As a business owner, especially newer entrepreneurs, how do you balance your time across so many things? Customers demand your attention, but statistically your time may be better spent on operations. How do you tackle both?

Today’s guest helps business owners and managers prioritize their time and find ways to increase revenue through delegation and automation. Please welcome Maddy Martin.

Episode highlights:

  • 0:34 – Maddy Martin’s Background
  • 11:32 – Response Time
  • 18:44 – Impostor Syndrome
  • 18:05 – Helping people to identify
  • 22:23 – Brand Reinforce

Learn more about this guest:

Contact Info

Podcast Episode Transcripts:

Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.


Maddie Martin. Thanks for jumping on how are you doing great, Damon, how are you? Good. You know how I know this is going to be a good conversation cause you and me have both. We’ve already sworn we already squared. We dropped. I didn’t even notice that’s how much it happens. So Maddie, um, your magic at growing businesses, largely through automation, it sounds like, or.   

Tools automation and delegation. Yeah. Okay. So let’s, let’s start there. Question number one that I usually ask is what are you good at and what are we gonna learn from you today? Uh, I think that I’m really good at helping businesses better communicate with and convert their new potential clients to, um, people who end up spending money and being happy with them.   

Mm. Um, you said something in there that I’m going to follow up on after question number two, what are you not so good at? Oh, probably saying no, I overworked myself a lot. Yeah. He just, are you a people pleaser? I’m a people pleaser and, uh, you know, it’s a good thing that I’m not on customer support. Cause I’d probably, they want all the discounts and you know what I mean?   

Like. I, uh, it’s really good for a marketing role where you are creative and finding ways to say yes, but, um, you know, I, I’m definitely in the right role, more in the top of the funnel than in, in client support and service. Do you ever have somebody on your team come up to you and be like, Maddie? Why? Like, I don’t know if you deal with sales as part of your marketing, but do you ever have somebody on your team come in and be like, why didn’t you tell them this?   

Like, why are we offering them this deal? Um, you know, it’s funny cause um, my CEO is exactly like, I am like find a way to say yes and then we have the approach of we’ll figure out how to communicate waiter. But that’s the nature of being in a startup. And this is my third one. So I, um, I I’m pretty comfortable with like flying by the seat of my pants and, and trusting the engineering team when they say they can’t promise it now, before it’s built.   

Yeah. Like they, they know you enough now that when you come with requests, they’re like, all right. Oh, yeah, my CEO does it too. Like Aaron, you know, who was the CTO of home Depot? So he’s worked at large, you know, companies, Google, he created the monetization strategy at YouTube. So I mean, he’s a big company and also a startup guy.   

So whatever he says to me goes, and I trust that he can execute it. Cause he’s pretty much a genius. Okay, well, let’s start there. So who are you working with? You know, you talked about your, your, your higher ups. So tell us about the company you’re with and, and let’s start diving into what you said in question number one.   

Yeah, so, I mean, I worked for two incredible founders, Aaron Lee and Justin Maxwell, and they created this company five years ago, Smith AI to address the needs of small business owners who were spread really thin missing calls and ankles. Clients, because we know that responsiveness is the number one driver of business and whether or not someone’s going to pay you money or hire you or whatever the case may be, whatever, or you’re selling, whether it’s a product or service and especially for services, right.   

Professionals, like they don’t really value their time enough. And we’re trying to shift the mindset around. You have to hand off all of these frontline tasks. So that you can do what you’re an expert at doing and hand off a lot of these other things that bog you down and slow growth. So they created this company.   

They had, um, you know, the infrastructure in place, a remote workforce for receptionists to work from home and handle calls, chats. Text messages, Facebook messages for businesses. And then I came in and said, you know, there are a lot of opportunities to leverage the, you know, ambassadors that you already have.   

And to get the word out more about this company, because what’s in the industry is a whole bunch of like call centers and, um, you know, basic answering services and you guys are doing so much more combining receptionists and AI, but we need to translate that into a way that, you know, Any, any person can understand and to help spread the word about the great work you’re doing.   

