Jay is the founder of Convince & Convert and a 7th generation entrepreneur. He is the author of 6 best-selling books, including Talk Triggers. He is also the founder of 5 multi-million dollar companies and a Hall of Fame speaker.
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- TalkTriggers Guide – Get the 6-step process guide free. This is the same process that Jay’s company uses for big brands!
- Talk Triggers book – Jay’s book.
3 Key Points:
- If you’re playing “follow the leader,” you will never be anything other than second best.
- We are physiologically wired to ignore things that are average and discuss things that are different.
- When you offer experiences to your customers that are too grand, it doesn’t create conversation. It creates suspicion. So, it doesn’t need to be something huge. It has to be something noticeable.
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Audio Masterclass Show Notes
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
- Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: How to Grow Your Business (for free) With Word of Mouth with Jay Baer.
- [01:38] – Jay shares something about himself that most people don’t know.
- He sold Budweiser.com to Anheuser-Busch for 50 cases of beer!
- [05:12] – A quick preview of what this Audio Masterclass is going to be about.
- Word of mouth is responsible for somewhere between 20-90% of your customers.
- Nobody has a word-of-mouth strategy. We just take it for granted. We will fix that in this Audio Masterclass.
- [06:07] – Why word of mouth is more important than ever.
- In a community, we trust each other more than ever, and we trust companies and organizations less than ever.
- 83% of Americans have made purchase in the last 30 days based on recommendation of a friend or a family member.
- Advertising is only the 7th most persuasive form of decision-making when people make a purchase.
- There are 6 more persuasive forms than advertising; a few of those are: Recommendation of a friend or family member; social media posts from friends; news coverage.
- Amongst younger Americans, especially Gen Z, advertising is – so far – a little bit more impactful.
- [09:08] – Companies are ignoring word-of-mouth; why is that the case?
- We take it for granted. We just assume that our customers, our supporters, or our tribe will support us. We just figured that if our company is good, people will talk about it because it is good.
- [09:51] – Things Jay’s company has done to get word-of-mouth going.
- They do large research studies every quarter.
- [12:17] – How to make the story your customer is telling meaningful.
- We believe in business so often that competency creates conversation. But that’s not the case because of two reasons — all of your competitors are good, or they wouldn’t be in business at all; as human beings, we are physiologically wired to ignore things that are average and discuss things that are different.
- Word-of-mouth is an operational choice that you make to do something different in your business. Unfortunately, most companies don’t make that choice because they are playing “follow the leader.”
- If you’re playing “follow the leader,” you will never be anything other than second best.
- [16:32] – Why the “follow the leader” strategy is a terrible idea.
- If you’re trying word-of-mouth by doing something that everybody else does, it’s not a story that customers want to pass along because the story itself doesn’t make the customer look good when they tell it.
- You want to make sure the raw materials you’re provide your customers are something that the listener, i.e. the friend of your customer, hasn’t already heard.
- [20:46] – Jay breaks down the 4 ingredients to Talk Triggers.
- There are a lot of books about the importance of word-of-mouth, but the problem is there aren’t a lot of books on how to do it.
- The 4 things that must be true:
- It has to be remarkable. It has to be a story worth telling.
- It has to be repeatable. It’s got to be something that every customer is offered every time.
- It has to be reasonable. When you offer experiences to your customer that are too grand, it doesn’t create conversation. It creates suspicion. So, it doesn’t need to be something huge. It has to be something noticeable.
- It has to be relevant. It makes sense in the context of who you are and what you are.
- [30:28] – Jay discusses the the 5 types of Talk Triggers.
- Talkable Generosity—the easiest and the only one to conceptualize for businesses.
- Talkable Responsiveness—that’s when you are faster than customers expect.
- Talkable Usefulness—being useful more than your customers expect.
- Talkable Empathy—you must be kinder and more human than your customers expect.
- Talkable Attitude—that’s when you are a little different. Everything about your business is just a little wacky and a little interesting.
- [35:14] – Jay’s parting piece of guidance
- His book Talk Triggers is for anybody who is in charge of making a business bigger.
- Go to TalkTriggers.com/fire and get the 6-step process guide free. This is the same process that Jay’s company uses for big brands!
- Turn word-of-mouth from something that you do accidentally into something that you do on purpose. If you do that, your business will positively, absolutely be on FIRE!
JLD: Boom. Shake the room, Fire Nation. JLD here with an Audio Masterclass that’s gonna knock your socks off. It is how to grow your business for free with word of mouth, and this is with none other than Jay Baer. We’re gonna be talking about why word of mouth is more important than ever, why companies ignore word of mouth at their peril. We’ll be chatting about what customers actually tell stories about and what they don’t, and why the same is lame, and why follow-the-leader is a terrible strategy, as well as the four ingredients of a talk trigger and the five types of talk triggers. These are things that are going to positively impact your business today, Fire Nation.
