1833 – Strategies for Human-Centric Social Sales with Tom Martin

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Founder of Converse Digital, Tom Martin.

Martin Wide

Social media is often seen as a platform for broadcasting messages, but Tom sheds light on its potential as a powerful tool for prospecting, nurturing, and closing sales. He shares strategies on how to leverage these platforms to reach out to potential clients and create a journey that feels personal and human.

Tom discusses the science behind human behavior and how tapping into these insights can lead to more effective marketing strategies. Knowing what drives your audience, you can tailor your approach to meet their needs and desires, leading to better engagement and conversion rates.

The key takeaway is the significance of building meaningful relationships in the digital space. Tom Martin's expertise reminds us that a person is seeking connection behind every click, like, or share. As businesses and marketers, we must foster those connections and turn them into lasting relationships.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Strategies for building meaningful relationships in the digital space
  • Leveraging social media for prospecting, nurturing, and closing sales
  • Prioritizing human connection and relationship-building in sales
  • Understanding the science behind human behavior in sales and marketing

About Tom Martin:

Tom Martin is a seasoned professional with 30 years of experience in sales and marketing. Known for his no-nonsense and straight-talking approach, he is a veteran in the field. Tom is passionate about helping individuals “Sell Greatly” by transforming conversations into customers.

As an internationally recognized keynote speaker, blogger, and founder of Converse Digital, he successfully combines his expertise in marketing and technology to educate people on leveraging digital channels for effective sales strategies.

Tom's commitment to enhancing brand perception and Painlessly Prospecting is evident in his book, “The Invisible Sale,” where he shares scientifically proven techniques to turn conversations into clients.

About Converse Digital:

Converse Digital is a leading organization that empowers businesses to achieve remarkable sales growth through innovative digital sales and marketing strategies. Specializing in teaching organizations how to “Sell Greatly,” Converse Digital excels in turning conversations into valuable customers.

The company's expertise lies in leveraging various digital tools, including email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, and marketing automation, to optimize sales processes. Converse Digital guides clients in understanding and seamlessly integrating digital technologies and platforms by providing insightful advice and counsel.

The organization's holistic approach aims to uncover invisible sales opportunities and convert prospects by Selling Greatly. With a commitment to enhancing brand perception and painlessly prospecting for new clients, Converse Digital is a trusted partner for businesses seeking effective and sustainable success in the dynamic digital scene.

Tweetable Moments:

10:27 – “I value quality. I would much rather have five really good conversations of which I'll probably end up closing two to three, than a hundred where I might close one.”

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Converse Digital website at

Check out Converse Digital on LinkedIn at

Check out Converse Digital on Facebook at

Check out Converse Digital on Instagram at

Check out Tom Martin on LinkedIn at

Check out Tom Martin on Twitter at

Check out Tom Martin on Instagram at

Check out Tom Martin on Facebook at

Check out Tom Martin’s book: The Invisible Sale at

Check out Tom Martin’s newsletter Painless Prospecting at

Check out Tom Martin new course at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey, thoughtful listener, before we get going. Did you know that my company up my influence? Com has launched more than 200 business podcasts. The host of our shows are amazing leaders and collaborators. Folks I want to connect you with. Maybe you deserve your moment in the spotlight as a guest of one of these amazing shows. Just go to up my influence. Com where you can see more than 50 shows that are actively seeking business leader guests like you to celebrate right now in front of their high caliber audiences. Just click on the podcast tab and up my influence. Com where you'll see shows like Profit, Powerhouse with Glenn Close, sales negotiations and business insights. This isn't just another business podcast. It's a deep dive into the strategies that truly drive success. Hosted by Glenn Poulos, a seasoned sales strategist and business growth expert, each episode is packed with insights from top executives and business leaders. If you're a high level executive looking to share your expertise and story, we want you on profit powerhouse. Your experiences could be the exact insights Glenn's audience of ambitious business leaders are craving.

