time they run into you, they don’t like you.


Read this related blog about “Sales Prospecting Techniques: Why Clarity Wins”


Sales Prospecting Techniques: Curiosity Will Make a Prospect Align with You


In sales prospecting techniques, that’s a possibility. It does not happen. And they actually tested this. I didn’t just make that up. They actually have to like what they hear. So I gave it the A name. I don’t think that was a scientific term they used, but yeah, they actually do it for like but that’s, it really comes down to that.


Sales prospecting techniques are not rocket science, it’s just you know you can leave that up to chance. People discover new or you can plan it and you can say, Hey, I’m going to go here, here. Like when I go, I publish the book, there were five conferences I wanted to speak to and I wanted to publish on their blogs, and I wanted to be on their podcast because I knew that my audience attended or paid attention to at least one and usually more than one of those conferences.


And so if I popped up at each of those conferences over a five-month period, there was going to be a tremendous amount of propinquity created against those that audience. And it did. It worked. We ended up getting new clients, etc. All I heard you hear or read your posts on this one and that’s really what you’re trying to do, is make it feel like like I told the audience that at the Battle of Summit where you and I met, I said, You really when it comes time for them to make the purchase decision, the agency hiring decision, whatever you kind of want to be the only voice they hear because if you are, you’re really hard to ignore and you’re going to get the phone call and it’s probably give me a good phone call. So I’m going to see if I’ll take a stab at pronouncing the word propinquity. That’s a cool word, dude. Yeah, make fun. Drew never says it right. Drew can never say it correctly, but I think that the point is that when you meet somebody at a conference like you and I met at the Build Better Agency Summit a few weeks ago.


But when you’re speaking at those five conferences, not only do they obviously hear you live and think, okay, that resonates with my point of view and so forth and maybe my need and where I want to take my business and so forth. But then they go back and they look at your body of work, your social media, your blog posts, and your podcast.


Wherever you’re sharing your content, you use the word cobblestones. Love that. Wherever you’re sharing all of that. And he or she is truly a generous person. Do they teach and share their knowledge and or does that align with where we were, I think that we need help. And when you do that generously and you’re sharing all of that, then that formula works really, really well right then.


Then they come out of the woodwork and say, “Hey, I saw you at so-and-so conference or whatever, and I read all this stuff. I got a copy of your book and they’re ready to start, right?” Well, there’s also a huge halo effect in that they are looking, they trust that resource, that conference, that whatever to serve as a filter for quality content, quality information.


Learn more about sales prospecting techniques in this blog from Converse Digital


Sales Prospecting Techniques: The Propinquity Strategy


Yeah. So the fact that you show up there, you inherit that halo, you may not really be any smarter than the next person, but the next person wasn’t on that stage. Their blog post wasn’t on that conference. They weren’t a guest on that podcast. And so you’re going to get that halo, that Wow.


And then if you can, pick three or four or five different places. So every time they turn around like, “Wow! This, this person is there.” Every time I read about marketing or business development for agencies, Tom Martin in this Converse Digital shows up like they must be good. And the other thing is to it and I show this sometimes it’s for my keynotes, it’s impossible, or at least as far as I know, it’s impossible to get.


Like, if you’re the first page at Google and there’s ten results, it’s impossible to get more than maybe one or two of those pointing at your own website. If you’re lucky, you might get two, usually one. But if your content is spread all over the Internet, you can literally, if you type propinquity marketing into Google and I encourage listeners to do this, go type propinquity marketing into Google.


Usually, eight of the first ten are either me writing on someone else’s content or somebody writing content talking about me that I introduce them to the concept of propinquity, super smart. So if you’re you know, if you’re a client, you’re like, this propinquity thing sounds really cool. I think this to work for us in either the tenor, who are you going to call to tell you right in the space that you want to do what you want to clean that space and your own?


Yeah. You know, and that’s what’s really cool about it is that you can really, and when they call you, they’re not asking you to prove that you are the master of something. Various rooms you are because Google told them you were smart or Google told me you’re the man for this or the woman or the agency. And that’s the beauty of it.


