How Social Media and Word of Mouth Turn Customers Into Marketers

How Social Media and Word of Mouth Turn Customers Into Marketers

Jay Baer, Founder of Convince & Convert and co-author of Talk Triggers, joins the Social Pros Podcast to discuss his new book and word of mouth marketing.

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Full Episode Details

Strategic Word of Mouth

Adspace, social, content creation—there are so many ways to get your business in front of people. The question becomes, which is the most effective?

Any successful business owner will tell you that word of mouth is the best way to spread the word about your brand and get people excited. In their new book, Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin lay out the framework for creating a “talk trigger,” which is specifically engineered to get your customers talking.

The four corners of this framework are what they call “The Four R’s.” Your talk trigger must be remarkable, relevant, reasonable, and repeatable. Using these as your guide, you can craft a talk trigger around your business to start generating real and effective word of mouth!

In This Episode

  • How offline word of mouth differs from online word of mouth.
  • Why you need to give your customers a story to tell.
  • Why a talk trigger is not “surprise and delight.”
  • The four “R’s” of a successful talk trigger:
    • Remarkable
    • Relevant
    • Reasonable
    • Repeatable

Quotes From This Episode

“A talk trigger is a strategic operational differentiator that creates word of mouth.” — @jaybaer

If you want to have more effective social media, your social needs to be about something. Click To Tweet Advertising is a tax on the unremarkable. Click To Tweet


See you next week!

