Debbie Mayo Smith, International Motivational Speaker
Motivational Speakers, Sales, Marketing, Time Management, Productivity, Technology, Tips

Archive for the ‘communication’ Category

Five Permission Email Tips For Marketing

Friday, April 23rd, 2010


1. Only email those who have asked. It’s the law

If someone hands you their business card, don’t assume you can just add them to your email list. Ask first – the best time to mention it is when you get the card in your hand. Say something like: ‘I’ve got a great online newsletter, would you like to get a free subscription? You can leave it if it doesn’t appeal.’ Nine out of ten times you’ll get an affirmative answer.

 2. Always honour their requests to opt-out.

Make it a simple process. Since people often have multiple email addresses, include on your email the address you have sent it to. This can eliminate a lot of angst on their side and frustration on yours.

3. Allow your customers and prospects to give you their preferences.

Information: how much and how often do they want it? For example, if you’re doing a daily email – cater to those who might prefer to have only some of the information. This makes it more relevant for them instead of having to scan through the entire email.

4. Do not sell or rent your lists.

Your email list can be your goldmine, one of the most valuable assets of your business. Don’t ruin it by selling or renting your email list. 

5. Give and take.

You don’t think people give you their email addresses out of the goodness of their hearts do you? They do it in exchange for something of value to them. A gift, Information. Education. White paper.Chance to win. Be creative, but truly add value. 

6. Respond to customer email inquiries promptly.

Why is it that once someone hits that send key on their computer, they expect an immediate reply? They expect that someone is sitting at a computer ready to read and respond to their email. Have an email policy and enforce it. Ensure that you have a 24-hour turnaround if at all possible.

Persistency Pays Heaps

Monday, April 19th, 2010


Let me tell you about Wayne McCarthy, a top real estate agent with Barfoot and Thompson in Auckland. Wayne worked with a couple from England for two years house hunting in Auckland during the summers. Several months into year three they bought a home online from England from another agent & company. For most, the contact would have ended then and there. However Wayne continued to stay in touch with them with a regular, five monthly “good day, how are you, need a tradesman or anything let me know” email. Yes, Even though they weren’t clients. He never mentioned in any of the emails “Do I have a house for you, told of an open house or suggested they might want an investment property. He simply sent them a can I help you email.

Five years pass

Wayne gets a call from the English couple. “Wayne, we are not coming to New Zealand as often as we would have liked. Please sell the house for us.” “Of course,” Wayne replies “but what about the agent you bought your home from?” “We never heard from him again. You’ve been loyal so we’ve called you”.

What’s the point?

  • Persistence – 5 years
  • Continued though business was lost
  • System
  • Relationship building – NOT BUGGING

Your System

To build a similar reminder system for yourself – why not create a recurring Task in Outlook (To Do in Lotus Notes) to remind yourself to call, visit, follow up on important clients and prospects?

Categorise Customers For Ease of Use

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Here are two great tips for enhancing your marketing database to make it more workable and accessible for you.

If you have information in a simple Excel spreadsheet, don’t have a different column for every variable. You’ll end up with an unworkable spreadsheet with too many columns. Instead, categorise.

The wrong way
You set up a column for customers, a column for prospects, a column for old clients and a column for suppliers.

The right way
One column is allocated and called Customer Type for example. All the different variables are then used within that one column such as customer, old customer, prospect, supplier. When you need to see or communicate with a specific type – for example you want to see all the prospects listed, you simply sort the entire list by Customer Type and all the suppliers will be listed one after another.

If you keep your information in Outlook or Lotus Notes Contacts, one of the least-known functions is Categories – a keyword or phrase that you can assign to a contact. Better yet, you can assign multiple categories to each contact.

Categories are utterly brilliant in many ways. Why? Because you can finely target specific customers. By creating industry, occupation, interest, purchase, service categories, for example, all you need to do is sort by category.

How do I create a category?
Open any Outlook contact. In the bottom centre you’ll see the rectangular Categories box. Click to open. Ignore the pre-programmed Microsoft ones. Click the Master Category List button, then type in your own. To view your contacts grouped by categories, go to View,
Current View, then Categories. In Lotus Notes, you’ll find it in the contacts section.

Article by International Speaker and bestselling author Debbie Mayo-Smith.

How To Create Superior Proposals That Get Results

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

In the current environment of slashed budgets preparing a superior proposal is more important than ever.


Here are two strategies that should significantly increase your success.


1. Them. Not You

Almost every piece of marketing material, proposal, sales presentation that I see has the wrong I/You ratio.  Your prospects care solely about themselves. Yet most marketing material focuses on how wonderful ‘we’ are. How great we do. Send this chest thumping guerrilla marketing philosophy packing. Replace it with a customer focused what’s in it for them strategy. How will it make them more successful? How will it make them happier? How will it make them more money?