And it just requires you to step back and think a little differently because SEO guys always they always ragging me like, you’re going to lose all the Google juice by spreading all your content everywhere. I’m like, I really don’t care because you’re probably more likely to find my content on someone else’s website than mine because I suck at SEO.


Yeah, it’s just that. So. Well, okay, so here again, I suspect that our audience, our listeners are thinking, okay, I totally understand it. I get the propinquity strategy and so now let’s break it down tactically. So now let’s go 10,000 foot view. Let’s assume that somebody is listening to you right now who’s not doing this at all. Blank slate.


And sure, it would be awesome to say, well, tomorrow you should launch a podcast and then a video series, and you two should write a book and get on conference stages and so forth. And so we’re should where should they reasonably start? Like, what do you typically recommend as the starting point to start building some momentum? Well, my recommendations usually start by creating something.


Yeah, sales prospecting techniques can start creating content on your own website because, you know, the act of creating content makes you a better content creator, and you just become a better writer, a better videographer, or whatever, just to start. Don’t wait to start. The second thing is, I say, you go. Hopefully, they have a database of prospects.


And I say, Go into your database of prospects and make sure you’ve mapped all of their social media platforms and then go analyze what those people are sharing. Now, if you’ve got access to a social listening platform, makes a little bit easier. If not, interns are great because you can and based on what you’re doing is you’re going interest, you know, if someone let’s say I’d go know, analyze your Twitter feed you share content on Twitter, I can pull down every single link that you’ve shared in the last year.


Read this related blog about “Sales Prospecting Techniques: Why Clarity Wins”


Sales Prospecting Techniques: Expanding Your Reach to Different Demographics


I can truncate that down to the dot com, dot net board level because I don’t really care about the individual article that you shared. I just care about the core domain, and I can put that into a spreadsheet and tally it in a pivot table. And I could say, if I want to reach you, Stephen, here are the top five things.


You tend to the top five websites you tend to share things from. Yeah, pretty good chance that if I show up on those five websites, not only am I going to be in front of you, but I’m going to be if I’m convinced that you are a good prospect for me because you match a certain profile, Chances are people who also match your profile, who are quote-unquote invisible I don’t know who they are, are probably also in those same locations.


I’m also going to get exposure to them. That way, you can start really being strategic about where you want to be, where you want to appear, etc., and then just work that for a year because it’s good, but you do a lot of steam. So if I do, I find it’s like 9 to 12 months.


Once you start a new business effort or a prospect, it takes about 9 to 12 months before you start to see the fruits of your labor. So, you know, just commit to doing this for at least a year and see what happens. So here’s what I’m taking out of that piece. And maybe we can also add another to it: first, let’s build the internal discipline.


I heard you say this the other day during a webinar: He and Susan Baier were presenting the research results of their most recent research study, which was super, super bright. But he started talking about how, you know, we as agencies, coaches, and consultants should be the best at marketing our business. This is why clients hire us, right?


Learn more about sales prospecting techniques in this blog from Converse Digital


Sales Prospecting Techniques: Finding A Medium to Get Your Content Out


Using sales prospecting techniques is a really terrible internal discipline when it comes to actually doing it for ourselves. So I think what you’re saying is, hey, actually built that discipline just like you would for a client. Stop treating yourself as a cobbler’s kids and actually produce a great blog post once a week or a great video series or something once a week and then leverage that content by finding out where your prospects are hanging out, what are there, watering holes and get your stuff into those watering holes.


Right? And you have the commitment to do that for 12 months? Well, and you have a process. I would say the book you and Andrew wrote— I don’t know if it is an actual chapter or maybe it’s in the appendix —but you all had this entire step-by-step process of taking content and atomizing it into 70 different pieces of content.


And I remember reading sales prospecting techniques. I even think I told Drew this and I’m telling you, I was like, damn, I need to do this. And because it was so much more disciplined than I am because I fall victim to the Colbert children thing. But it was so disciplined that I was like, God, if I was this disciplined, I would be awesome.