Josh (00:01:27) - And for our listeners, if you're ready to elevate your business acumen and learn from the best in the industry, profit Powerhouse with Glenn Poulos is your go to resource. Subscribe now and join a community of professionals who are transforming the business world. Ready to be a part of something groundbreaking? Visit up my influence and click on the podcast tab to find profit powerhouse. Whether you're looking to be the next guest or just seeking invaluable business wisdom, this is where your journey begins. Again, just go to up my influence. Com and click on the podcast tab. With us right now. I'm so delighted to have Tom Martin. Tom, you are the founder of Converse Digital and you are the author of the book The Invisible Sale. I'm, uh, like I said, Tom, I already love what I'm seeing. Um, but it's it's a joy to have you. Thank you, Tom, for joining us.

Tom (00:02:26) - No. Thank you. I'm just, uh, flattered to be here. I've been. We have?

Josh (00:02:30) - Yeah.

Josh (00:02:30) - We have a lot of great mutual friends. Kind of in the, uh, uh, kind of the social media world and, you know, and our and we were just kind of talking about this beforehand, you know, our bias, it looks like. Right, is that social media really is about meaningful creating and building meaningful relationships. It's about human to human connection. And I'm hoping, you know, to our friend that's listening to us, I'm so grateful that you're that you're here, um, to kind of, you know, kind of, um, kind of dive geek out with us a little bit on this. But, Tom, would you mind maybe just kind of giving us an overview of the work that you do? And then certainly we'll get into the, um, content of the book.

Tom (00:03:08) - Yeah. Well, when I founded the company in 2010, uh, we founded it. It was really we were a social media agency because early days we were helping companies figure it out.

Tom (00:03:16) - Then I wrote the book because I was kind of early to the social selling thing. And over the last 7 to 10 years, we've steadily moved to where now we really function as a B to B training, social sales training agency, and we're helping individuals and organizations learn how to, you know, really leverage the power of social media, relationship building, digital tools, how to create a digital presence that really facilitates prospecting, nurturing, and closing in a way that doesn't feel like you're a used car salesman.

Josh (00:03:46) - Well, um, uh, so talk a bit about where we are. I don't know if you can give us a state of the Union when it comes to connecting with audiences. My observation is that I think that there has been, unfortunately, a lot of bad practices, which I think have really burned over a lot of really good platforms. Things like Sales Navigator is just it used to be pretty awesome, um, for a lot of reasons. And today I think that if you just do the lazy spray and pray stuff, I think we all know what you're going to get today.

Josh (00:04:21) - Um, but I could could you maybe give us a, a, you know, again, over the areas, you know, when it comes to marketing, obviously social media is a part of that. Um, but like, what's working today? Well, what's not working well today anymore?

Tom (00:04:34) - Well, I definitely, you know, you hit the nail on the head. The technology is such that the spray and pray cost you nothing. You know, you can just, you know, scatter, uh, scatter your message over lots of people and really end up annoying them, but not really converting anybody. I is only going to make that worse. I mean, you have probably the same inbox I do, you know, 50, 60 a day of just worthless, irrelevant drivel. But what I always say is this, I mean. It is really the technologist and not the technology that is to blame. I use automation software. I use it not just in email marketing and places like that.

Tom (00:05:11) - I use it on LinkedIn. I have a tool that I use that I can automate, uh, outreach and campaigns and, and I've tested it ad nauseam. And what I find is that it can be actually quite effective. I can get a 15 to 20% connection rate, uh, that allows, but I do it in a way that's very human. It's very straightforward. It's very easy. It's not salesy. I don't follow up immediately with a sales, uh, pitch. And it's been very, uh, it's been very helpful for me, a small boutique agency where I am the sales department. Uh, it's it enables me to scale up my outreach, but in a way that doesn't lose the humanity of that outreach. And like I said, I've tested different approaches. And honestly, the most successful one is just a super open, honest, hey, here's why you would want to see me in your LinkedIn newsfeed every day. If you like that, great connect. If not, don't.

Tom (00:06:01) - And it works really well and people like it.

Josh (00:06:03) - Uh, Tom, could you maybe break down some of the elements of, of of activity that you see working really well? And I mean, if you want to throw a couple of other bad practices under the bus, you're welcome to do. You don't have to. Yeah, I think we've already covered that in nauseum. But um, yeah. Share, share maybe a bit about what you and your clients do. Um, that has become or has really been successful for them.