So that’s, that’s why they hired me. So that’s an interesting, um, I guess you’d say a problem that you guys have to solve. Like how do you, how do you present those value propositions to your audience to say like, Hey, you know, traditionally everyone thinks, uh, call centers and this and that, but like we’re more than that.   

Or. Bigger scope solutions. So how are you educating your buyers on why they need these kinds of things? So I strongly believe in the value of testimonials and using the user, the end user voice to explain in their own words and to give them a platform to do so, rather than just a whole bunch of which we also do blog posts about the latest feature service example.   

Right. But if we can present our clients. Who are using us as receptionist services to say, look, you know, I was skeptical too. And here’s what Smith AI is doing for me. And in my own words, you know, Smith, AI is my, one of our clients would say, you know, inside sales team, they do a great job of converting colors to clients.   

Like those are his words and I couldn’t put it any better myself. Yeah. That’s, that’s one of the things, yeah. I said I wanted to revisit the talked about, um, in your first answer was you kind of touched on the ideal buyers and then you just saying converting calls to customers. So what’s the magic that you bring to the table? 

That, that is it. You identify the people like you prequalify them and that’s why it converts better. Or you have a better discussion with whatever the audience already is and that’s why they convert better. So, so both all of the above option D like the, um, the responsiveness is the single most important driver of.   

You know, whether or not that person is going to convert to a, a buyer of your business, right. A client, a customer, whatever. Um, and we work with a lot of law firms, financial advisors, they service businesses who need that prescreening and qualification. And also we live in a world where spam is just rampant.   

So we need to. On an automated basis, bring in technology so that our receptionists are not bogged down, which would increase costs of, you know, handling spam and robocallers and things like that. But then also give them the tools to accurately and effectively have these conversations to capture the best potential clients.   

And then pass them on to the business when the time is right. And if not, if they have a set of recommended businesses, we should put that person in touch with them. We can also do so. So we sort of have this, um, almost reputation enhancing experience where. You know, if it’s not a great potential client, we’re also helping you build your network and your community by referring those people to your friends.   

And I think that that holistic view that workflow of being able to take that large influx at the top of the funnel, screen them and put them down one path, you know, this potential clients, you know, we’re going to try and schedule a meeting. For you with them, or we’re going to refer them out to someone you recommend.   

And if we are scheduling the meeting or if we do have that successful conversation, even doing things like following up by text and email and logging it in your CRM. So you don’t have data entry tasks, like these are things that we really distinguished ourselves by doing. And by doing that, yeah, I think you’re talking about the referral network is super important because for me in my business, um, so I’ve been in the world of SEO for 13 years and.   

By far, the biggest contributor of cells and growth is just either doing a really good job. Or even if it’s an account that we say, Hey, you know, you’d be better suited with doing this other thing first. And even if that means saying no first to get a yes later, like, and then just like you said, networking with other people, I think that’s such an underrated.  

Value and opportunity for most businesses, because especially now, like, um, you know, the world of Facebook ads and things like that, everything everybody wants like instant gratification. And I think there’s so much to be said and sure, the sales might be a little bit slower, but growing that network and.   

Giving, without expecting things in return has had the biggest payoff in the long run for me. Yeah. I mean, I would, I completely agree with that. And I also think the quality of the leads is much better when you nurture relationships that are going to better understand what you do as a, as a business provider, right?  

Whether it’s a product or service, the referrals always generate the best potential clients for you. And I think what happens when you start to grow and you start to Excel. Span into other areas, you know, paid search and paid social and things like that. And you see the dilution of the lead quality. Yeah.   

And from those referrals, then you race back to those relationships and you say, I’m going to do more. Co-marketing I’m going to do more thought leadership with my partners and bring in my community because that, even though it is more effort, scale, individually, sort of onesy twosy it. Pays you back in the quality of the leads and the sincerity and readiness of the leads in a way that no other channel can. 

Yeah. And the lifespan, you know, the shelf life of the account. And then for me, it, what you started to touch on was the kind of eliminates the sales process because by the time they come to you, they’re like, Hey, I want your thing. And that’s awesome for me because. Sure. I’m like everybody else. I want to grow my business, but I hate the sales process.   