Well, who is Jay? Well, he’s the founder of Convince and Convert. He’s a seventh generation entrepreneur, and he’s the author of six best selling books, including Talk Triggers. He’s also the founder of five multimillion dollar companies and a Hall of Fame speaker. So, we’re gonna dive into this content when we get back from thanking our sponsor. So, Jay, say “What’s up” and give Fire Nation little details about something that most people don’t know about you.
Jay: Fire Nation, it is fantastic to be back with you. Always awesome to hang with JLD. Look, I have been an entrepreneur now for, bro, like 25 years or something.
JLD: You’re OJ.
Jay: I’m deceptively youthful looking. I don’t think I ever told you the story. Some people may know it because I mention it on stage sometimes, my partner and I in my very first internet company in 1993, we sold Budweiser.com to Anheuser-Busch for 50 cases of beer.
Jay: That’s a true story.
Jay: We were so psyched because we were like, “Bro, that is a lot of beer.”
JLD: Fifty cases?
Jay: Fifty cases of long-neck Budweiser regular, Bud Heavy, because here’s the thing though, we registered all these domains when domains were free. You didn’t have to pay anybody because who would want a website? I spent my first five years of my digital career convincing companies that they would want to have a website at all because they would literally say, “Well, Jay, why would we wanna have a website because we close at 6:00. So, why would we want people to get stuff about us?” This is no joke, man. This is not dumb companies. These are real companies, right?
And so, yeah, we sold it for 50 cases of beer. So, then I went on vacation because I was so stoked, and while I was gone, my partner registered some other domain names without me. So, one of those was beer.com, and he sold that to Molson Brewing for $5.1 million, and he hasn’t really worked since then other than just stuff he wants to work on, and I’m here again on your show. So, that’s how that worked out.
JLD: Now, I don’t wanna rub this in, but just if you had to estimate, if you’d waited six years, it’s ’99, it’s 2000, it’s the height of the dot com, what do you think you could’ve got for Budweiser.com?
Jay: I mean, that’s when he sold beer.com was at the height. So, I don’t know. Well, here’s the thing though – I don’t wanna go too far down the rabbit hole here – but when it got into those days, ’98, ’99, 2000, they changed the rules. The international numbers organization said that if you have the international or even national trademark and copyright on that name, you can’t necessary squat on it and hold it hostage. So, there was a period of time where – you know, beer.com, it’s not a brand, right? It’s a thing, so that’s a different story.
Budweiser’s obviously a brand, and so there was a time there where you could’ve probably extricated a lot more money out of them, but then eventually, you would’ve gotten zero, not even 50 cases of beer. They just would’ve said, “Give it back to us. It’s our trademark,” so it’s a fine line.
JLD: Let’s just be happy with the beer, Bud Heavy. Let’s just be happy with it.
Jay: Absolutely. Those were the days I could still drink Bud Heavy.
JLD: Well, I think one reason why you still look so youthful and people would never guess that you’ve been doing this since ’93 and earlier is I think it’s the glasses, man. I think really glasses give you that youthful look.
Jay: It’s also that I’m always indoors. I think that’s part of it. I’m an avid indoorsman.
JLD: Well, Fire Nation, as you can tell, Jay Baer is rocking the mike today, and the Audio Masterclass we’re gonna be going through is how to grow your business for free with word of mouth, and I’m really fired up about this for a number of reasons. So, Jay, we’re gonna go and do a lot of things, but just give us maybe a 15-20 second real, real quick teaser preview of what this Audio Masterclass is gonna be about.
Jay: Word of mouth is responsible for somewhere between 20 and 90 percent of your customers. I don’t care what business you’re in. That’s true. We have all the research to prove it. Yet, nobody listening right now, nobody in Fire Nation actually has a word of mouth strategy. You probably have a marketing strategy, you probably have a digital strategy, social media strategy, crisis management strategy, HR and recruiting strategy, nurture sequence strategy, but nobody has a word of mouth strategy. We just take it for granted, and it’s crazy, and we’re gonna fix that in this Audio Masterclass.
JLD: Wow. We’re gonna fix that, Fire Nation, and again, Talk Triggers is Jay’s new book. We talked about that in the intro a little bit, but this book is actually so on fire right now that I heard that Amazon is running out of copies in their Kindle store, so just think about that for a second. And Jay, let’s just dive in why word of mouth is more important than ever. Break it down for us.