Tom (00:06:27) - Well, the, the main thing that I think that we do and the thing that we teach our clients to do is, is first and foremost help, you know, help the people first, prove that you prove your worth, um, show them you care about something more than just a transaction, that you really care about building a relationship. And, you know, so like I said, like my most successful LinkedIn, uh, connection messages, hey, here's who I am.

Tom (00:06:48) - I publish and share information about sales, nurturing, prospecting, closing for in a way that's not that traditional sales always be closing approach. It's very relationship based. If you think that would be beneficial to be, you know, to find that in your LinkedIn newsfeed from time to time, let's connect. And if after a while you don't like what you see, disconnect. No harm, no foul. I'm not going to say anything about it. And that has been wildly successful. Uh, the other thing is, is that if I'm going to connect with folks, uh, and other clients are seeing this for us as well, is we'll lead with a piece of content, uh, you know, and we won't lead with the promise of, oh, hey, let's connect, and then I'll send you content, or let's schedule a call and I can share this report with you. Uh, we'll lead with true content. You know, I'll do. I'm working on a post today. That's. I'm taking a piece of research, and I'm going to summarize it and analyze it.

Tom (00:07:38) - And I will send the summary to all the people that it is truly relevant for, because it's not truly relevant for everybody that we work with. But for a subsegment, it's very it's going to be very, very relevant. And, and I'll send and say here. And by the way, here's a link to the original research. If you want to read everything so that you're not just reading my summation and my take on it, and it works really well, people, thank you for it. They, you know, they either connect with you or in some cases, the connect with you. You haven't even asked them to you just send them the research. So again, it goes back to that just, hey, be human, be helpful people like helpful right? Yeah. Because they're not they're not a lot of helpful people in the world. So when you're one of those people, I think it helps you really stand out. And people at least. They don't. They won't. They won't delete your your message.

Tom (00:08:18) - They won't put it to spam. You know, they'll be like, okay, I need to put that one away and read it later because that guy's usually sending me good stuff.

Josh (00:08:25) - Yeah. You know, it's so fascinating, the disconnect. I think that happens when we think about how we would behave in a room of people that we'd love to engage with, versus how many of us behave on platforms like social media or our email list or whatever. Right? It's like, wait a minute. Like I think the two should be like, if you wouldn't do it in a room, why would you do that in this other electronic platform? There's there's no difference. We're talking about humans, and I think there's that, you know, it's I don't know if it's just being sloppy. It's just I have a lot of empathy because I think a lot of us have just been given historically bad advice. And so because we think that that's just what it takes, you have to do uncomfortable sales outreach because that's just what you're supposed to do in business.

Josh (00:09:18) - And I think a lot of business owners, my opinion is that that's like the least favorite part of their business because it just feels uncomfortable, particularly. I know you wrote a really good article here about introverts in particular, but I think all of us, I don't think any of us wants to be that me monster who walks into a room and is just selling people and slapping business cards in people's hands. But unfortunately, that's where a lot of us are doing on social and beyond.

Tom (00:09:47) - Well, I think it's because we have been. If you look back at sales training since the beginning of sales training, we are taught that activity equals progress, right? More cold calls, more emails, more business cards in hands. And we're taught that quantity is is the equivalent of progress. And I just have never believed it I value quality, I would much rather have five really good conversations, of which I'll probably end up closing 2 to 3, then a hundred where I might close one, because at the end of the day, I get the same number of new clients, I get the same amount of new revenue, but I just do with a lot less work.

Tom (00:10:27) - And it just it's just more fun, frankly. Because I don't know about you, I hate networking, I hate going to those things because people are all playing business card ninja. Right. And and it's just it's just not fun. It's not fun. Oh, that was always the beauty. I mean, I missed the old days of Twitter when people actually used to talk to one another because I would say most of the contacts I've made in the last ten years, uh, I can track them all back to the early days of Twitter, when we would all sit on tweet chats and we would meet each other and we would start talking, and then eventually we might meet face to face like this over a video call. Right. And that might be the very first time I see a person's face in real life. But by then, I've already got this great relationship. We know so much about each other. We've developed a some level of a friendship. Uh, yeah. To me, like, that's what you do if you're always out there connecting, if you're being helpful, if you're being friendly, it's amazing how often just things show up in your inbox or people show up in your world, yes, who are ready to hire you and and or at least think you might be a good option.