And so that’s why I think you have to do what you have to. So we now do it. We’ve got it programmed in our project management system, you know, and who’s doing what and this, that and the other. But yeah, I think it’s really about don’t bite off more than you can chew. In sales prospecting techniques we can create content if you’re really, really strapped for time. If you don’t have a lot of support maybe you’re a really small company and then I would say look first and foremost for podcasts and conference stages. Conference stages are more challenging to get.


Podcasts are a little more accessible, but being a guest on a podcast is the most accessible content you’ll ever create in your life. Or if you do show up like that, you sort of do a little research. You kind of have an idea of, okay, they tend to talk about this. The audience, and then just show up. Once that podcast goes live, you can repurpose it on your website, take it up to a speech pad, have it transcribed, and use that content for a blog post.


Email campaigns show that you can turn a one-hour podcast into a bunch of stuff without really doing a lot of work yourself. And it just ends when other podcasts you see like, “Wow, look at that. They promote the hell out of the fact that they were on this podcast.” It makes them want to invite you as a guest.


And so there are little things like that where a little bit of work can have a lot of impacts creating, you know, doing like custom research or writing, you know, two and 3000 word blog posts. That’s a lot of work stuff. So ramp up to that, do the small security. I’m a big fan of curation.


Read this related blog about “Sales Prospecting Techniques: Why Clarity Wins”


Sales Prospecting Techniques: Curating Your Way Towards Thought Leadership


I once tested this years ago. Mobile was first coming into play, and I was a social media guy. I was like, Man, everybody’s talking about mobile. I got to align with mobile. I just started curating mobile content and sharing it on Twitter and stuff. And next thing you know, it’s an all-conference defunct now blog world.


I get called that blog world. They want me to curate their mobile track. And by the way, of course, we would like you to speak on the mobile track, too. And I’m like, I don’t have a mobile client.


In sales prospecting techniques, it was just proof that you know, a little bit of focused effort made you stand out. And because we’re constantly sharing mobile content, you must know mobile well the way the world works. But let’s add something to this, though. You were not just curating like share, you were adding something smart, though. Yes, that’s an excellent point.


I would add a, you know, 100 when I was 100, back then 140 characters in Twitter. But yeah, I would have had 50 or 60 characters, my own thoughts, or whatever. So, yes, you can’t just retweet crap. I mean, like you needed to curate, say, hey, you know, really pay attention to the third paragraph. That’s where the media is and people would go to buy it.


So with sales prospecting techniques, you can literally curate your way into thought leadership. I don’t think any cheap, true thought leadership is worth it. I think that really requires the creation of content. You need content, but you can get really close to that just by curating. So, okay, real quick examples, and I’m going to ask you about final advice because I know we’re quickly running out of time here.


But as you were talking about sales prospecting techniques and guesting on podcasts, just to highlight this for our audience, this conversation with Tom, we can slice and dice the heck out of that. We can turn that into checklists, and we will not see that that’s our thought leadership and sales prospecting techniques. We will give you credit for all of that. And, I mean, you have shared some amazing golden nuggets, what we like to call golden nuggets in this conversation, and vice versa.


Your team can do the exact same thing in sales prospecting techniques, turn this whole conversation into an e-book, into a sales funnel, and all of those types of things. And what’s staggering is that most business owners who do get that at-bat don’t. And I think that’s what your point is: Why? Why go halfway where you’re just two yards away from the goal line, do the extra effort?


Learn more about sales prospecting techniques in this blog from Converse Digital


Sales Prospecting Techniques: Developing The Relationship After Your Content Has Reached the Right People


I always tell people never to do anything. It is like getting to build a better agency summit. I wore a lapel, lapel, and extra lapel microphone connected to a digital recorder, and I recorded my entire presentation. Then that night, I told her at the end because I was going really fast, because I didn’t have a lot of time, and I wanted to cover a lot of content.


And I said look, just just listen to me. Don’t even bother to take notes because I’m recording everything. And if you at the end of the presentation think, “Gosh, I’d like to be able to go back, just scan this QR code or go to this bit early.” And tonight at some point you’ll get an email from me and you’re going to get the entire presentation, audio slides, synchronized, rewatch to your heart’s content.