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Episode Transcript

Jay Baer: Hey everybody, welcome to the show. Sponsors this week of Social Pros include our friends at Salesforce marketing cloud who have a fantastic and free guide for B2B marketers called The Complete Guide to Social Media for B2B marketers. Tells you how to you use Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and even Snapchat for B2B. Download it for nothing right now at That's bitly/socialb, the number two, b guide. Get it right now. Also wanna let you know about my brand new book. I could not be more excited. It's called Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth. It's all about how to build a word of mouth strategy tied into your social media that turns your customers into volunteer marketers. I wrote it with my good friend Daniel Lemon. I think it's the best thing I've ever done. Go to Amazon and search Talk Triggers or go to to see a bunch of special offers just for you. That's Well friends we are back with a very special episode of Social Pros. It's Jay Baer, he's Adam Brown. This one's a little awkward because Adam's gonna interview me here on the Social Pros podcast. We're gonna see how that goes. Adam Brown: This is a little awkward Jay, I'll tell you. Just to start out. It's different. I'll have to raise my game here a little bit to interview you, one of the best interviewers in the business. Jay Baer: Hardly. Thank you for doing it. Delighted to be with everybody as always. It is fun to be on this side of the microphone. Adam Brown: The book is Talk Triggers and as we record this it is available in fine bookstores, traditional and online everywhere. Jay talk a little bit about it. This is which book for you? Jay Baer: This is the sixth book that I have created. My co-author Daniel Lemon this is his second book. We've been working on this project for about 18 months or so, so it's been a real labor, I'm really proud of it. The subtitle of Talk Triggers is The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth and hopefully we've done just that. Adam Brown: I had the opportunity to read a pre-release copy to get ready for our interview with Jay today and it's such an incredible book and we're gonna dive really into detail and a lot of it and the actionable insights that are in it. But I'm interested, Jay about one thing you just said. You said 18 months for you and Daniel to write it. Was this an easy or a difficult book for you to write? Jay Baer: A little bit of both. Easy in that the topic is so fun. Word of mouth is just a terrific and interesting and enjoyable slice of business and there's so many interesting and vivid case studies in the book that were just a blast to interview people and really fun to write. At the same time it's tricky because unlike previous books about word of mouth, Daniel and I really had to balance the offline word of mouth. You and I are having a conversation face to face and the manifest importance of online word of mouth. Social media, reading reviews sites, etc., and making sure we had a foot in both of those camps. And then also while there are a number of terrific word of mouth books on the market and in fact many of the authors of those books, Andy Sernovitz, our mutual friend Jonah Berger who’s been on the show twice, a number of other folks, Ted Wright from Fizz who wrote the forward. There's lot of good word of mouth books out there. But what we wanted to make sure we did was to add to the work by making Talk Triggers exceptionally actionable so Daniel and I spent a lot of time perfecting the systems in the book. The systems that any business can use to create their own word of mouth advantage and not only building out those systems but then back testing those systems with clients that convince and convert. So taking what we have in the book and saying okay, let's apply this to real companies. Let's demonstrate success, then we know it works, put that in the book. Sort of an iterative process along the way. Adam Brown: And it was that distinction in the difference between online and offline word of mouth that was really interesting to me. You note Ed Keller in the book, co-author of another book called the Face to Face book and CEO of Engagement Labs. Yeah, absolutely great book. Talked a little bit about the difference and how some things can really shine offline. Some things are better across that kitchen table or across from a bar stool with a buddy. Talk a little bit more about the distinction of the two. Jay Baer: Yeah it's fascinating. Ed's research at Engagement Labs finds that approximately 50% of all word of mouth, so all chatter, takes place online. Social media, etc. and about 50% takes place offline in the real world, telephone, face to face, Skype, etc. But what was fascinating about that is the types of things that people talk about tend to vary whether you're online or offline. The conversations are a little bit different because online you don't necessarily know all the people who are going to consumer the information especially if you put something on Yelp for example, so the kinds of things that make an impact and the kinds of things you talk about tend to vary a little bit. What we have found, what Daniel and I found in our supplemental research called Chatter Matters, which isn't even in the book, is that offline word of mouth- Adam Brown: Sounds like a [inaudible 00:05:16] to me, Jay. Jay Baer: I know the traditional kind of stuff, actually has more persuasive power. Now that may not be particularly counter intuitive because if you actually know the person, if you have that level of intimacy and trust. So if I say to you face to face, 'Hey you really should buy this book, that is going to deliver more of a persuasive impact than if you just see a tweet about a book. Adam Brown: one of the things in one of the examples you use and refer to often in the book is a brand that I know you like and a brand I like. There are a couple of these brands and there are a couple brands and if you are a shrewd listener of Social Pros you've heard Jay mention over the past 12-18 months which is quite appropriate, but one is around a cheesecake story. And I like the cases of the Cheesecake Factory story because not only is it relevant and relevant to talk triggers and one of the talk triggers are multiple talk triggers that they create. Also because you begin to show how that talk trigger is having a tremendous impact. You make a correlation in the book around Cheesecake Factory and that they only spend .2% of their total sales on advertising and you compare that to another very well respected and I think probably compatible restaurant brand, Darden Restaurants