Jay: Well, there are a few reasons why this is true, JLD, but I think the one that Fire Nation will really understand because of the nature of the community is that we trust each other more than ever, and we trust companies and organizations less than ever. And that’s not just me being hyperbolic. There’s data around that. That is true. Everything about that is true, not to mention the fact when you hear a recommendation from a trusted person – if JLD says, “Buy this book,” if your friend says, “Hey, this is a great restaurant,” if somebody you know says, “Hey, this is a software company you ought to think about supporting,” you take that seriously. You put those recommendations into action.
83 percent of Americans have made a purchase in the last 30 days based on a recommendation from a friend or family member. And because of the nature of how we interconnect today, when you get those face-to-face kind of word of mouth referrals, like, hey, we’re on the phone, we’re on Skype, I see you face-to-face, said, “Hey, you gotta check this out,” that carries so much value in our world today because so much of what we’ve been taught to believe in business and as consumers is that advertising will tell you what to buy.
But here’s the truth. Advertising is only the seventh most persuasive form of decision making when people go to make a purchase. But of course, it’s hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of effort, but it’s not as persuasive as me saying, “Hey, JLD, I think you gotta do this.”
JLD: I mean, Fire Nation, every single show that I’ve watched over the past five years on Netflix, on Amazon has been a direct recommendation from one of my friends who I know I can trust their opinion. Literally, I will not watch a show that has not been recommended to me by one of my friends period, and that was just a mind-blowing number, Jay, when you said that advertising’s only the seventh most persuasive. I mean, that is insane. I mean, I don’t wanna put your feet to the fire here, but what are as least some of the six that are more persuasive than advertising?
Jay: Personal experience, recommendation from a friend or family member, face-to-face offline – phone, email, whatever – social media posts from friends are certainly one of them, to some degree depending on the product category, news coverage. So, if you read about it in the newspaper, that kind of thing, you’re like, “Oh, I believe that.” So, it’s that kind of thing. But then straight up ads is pretty far down the list. However, interesting footnote there, Fire Nation, amongst younger Americans, especially Gen Z who are 14-24 depending on how you cut off your generations, advertising is so far a little bit more impactful for that group. They haven’t gotten cynical yet, I guess.
JLD: That is so fascinating. And one thing that we’ve kind of talked about and recognize is that companies are just flat out ignoring word of mouth. I mean, why is that the case?
Jay: We take it for granted. Everybody knows word of mouth is important, but we just assume that our customers, and our supporters, and our tribe, our nation will support us. We just figure, well, I’m a good company, so people will talk about my company because it’s good, right? We just sort of figure that competency creates conversations, but it doesn’t really.
JLD: What is something that your company specifically, Convince and Convert, has done to really try to get word of mouth going? What are some things that you’ve seen that have really been awesome? I mean, you’re a big proponent of podcasting, you’ve launched a ton within Convince & Convert. What are some things like that that really seem to work for you and your business with that word of mouth?
Jay: One of the things we’re doing now is quarterly really large research studies. Like, we did one recently which was breaking down the social media programs of America’s top 50 hospital systems, so not just saying, “Hey, you should hire us to help you because we’re smart,” it’s, “Hey, we’ve done the research to demonstrate to you that we know what we’re doing, and if we can help you, great, if not, here’s some fantastic information that you will appreciate as well.”
So, it’s those kind of things that get passed along, but what we really try and work on the most with our customers is being what we would call talkably responsive, so it’s one of the kind of ways that you can create chatter is by being faster, more responsive than customers expect. One of the ways we do that, JLD, is that you probably know – Fire Nation may not know – that my company’s all virtual, has been for a decade, totally distributed out all over the world. So, what we do is we get different time zones and all that. So, clients know how to reach me and all the other people on my team, but each client can use the email now – N-O-W – @convinceandconvert.com.
That goes out to everybody in the company immediately. It’s like a bat signal. And so, if a client sends that, everybody drops what they’re doing, and whoever is the most capable or the most available will jump on that client request immediately. So, a lot of professional services companies are relatively responsive, and they’ll get back to you same day, or next day, or a couple days later. We get back to our clients in seconds – literally in seconds. And so, we’ve put a lot of effort into that operational differentiator of responsiveness.
JLD: See, I find that really interesting, Fire Nation, when Jay was talking about how ads are actually less effective, and one of the reasons why they’re specifically less effective is because, guess what, we expect ads to of course rave about their own product, their own service whatever that might me.
Jay: Right, yeah, exactly.
JLD: We just expect that. But then I really thought that was interesting is that you were talking about news coverage, and when we see news coverage, there’s an independent third party there, and so when you’re seeing an independent third party, they’re probably not getting benefitted in any direct way by talking positively about a product, or a service, or a company, or whatever it might be where like, wow, well, they don’t really have a reason to be pumping this company up, so they must be good. So, that can be a really effective way when you’re getting that news coverage in a meaningful manner.