Yeah. And I ask that you don’t send it to anybody who wasn’t here. You know, make them go register to get access to it. And by the way that conference is the conference where your prospects are figured out. Absolutely. I had 30, or 35 people request that, and all I did was take the audio recording, drop it into screen flow export it in my keynote as JPEGs.


And then all I had to do was sit in my hotel room with a cocktail and listen for that’s when the next slide comes up and drop it in. You know, it took another hour or so to do it right. But export up to Vimeo, onto the website, an email goes out, Don, you know, for an extra hour, hour and a half of work.


I now have my content in people’s hands. I know who they are. I can start to try to develop a relationship. I can start to say, okay, you know, we’ve got to an agency business development masterclass that we’re launching in January, July this summer. I think a market that to those people, the target-rich environment, obviously a top gun line coming out and you know, it’s just in ideas about a $100 little zoom thing.


And I put a lab in it. It was just little things like that if you just do that little extra bit, it’s unbelievable. In sales prospecting techniques you can turn that into content, and again, that makes life easier. It’s less painful. I love it. And what I love is also the fulfillment of the promise. When I did the introduction, I talked about how there was never any fluff, and you went strategic and tactical.


Read this related blog about “Sales Prospecting Techniques: Why Clarity Wins”


Sales Prospecting Techniques: Selling The Promise of a Bright Future


So thank you very much, for both of those. Before we go, before we close out and say goodbye. Any final recommendations in sales prospecting techniques, anything you think we might have missed? And then please tell our audience the best way to connect with you, Tom. Well, I would say the only thing we didn’t touch on is that when I speak about the once you get an opportunity to have a conversation, right, the way to convert that to a client or a customer is to really be a relationship first in your goals.


If you’re transactional, if all you’re trying to do is close the deal 100%, it comes through in it. And especially, you know, as agencies, we don’t really sell a product or service. We sell the promise of a future outcome delivered through products and services. So, at the end of the day, we sell trust.


In sales prospecting techniques, it emphasizes that to build trust is to build a relationship, to build a connection, to create some common ground between you and that prospect. And if you can create that trust better than the other guy, you’re going to get hired. Because at the end of the day, that’s really what happens. In the end, she gets tired. That’s a client saying, I believe you’re more likely to create that future outcome for me than the other group.


And so that I would really just focus on relationships, we could have another episode on that because there are so many other benefits of being in a relationship first in terms of where to find us. or @TomMartin on Twitter. It is both great and you know we walk the talk we have a weekly insight and information little email that goes out that’s a collection of what as we said. Everything you should have read last week, some of it’s ours, a lot of it’s not actually.


So it’s a pretty good compendium, and it’s broken down by sales prospecting techniques, content marketing, and social media sales. There’s actually a section for ad agency or agency, I should say, business development. We always highlight a cool piece of research that maybe you missed, and then we just have sort of a swipe file of smorgasbord—interesting, fun stuff that just we thought was cool or smart to know about.


You can go there, sign up for that, and cancel at any time. No lawyers are required. I love how you just gave us the piece about selling the promise of the future outcome and then highlighted with a big bright spotlight that we sell trust.


I love that. That’s to me, that’s it. That’s what we sell. You make the prospect trust you more than the other person or the other agency you win. You may not win every time, but you’re going to win more often than not. That’s really smart. Okay, everyone, no matter how many notes you take or how often you go back and listen to this episode, which I sure hope that you do.


The key is you have to take the sales prospecting techniques and the tactics that Tom so generously shared with you. You have to take them, apply them, put them into your business, and if you do, you will accelerate your results. And, Tom, I’m very grateful that you said yes to come on to the show, to be our mentor and guide, help us move our businesses onward to that next level.


Thank you so much, my friend. You are so welcome. I appreciate you having me. I’m absolutely flattered when anybody wants to let me talk for an hour.


Learn more about sales prospecting techniques in this blog from Converse Digital

Fill Your Sales Pipeline Q&A

LIVE Wednesdays at 1:00 pm Eastern / 12 Noon Central

Sell with Authority Podcast

The Sell with Authority Podcast is for agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants who are looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality.

Follow Us