EP47: Talk Triggers with Jay Baer

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“The very best way to grow your business is for the customers of that business to do the growing for you.”

On this week’s episode of Experts Unleashed, Joel Erway sits down with the world-renowned Jay Baer - bestselling author, speaker, and the driving force behind 5 multi-million dollar companies to figure out what makes people talk about you and your business.

Jay begins with the marketing adage “Advertising is a tax paid by the unremarkable”, and dives directly into how vitally important word-of-mouth is for the growth of your business, and the fact that many experts take word-of-mouth for granted instead of cultivating a strategy for it as they would with PR or advertising. In his new book Talk Triggers, Jay posits that every entrepreneur develops a word-of-mouth strategy on accident - and lays out actionable advice for doing it on purpose.

Being “good” isn’t enough to make people talk you up. Your customers expect good, and they can find good somewhere else. You need to go further and conceptualize an individual talk trigger that catches your customer’s attention and keeps hold.

“The talk trigger does not replace your expertise, the talk trigger supports your expertise.”

What exactly is a talk trigger? Jay defines the term as “a strategic operational choice you make that compels conversation”, and insists that every expert ought to have a talk trigger. It should be intentional and carefully thought out. He specifically cites DoubleTree’s warm cookie ritual and Jessica Pettitt’s fitted sheet-folding responder video as golden (and highly effective) examples.

“The most overrated thing in business is praise. Highly overrated. It feels great, but it doesn’t teach you anything. What makes you a better expert is negative feedback and criticism. But we’re so quick to run from that, and we should be running toward that.”

Talk triggers, however, aren’t quite as simple as they sound. Jay outlines his process for coming up with a talk trigger in a few steps:

  1. Map out your customer journey - You need a good handle on your customers’ perspective. Jay recommends conducting 18 interviews: 6 with new customers, 6 with longtime customers, and 6 lost (or former) customers. Find out what they expected at the outset of your work together and what they didn’t.
  2. Talk trigger ideas - Come up with 3-5 good ideas and pick one, then test it for “talkability” (find a way to expose the idea to a control group and monitor your feedback).
  3. 3 Question survey - This is your perfect feedback tool. Ask customers if they talked about what you’ve done together, how they talked about it, and if they mentioned any of a specific list of attributes (including the talk trigger).

Jay then goes into the origin story for Talk Triggers and how important it is to solve the problem of how to get people to tell a consistent story. He reflects on switching from digital media to written media - and then lets listeners in on his own personal talk triggers, including:

  1. His crazy suit game2. His unique business card bottle openers3. Branded Amazon gift cards given to the audio/video crew after every keynote appearance (always appease the audio/video crew)

Jay’s advice on talk triggers is absolute dynamite, and with it ends another episode of Experts Unleashed with Joel Erway. If you’re hungry for more high-value insight from the world’s top experts, take a look at the links below and keep on tuning in!

Some Topics we talk about in this episode:

  • Introduction - 0:00
  • Why do talk triggers matter? - 3:00
  • What is a talk trigger? - 4:40
  • Examples: 7:05
  • How to come up with a talk trigger - 17:30
  • How Talk Triggers came about - 23:00
  • Jay’s talk triggers - 25:15
  • Wrap-up and Takeaways - 30:00

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