Talk Triggers with Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin

Talk Triggers with Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin

Jay BaerDaniel LeminJay Baer and Daniel Lemin help the world’s most iconic brands use technology to win new customers and keep the customers they’ve already earned. Respectively the President and Senior Strategist of the online customer service and digital marketing consultancy Convince & Convert, Jay and Daniel are both best-selling authors and marketing experts. Jay is a 7th-generation entrepreneur who has created five multi-million dollar companies, and Daniel, who has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, CBS Radio, and Fox News, is the author of the online reputation guide Manipurated.

The duo joins the show today to share insights from their new book, Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth. Listen in to learn what makes word of mouth crucial for businesses, why relying on organic word of mouth isn’t enough, and what companies must do in order to get customers talking.

Learn how to use bold operational differentiators to create customer conversations with @jaybaer and @daniellemin, authors of TALK TRIGGERS. #wordofmouth #CX #marketing Click To Tweet

If you enjoy the show, please drop by iTunes and leave a review while you are feeling the love! Reviews help others discover this podcast and I greatly appreciate them!

Listen in:

On Today’s Episode We’ll Learn:

  • Why word of mouth is so important to all businesses.
  • What percentage of purchases are influenced by word of mouth.
  • The most powerful kind of recommendations.
  • What talk triggers are and how to increase them.
  • The powerful—and delicious—way DoubleTree Hotels distinguishes themselves.
  • How a collection agency turned being nice into a business strategy.
  • Why you don’t always have to give things away to differentiate yourself.
  • Examples of talk triggers that don’t cost money.
  • How Spiceworks went against the typical playbook to become the largest community of IT professionals in the world.
  • Tips for figuring out your company’s talk trigger.

Key Resources for Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin:

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Full Episode Transcript:

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Welcome to Brainfluence Podcast with Roger Dooley. Author, speaker, and educator on neural marketing and the psychology of persuasion. Every week we talk with thought leaders that will help you improve your influence with factual evidence and concrete research. Introducing your host, Roger Dooley.

Roger Dooley:    Welcome to the Brainfluence Podcast. I’m Roger Dooley. Our guests this week are making, in one case, a second appearance and a first appearance for the other one. The first is Jay Baer. He is President of Convince and Convert, and online customer service and digital marketing consultancy. He’s the author of five books including, “Hug Your Haters,” and “Youtility.” Jay writes the world’s number one content marketing blog and hosts several podcasts. Also joining us today is Daniel Lemin, Senior Strategist with Convince and Convert, and the author of, “Manipurated.”

Their new book is, “Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth.” Welcome to the show, guys.

Daniel Lemin:      Roger, thanks so much for having us. Fantastic to be back with you and your listeners.

Roger Dooley:    Well, you know, I think it’s a very timely message. In this era of social media, I would guess that 100% of our listeners would agree that word of mouth is really, really important. There may have been a time, pre-social media, when that wasn’t the case, but I don’t think, today, anybody can dismiss it. If you ask most people how to get more word of mouth, I would say that an awful lot of them would say, “Well, we just need to keep doing a good job or, maybe, do a great job, occasionally, maybe exceed expectations once in a while.” In other words, it’s really an organic process. As long as you stick to your knitting and do stuff right, the people will say good things about you. I guess you might disagree with that, a little bit … not that those are bad things to do but going the totally organic route, maybe, isn’t your best strategy. Right?

Daniel Lemin:      That’s the crazy thing, Roger, is that word of mouth is exceptionally important to all businesses. The research suggests that between 50 and 90 percent of all purchases are influenced by word of mouth. Yet, nobody has an actual strategy. Nobody. Right? You’ve got a marketing strategy. You have a digital marketing strategy, social media strategy, might have a PR strategy, might have a social selling strategy … all these strategies. The one strategy you don’t have is a word of mouth strategy. We just assume that our customers will talk about us. Will they, and why? You nailed it.

What a lot of companies think is that competency creates conversation, that being a good business will create chatter, but it doesn’t, very often, because all of your competition is also good. So the standard you have to meet to be so much better than anybody else in your category that people proactively discuss it is pretty hard.

So we believe the better approach is to have a word of mouth strategy, to do word of mouth on purpose instead of on accident. To do that, you need a differentiator in your business which we call, a “talk trigger,” and also the title of the book.