which owns Olive Garden, Capital Grille, Yardhouse, many others where they're spending 1,799% more on advertising. I would guess and I would surmise that the Cheesecake Factory's brand and what it represents and what the talk triggers associate with the brand are so much stronger. Jay Baer: Well they certainly have a cleaner story and that's what a talk trigger is. It's a story that you consistently give your customers so that they can tell that story to their friends. The best way to build any business, a small business like mine, a giant business like Salesforce or Cheesecake Factory which is probably somewhere in between, is to have your customers do that building for you. And the only way that works is to give them a story to tell. Now the challenge is, and really the crazy part when we started writing this book, Adam, is that word of mouth represents between 50 and 91% of all purchases. So between half and 90% of every dollar in your pocket right now was influenced by word of mouth in some way. And most business people will not debate that. Certainly Social Pros listeners will support that fact because social media is word of mouth in large measure, but the weird part is that nobody has a strategy for it. It's so incredibly important but nobody has a strategy. You've got a marketing strategy, a social strategy, a PR strategy, a crisis strategy, but nobody has a word of mouth strategy. We just sort of take it for granted and we assume that competency creates conversations. That being a good business is enough to get customers talking but it's really not in most cases because all your competitors are good as well so you have to give them something different. So to define it, a talk trigger is a strategic operational differentiator that creates word of mouth. It's something that you do differently that people remember and talk about. So in the Cheesecake Factory example, the Cheesecake Factory menu, I actually have it on my desk here. The Cheesecake Factory menu is ridiculous. Adam Brown: All 5,190 words of it. Jay Baer: It is almost 6,000 words long which just do some quick math here it's like 15% as long as the book. Being a waiter at the Cheesecake Factory, worst job ever because you're like are you guys ready to order? No bro, not even close to being ready to order. Adam Brown: You probably had to memorize that menu too. Jay Baer: Come back in two hours and then we'll be ready to order. Please get me some water before then. True story. They make chicken 85 different kinds of ways. 85. That's crazy. Nobody can name more than 20. 85 types of chicken preparation is a significant array of chicken but the menu is so big, it is almost comically big that people talk about it all the time. Now you might be thinking, Social Pros listeners, oh yeah I've been to Cheesecake Factory and you're right Jay, the menu is big but that doesn't actually have any impact on their business. But it does my friends. It does. Daniel and I did a survey of Cheesecake Factory customers. A legitimate full blown academic survey and found that 38% of Cheesecake Factory's customers have, without being prompted or aided or asked, mentioned that menu to somebody else in the previous 60 days. That's why they don't have to advertise because the size of the menu propels the story and the stories are their advertising. Pause the show right now. Just pause the show. Grab your phone, go to Twitter, type in Cheesecake Factory plus menu and it is ... You'll see tweet after tweet after tweet after tweet, people saying I'm reading the Cheesecake Factory menu for my book club, etc. etc. It's hilarious. People really notice it. Adam Brown: So my question for you is here we are as our listeners are listening to this show Social Pros where in many cases marketing, we're communications people. You have to wonder is the tail wagging the dog here or is the dog wagging the tail? How did they come up with this? Whether we're at the Cheesecake Factory and we're recognizing and realizing that they have this asset that is so marketable, that is such a talk trigger, that is something that is so brand-esque. It's funny as I was reading this book over the past couple of days I actually chuckled myself because I was like wow, the menu at Cheesecake Factory is a talk trigger. I wonder if the cookie at Doubletree Hotels is their talk triggers, haha because I've heard Jay talk about it. I moved to chapter three and there it is. But the question is, as a social media practitioner, I may not be able to drive the organization. We're gonna get into many of these throughout this podcast. I might not be able to drive actually buying a cookie for each guest or bumping that menu up to thousands of different SKUs. How does this happen in an organization and how does a marketer communicator can we begin to realize, hey there's a marketable opportunity here to do something pretty compelling. Jay Baer: I would answer that two ways, Adam. One, my observation is that if the problem today in social is that people are creating social content about nothing. It's like an episode of Seinfeld run amok. If you want to have more effective social media, your social needs to be about something and that something ideally is your talk trigger. The same way that we're trying to give customers a story to tell, the brand giving your social media team to tell is more important. You actually have some raw materials then to tell some interesting stories. You talked about Doubletree. That's a good example. Every once in awhile, not very much because you don't want to beat a dead horse but every once in awhile, Doubletree will do something in social media just to remind you, just subtly remind you that they're the cookie guys. And that's a much easier task for their social team than, well we've got some really comfy double beds which nobody cares about, right? And so it gives them storytelling fodder as well. My other observation is that you're right. An individual social media manager probably can't universally roll out an operations level differentiator in a brand. But neither should anybody else in marketing. While these type of talk trigger initiatives are often born out of the marketing department, the reality is that again a talk trigger is an operational difference. It's not marketing. It's not a slogan, it's not a contest. It's not a coupon. It's not a promotion, it's not a campaign. It's not some sort of UGC stunt marketing. It really is an operational differentiator. That being the case, it has to involve, by definition, marketing and sales and ops and customer service. So can somebody in social unilaterally make this change? No, but they can certainly be part of the team that says, hey we should