And something, Jay, that I really feel like you’ve done great with your company and we’re really striving for here with Entrepreneurs on Fire is really making what the customers tell the stories about meaningful, and even sometimes more importantly, what they don’t tell stories about. So, kind of break that down for us.
Jay: We touched on this a minute ago that we believe in business so often that competency creates conversation, that being good is enough to spur chatter. But the research that I conducted for the new book suggested that’s not the case typically. And that’s because of two reasons, 1.) All of your competitors are good, generally speaking, or they wouldn’t be in business at all. Now, you may very well be better than your competition, but are you so much better that it requires somebody to say, “Man, you would not believe. These guys are so much better.” Maybe, but typically not.
The other thing that’s important to understand is that as human beings, we are physiologically wired to ignore things that are average and discuss things that are different. So, what we’re trying to do when we try to build companies for free, and this is without a question the best way to build any company, is to have your customers do it for you. And the best way to do that is to give them a consistent story to tell that they will then tell their friends.
But that story has to be something interesting because they want to tell their friends an interesting story. Just to say, “That restaurant has good food,” that’s not a very interesting story. If the restaurant has a mermaid show from 9:00 to midnight, like the Sip ‘n Dip Lounge in Great Falls, Montana –
Jay: Yeah, for real, man. Behind the bar – okay, true story.
JLD: I wanna – yeah.
Jay: So, this bar, this bar is in Great Falls, Montana, which is hard to get to even by Montana standards. This bar was named last year one of the top 10 bars in America worth flying to by GQ magazine, and it’s because every night from 9:00 to midnight at the Sip ‘n Dip, they have a giant aquarium behind the bar. Every night between 9:00 and midnight, mermaid show. That’s their talk trigger, right? That’s their word of mouth generator. That is a story that every single person who walks through that door will tell multiple other people. It’s not about they have a good patty melt, it’s not about they have a great piano player – although they do – it’s a mermaid show. And that’s a choice.
Word of mouth is an operational choice that you make to do something different in your business. Unfortunately, most companies don’t make that choice, JLD, because they’re playing follow the leader. They say who’s the best company, the biggest company, the most successful company, the fastest growing company in our category? What do they do? Let me copy what they do. Let’s adopt the “best practices”.
Here’s the problem though. If you’re playing follow the leader, you will never be anything other than second best, and the story that people tell is not your story, it’s your competitor’s story actually. So, you’re much better off figuring out what your version of mermaids behind the bar are because that’s the story that your customers will tell.
JLD: I mean, there’s so many things that I’m pulling out of this, Fire Nation. I wanna go over a couple right now. I mean, think about this, in the old days, competency did create conversation, but that’s no longer the case because, guess what, everybody is good or they wouldn’t be around right now.
Jay: Everybody got good.
JLD: Everybody got good.
Jay: Everybody got good.
JLD: You need to be great. You, Fire Nation, need to be great, and I love that phrase you used is that we ignore average, and we discuss what’s different. Because think about it, Fire Nation, if it’s not a threat to our lives or something that’s going to vastly improve our lives, why are we gonna waste our time on it? If it’s just average, if it’s just like a snail going across a road that’s not a threat to us or it’s not gonna vastly improve our lives, we’re just gonna step on it or just step over it, so you want to be different. You want to be discussed. You want your customers to tell stories like the mermaid show. The mermaid show is a story.
And, Fire Nation, if you think Jay dropped value bombs, you’re right, and we got more of these value bombs coming when we get back from thanking our sponsor. So, Jay, we’re back, and we kinda discussed this a little bit before the break, but I wanna dive deeper into why same is lame and why that follow the leader strategy is simply a terrible one, so let’s dive into this.
Jay: If you’re trying to create word of mouth by doing something that everybody else does, it’s just not a story that customers are likely to pass along because the story itself doesn’t make the customer very good when they tell it. See, we tell stories that make us look good. It’s just how we’re wired, right? So, you wanna make sure that what you’re giving customers, that the raw materials for word of mouth that you provide them is something that the listener, i.e. the friend of your customer, hasn’t already heard because once they’ve already heard it, like, “Oh, yeah, I know another business that does that,” then it takes all of the air out of the balloon, right?
And the customer feels bad, it’s not a good story, and the whole thing falls flat. So, it’s gotta be a little tweak. And I gotta tell you how incredibly powerful this is. So, you travel all the time, lots of listeners travel, so you might know the talk trigger, the sort of word of mouth storytelling device of Doubletree hotels. So, Doubletree by Hilton everyday gives everybody who checks in a warm chocolate chip cookie when you check in. That’s their thing. They’ve done it every day for 30 years they’ve done this. Warm chocolate chip cookie. 75,000 cookies a day they give away now. That’s a lot of cookies.