2. Quantify.

Money talks. Fluff walks.

Put a dollar value on how they’ll benefit. Measure their rate of return. 


This exercise is easier than you might think. Will your product/service save them time? Put a value on it by estimating how much time it will save per annum multiplied by the value of that person’s time (their wage per hour, salary). You can reduce stress? Does that lead to happier employees which helps reduce turnover? You can quantify the recruitment costs saved along with the productivity continuum.


Help them make more sales or increase turnover?  Take the average value of one sale (you can even factor in the life time value of that one new client) multiplied by the number of new ones expected.


You can get the base information any number of ways. Research on the Internet. Their Competitors. Annual reports. Talk to HR professionals about salary levels. Colleagues in that industry. Allies within that company.

Lessons from an 84-year-old

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

My 84-year-old mother-in-law asked me, ‘Please can you come over and help organise my computer files?’ I replied, ‘Of course, my pleasure. I’ll be over tomorrow about 1:15–1:30.’ At 2:00, she rang. ‘Yes, I’m on my way, I’m sorry I was a bit delayed. Be right there,’ I said, feeling guilty as hell. The job wouldn’t have taken fifteen minutes, but I got tea, muffins and a profusion of thanks. It was no effort at all really. Later that afternoon, while on the office phone, my cell rang. It went to my voicemail. My mother-in-law had left a message to say thank you once again. My initial reaction was, ‘Gee, she really didn’t have to do that. And a cellphone call to boot!’ Ten minutes later, it dawned on me how lovely it was. I really appreciated that little extra that she had done – it made me feel special. How different this was from my experience of sending out over seventy hand-written cards with a gift of my just-published book to a group of clients the previous month. While I expected nothing in return, it still floored me that I only received two thank-you emails from the seventy. Now, I know an 84-year-old grandmother has far more time on her hands than you or I. We have so much to do with the 101 calls on our time. I suggest that by making time, you’ll reap a greater business reward. You’ll have happier clients who feel more appreciated. You’ll make better networking connections. You’ll have better word of mouth and referrals. Will you be a leader or will you simply be one of the pack, who has no time for the equivalent of good manners in business?

Two customer communication tips

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Targeting equals success As you know, most individuals receive far too much information from a multitude of sources and can barely absorb what they have. If your communication to them is not spot on and relevant, why should they give you their attention, their time? The secret is people don’t care about you, which is what most business communications revolve around. Your clients and prospects care about themselves. They care about their world which consists of their family and their work. Why not take a moment now and re-read your last marketing communications – brochure, newsletter, sales presentation. How much of the content is focused on making the reader more successful in different ways? How many “I’s”, ‘we’s” do you have? How much was written from your perspective rather than what they’ll get from it? This is what I mean precisely about targeting. Your audience will find much more value in your communications if in addition to industry or occupation information, you think of them as people. Mothers. Fathers. Aunts. Would you like to know the one article that hands down has generated the very best response (from 1999 to this day) from my monthly online newsletter? Judging in terms of people clicking through, goodwill plus a massive amount of new subscribers? It was from a short article which offered our children’s rotating job chart and the suggestion the jobs can be substituted for ones around the office. To this day people still talk to me about the job chart. “But Debbie, you run a business newsletter. Why would you put a children’s job chart in it” you’re thinking. Ah yes, but almost every single person that reads my newsletter from CEO down to Personal Assistant will have children or be related to some or have friends with them. Your customer cycle. Think of a cycle of demand for your products or services. It flows from hot to cold to warm,. Before your customers first ‘buy’, be it a product or service from you, they are HOT.  After the purchase, they immediately go quite cold (in terms of demand). Depending on your product or service, you must have a communication strategy that keeps a dialogue flowing both to generate referrals from them AND until your customers move from COLD to WARM,  then back once again to HOT and ready to do business with you again or refer you to a colleague. Do your communications cater to all three stages?

Motivational speaker Debbie Mayo-Smith improving business performance

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Lessons to learn from ME

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Would you like get 30% to 40% of your non-returning customers back? Or conduct a fast, inexpensive offer to your customers with the double benefit of significant new business and new customers? Then I must tell you about the owners of ME, a salon in Auckland. The clever marketing and customer service initiatives of owners Andy Grant and Iain Smith have significant relevance for any business. They have combined clever thinking with three business ingredients to their advantage (that so many others ignore). A customer database. Everyday technology. Customer communications. Cross marketing Most salons offer hair, makeup and beauty therapy. ME strategically branded their three services as ME (hair), MAKEUP ME and TOUCH ME (beauty therapy). This creates three separate services to cross market. Their software system has built in bulk SMS messaging. They ran a campaign sending 500 (SMS) texts to hair clients saying if they use a TOUCH ME service they get a gift voucher of equal value for themselves or a friend. Lesson: You have targeting. Cross marketing. Inexpensive, easy, Immediate and personal value added communications. The result is 300 out of 500, 60% took up the offer. That is 300 non-discounted new pieces of business. The fact most gave the voucher away means a fabulous inexpensive source of new clients. Further by giving discounts on services rather than cutting prices means  generating revenue rather than cutting income and creates a higher perceived value for all clients than the actual cost. Raising the dead Each Monday they print two lists. The prior week’s clients and those that have not returned in four to six months. They have the receptionist telephone both lists. The first a customer service follow up ‘how was your appointment?’ The second a ‘we miss you, how can we bring you back’? Lesson: This raising the dead list gives you a great vehicle for feedback and tweaking service – ME normally get 30-40% of the clients to return again. If you look at the average lifetime value of a client, let’s say $2500 here, this simple exercise is a significant revenue generator conducted during a quiet time.