Tom (00:11:26) - Right? And so to me, it's just a better it's a better way of doing business. And it produces better quality clients, better quality customers, better relationships. Uh, and again, just kind of goes back to I'm like you, I, I hate that sort of. Oh, hi. Here, here's my business card. Here's what I can do for you. Let's I just and I think a lot of people like us, you know, you come out of PR, I come out of advertising. I think people specifically in that creative space, the agency world and so forth absolutely despise that traditional salesy approach. Yeah, it might be why we work with a lot of because they like our approach better than the than the salesy one.

Speaker 3 (00:12:01) - Yeah.

Josh (00:12:02) - The fear. And I think you've Tom I think you've covered this quite well. Um, but I think the fear is that if I'm not engaged in direct sales activity at all time. So it's it's like they're, it's kind of they're putting the cart before the horse.

Josh (00:12:15) - Right? Because they're trying to get to what they think that they're supposed to be doing. Um, when if you, um, cast a net of love and generosity and connection. Right. Just like, you know, for me, I was in fact, I was just talking with a client right now, and we were talking about, you know, listen, you know, follower count, that's a great vanity metric. Like, it's it, you know, it might make you feel good. I think it is a social signal, right, in terms of authority. But, you know, for me it's like, um, you know, it's like what I want is I social media for me is about building relationships and treating audiences like adults. And I think a lot of this stems from being a little bit more empathic to where people are and what their life is like. You know, they're inundated with noise, they're inundated with, um, people selling at them. And so if you can just differentiate yourself and just kind of lean in through the friend door with your content.

Josh (00:13:15) - With your expertise, your service. Right? People know it's. It's what I've said. I'm sorry. This is your interview, not mine. Sorry. Um, but, you know, it's like I believe that people know what your intention is. Much, much sooner than you think. They realize what your intention is. It's almost like, I think, like, we all know when a salesperson is coming up to us and we can kind of feel it coming like, yeah, like we all have that intuition. Well, guess what your audience does too. Your quote unquote leads, which I hate using that word. They know what you're doing. Um, so you may as well just dispense with the charade and just, you know, lean, either lean into the relationship and go through the front door or, you know, just acknowledge it for what it is.

Tom (00:14:03) - Well, you know, it's really funny is I spent a lot of time studying science, you know, neurology, uh, you know, neuroscience and social science and persuasion, science education, science, all the things that come into play with how I transfer information to you, how you learn the information, how you hold it, how it becomes persuasive, etc..

Tom (00:14:22) - And when you look at the science and then you look at what is traditionally thought of as a selling, so many of the techniques that people hammer home and, and they'd say, well, you got to do this. It actually flies in the face of the science. The science actually tells, you know, buy, you know, because my big one is people will be like, oh, you know, uh, my, you know, the person's not saying, yes, they're kind of stalling or whatever. And so, you know, I gotta I gotta keep on them. I gotta keep emailing. I gotta keep calling on me, keep putting the pressure on. Because if I don't, I'll lose the sale. And that actually flies 180 degrees in the face of the science. Because what the science tells you is that when a person feels like they are, they don't have control of the situation, like they're being forced into a decision. They will just instinctively roadblock like they're going to. It's not even it's biological.

Tom (00:15:11) - It's not even a thought process. It's just I gotta push back.

Speaker 4 (00:15:14) - Which is exactly.

Tom (00:15:15) - What you don't want to have happen at that point in a sales process. Um, and so it's really interesting. The more you really dive behind and get out of the whole salesy world and get into the science. And how do people build relationships and how do they consume information and how do you, you know, how do you build trust and importantly, credibility? You know, we always talk about all like people work with people they know, like trust people forget there's a fourth one. It's called the people that have actual credibility. And I think the way you build credibility is, you know, like you said, like by not constantly just trying to push people down a pathway. I do a schtick in my in my keynotes and in my workshops where I do a role play and I say, okay, I'm a sales person, I'm selling you. You asked me a question, I give you an answer, you know, where's your filter? Where's that buzz filter? It's always around 7 or 8.