So, I talked to a thousand Doubletree customers recently for the book, and I said, “Hey, have you ever told anybody about this cookie?” 34 percent of their customers, JLD, have mentioned the cookie to somebody else without being asked in the past 60 days. So, if you do the math on that, it’s 25,000 cookie conversations every 24 hours. Now, there’s a reason why you almost never see an ad for Doubletree because the cookie and the conversation it creates is their advertising. It is how they grow the business, and everybody listening, everybody in Fire Nation can do the same if you make a choice to do something different instead of choosing to try and rip off the good ideas of your competition.
JLD: Now, I do love that phrase you use is that we tell stories that make us look good. I’m not 100 percent sure how telling somebody that you ate a chocolate chip cookie makes you look good in this day and age –
Jay: Because you’re making a good hotel choice [inaudible] [00:17:48].
JLD: I totally get it, and I love it, and I can actually so clearly remember back in 2004, I was in Fort Knox, Kentucky which is about 45 minutes south of Louisville, and every weekend, we’d get off our armor officer basic training, and we’d go up to Louisville for the weekend, and we had 10 hotels to choose from. And we would just kind of go random, like whichever one would be the cheapest, and we’d find out hotel, and we’d all bunk up in there. And one of those weekends early on in the training, we stayed at a Doubletree, and we all got those cookies, and we walked up. As we’re kind of unpacking, we’re eating the cookies, we’re 23-24 years old, and we never went to another hotel the rest of the time. It was just that.
Jay: They had you for life.
JLD: They had us for life. We went back 15 weekends in a row to Louisville, and we stayed in Doubletree every single time because of the cookie. There was no great reason. And also because we could take the hinges off the door really easily in the adjoining room to play beer pong, but that was another reason. The cookies were so amazing, and my melt literally was watering when you were talking about it. I went right back to Louisville, Kentucky, that Doubletree, that chocolate chip cookie, and I’ve talked about that, by the way, multiple times. Now here we are talking about it on Entrepreneurs on Fire.
Jay: Well, and here’s the thing about that, right? When you think about the other approach, which what are the best practices and let’s not worry about storytelling or word of mouth, let’s take word of mouth for granted as we all do, what you would focus on instead is what we should have is a comfier bed, or a better location, or better food in the bar, or better parking – some other kind of conventional hotel attributes. But what really gets the story told is none of those things. It’s the cookie. You made a hotel selection not based on location but based on a cookie. So, you just gotta figure out, Fire Nation, what’s your cookie? What’s your version of that story?
JLD: So, we’re talking about cookies. Cookies obviously have ingredients, and you within your book Talk Triggers have broken down a talk trigger into four ingredients. So, kind of walk us through those four.
Jay: Look, there are lots of good books on word of mouth. The idea of word of mouth has been around since the first caveman sold a rock to another caveman. So, this isn’t like, “Wow, Jay invented a new way of marketing.” No. The problem with word of mouth though – and there’s a lot of great books out there – the problem is there’s a lot of books out there that say word of mouth is important, and it is more than ever as we discussed, but what there’s not is a lot of books that say, “Okay, Jay, I believe you. Now, how do I do it?”
So, Daniel Lemin, who coauthored the book with me, he and I were really intentional about this book to say, look, we want a system that every business can use to repeatably and reliably grow their business at no cost by building a word of mouth wave, by using storytelling and talk triggers to do so, so it’s real specific, right? It’s a 4-5-6 system: four ingredients, five types, six steps. We’ll talk about that, but I just wanna emphasize that it is not a workbook. It is a regular business book, but it’s almost a workbook because it’s so prescriptive.
So, the first piece of the 4-5-6 system is the four things that must be true, that have to be present for your proposed differentiator to really work as a talk trigger, to work as a reliable, consistent word of mouth generator that will differentiate your business. And one of those is it has to be remarkable, right? It kind of goes without saying that the story has to be worthy of remark, right? That’s what remarkable means, and as we talked about earlier, JLD, it has to be a story worth telling. It doesn’t have to be hard.
The operational differentiator doesn’t have to be complicated. I mean, making a cookie isn’t really that hard, but it is remarkable, right? So, it has to meet that test. It has to be something that the customer and the friends of the customer haven’t heard over and over and over. That’s the first piece.
JLD: Well, let’s go into No. 2.