Activity equals success

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

If business is slow, don’t sit twiddling your thumbs waiting for the figurative telephone to ring, Listen to your gut for what would be good for your clients in this economy. Using your database, create your own activity. Activity Equals Success.

Let me give you a personal example. Last winter was going to be an exceptionally quiet one for business. While dropping the kids off at school at 8:25, I thought to myself “Why don’t I run some database marketing workshops around New Zealand and Australia By 9:35 I had segregated out my New Zealand and Australian newsletter subscribers, wrote a simple two paragraph plain text email to each group. I asked them to reply only if they were VERY interested in attending. A flood of over 700 emails had just arrived. Now two months later I conducted 14 workshops for 410 individuals, generated four speaking engagements and sold a lot of books. Let’s look at the aspects of this marketing campaign in relation to this economic climate.

This entire exercise was marketed solely though my newsletter database. With the help of my readers, it was spread though their sphere of influence.

Why burn the goodwill of your list by sending people in the UK, Spain, Brazil or Florida an email about an Australasian workshop? After the initial send, the communication continued primarily with those whom had expressed interest rather than the whole database.

Ease. Speed
From my initial idea in the car through to the final targeted execution and distribution of over 10,000 emails – only one hour had elapsed.

The outlay was purely my time and that of an assistant helping with faxed forms and invoicing/receipts.

Not Fancy
It was simply plain text paragraphs. In fact I am 100% positive that the simplicity not only helped the email get through spam filters, it also was easy to digest and act on immediately.

Should text (SMS) be the new email?

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

The question begs to be asked. Is it the lack of smartphones (Blackberries, IPhones) or narrow-mindedness holding business people back from using SMS messaging more to communicate with clients? The one business text message I received was from a jeweler telling me my ring was ready. Yet when I ask business people why they don’t use text, the answers are negative. “Many of my clients are elderly and don’t have cell phones” a risk insurance broker said.  “My clients don’t always have their cell phone with them” a Dentist told me. “My clients don’t text message” a physiotherapist replied. “Why would I want to type on the tiny keyboard of my phone” I was asked by a Sales rep. “Email is good enough” a mortgage broker stated. “My clients would not welcome a message from me” almost all others concurred. Before your hackles rise let me qualify the question. It’s not about sending your newsletter via sms to 15,000. I’m simply talking about a fabulous way to whisper directly into a client’s or prospects ear with surety and immediacy.  I’m talking simple business communications between consenting parties. Look at the benefits:

  • Text does not have an IT Manager, ISP or company filtering it out.
  • Your client has their cell phone on them, getting to an email on their computer could take several hours to a day.
  • Sending an email is free, a text is 20 cents. For a simple confirmation or prompt the SMS takes less time than a phone call and time is money.
  • I Many industry software programs have text merging the built in. Vodafone web2TXT; Telecom eText and  Skype have SMS distribution from your computer. Many companies also offer the merging service.

So let me ask you. Isn’t it time you considered text as something more than your means of communication with your children and friends?



Marketing in Today's Wired World

Marketing in Today's Wired World alerts you to the many profitable and clever ways you can use email, txt, video and audio messages to boost revenues, recruit new business, cut costs, improve customer service and leapfrog in front of your competition.

101 Quick Tips for Google and Email
101 Outlook and Google Tips Debbie's years of experience working with email and Google are packed into this easy to read #1 bestselling book.

101 Quick Tips: Create a Great Customer Experience
101 Customer Experience Tips do you want more sales, referrals and repeat business? Then you need this book! You won't want to miss these 101 tips to place your head and shoulders above the crowd to build customer loyalty, word of mouth, and profits.

101 Quick Tips: Surviving the Kids
101 Balancing Tips with nine children between them and busy careers, let Debbie and Mary Lambie use their experience to make this practical little book a goldmine of solutions for you.

Conquer Your Email Overload Superb Tips and Tricks For Busy People
Save hours a week using clever, timesaving 'how-to' solutions to the top problems you have using email, your calendar, address books/contacts.