I hate the like, do you want to, you know, sign here? You’re ready. Like, so it’s awesome to be able to go. All right. Let’s just go. That is one of the biggest areas where people struggle that we see in small businesses is that they’re really, really good at this one thing. And they’re not so great at the things that wrapped them up into an actual business, that business Acument, I’m not only asking for the sale.   

Sale, but even asking for like money on unpaid invoices, which is something that, yeah, we do. I mean, you know, one of the things that sort of like turns the light on for people is when we say that we make, you know, calls, whether it’s to your web form, you know, lead someone who completes your contact form online, um, to.   

You know, the person who hasn’t paid their invoice, but they’re this personal relationship because you’ve been working with them and you’re like, Oh man, now I have to call. And it’s transactional. And I I’m sorta like. You know, letting the cat out of the bag, but like, I really do see this as a business transaction.   

How great would it be to have a neutral third party to call on your behalf and say, hi, you know, I’m following up on this invoice and you know, you’re much less likely to pull on the heartstrings of our receptionist than on the person who you’re working with. Right. Yeah. You would be horrible at that, right?   

Like if, because you said that you hate, like you’re a pushover, Maddie. You’re now you’re now in customer service. Mattie. Yeah. I w I’m not, I’m not, I’m not a receptionist for a reason. They’re much better at that sort of thing than I am. They follow directions also better. I’m not so great at following directions and sort of this like creative, uh, Um, I don’t know, like, uh, what’s the, what’s the name?   

Like the a there’s a cartoon for it, like a, I don’t know, some sort of resource that like doesn’t want to stay in his lane. Yeah. Yeah. Um, all right. So I wanna, I wanna go back to where you talked about. It seems like, um, it’s you really emphasize the importance of responsiveness. Give me a, an example of where.   

Like a range that you see frequently before somebody works with you and then after. So whether it’s, you know, email responsive and a response time, phone call, response time, like what’s a before and after that, you really see that you benchmark improvements against that’s a really good point. Um, so what we see is that if you don’t respond within 24 hours, you are typically at a really high risk of losing a lead.   

And then also there’s something around the, um, number of sort of attempts to reach someone. So maybe you have initial response sadness, but then you forget about the fact that, you know, you’ll have a 93% confidence in whether or not someone wants to work with your business after six call attempts. Right?   

So what we find is not just that initial impact, but also in the field. Follow up. We have a really high chance of getting that conversion for the business, because we can make those outbound calls. We can send that follow up email and texts to reach them across different channels to say, Hey, we tried to call you and now, you know, emailing or texting.   

And that’s a way also to increase the likelihood that that person, you know, results in new business growth. So what we see. From a statistical point of view is that, you know, 85% plus of, of consumers these days are expecting an instantaneous response from a business. But if you are a solo or small business owner, your time is, is most valuable on productive revenue generating tasks.   

So there is a conflict there. And what happens is that no matter your good intentions for getting back to those people, um, it, it often gets to the back burner and then it’s too late and you wonder why your business isn’t growing because you actually deemphasize the most important task. So we don’t.   

Have a overall statistic for the, the change that you can see, but it’s easy to do the calculation if you know the value of your time of a, the opportunity cost of, of doing these basic things that, you know, you need to do, but you can hand off like how much is an hour of your time worth, but then also knowing that not, yeah, responding immediately to a new inquiry, right.   

Is going to result in the loss of revenue from that business entirely. Right. So, so that’s sort of the calculation that I encourage people to do and, and you’ll see immediately. Um, and actually there’s one thing that I want to say here, which is that a lot of these services, um, very challengingly sort of charge per minute and you know, you’re a marketing person, you know, you’re, you’re looking at clicks, you’re looking at, at, um, form completions, you know, these, these instant.   

Driven things minutes. They’re not really like a tangible, um, conversion, right? It’s very hard to calculate how many minutes resulted in how many clients, but it is much easier when we charge per call or report chat, just say, Oh, I know exactly what happened in my funnel, where I had to click to my website, the initial signup form.   