Jay: Second piece is it has to be repeatable. What I mean by that is it’s gotta be something that every customer is offered every time. I’ll tell you a little story about this. There’s a restaurant in Sacramento called Skip’s Kitchen. And Skip’s is a hamburger counter server restaurant, so you go to the front, and they have their menu board there, and you say, “I want two patty melts, and a chocolate shake, and onion rings.” And then they give you a number, and then they bring your food out. Pretty common.
But they have an incredible talk trigger, an amazing word of mouth generator. Here’s how it works. You place your order, and then from underneath the counter, they whip out a deck of cards, and they fan all the cards out face down in front of you, and they say, “Pick a card.” And you select a card, and if you get a joker, Fire Nation, your entire meal is free.
JLD: Shut the front door.
Jay: Now, this restaurant, Skip’s Kitchen, is 10 years old. They have spent a grand total of zero dollars and zero cents on promotion in the entire history of the restaurant. Yet there’s a line to get in every day, and they were just named the 29th best hamburger restaurant in America by USA Today. They can do that because three people a day on average win that joker game. And when they win, they go crazy. They’re like taking patty melt selfies and calling their mom.
JLD: Yeah, that is on their Instagram Story, no doubt.
Jay: Yeah, for sure IG Stories. A high school marching band shows up. I mean, it’s a pretty spectacular deal, right? And so, it doesn’t matter whether or not you win. It just matters that you get a chance to play. The key is that it is repeatable. Every customer, every time gets a chance to play. It’s not just on Wednesdays, it’s not only at lunch, it’s not on Ladies’ Night, it’s not if you buy five burgers, you get to play – everybody gets a chance to play. This is important because we are at a place right now in marketing, especially digital, especially social, where many businesses have embraced what we call “surprise and delight”.
Surprise and delight is where you take one customer in one circumstance, and you do something amazing for them, right? That’s like hotels do this all the time. You check into your hotel, you’re like, “Oh, my God, there’s a live panda bear in my room. That’s amazing. I’m gonna put that on Twitter.” You know what I mean? They just try and shoot the moon for one customer, but that’s a lottery ticket. That’s not a strategy. You can’t do that every day, and it may not work anyway. So, you’re much better off making an operational choice to give out cookies, to have a joker game – whatever your thing is – and give every customer the opportunity to tell that story.
JLD: Goodness, that is such a good story. So, we’ve talked about remarkable, we talked about repeatable, what’s next?
Jay: Third one is reasonable. And one of the other things we do in business today – because it’s hard, right? It’s hard to get attention. Consumers are cynical. There’s lots of competition, there’s a million podcasts, there’s a million whatever you’re doing. So, what we try to do sometimes, we convince ourselves, we tell ourselves a story which is, “Well, all right. Look, man, the only way I’m gonna be able to break through is if we do something extraordinary.” Not just remarkable, but bizarre. And so, it’s like, all right, we’re gonna have a contest, and one of you guys is gonna win an island. You’re like, “Wait, what? I’m not gonna win an island.”
You try to make it so big to break through, but the problem is when you offer experiences to your customers that are too grand, it doesn’t create conversation, it creates suspicion. You don’t want your customers to be hunting down your terms and conditions. You don’t want your customers to be saying, “There’s no way they’re gonna give me an island.” Like, if I say, JLD, if I say, “And you get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car,” who am I talking about?
Jay: Oprah, right? Who else can do that? No-prah. No-prah. Nobody else can do that, right?
Jay: Because nobody else has that kind of – even you, as authoritative as you are [inaudible] [00:25:26] Fire Nation –
JLD: I cannot give out cars, Fire Nation, I’m sorry.
Jay: If you said, “Everybody gets a car,” Fire Nation would be like, “Wait a second. JLD’s not giving us a car.”
JLD: Everybody gets a coconut. I’ve got plenty of those in my front yard though.
Jay: [Inaudible] [00:25:37] coconut, right. So, you can’t overshoot it, right? So, when we say that your talk trigger has to be reasonable, it’s like the Goldilocks zone, right? It’s gotta be interesting enough to be talkable, but not so big that it’s doubted. And Doubletree’s a perfect example, right? You’re making a hotel selection in Kentucky based on a cookie.
And if you go on Twitter and just search Doubletree plus cookie, you’ll see tweets like that all the time. “I only go to Doubletree because of the cookie,” etc., etc. But, bro, it’s just a chocolate chip cookie, okay? Let’s keep this in perspective. It’s a cookie. So, it doesn’t have to be something huge. It just has to be something noticeable. So, it’s gotta be reasonable.