do something to give our customers a better story to tell. Adam Brown: And there's a part of that that really interests me because there's an analogy I often use and I think I've even used it on this show around campfires. You have things sometimes as a social media marketer in terms of data and listening insights that brings all these other parts of the organization, be it sales, be it R&D, be it operations. Together it sounds like in a way talk triggers can be that same thing. It's a device as well as an opportunity to bring- Jay Baer: Has to be. Not only can be, it has to be. Adam Brown: Yeah and if you don't do it right [crosstalk 00:13:47] could be a detractor right. Jay Baer: If you're gonna have 85 different kinds of chicken in your restaurant, a lot of people have to figure that out. Marketing's the least of your problems. You gotta have a whole chicken supply chain and you gotta have menu design. You gotta train all the servers to be able to describe 85 different types of chicken. Not to mention all the ingredients you have to have. Mushrooms and everything else. It's a whole, it takes a village to support a talk trigger in every respect unless it's a very very small business and so that's one of the things that is interesting about this work on the consulting side too, is that yeah, it ends up being marketing but it really isn't, right? It's really business process and operations. The kind of stuff that creates marketing advantages and it's a lot of fun. It's a little different way of looking at things so it's a joy to get involved sometimes. Adam Brown: And it's consistent with a thing that we often times talk about here on the Social Pros show around authenticity and genuineness. By its definition, talk triggers can't just be marketing speak. They have to be genuine. They have to remarkable. In fact that's one of the four requirements that we'll get to in a second here for a talk trigger. I was excited through the book because not only do you give these great case studies, and we're gonna share some more. You made it very prescriptive. You talked about how the four types of talk triggers criteria, you talked about the four different types of customers, and then there was this entire methodology called four five six that not only was a smiler for me because I love things that are process driven and methodology and gamma charts but it also made it very digestible and approachable. Before we get there though, let's talk a little bit about what isn't a talk trigger 'cause I think you open up a chapter of the book with same is lame and it has to be something that's differentiating and that it has to be something that you can own. I think one of the greatest things about Doubletree and the cookie is it's always going to be Doubletree and the cookie. The thing about the Cheesecake Factory is that menu. I think you gave a great example of another wonderful hotel brand, a hotel brand that did a surprising delight for me just a little under a month ago as we record this on August 8th when I was in one of their hotels and they surprised and delighted me for some really interesting things for my birthday. But Westin and the heavenly bed. For awhile it was such a talk trigger. But then it became commoditized. Jay Baer: Yeah that's it. Sometimes you have a differentiator that you roll out and you can protect it indefinitely. Doubletree has been giving out a warm chocolate chip cookie to every guest that check in for 30 years. Adam Brown: Couple million cookies, yeah? Jay Baer: It's 75,000 a day. So yeah it's many million. Adam Brown: Holy cow. Jay Baer: They've been able to say this is our thing. I'll ask you, right? You don't see a lot of Doubletree ads either, just like Cheesecake Factory because the cookie is the ad. The one thing they do which is really smart. When they have airport shuttles, the airport shuttle always has a big chocolate chip cookie decal on it. It's the subtle nod, we're the cookie guys. This is a differentiator. One of the things you've probably heard. I know you have Adam and probably a lot of listeners have too. It's not entirely true but it's at least partially true in the context of word of mouth is that advertising is a tax on the unremarkable. If your talk trigger, if your differentiator is good enough, you can afford to spend less on advertising because your customers are doing your marketing for you. The goal of a talk trigger is to turn your customers into volunteer marketers in social media, in ratings and review sites, and across the kitchen table. That's how it works best but what's interesting about talk triggers is that sometimes you get lucky like Doubletree has and you can hold it for 30 years and sometimes you have a good idea like Westin did with the heavenly bed which was intended to be the most comfy bed of all beds in hotel land- Adam Brown: It was. Jay Baer: It was and then a bunch of other hotels were like huh. We can have beds. So Marriott got a fancy bed, I think Hyatt ended up doing a partnership with the sleep number guys. Hilton Garden Inn started doing a bunch of comfy bed stuff. They just couldn't protect it. And sometimes that happens. We talked about that in the book that if that occurs and you lose your uniqueness, then you gotta go back to the drawing board and pick a new one. Adam Brown: That idea that advertising is a lack of remarkability tax I think is a great segue into the first section of the book called the four requirements of a talk trigger and remarkableness is one and it's a big one. And there were some really interesting case studies. First talk a little bit about what those four requirements are. Jay Baer: Being remarkable is non-negotiable because that's the whole point of word of mouth. Adam Brown: I would say all four of these are non-negotiable. Jay Baer: They are but remarkability in particular because if your story isn't interesting enough to talk about then you might as well just pack up your things and go home. And it's so critical because I don't know everybody listening to the show. I do know many of you and it's so fantastic when I meet listeners on the road. Thank you, please continue to say hi. I do know this though, Adam. Nobody listening to this show has ever said these words, "Hey, let me tell you about this perfectly adequate experience I just had." Nobody says that. Why? Because if you're going to tell a story to somebody or you're going to make a recommendation to someone, you want that story and that recommendation to be interesting. And same is lame. We're so guilty of this in business. I'm guilty of it. Adam's guilty of it. We're all guilty of playing follow the leader. Of saying who's the best, who's the most successful, who’s