A call back to this lead and they conversion and your funnel becomes much clearer. Yeah, that makes sense. One, one thing I wanted to ask you talked about, um, you know, prompt replies now, is there a problem of being too prompt? Like if you set up a media automated replies, is there the potential for that to come across as being desperate?   

Cause sometimes like I’ll get a lead that comes in Mike. I just happened to see that right now, but I kind of, I feel like I’m desperate if we reach out to them right now, like within 30 seconds. Here’s the thing like you can give a little breathing room. I typically find that if you have a, an, um, onboarding funnel, let’s say that someone signs up and maybe they still are putting things in their cart, or maybe they’re still filling out your new client questionnaire or something of that nature give them time to do so.   

You know, typically, you know, maybe 30 minutes an hour depends on, you know, What you’re what you’re selling. Right. And, and then, you know, if that, um, new form doesn’t come through, then, you know, it’s time to follow up. They didn’t take the intended action in the normal amount of time. It would take immediately.   

And then you say, okay, this person needs a followup, but typically, you know, when there’s that sort of. Process, they didn’t complete their cart or order, um, in one way or another, then it’s time to follow up. So, you know, a little bit of breathing room, but I would say, you know, within an hour, and it also depends on your business.   

Like very famously, you know, 1-800-DENTIST would have online forms and, and it was a lead generation play to dentists around the. You know, country, maybe even the world, you would fill out their form and say, I need, you know, orthodontics, or I need, you know, a filling or, or cleaning or whatever they want call you and understand that if there’s something on your mind as a task for, let’s say, find a dentist, maybe you moved, whatever.   

Um, Find a lawyer find a financial advisor and estate planner, whatever. Um, that doesn’t necessarily mean that like in order to sign on the dotted line, then it’s going to be, you know, crossed off their list. What we find is that they cross it off their list as soon as they make contact with the business.   

So 1-800-DENTIST is calling you immediately to say, thanks for your inquiry. We’re going to put you in touch with someone who’s in your area. Can I get a little more information from you, you know? And then they make that connection. So if you think about like solving the person’s immediate problem for getting in touch with a service provider or getting their questions answered, that may lead them to not checking out that cart, then.   

I would say relatively a meeting response is typically necessary. What we don’t want to see that we see sometimes is almost this passive aggressive approach where you’re waiting multiple days. And I had someone say this to me maybe six months ago, who said, I let people leave me a voicemail. And then I wait on purpose two days to get back to them, because if they’re not willing to wait, that’s my little test.   

And they don’t, you know, Appreciate me enough to wait. And I thought, you know, that is, is an attitude of someone who I probably wouldn’t want to work with, you know, because that does not, I mean, the person who left the voicemail doesn’t know the rules of the game. Right. Um, and, and that is, uh, not, yeah. An instance of exerting control.   

And I think a way that is customer forward. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. You talked about helping people identify, you know, business owners that our time is better spent doing this versus that and the value of their time. Do you often, um, and I don’t know if you have this discussion with your clients, but do you have to help them say, Hey, what is the value of your time?   

And, and if you have any sort of conversation similar to that, what I’m getting at is do you run into. Newer business owners having imposter syndrome. And they’re like, Oh, I I’d like, you know, really on paper, a hundred bucks where I should be at, but that sounds like a lot. So maybe like 30, and then they start to quantify where the time and value should be spent and they’re undercutting themselves.   

Do you ever have discussions like that? All the time, there’s massive imposter syndrome. And I think the best thing to do as a, you sort of have to fake it until you make it. And yeah, there’s a reason why you are, you know, a business owner and you have a specialty and a value that you do know deep inside or else you wouldn’t be in that position.   

But it’s important also to set the standard that you can grow with and a reputation that you can grow with, what you don’t want to have happen is that you end up discounting your rate and that gets circulated and known. And it’s like the Groupon effect, you know, where people say, Oh, I’m pretty sure I can get a better rate because so-and-so in their online review mentioned this deal that they got, you know, that’s a really slippery slope. 

Sort of comment is permanent online, right? So yeah, you want to be careful about that. It’s the same sort of caution than I urge people to take when they’re using their cell phone for their business. Like not spending the 1299 a month on a phone.com cloud phone system. Just for like a phone number for your.   