And the fourth one on a related topic is it has to be relevant. You can see these are all Rs, if you’re playing at home. The fourth ingredient is your differentiator has to be relevant, which means it makes sense in the context of who you are and what you are. Who you are and what you are. So, there’s a locksmith in New York City. His name is Jay Sofer, and he’s the best locksmith in New York City as rated by Yelp. He has the highest Yelp rating of any locksmith. He also has one of the highest Yelp ratings of any business at all. Of any business. I mean, think about what that requires in Manhattan to be one of the highest rated businesses period. It’s pretty crazy.
So, one of the reasons he’s so successful is that he has a talk trigger, and it works like this. So, he comes to your house, and he changes your locks, or rekeys your apartment, or lets you in because you locked yourself out or whatever. Before he leaves, he oils every single window and door lock in your premises, not just the one he worked on, and then he also does a security audit of your entire home for no cost before he leaves. That’s his thing. There’s a testimonial of him on Yelp, like one of the reviews. It says, “I almost want to get locked out again. That’s how good my experience was,” which I thought [inaudible] [00:27:23].
But it makes sense because he is a locksmith. So, oiling the locks and doing a security audit is contextually relevant. If Jay Sofer, the locksmith, said, “Hey, thanks very much for having me rekey your place. Here’s a chocolate chip cookie,” you’d be like, “All right. Why are you carrying these around, locksmith?” It doesn’t make any sense, right?
So, the reason why Doubletree and the cookie works so well is that Doubletree, even within the pantheon of – I think there’s 14 other brands inside the Hilton umbrella, their whole thing and has been for decades is warm welcome, so Doubletree, even more so than Hilton and the other brands, focuses on that first 10 minutes, and they train their staff really specifically on what happens from the second you walk in to the second you get to your room for the first time, which includes the cookie ceremony. That whole piece, the warm welcome, is their overall brand positioning differentiator, and the cookie fits right into that. So, it makes sense, right?
If Doubletree by Hilton said, “Hey, when you get home, we’ll do a security audit of your home,” you’re like, “Wait, what?” That doesn’t make any sense either. So, it’s got to be relevant, your differentiator. Does that make sense?
JLD: It does. And I just wanna go over the last two real quick because I thought they were very powerful because reasonable and the point that you made that I loved was being unreasonable doesn’t create conversation, Fire Nation, it creates suspicion. So, keep that in check, that Goldilocks. Can’t be too warm, can’t be too cold, it’s gotta be somewhere in the middle. And then relevant has to make sense with who you are and what you are. You don’t want some locksmith handing you a grease covered chocolate chip cookie. It’s just not gonna make sense to that level.
Jay: It may create conversation, but probably not the conversation you want.
JLD: So, Jay, I wanna end with the five types of talk triggers. We don’t have to go through all of them because of course, your book goes in-depth through all of them. Maybe pick a couple out that are really powerful. If you wanna mention them all, you can, and then we’ll hit it.
Jay: Absolutely. The one that we see most often – we’ve talked about it here – is talkable generosity. That’s when you’re more generous than customers expect. So, the cookie is talkable generosity. Oiling your locks is talkable generosity. Giving away food if you picked the joker is talkable generosity. That’s one you see most often because it’s the easiest to conceptualize for business, but it’s by no means the only one. So, there are four other options. Talkable responsiveness, which is we mentioned when we talked about Convince and Convert. That’s when you are faster than customers expect.
There’s a business in New York – another business in New York – called Paragon, and it’s a car dealership – Honda Acura – and they have this amazing deal where they will pick up your car from work or from your home, they’ll fix it overnight while you’re sleeping, and then bring it back to you in your driveway before you leave for work the next day.
JLD: I like that.
Jay: Right? How genius is that?
JLD: So good.
Jay: Because they’re in Manhattan, and so getting the cars to and from people because of traffic is insane. Like, well, we’ll just do it at night like magic elves. Talkably responsive, right? Super good one.
JLD: Love it.
Jay: Talkable usefulness, right? So, being more useful than your customers expect. There’s a realtor in Florida, his name’s Joe Manausa, and he only represents sellers. He only represents people selling a house, and he only represents sellers who have homes between $200,000.00 and $400,000.00 USD. So, in that market segment, it’s pretty common that you don’t have a ton of upside equity in your home, so what happens a lot for those sellers is they think, “Well, I could work with a realtor, or I could try and sell this sucker myself and keep the commission.” Makes sense, right?
Well, most realtors have a website, and a content marketing, and a social media strategy which tries to convince sellers that, you know what, don’t try this on your own. You need to use a realtor because I’m an expert. Joe does the opposite. Joe wrote a 60-page free, downloadable PDF on his website, and it’s called How to Sell a Home on Your Own in Florida. And it’s exactly that. It’s step-by-step, precisely how to sell a home on your own. And I interviewed Joe for a book I wrote, and I said, “Hey, man, I don’t get this because it seems like you’re telling people exactly what they need to not hire you.”