got it together in our category. Let's mimic what they're doing. It is an absolute loser as a strategy from a word of mouth standpoint because all you're doing is becoming a pale imitation of them. So you've got to do something that people don't expect. And one of the key strategies from the book in this process is to say okay, find out what your customers expect because once you know what they expect, you can do what they don't expect and that's where your talk trigger lies. Adam Brown: You talk in the book a little bit about the distinction between something that's remarkable and that unique selling proposition. Any of us who have gone to higher education around marketing or advertising or PR, we learned about David Elkouby and the unique selling proposition pioneer of his during the 50s and 60s but I loved how you made the distinction between a USP and something that is remarkable or in general just a talk trigger. Jay Baer: And the challenge about ... USPs are typically bullet points. It's a feature or a benefit that you do. It really is a competency based way of thinking about it. We are better than the competition at X and let's illustrate that with a bullet point. A USP is a bullet point. A talk trigger is a story. And the idea is that a talk trigger focuses on being different. A USP focuses on being better. Both are valid. Both are important but the word of mouth potential of something that you don't expect is much much higher than something that is just good. That's the challenge. We think that competency creates conversations but it doesn't. Competency keeps customers. So from a customer retention standpoint, if you're like hey, we wanna make sure that today's customers come back? Yes, you wanna focus on competency, USP, we've got really good food. But if you want those current customers to become volunteer marketers, you're much better off doing something they don't expect than you are focused on something that's just 10% better. Adam Brown: And that's where the four r's, the four requirements of a talk trigger come from. We talked a little bit about remarkable and there's some great case studies in the book. On Umpqua Bank, I think I pronounced that right- Jay Baer: Yeah Umpqua Bank- Adam Brown: -with the silver phone in Oregon. You talk about the other side of the United States coast with Lockbusters and some of the spectacular things that they're doing. The second r though is relevant. And it has to be something that's relevant to the customer. It can't just be something cool for cool's sake. Even if it's remarkable but it has to be something that's meaningful to them. Jay Baer: The story has to make sense because if you're trying to get people to pass the story along, it has to make sense in the context of who you are and what you do. I'll talk about Lockbusters for just a second because it'll help make the point. So Jay Sofer is a locksmith in New York City whose business is called Lockbusters. He's the highest rated locksmith in Manhattan and he's actually one of the highest rated businesses in Manhattan of any kind which is hard to fathom. He has a great talk trigger. So when he finishes work on your locks or whatever, he oils all the locks in your house. Windows and doors. And then he does a security audit of your premise. For free. Does both of these things for free. Now imagine instead of doing that, instead of doing the security audit and oiling your locks, he said, 'Adam, thanks for having me work on your locks. Would you like a warm chocolate chip cookie I made in my van?' You'd be like no, bro, I don't want a locksmith cookie. I don't even know what that means. That's totally freaky. His talk trigger, security audit, I'm a locksmith. Oh, that's awesome, I'll tell a friend. Doubletree cookie, it's a cookie. Their whole brand positioning is warm welcome. That all makes sense. The contrary is also true. If you went into Doubletree and they said, 'Hey would you like us to do a security audit of your hotel room,' you're like um, no and is that necessary? Adam Brown: I've already dialed nine and one on the phone. Jay Baer: Exactly. So it has to make sense. And sometimes marketers are particularly guilty of this. They're like, well we've gotta go big baby. We've gotta do something crazy. Crazy Eddie right. And you're just like okay let's make conversation and we're gonna have an antelope graze out of your hand in the lobby and that'll be fun. Yeah, people will talk about that but that's weird. Adam Brown: Yeah, so that's not only not relevant but that example you just gave is perfect segue to our number three. Reasonableness. We all can't be Oprah Winfrey giving away free cars. You call it the Goldilocks zone. It's gotta be right there. It's gotta be reasonable. It's gotta be relevant and remarkable but it can't be over the top that people spidey sense goes up. Jay Baer: When you try and make it too big and you have some giant contest where everybody wins an island or something, what happens is the conversation becomes what are the terms and conditions of this more so than isn't this interesting? And people start to distrust the very nature of your differentiator so again marketers are often guilty of trying to make it too big, too bold, too brash because they figure the bigger it is the more conversation it'll generate. That's not actually true over the long haul. You're better off being somewhat more modest but then plugging away at it day after day. Doubletree's another good example. They've been doing this every day for 30 years. On average, 25,500 cookies talk about the cookie per day. Every day. Tremendous success. Adam Brown: But it's just a chocolate chip cookie man. It's just a cookie. Jay Baer: Don't overthink it. Adam Brown: And again. It was not only reasonable and approachable to them. They're probably spending somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 to 75 cents a cookie. They can do that with their scale at 25, 35,000 times a day. They can give away 75,000 cookies as you said every ... What was the day time? Jay Baer: Every day. [crosstalk 00:25:23] 75,000 a day. Adam Brown: So it's the fourth one. It's repeatable. It's repeatable, it's available to every customer every time. It's just like that menu. Jay Baer: Here comes my rant. Adam Brown: Yeah, I'm ready. Jay Baer: Everybody gets a cookie, okay. It's not just ladies night, it's not just on your birthday. It's not just in the Hilton Honors rewards club. Everybody gets a cookie. Everybody gets their locks examined by Jay Sofer locksmith. Everybody gets the same menu at Cheesecake Factory. The biggest problem right now in the word of mouth industry is surprise and delight because when brands try to treat