Roger Dooley:    You know, I think you, sorta, nailed it, there, Jay, when you talked about how people expect a great service. Amazon, today, it sets such high standards for everybody that if I buy something online and they get it to me the next day or the day after, they may think, “Wow, we really nailed that one. We delivered that quickly, efficiently. It was the right product, packaged well and everything.” For me, though, it just, “Oh, hey. Well, that was pretty good. It’s almost as good as Amazon.” That’s what everybody’s being compared to … not everybody as in the short-term package delivery business, but there are those, sorta, best to beat competitors that, unless you are really way better than them, and you’re probably not, just providing a high level of service isn’t gonna cut it.

Daniel Lemin:      You know, it’s so interesting, Roger, the fact you bring up Amazon is actually really curious because I don’t know about you and your opinion about the shopping experience on Amazon, but I don’t find it, personally, all that compelling. The website itself, the design of it, the aesthetic is a little bit-

Roger Dooley:    Those are designs?

Jay Baer:            … dated, almost.

Roger Dooley:    I hadn’t noticed that there was a design on their pages.

Jay Baer:            Where they really win is speed. That’s actually one of the types of talk triggers that we looked at, remarkable speed, unusual amounts of speed. So Amazon was really the first to bring that type of concept to the market. Now, of course, everyone’s catching up with them, but speed is still, very much, in their core DNA. Of course, they’re good at customer service, too. It’s interesting that you don’t have to be good at everything. They’ve decided to be really, really good at a speedy delivery.

Roger Dooley:    You know, I think they also have tested most of the elements of their pages. I mean, we joke about their pages not looking designed, compared to a really attractive website but, on the other hand, everything that’s on that page is there for a purpose, and they probably tested it 20 different ways to make sure that it’s in the right place and displayed the right way, too. So, that’s really who the competition is.

One thing that surprised me in the book was that offline word of mouth is still important. Do people actually talk to each other in person?

Jay Baer:            Oh, my gosh. Not only is it important. It is 50% of all conversations about products from all recommendations are offline, and 50% are online. So you think about the entire panopoly of word of mouth recommendations. In fact, some new research that we just conducted found that 83% of Americans have made a recommendation in the last 30 days to somebody. It’s about 50/50, so half the chatter is offline, which would be a call like this, even though we are, technically, online, but you know what I mean. It would be a telephone call, an email, a face-to-face conversation, and half is in public. Right? So that would be social media, ratings and review sites, that kind of thing.

What’s interesting about that, Roger, while we don’t have quite the exact data on this … It was a little tricky to get the exact question asked the right way … what we believe to be true is that offline conversations actually have more persuasive power because if we’re having a one-on-one or one-on-two or small-group conversation and somebody says, “Man, you would not believe this particular movie or this restaurant or this business with their software package.” That has so much more intensity than somebody just, kind of, throwing out a note on Facebook. Right? So you are absolutely right, that even though we talk all the time about social media, the proof in the pudding is very much, still, we’re sitting around at dinner and somebody says, “Just the other day I was at a dinner with a bunch of other professional speakers, and somebody recommended Peloton.” You know, the in-home riding your bicycle kind of thing.

Roger Dooley:    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right.

Jay Baer:            This went on this eight-minute recommendation spree of how extraordinary she found it. It changed her life. Right? I was like, “Holy cow. I gotta buy myself a bike.” That kind of recommendation is so incredibly persuasive … much more so that it could be in just a Tweet or a Facebook post.

Roger Dooley:    Well, sure. I think, if nothing else, the bandwidth is so much higher in person. I mean, you’ve got body language. You’ve got facial expressions. You’ve got the emotion in the voice, the timber of the voice, and so on and compared to reading a few sentences of text, there’s a lot more there. It’s just that it seems like, today, people don’t interact with each other very much. At one point, if you were standing in line at Starbucks, you might talk to the person next to you. Today, look forward and look backward. They’re both on their phone, and you probably are too.

One of your great examples of a talk trigger, early in the book, is DoubleTree Hotels and, I would guess, that if you ask people what they remember about their stay at a Doubletree Hotel, those folks who have stayed at one would come up with a single answer, and that would be the chocolate chip cookie that they got when they checked in because hotels are often, pretty much, alike especially if they’re in the same category, but that’s something that’s quite distinctive that they do, and you cite that as a talk trigger. Why don’t you explain why that works so well for them.

Daniel Lemin:      Yeah, this was really a selfish endeavor on my part, I will say, because I love cookies, and I was really just playing DoubleTree so see if we’d get a lifetime supply of cookies for mentioning them in the book a bunch of times. So far, that hasn’t proven to be true although I have had my fair share of cookies.