He said, “Yeah, but here’s the thing. They get to about Page 19, and they realize that it’s way harder to sell a home on your own than they thought, like, ‘Nah, dude, I don’t wanna hassle with this,’” and it’s his No. 1 source of customers. His name and email address are on every page, and not only does it create conversations and customers from those people, but the friends of those people because if your home is between $200,000.00 and $400,000.00, chances are so are your friends’.
And when your friends go to sell their home, like, “Hey, JLD, weren’t you gonna sell your house on your own?” you’re like, “Bro, don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. Don’t even try it, man. You’ll get to Page 19, and you’ll realize it’s a bad idea. Just call Joe. He’ll hook you up,” right? It propels his business. It literally grows his business at no cost. Your customers will clone themselves if you give them a consistent story to tell.
JLD: Talkable generosity, talkable usefulness, what else we got?
Jay: We got responsiveness, generosity, usefulness. The fourth one, I gotta tell you, I wish wasn’t in this list, and three years ago wouldn’t have been on this list. But the fourth one is talkable empathy where you are more kind and more human than your customers expect. And I wish that was not on the list, but I don’t think I’m speaking out of school when I say that we are currently operating in an empathy-deficit environment.
And the default state of business used to be to take care of their customers and to be warm, and human, and caring. And that’s not the default state anymore for a lot of businesses, so when you are like that, it creates conversation among your customers because they cannot believe how awesome you are.
The fifth one, we touched on a little bit earlier, is talkable attitude. That’s when you’re just a little different, right? Everything about your business is just a little wacky, a little interesting, a little off-kilter. Mailchimp is a good example of a talkable attitude talk trigger with the chimp, and we mentioned one of the all time great talkable attitude examples with the Sip ‘n Dip lounge in Great Falls, Montana with aquarium of mermaids. That’s an amazing attitude driven story. So, those are the five.
JLD: So, Fire Nation, talkable responsiveness, talkable generosity, talkable usefulness, talkable empathy, talkable attitude – those are the five types of talk triggers. And, Jay, you wrote this book Talk Triggers. Really break down for Fire Nation who this book is for and really the massive value they’re gonna get from reading and consuming this content.
Jay: Anybody who is in charge of making a business bigger should read this book. So, if you are at the executive level, an owner in charge of sales or marketing, that’s the group that should read this book, and it will help every single person. The last third of the book is all about how to do it – the six step process for how to create talk triggers, and it says here’s what marketing should do, here’s what sales should do, here’s what customer service should do. If you’re a small business, and you do all of those things, we’ve got recipes in there for you as well. There are all kinds of worksheets and examples, all kinds of bonus stuff.
In fact, if you go to TalkTriggers.com/fire – TalkTriggers.com/fire – the actual six step process document for exactly how to do this, which is the same process that we use at my company to do this for big brands, it’s right there for free. Just download it. I’d love for you to have it.
JLD: So, Fire Nation, one thing I love about Jay is he writes complete books. Now, I’m not gonna lie, a lot of business books out there I feel like after the first 25-30 percent, you’re like, “Okay, I’ve gotten these higher value from this book that I’m gonna get the entire book.” Not Jay Baer books. These books are just value-packed the entire way through. That’s why I loved when you said in the back third of that book, it’s literally the six steps you go to follow this process. So, Fire Nation, you’re gonna be getting a book that takes you from A to Z through this entire process. It’s gonna be valuable every single page, every single way, every single step through. TalkTriggers.com/fire.
And Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with JB and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Type “Jay” in the search bar. This isn’t the first episode he’s ever been on. He’s been on a bunch of past episodes, so you can listen to those older shows where we also dropped value bombs on different topics in different areas. In fact, the first time I had him on, we talked about his entrepreneurial journey, which his quite a doozy. We never mentioned the Budweiser thing, but it was a pretty –
Jay: I was saving it. I was saving it for this one.
JLD: You were saving it.
Jay: I’m just holding out on you, man.
JLD: I love it. So, Jay, what’s the final just parting piece of guidance you wanna give to Fire Nation before we say goodbye?
Jay: You already know everything we just talked about is true. Everybody understands that word of mouth is hugely important to their business. Hugely important. But yet, we’re very, very passive about it. We just take it for granted. What I want you to do is turn word of mouth from something that you do accidentally into something that you do on purpose, and if you do that, I can absolutely, positively guarantee that your business will be on fire.
JLD: Fire Nation, TalkTriggers.com/fire, that is your call to action. And, Jay, thank you for sharing your truth with Fire Nation today. For that, brother, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
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