customers inequitably to say oh it's Adam Brown, let's do something really special for Adam. I understand the temptation there because maybe then Adam will share in social media and it will quote unquote go viral and that will pick up steam and maybe it'll jump out of its rails and get picked up by Reddit or whatever. I'm not suggesting you should never do surprise and delight but what I am suggesting is that surprise and delight is a lottery ticket. It's not a strategy. It's not a repeatable word of mouth strategy that will pay off day after day after day after day. You're not turning customers into volunteer marketers at that point. You're turning Adam into the media. It's a different thing. Adam Brown: And it's a lottery ticket on both sides. It's a lottery ticket for the guest because it truly is surprise and delight, this is not gonna happen every time. And it's very much probably even a bigger lottery for the brand because it's highly likely that they are not going to see the [inaudible 00:26:53], the viral ROI that social programs like surprise and delight would have even gotten five or 10 years ago. Just because of the way the algorithms work, just the way the volume of information in social media, and the fractured state of social media as it is today as compared to 10 years ago. Jay Baer: Yep. So I'm not suggesting that surprise and delight, that there's no place for it. There is and many of our listeners are involved in social driven surprise and delight programs from here or there. We've got also partners and folks like Hyper who are formally sponsoring show who do surprise and delight or help brands do surprise and delight. It's all good but it's not the same as the word of mouth strategy. It's not a replacement for a talk trigger. Adam Brown: As you and Dan starting putting this book together you obviously had to come across dozens if not hundreds of great case studies and example of ones- Jay Baer: More all the time now too. It's fun. I wish I could rewrite the book. Adam Brown: Sequels are calling. There had to have been a story or a case study of an example that really was meaningful to you. For me it actually came in the second part of your book. There were ... The book is organized in some really interesting ways. There's chapters one, two, three and then there's a whole section called four, five, six. And we talked about the four r's, the four requirements of a talk trigger and there are five types of talk triggers for section five and then section six is six steps to celebrate talk triggers. And there were a couple of stories that were really meaningful to me in case studies. One was in the five types of talk triggers and it was the one around empathy. I'll tee up the topic for Jay and I would love for him to talk about this. But the topic was ridiculously nice debt collection and it was a case study around a debt collection service that was being ridiculously nice and having more effectiveness than the mean old debt collectors that call and plague their clients at dinner time every single night. That was really meaningful to me because it took an idea and turned it on it's time. Jay Baer: Talked to their owner today, Kenlyn Gretz. I'm going out there to Manitowic, Wisconsin where they're based in December to do a little program for their employees and their customers. And I mentioned earlier that the whole idea of a talk trigger is to take what people expect and then do what they don't expect. Because that's what creates conversations. Well if I tell you medical debt collection, you have an expectation of what that's all about. That's probably not great. Collecting debt on behalf of hospitals and physician groups and most debt collectors tend to lay it on pretty heavy. They use a lot of guilt, a lot of shame, a lot of pressure because they don't get paid unless they get paid. Well, Kenlyn Gretz decided to do it exactly opposite. He knows what people expect and he did the different approach. The business is called Americollect and their slogan, their DNA, their talk trigger, their rationale, as Tom Webster would say their theory of the firm is ridiculously nice collections. And that's how they roll. When they're talking to somebody who owes money, they are extraordinarily patient and polite and friendly and kind and it has not only a colossal psychological impact on those who are in arrears but as a result it actually produces far better outcomes. In that industry, and I didn't know this until we interviewed them for the book, is really common to do shoot outs. And what they mean by that is, if you're a hospital or physician group or whatever and you need to hire debt collectors, it's very common, almost like an AB test in social media where they take two different firms and say okay you get half the accounts and you get half and whoever collects the most money, next time you get all of it. So they sort of just give you a little trial run. Well Americollect, with their ridiculously nice approach which is a stark contrast to everybody else has won 1,997 out of the last 2,000 shoot outs as of this morning. So proof's in the pudding. This totally works. And the part that's even crazier, Adam, is that a significant percentage. I think it's over half now is what Kenlyn was saying, of the employees at Americollect actually were people who they called to collect money from. Imagine that. You get a call from a debt collector and they are so kind, so empathetic, so compassionate that once you've caught up you're like, man I'd like to go work for those guys. Adam Brown: That says something. Jay Baer: It's unbelievable. Adam Brown: And you speak to one of the other aspects of this. This can have that contagious aspect on the entire organization. It can impact your HR and your employee retention. I'm sure they have the highest job retention in the industry. Certainly if some of their clients now once you joined them- Jay Baer: I would think so. Adam Brown: Wow. I love that story and that was one of the five types of talk triggers that you talk about. Talk about empathy. And other aspects of it. Generosity, usefulness, speed and attitude. All very, very different in how they use and approach talk triggers, but similar in their approach and similar in the impact that they can have just like with empathy on the organization. Jay Baer: Yeah there's not one way to do it which I think keeps it interesting. The style of talk trigger that you see most often is [inaudible 00:32:20] generosity where you're more generous than your customers expect. It's because it's the easiest one to operationalize in your business so a free cookie is talkable generosity. Doing a security audit of your locks is talkable generosity et