Even for your cell phone, you don’t need two devices allows you to have a professional presence on your phone. Is this the same way that you would have Smith AI? Right. So another thing there though that’s important in discounting is, Oh, we see so many businesses say I’m not busy enough. I’m just getting started.   

I’m going to keep answering my phones and my texts and my Facebook messages and all these things. And that can consume. We find like two hours out of every day. Even if you don’t really. Think that it’s costing you that much time, go ahead and calculate it and you’ll see that it’s a lot. So what happens is you spend that time because you think you have it, but that’s because you haven’t evaluated what other tasks you could be doing.   

If it’s not client service or customer fulfillment. And those can be, you know, thought leadership, networking, joining some, you know, BNI international or something. Right. You’re going to those breakfast meetings once a week. All these things that build business. Are things that only you can do, right? If you have a call answering service, like, well, that’s, that’s a very simple set up while you go ahead and do things that we cannot do for you and you can’t delegate, which is writing an article.   

For, you know, a, a journal or a newsletter or, or creating your systems where you’re creating email nurturing or, or SEO content for your website, um, creating a, a website in general with a designer, right? So those are things that you need to steer for your business that won’t get done. If you are, I’m getting bogged down in a lot of these, you know, frontline tasks.   

Yeah, it’s super important to on the topic of valuing your time and not discounting your services. I think that’s, I think that’s like one of those things that business owners know, no, but you have to go through it, even if everybody knows it, but like you have to, you have to go through that pain of going, uh, I don’t, I don’t want to discount this.   

Um, but I want the deal, but, and learning to say no, because I think the understandably the fear is, well, if I, if I. Don’t accept. The customer comes to me and says, Hey, can you take off 10%? And I’m afraid if I say no, I’m going to lose it. But what I’ve found is the total opposite. I almost never lose a deal when I say no, not going to discount that our rate is our rate because we bring a good value.   

And because what happens is the customer goes, Oh, damn, okay. Like, They mean business. They’re good at what they do because they’re asking for a price. So if anything, you have to learn that it’s the opposite and it’s a brand reinforce. Yeah. So I want to stack on top of that because that’s so true. And there’s a major control dynamic here that happens that you want to set as a tone from the outset and do so politely and professionally, but, but have this as the underpinning for all of your business, which is if you have that conversation, Damon, you know, that.   

If they get what they asked for, they are so exerting control over your business. And what tone does that set for the dynamic moving forward? That could be the client who calls you at eight o’clock at night that says, Oh, you know, my hair’s on fire. This is an emergency. And you know, it’s not an emergency, but they’ve already.   

You know, sort of got in their way once. And what other ways are they going to try and stretch the limits with you? Right. So you have to be really careful in evaluating also. Um, how you set expectations for clients based on, um, the, you know, strictly rules that you follow right. With whether you’re discounting or whether you answer that call at eight o’clock at night.   

Right. Um, but then also, how do you, um, make sure that your client, I understand that you are an expert and that your time is valuable. And that if they, I would, I would actually reflect on what that client relationship is going to be like if they really push you for discounting. Are they going to be the type of client who can afford you at the lifetime value that you typically place clients at?   

Are they going to be referring? Are they also giving indication that they are going to be difficult to work with? You know, do they communicate this in a really nice respectful way, um, and receive your answers in a respectful way? Or are they, you know, really sort of hard, nervous about it. And, and that is, uh, some, you know, Conversation has stepped back from and make sure that you’re seeing the full picture and identifying if that indicates what you may be setting yourself up for in the future.   

For sure. A lot of those things you just said, I think are some of the beautiful things that come with experience because a lot of times when I have a new lead, like I still take the majority of our lead calls because I, I like the relationships that I built with my clients. And so for me, What’s what’s beautiful in setting those tones over time is understanding who that lead is within like 10 seconds of your phone call.   

So like, as you start to, um, and it’s not being demanding, it’s just, you know, asking for what you feel you deserve in those business relationships. And when you start to be more confident and setting those boundaries, it really helps you identify within those first 10 seconds of your lead. Cause like, Is this somebody I want to work with. 

