It often seems as if going digital — whether it’s been your preferred method of working for years, or a recent adaptation due to the COVID-19 pandemic — completely flips the game of sales and relationship management on its head. “While it is true that everything has changed, the reality is that nothing is really different,” Tom Martin explained in his recent webinar for the New Orleans Chapter of the American Marketing Association.

Tom is the founder and President of Converse Digital, and author of The Invisible Sale and Sell Greatly. For most of his career he’s worked with clients outside of New Orleans, and has perfected the art of engaging in a digital space.

Tom has developed a method of five P’s: Proximity, Preparation, Presence, Patience, and Preference, to stand out when building virtual relationships. The greatest of these, he insists are preparation and proximity. He suggests conducting social reconnaissance to ensure you never talk to a stranger. Start with LinkedIn and Facebook to find out not only who you need to be talking to, but the catalysts for future conversations. This is also a great way to build proximity to those you hope to form a relationship with.

Tom sees relationship building not unlike a taco truck- we must find where our clients are and take ourselves to them. Once those needs have been met, we must move again to somewhere else and continue to always find the markets where people are already interested. This is how we build propinquity- they state of being close to someone not just physically, but emotionally as well.

We’ve come a long way from when buying attention to land a sale was common — taking a client to dinner, attending a ball game, or drinks. Now that we live in a virtual world, it is more important than ever to earn someone’s attention, because it is easier now to simply ignore an email, or a call. Tom says the key in building any relationship is to always be of value, not simply in a transactional relationship for one’s benefit.

You can learn more about Tom’s “5P’s of Successful Sales” in his latest book, The Invisible SaleView the full webinar here to hear Tom’s answers to questions and examples of building strong digital relationships.

By Olivia Morgan, Fund Development Coordinator at Culture Aid Nola.