cetera. That's the one that you most often encounter but it's by no means the only one. Like we just talked about Americollect and ridiculously nice is talkable. Empathy where you're more human than your customers expect. You can be faster than they expect which is a tough one to own because our expectations on speed continue to go up and up and don't we know that in the social media world, especially social care. It used to be you tweeted somebody back in two hours and they were blown away. Now they're like what took you so long? It's changed a lot. What you wanna do is figure out which of the five best fit the DNA of your organization and that's where you get started. Adam Brown: I was reading the book actually on a plane this weekend coming back from San Francisco to Austin and one of the talk triggers was actually very [inaudible 00:33:24]. I was coming back on Alaska airplane. Of course Alaska Air acquired Virgin America and in the process still of painting all the planes and merging two very different cultures. One of the things I loved about Virgin America ... There are actually two things and both of these things are gone now. One was the crazy safety video. It was hilarious. They were the first out of all the airlines including Air New Zealand which we'll talk about here in a second, to do very clever safety videos. The second was they had the greatest margarita mix in the free world, and they no longer have each. One of the examples that you use in the book was around usefulness and talking about Air New Zealand's multiple safety videos and the sky couch. What I loved about both of these stories were safety video's pretty darn easy. Sky couch, that was absolutely incredible but something that was logistically involved a lot more people. It took a village, it took a campfire. Jay Baer: And so useful. So the way the sky couch works, and Air New Zealand developed, they've now licensed it for a couple other airlines. Korean Air and a couple others I think. It's not a first class seat. It's in coach, but you can purchase the row and then they have a configuration of the seat so that the arm rests fold down so that they disappear and then an attached footrest comes up on all three seats and so the whole thing becomes kind of like a futon couch like you'd have in a dorm room. It's great. So if you've got kids it's almost instant play pen. If you've got a significant other and you wanna do some snuggling or whatever, keep it appropriate kids but do whatever ... You just have room to hang. You're not in a seat per se, you've got a couch. That's why it's called the sky couch. It's been a huge success for them. What's interesting about that talk trigger is it's similar to some of the other really good ones in the book in that you don't have to experience it to talk about it. You just have to see it. If you're walking to the bathroom, you're like what the hell is this all about? You ask a flight attendant about it. You don't have to have bought it. The next time you're flying and you see somebody you're like, 'Hey I was on this Air New Zealand flight. They had the craziest thing. It was like a couch on the plane.' So it creates conversation even if you don't experience it yourself and those are the ones that I think are really, really special because they just have this own propellant contained inside. I love that. Adam Brown: And I think too, here we are as social media marketers, you and I, Jay. I look at sky couch. I look at another example that you use. Five Guys and the huge bag of fries. I look at Skip's Kitchen and the joker. I look at your tailor which I know you'll talk about and some of the personalized messages he and she make on the actual clothing that they tailor, but they are highly visual things. They are things that I say, oh, that's an Instagram post right there. Oh, that's all over Twitter. And I think sometimes some of these things are phenomenal. The ridiculously nice debt collection is great from an empathy standpoint and it's emotional and it pulls to you but you're not gonna tweet about that probably. You're probably not going to have a visual that you're gonna associate with that but with so many you have in your book, they're visual. Jay Baer: I'm glad you picked up on that. What we were talking about before at the very beginning of the show, this difference between online and offline word of mouth and how the topics are different. You will share a photo of the sky couch that you took walking to the bathroom on the Air New Zealand plane. You'll just Instagram that sucker in two seconds. Adam Brown: Sucks if you're sitting in that chair. Jay Baer: Indeed. Adam Brown: If you're sitting and someone [crosstalk 00:37:05]. Jay Baer: You are not likely to go on Facebook and say, 'Hey I just got a call from a debt collector and it was an extraordinary experience,' because of the stigma associated with that but if you're talking to a friend face to face offline and you have a more intimate conversation you might very well talk about Americollect with somebody who knows your financial situation. Sometimes the nature of the talk trigger, the type style and execution of the differentiator lends itself naturally to either an online social media or offline face to face sharing of that story. Adam Brown: That's a brilliant insight Jay and as we kind of brought it around to the first, 50% online, 50% offline. So there's a lot that isn't necessarily isn't going to be online. Either because it's just not appropriate like our debt collectors or it's something that's more intrapersonal. It is something that's across the dinner table. It is across a restaurant table with a friend or a colleague. Jay Baer: Or even smaller customer bases. Like one of the case studies in the book is from Windsor One which is a manufacturer of wooden trim pieces and their customers are all highly trained Finnish carpenters. They have an incredible talk trigger. I won't go into the whole story but there's not that many Finnish carpenters out there and they're probably not like, oh let me get this on Facebook 'cause what percentage of their friends are also Finnish carpenters? Not that many. That's one that lends itself to absolutely we talk about it when the other carpenters are gathered around at the lumber yard but we're not putting it on Yelp. It's too specific. The actual customer base is too specific. A lot of the B2B, in that case, talk triggers you just don't see as much evidence of it in social but it definitely exists. Adam Brown: And I'm glad you brought that one up because I smiled as I read that one too because you're exactly right. The Finnish carpenter, master carpenter probably not going to be on Twitter or something