Roger Dooley:    I think that sort of project requires a lot of first-hand research, doesn’t it?

Daniel Lemin:      Yes, for sure, for sure. It’s so interesting. You look at it, the silliness of the gesture. It’s a cookie. It’s a piece of candy, it’s an extra thing, and it isn’t that the gesture, itself, is over the top. Everyone gets it, every time, but it’s also very much connected to their brand ethos, their, sort of, gestalt. They endeavor to be the brand with the warm welcome. More than any other brand in the Hilton portfolio, they’re the ones with that warm welcome. So the cookie is part of that, and remarkably, it has endured over 30 years. They give out 75,000 of those cookies every single day. We studied and asked consumers who had stayed at the DoubleTree in the last 60 days, or so, if they’d talked about the cookie. Almost 33% had done so and they had done so without even being asked. It just is such a … even today, we know they have the cookie, it’s still a remarkable experience because, still no other hotel does it. No one else gives you a warm thing when you check in except maybe a warm handshake when they give your credit card back if you’re lucky, so-

Roger Dooley:    Well, you know, actually, there is one, but I think the other differentiator is that the DoubleTree cookies are really good. I mean, that is a premium cookie where I know I haven’t stayed at one lately but, for a while at least, I was at a Wyndham property. I forgot, maybe a Wingate by Wyndham property, and they actually did, and at certain times of the day, like in the afternoon, they would have warm cookies, but they were okay. They weren’t bad, but they were just, sort of, slightly better than store-bought cookies. The DoubleTree cookie is quite memorable, in its own right.

Jay Baer:            Yeah. When you see Christie Cookies on social media, Christie Cookies makes ’em for them. Yeah, out of Nashville, Tennessee, they’re the exclusive manufacturer of the cookies. They’re actually baked in each hotel, however. Right? Each hotel has an oven which is the real … oven at the front desk, but if you go in social media, and you just search, like, on Twitter, “DoubleTree plus cookie,” you’ll see all of these Tweets and posts, and pictures, and videos, and people saying, “Look, I purposely stay at DoubleTree Hotels just to get this cookie.” I’m like, “Man, it’s a good cookie,” … really good, as you mention, Roger, but, if I’m booking a hotel, I’m thinking maybe … I don’t know … location, price. Do they have a restaurant? People are literally making decisions based on a chocolate chip cookie, which I think is all you need to know about the power of word of mouth.

Roger Dooley:    Right, and I think the book provides another great example of that, too, of how the brand itself leverages that. There’s a Tweet from DoubleTree with a little, sort of, stick figure illustration of their warm welcome … little building and mentions their cookie as part of the process, and that Tweet got something like 6,000 plus likes and 600 retweets. So, in this case, they intentionally use the love for that particular item to create something that was a lot more sharable on their own social media than how they just talk about some fine point of their hotel or something special that they had going on. The people would’ve just, sort of, scanned and ignored. There’s people that say, “Oh, I remember that great cookie. Yeah,” and then they like it or they retweet it.

Jay Baer:            It’s smart to do that. The companies that are best at word of mouth actually make a point of reminding you, on occasion, of their differentiator … of their talk trigger. Right? So DoubleTree does it with an occasional Tweet. They also, if you’ve noticed, all of their hotel shuttles … a lot of DoubleTrees are near airports … all their airport shuttles, the graphics on the shuttles are a giant chocolate chip cookie. Right? They’re just reminding you of their differentiator, which is really smart. You don’t wanna beat people over the head with it because, then, it’s no longer earned media. It’s paid media. Right? If you’re doing this whole giant national ad campaign about cookies, that’s different. That’s not word of mouth at that point, but what the smart players do is they just nudge you enough to remember. Right? Just to remember and maybe it’s, “Hey, oh I remember that. I should tell somebody about that.” It just causes a little more conversation. We actually talk about that in the book. It’s the sixth step in our six-step process. It’s to amplify your talk triggers and that Tweet that you mentioned, Roger, is a good example of it.