So I think there’s like this whole other like X factor thing that comes with it, where it’s really cool, where you start to better understand yourself and feel more confident in the discussions and the people that you end up ultimately working. I completely agree with you now. Um, all right. So if we kind of get closer to wrapping up, uh, let’s say, um, uh, okay.   

All right, Maddie, I’m a business. Um, um, I got one year under my belt. This is super cool. Um, I F I feel confident enough that what I built is it’s good enough for me to keep going. But I, I, now I’m realizing like all these things that come with the territory that I didn’t expect, and I’m coming to you with Smith, AI like helped me, like where do you start?   

Right. So two things, one, you start with, um, you know, forwarding your calls to us and simply saying what your business is about and what. You know, type of clients you ideally want to attract and work with, and then we start handling those calls for you and you can even set us up so that you are going to answer and we’re just your backup, your overflow.   

And then the other thing that you do is you set up. The free chat bot on your website because we have almost everything that we do is live staffed, but we recently released a chat bot that is complete, totally free and unlimited for your website that will STEM and reduce those calls that are coming in so that you can protect your time.   

And so that you can screen leads to come to your website first. And that is a great way to a capture more of that website, traffic. And B get information from the people who are visiting your site because so few business sites have search bars anymore. Right. So you, and see those not provided keywords anymore. 

Right. So what do you, what do you know? You know, that you need to get the words right? From the actual website visitor about what they’re looking for and why they’re on your site. And Google holds a lot of that information. If you have a chat bot, this is like an amazing wow hack, um, to better inform the content you’re adding to your site, which is super important in that first year.   

And two. Also important to know their intent and to take that conversation for informed, follow up with them, which we can do, or you can do for us. And, and that is something that is within your means for. $140 a month. I mean, it’s all month to month, we have a free trial and, and my, my recommendation is to try it and, and push yourself to hand off some of these initial conversations so that you can have that, like, that consultation that you’re talking about, or you make it rain.   

Right. And you win that business. Like. We very much hand that off to you, but you don’t want to be on the phone with so-and-so from, you know, the latest, uh, you know, advertising provider who’s selling you on the secret lead machine or whatever, you know? Yeah. Yeah, that’s cool. That it’s meant to mountain at that, at that rate, it’s kind of, you know, no potential loss, like, okay.   

Even if it doesn’t work out, like what are you out? But the upside is so much more than saving that 140 bucks. So that’s cool. And, and for the listeners that can’t see when, when Maddie was laughing, I was doing thumbs down because, uh, Google, if you’re not familiar with, you know, how Google works, you used to be able to see exactly what words somebody typed in to get to your site.   

And that was super valuable because we have the insight and the intent behind your audience, and then they just yanked it away about nine years ago. Oh, Hey did well. This has been, this has been really cool. Um, I’m a big fan of all these things, you know, delegation and valuing your time and, um, just supporting the confidence in yourself as a business owner and how to scale it in a way that you want to and enjoy and feel comfortable with.   

So, um, smith.ai, I believe is the website, is that correct? And what other ways can our listeners follow up with you? Yeah, no, that’s, that’s absolutely correct. The Smith, the Smith website. Yeah. It’s just smith.ai and, uh, website chat on there. Our phone number is on there. You can interact with us. So it’s out kick the tires. 

  

Right. So see if we’re as good as I’m saying that we are, um, And you can also get a free trial, but I didn’t mention it and you can get a hundred dollars off your first month. So there’s no skin in the game, you know, with the trial a hundred dollars off your first month is getting you another several calls for free or chats. 

And if you’ve our live staff and that code for that is DB 100. So. For Daymond Burton DB. I was going to joke if it was Damon and now I feel special. There you go. You are special. So, yeah. Um, and you know, my email, if you want to get in touch with me, it’s maddie@smith.ai. If you have any questions, I often speak on, you know, small business owner topics around communications and conversion. 

Uh, I’d be happy to be of assistance to you. M A D D Y Maddie Martin smith.ai. Thanks so much. Thanks so much, Damon. 

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Maddy Martin: Valuing Time with Delegation and Automation

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