like that. But they gave out 150,000 t-shirts as part of this program and those shirts are being worn by those carpenters and they're being worn on job sites. They're being worn at the local union meetings. They're being worn when they're at Home Depot buying that wood and of course customers and prospective customers, other people in the trade see them. They've thought about where their audience is and in that case, they've made that customer a passionate marketer promoter evangelist for the brand and they put that message on their back. Literally. Jay Baer: Literally on their back. I should mention real quick for listeners that we have the six step process on how to create a talk trigger which we probably won't get into for interest of time in this show but the book goes into great detail on exactly how to do this in any company but if you go to, you can download it for free. There's more detail in the book of course but you can download the six step guide right now, take it with you and start the process of doing this in your business because I really, really want everybody listening to over time start to do this kind of thing in their business. What makes me the happiest Adam is when I'm doing a presentation about talk triggers and somebody comes up to me and says, 'Hey, I've got one that you don't know about,' and then it just feeds new ideas. This guy comes up to me after my talk and he's like, 'Jay, I'm a Social Pros listener. I love the show, love you and Adam and I really appreciate this talk triggers thing. There's a guy here in town that has one, do you know this story?' I'm like I don't know, I don't think so. I don't think we have any Seattle stories. He's like here it is. He's a doctor. I'm like all right, I know some doctor stories. His name is Doctor Snip and he only does vasectomy surgeries. I was like what. He was like yeah, his name's Doctor Snip. But that's not the talk trigger. Everybody who goes, when the patient leaves, he gives them an engraved pocket knife with their name and his URL. A silver pocket knife that says Doctor Snip and his URL and your name, Adam Brown. I'm like that's genius. My favorite thing in the world is when somebody gives me one that I haven't heard of and Doctor Snip is my newest ... When I say, I wish I could rewrite the book, Doctor Snip would have made the book for sure. Adam Brown: Yeah and it's personalized. I could see that knife saying do not try this at home or something like that. Jay Baer: Exactly. Adam Brown: I can see someone whose had the procedure, they're playing golf with their buddies and they pull out of their pocket- Jay Baer: Or having a beer or whatever- Adam Brown: -hey look at this, and Doctor Snip is known forever. I love that aspect of the book and Jay this entire book, fantastic. The piece of it, the storytelling piece of it, the types of talk triggers is really a marketing 101 or 201 class in here about understanding audiences but then the actual stuff at the end, six steps to create talk triggers. You go through six steps, all the way from gathering internal insights to amplifying talk triggers and then lather, rinse, repeat. It is a fantastic book. I'm guessing you and Dan are out on the lecture circuit? Gonna be talking about this? Jay Baer: Yeah absolutely. We're all over the place talking about the book here and there and doing media and all that kind of stuff. There's all kind of extra stuff too at Not only the six step guide but we've got PowerPoint presentations that you can download. We've got book club guides that you can download. Supplemental research. All kinds of special stuff that didn't fit in the book so just go there and grab it for nothing. Adam Brown: I hope everybody will go to and Jay it's been fun to swap the tables on you and of course that does mean I get to ask you the two questions. Jay Baer: Oh I didn't know we were gonna do that. Geeze. Of course. Adam Brown: You know how much mail I would receive if I did not ask you the two questions. Jay Baer: All right I'm ready. Adam Brown: We've ask and of course you know these questions quite well. Question number one is, what is your one tip ... And maybe we should switch it up a little bit. What is the one tip in Talk Triggers to help someone become a social pro? Jay Baer: Amplify your trigger. It's the sixth step in the six step process that once you have a thing, use social to remind people of that thing. Not every day, but on occasion. Krispy Kreme donuts, they have hot donuts that come off the conveyor belt. When they have the donuts hot, they have a giant red neon sign that lights up- Adam Brown: Hot donuts now- Jay Baer: -that says hot donuts now. Twitter is your version of hot donuts now or it can be so you wanna use social to amplify your differentiator. Adam Brown: Great answer. Second question and maybe the answer will be Doctor Snip since he did not make it to the cut off for- Jay Baer: The cut off. Well done. Yes, the cut off. Adam Brown: I didn't even mean that one, I walked right into it. Who is the one person that you would like to have a online video call with and why? Jay Baer: That's an easy answer. One of the case studies in the book we were not able to actually interview but I really wish we would have. We asked and went through all the channels but couldn't put it together, is Penn and Teller. Magicians Penn and Teller have a terrific story in the book about how they greet every single fan after every performance and sign autographs and nobody else really does that. They've done it for 20 years in a row. It's an example of a repeatable talk trigger. I'm a huge Penn and Teller fan. Adam Brown: You've seen the show twice, right? Jay Baer: More than that actually. And I watch their TV show all the time. Just a big fan of everything about those guys. If I could actually get them on the show and do a video call with them, I would be super happy about that. So my answer is Penn and Teller. Adam Brown: Fantastic answer. Fantastic book. Fantastic interview. Jay it's been a pleasure doing this show with you just like I've enjoyed doing the show now for over two years. I hope everybody will pick up Talk Triggers, a fantastic book on a fantastic topic. Jay, thanks for switching the microphone on me. Jay Baer: Thanks buddy I appreciate it very much. We'll be back next week with a regularly scheduled broadcast where Adam and I will combine to talk to somebody. We appreciate everybody listening, thanks for your support of the book and of course your support of this show as well. On behalf of Adam Brown from Salesforce, I'm Jay Baer from convince and convert. Get out there and get somebody talking about you.  
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