The new SharpSpring Agency Growth Series features an awesome curated lineup of the top influencers in digital marketing. We could not be more excited about the group of great minds we were lucky enough to pull together to make this agency-focused series happen.

The free series is made up of 14 unique web sessions, all with a livestream Q&A segment, and all focused on helping agencies accelerate their growth.

Sessions feature digital marketing superstars speaking candidly about the industry topics they know best and are most passionate about. And we want to make sure to share the love – so, in addition to providing recordings of the sessions and live Q&As, we’ll also be posting key takeaways here following each session.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite insights from our Agency Growth Series session with agency owner, consultant and author Tom Martin.

Tom Martin on “what is propinquity”

Propinquity is a fancy scientific researcher word for proximity. It’s the number one determinant variable of the formation of future relationships. And this is based on about 100 years of social science research, mostly in the sort of marital relationship realm. And what it states is that the closer you are to someone in terms of physical or psychological, and I would now add virtual proximity, the more likely it is that you will form some sort of a relationship, romantic relationship, business relationship, etc.

And so it really is the scientific underpinning of the entire painless prospecting system that we’ve built here at Converse Digital in that we teach other people how to use it because it’s the science that makes the whole thing work.

Tom Martin on the importance of propinquity

As your agency is bumping into people and prospective clients, that client needs the opportunity to continually learn something new about you – your point of view, your capability, your thought process, how you think, etc., because it’s those new data points that ultimately they’ll hit a critical mass of things they like about you. And that’s what makes me want to actually contact you and potentially hire you. So that’s huge.

Tom Martin on how to develop propinquity

There’s lots of ways to do it, you can be, you know, really well structured with your propinquity points. Like when the book [The Invisible Sale] came out, there were four or five key conferences that I felt potential readers of the book and potential clients of the agency attended and I made it a goal that I was going to speak at every one of those conferences … in the window where the book came out. And we even had the book release in that window so I was developing propinquity.

The other way you can do it, which I use a lot, is email. Which makes perfect sense for a SharpSpring webinar, and I talked about it in my webinar. How you can use email, especially automation type tools, etc., to not just create that proximity, but actually propinquity.

Because you can start to really educate that person about how you think, how your agency thinks, how it’s unique and why they should then, maybe, want to hire you.

Tom Martin on how prospecting can be painless

When you think about sales as prospecting you’re thinking like a hunter. I don’t do that. I think like the hunted. I want to be the prey. I want to be the person who’s hunted. The way it becomes painless is — I’ll use an example from very recently. When COVID hit everybody started doing virtual sales calls. Everybody discovered Zoom. We noticed that was a very topical thing, and we also noticed people, by and large, sucked at Zoom calls.

There were all kinds of simple technical issues, that – ‘Man, if you would just do this, this and this your quality of your meeting, the quality of how you present yourself, would put you head and shoulders above everybody else.’

So I spent a couple hours and I wrote a very simple blog post. We published it and it went out to our blog readers. It went to our social media, etc. That was probably, I don’t know, April. Since that time. I know for a fact I’ve had three new business leads coming off of that post.

Completely painless because the leads showed up in my inbox … and they’re already kind of sure they might want to do business with you. They at least think that you can probably deliver what they need. Now, whether or not they actually book you or hire you or go with someone else, there’s all kinds of things that get in the way of that. But you’re not out there trying to convince them that you’re the one that can do what they need. They’ve already convinced themselves, they’re just needing you to get on the phone, and it’s really more of a confirmation.

Tom Martin on sales during the pandemic

I think a couple of things, one is the same advice that I’ve always given – is to be a human. To not believe that it’s your goal to sell, but instead to help that prospective client make the right buying decision, even if it’s not your agency, you know? Really focus on building a relationship first, and if that turns into a transaction, great. If it doesn’t, you know, maybe it will down the line, or a referral.

The second thing I would say, I think the single best piece of advice I could give you is to really get proficient at delivering a persuasive and compelling experience via video calls – WebEx, Zoom, whatever you’re using. Really stop and think about, ‘How is this call being received by the prospective client? How do we as an agency look? Do we look like we’re a team? Do we look like we’re a bunch of individuals?’

And I would get really, really good at it on a variety of platforms … If your agency uses Zoom, great, but that’s not going to help you if the client says ‘No, we use WebEx.’

Tom Martin on how to find where your clients are hanging out

You’re going to need to invest in some sort of social listening platform, preferably one that can take the URLs that people share and unpack them so that you can then export into a spreadsheet. For instance, if you exported my feed, you would see all the links to all the content that I’ve shared, let’s say, over the last six months to a year. And then you basically are sorting and grouping pivot tables … I’ve got my top 50 prospects, and by and large, they tend to share articles from Forbes, Fortune, AdAge, whatever. Okay?

Well, those are your propinquity points because if that’s where your known customer or prospect lives, chances are, birds of a feather flock together. There’s probably a lot of other people that look just like those folks that you don’t know that are also there and so that helps you understand not only where they are, but that they tend to ascribe value to that content.

And therefore, if you can get your content in there, not only A, can you be seen, but B, you might even get shared. Which again, now you’ve got some social proof because that’s basically a lightweight recommendation there.

The other way is just pay attention to your industry. Granted, conferences are largely virtual right now, but you ought to know what your major trade shows, your conferences are … It makes sense to try to find a way to show up at those, especially if you can show up in a way that is knowledge-based. A speaker, for instance, versus a trade show booth.

Want even more insights like these from author and agency expert Tom Martin? You can find the full recording on our website.

If you missed any of our past sessions you can check them out below:

Optimize Conversion Rates for Clients with Neil Patel

Positioning Your Agency with David C. Baker 

Plus, it’s not too late to sign up for the rest of our Agency Growth Series. You can still catch influencers like Ann Handley, Rand Fishkin and Seth Godin!