Tom (00:16:02) - But then I say, right now you ask me a question, I say, hey, here's a piece of content. An engineer or somebody else in my company wrote that answers it. Let me know if that answers your question. If not, we'll go on the BBS filter drops to three and like it is almost like that's not even the average. That's like I guess the medium median number. I mean, it is uncanny. And if you think about it, it's completely illogical. Because if I'm giving you a piece of content, you can darn sure bet it's the most biased, most beneficial to my point of view piece of content. Because that's why it exists. Yeah. Right. Right. But you're but you as an individual, that's not how you consume it. And again, that's where if you just take if people step back and look at the science and look at how people process, you don't have to do all that silliness. It's actually not as effective. It's just we've been taught for 50 years that it is.

Tom (00:16:50) - And we've been taught through movies and stuff that that's how it is, and that's how everybody has that sort of type A sales person, uh, you know, idea in their mind and they think, oh, I'm an introvert, or, oh, I'm not a Type-A person. I can't be a good salesperson, I can't sell. It's like, no, actually, you can be really good. Sometimes more effective. Just embrace different tools and techniques.

Josh (00:17:11) - Yeah, I would much rather work with an introvert that's going to care about me, and it's going to ask me questions about me so that they, you know, and they're okay with just like I'm just happy to help, you know, I may or may not be the best solution for you, but I'm happy to help. I know quite a bit about this. And, you know, maybe I've got a connection for you or, you know, maybe I can brainstorm with you. You talk about Tom. What I just explained right there like that is like my dream ideal salesperson.

Josh (00:17:37) - It's let's collectively come up with an idea together. And it may be us engaging today. It may be, well, I'm not the right fit for you, but I'm going to send you somebody because I appreciate your earnest, um, you know, your earnest, um, kind of attitude to it. You know? I'm sorry. I'm just looking at the clock here. Your website, converse And of course, on your website you have a link to your book, which is The Invisible Sale how to build a digitally powered marketing and sales system to better prospect qualify and close leads. But Tom, I want to have you share maybe just a bit about who you work with, like who should be reaching out because you could probably. Help them with some issues in their organization.

Tom (00:18:18) - Yeah. Our primary, um, our bull's eye of a customer is a freelancer, solopreneur, somebody in the creative agency space who, you know, because they either own the company or somehow they've been pulled into the selling process, but they don't really think they're very good at selling.

Tom (00:18:32) - They don't feel comfortable with selling. Uh, that's our bullseye. We help those people. I mean, that's what I did in the advertising world. I was director of business development. That's how I started my company. So we show them. How can you become known for knowledge? How can you painlessly prospect? And then once you get a conversation, manage that conversation into a way that it actually converts reliably to clients so that you can have the freedom to remain self-employed, but more importantly, have the freedom to work with the clients you want to work with and not just whoever will hire you, uh, which ultimately makes your life just a wee bit more fun and, uh, profitable in the long run.

Speaker 3 (00:19:07) - Yeah. Uh, again, Tom.

Josh (00:19:09) - Martin, your website converts digital when somebody goes there. Um, what should they do? What would you recommend you do? You have some great content on here. Obviously your book is here. The invisible sale. Um, what would you recommend if someone's listening or conversation? Next steps.

Josh (00:19:22) - Where do they go? What do they do?

Tom (00:19:23) - I would go there's a link that on the nav that says what we think go there. There's I don't know, 400 articles. Oh I just read, you know, they can be subdivided by topical area read. See what you think. If you feel like wow, this is helpful. Sign up for the newsletter. And when I publish new stuff, you'll get it. Uh, or sometimes I share other people's stuff. You'll get it. Uh, and if you really think we can be helpful, then then hit the contact form and just say, you know, let's set up a conversation. Is my one of my old bosses used to say it never hurts to talk.

Speaker 3 (00:19:53) - Yeah. Uh, just to.

Josh (00:19:55) - Tease out a couple of pieces of content here. You got my attention. Here's one. The seven deadly sins of B2B gated content marketing. If you have gated content, you need to read this article. There's a lot. You're right.

Josh (00:20:09) - This is a pretty rich, uh, you have you have a very rich, uh, content library here. Um, so Tom Martin again, converse, your book, The Invisible Sale how to build the digitally powered marketing and sales system to better prospect qualify and close leads. Tom, it's been great having you. Thank you so much for joining us.

Tom (00:20:28) - No, thank you for having me. It's always a pleasure.

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