Roger Dooley:    Here, in Texas, we’ve got this great supermarket chain, HEB. They’re only in Texas and I’ve written and talked about them quite a bit ’cause they do a lot of smart things. They’ve got a great reputation with their customers. They’ve got high delight rating. Their loyalty is up there with Publix and Trader Joe’s. One thing that they’re noted for, if you shop at their stores frequently, is that they have a tremendous amount of sampling going on. They’ve got food samples. They’ve got wine samples. They’ve got one or two kitchens in every store where they’re actually cooking stuff to order and giving you really nice fresh, hot samples. So, if I look at their Tweet stream, they really don’t mention that. They talk about specials they’ve go going on and maybe some public service stuff that they do … all valid stuff for a brand, but seems like they might be able to leverage that, occasionally, by once in a while popping in a photo of one of their sample ladies handing out stuff or, in some way, obliquely referencing their sampling process because that would probably be a lot more shareable than something that’s going on sale this week.

Daniel Lemin:      So, that is such a funny and timely example because I just happened to see a Facebook post from a friend of mine. She just moved back to Houston. I don’t know if it was in that store that she took the picture, but she took a picture of a gentleman who works at the store in a little elfin hat rolling a shopping cart around handing out white wine samples. She’s like this is the greatest thing in the world. Why did I not move to Houston sooner? Someone gives you wine in the grocery store.

Roger Dooley:    Oh, yeah, it quite likely was. It could be someone else, but they are very aggressive samplers. Their competitor, locally, has this beautiful wine bar. It’s Randall’s, a Safeway unit. It looks like a professional bar set up with well-decorated behind it and just great place to sample wine, but there’s never anybody there sampling wine … like, maybe, for an hour on a Saturday or something, maybe somebody’s there.

HEB, on the other hand, if you go there any time during prime time, they’ll have people just standing like with, maybe, a barrel or something with a few bottles on top where there’s sampling. As you say, I’ve seen them actually, when they ran out of barrel space, just take a shopping cart and use that. It’s really in what you deliver. To me, that would be something that would be memorable to people and, actually, distinguishes them so by sharing that little bit, they could get a little more traction. Yeah, I like the elf hat, though. We don’t have those here, I guess.

Daniel Lemin:      I’m feeling a field trip come on, though.

Roger Dooley:    Yeah, yeah.

Daniel Lemin:      This is what, I think, is coming out of this discussion.

Roger Dooley:    Well, you know, that would be even more shareable, too, because just a person standing there handing out wine samples, you might not share. On the other hand, somebody dressed in a costume or wearing a funny hat, handing out wine samples, that you might post on Instagram or Twitter. So that’s great and good strategy, too.

An example that I’ve used … got another local brand, here, that’s not really local any more, Tito’s Vodka and they’ve gone with a Tito’s Vodka for Dog People campaign. People really aren’t gonna share a picture of their vodka bottle, normally, unless they’ve got a problem, but they’re definitely gonna share a picture of their adorable puppy wearing a little Tito’s sweater or drinking out of a Tito’s water bowl. So this makes this stuff a lot more shareable.

Jay Baer:            Yeah, that’s an interesting one. I haven’t seen that campaign. I’m gonna check it out.

Roger Dooley:    Yeah, it’s great. It’s a good example of where you can find something you have in common with you customers that isn’t obvious. In other words, if PetSmart did something like that … “Well, okay, yeah, we’re pet store and we owners are all pet owners,” but here’s a brand that’s totally unrelated to dogs or pets that’s leveraging that.

Anyway, one thing I got out of the book is that this is really a strategy that can be used by any size business. Obviously, a lot of the examples are big brands, but literally even a tiny start-up can use this exact same strategy. Right?

Jay Baer:            Yeah, and in fact, I would argue that smaller businesses … A, have an easier time implementing it, because a talk trigger really is an operational differentiator. Right? It’s not really marketing. It’s not really a slogan or a campaign or a coupon or a promotion. It really is an operational choice that you make in your business to do something different that’s subsequently creates a marketing advantage, and because it really is operations … Like, DoubleTree making a cookie and giving a cookie to 75,000 people a day, that’s an operational choice that creates a marketing advantage. It’s not really marketing.

Smaller businesses, typically, have an easier time of making that operational choice just because their operations are less complex. I would also argue that smaller companies can, sort of, punch above their weight class when they have a talk trigger that really resonates. So, for example, one of the case studies in the book is a guy whose name is Jay Sofer, and he’s a locksmith in New York City. He is the highest-rated locksmith in all of Manhattan. He’s also one of the highest-rated businesses in all of Manhattan, which is hard to fathom. Right? That’s a pretty high bar to clear. He has an extraordinary talk trigger. When he finishes working on your locks, he oils every lock, window, and door on your premises and then he also does a security audit of all your locks, and he does all those things for free. That is his talk trigger and he went from having no customers to being massively popular, having to hire people, being extraordinarily well-rated just because he chose to do something different in his operations. It’s a one-person business. At least started out as a one-person business.

So, you’re exactly right, Roger. For small companies, I think this is a must-do. Actually, ironically, somewhat easier to do than it is for big companies.

Roger Dooley:    You know, I’m detecting, kind of a theme, here. Another company described is Holiday World which is a theme park, and their talk trigger is giving away free soft drinks. Now, I would guess that just about any amusement park operator would cringe at that thought because you get people walking around on hot summer days at an amusement park, I’ve gotta assume that soft drinks are one of the profit centers once people are in the gate. Just because the cost is low, the prices are high, and everybody needs them.

Jay Baer:            Well, they got yelled at. When Holiday World started giving away soft drinks for free, which the typical retain price of a soft drink at an amusement park is, like, $16,000. I mean, it’s ridiculous. Right? It’s one Bitcoin, is usually what they charge for a soft drink. Right? They give it away for free, literally for free. It’s funny because when we interviewed them for the book, they told us that when they rolled this out, they went to the International Convention of Amusement Park Owners, or whatever, something like that, and people were mad, like coming up to them and like, “How dare you?”, and “What are you doing?” and “That’s crazy,” because it makes everybody else … like every other amusement park in the world, that makes them look incredibly greedy and it makes Holiday World look incredibly benevolent. Right? So, not only did they achieve a tremendous amount of word of mouth and goodwill because they give away drinks for free, but it also, kind of, put their competitors in a tough situation.

Roger Dooley:    Mm-hmm (affirmative), and the thing is they could probably recoup that cost by raising the admission a couple of dollars and it’s the perception, though, that you’ve got that, sort of, pain of paying, like you’re dying of thirst and you go the concession stand. It’s like, “Holy cow. That much for a little cup of ice with some pop in it? Forget that.” You’ve got no choice but to pay it. So, for them to be that generous, it just creates a whole aura around the company that is very positive. So, I guess, maybe one … not that every talk trigger has to be something free, but looking at what is either currently part of your product or service or something that would be a logical add-on like that free security check, which could also generate some additional business for them, I would think, if they that, “Oh, hey. You didn’t call us about the back door lock, but you realize that it’s broken.” That, too, might pay for itself in the long run.

Daniel Lemin:      Yeah, and it’s so interesting you mentioned that you don’t always have to give things away for free. I think probably every example we talked about in the last few minutes have been something extra given away, but that actually isn’t the case for all of the examples in the book. We start seeing talk triggers in the wild. We noticed this too.

It’s possible that any other parts of your customer experience. So Uber Conference famously has a Uber Conference conference call. They have hold music that’s like country, twangy, and super hilarious. It’s about being on hold, and the pain of being on hold. That’s such a remarkable element of the Uber Conference call experience when you get, eventually, on the call, every single person references that music, says, “That hold music was crazy. Can we go back on hold? I could listen to that all day.” People talk about this on Twitter and there’s a lot of love and adoration about this hold music, enough so that even they convinced Postmodern Jukebox to do a cover of that song in different styles, like jazz and swing and hop.

So it’s gotten a lot of play for them. The great thing about that was the song, itself … the backstory … the origin story of it was written by the co-founder of the company. It was done just to avoid having to pay royalties on literally any other song. So, it’s possible to innovate other parts of the customer experience that aren’t necessarily giving something away for free. It’s not even giving anything away at that point.

Roger Dooley:    Right, well you described a collection agency that has differentiated itself by being nice which seems almost like an oxymoron because you figure that their objective is to browbeat people into paying by being incredibly annoying and harassing, but that worked for them, somehow.

Daniel Lemin:      How did that work?

Jay Baer:            It’s one of my favorite examples in the book. It’s a company called Americollect, which as you mentioned, Roger, they do medical collections. Right? So they’re collecting on overdue bills owed to hospitals, physician groups, et cetera. That’s not typically real nice business. Right? You’re usually leaning on people pretty hard. Their slogan, and really their DNA and their entire differentiator is “Ridiculously Nice Collections,” Ridiculously Nice Collections, and that’s it. They are extraordinarily kind or, in the language of the book, empathetic toward the people that they’re collecting money from. Not only does it work, not only does it stand out but in that business, in the medical collections industry, it’s very common for companies to engage with what’s called a shootout. So a hospital will have some millions of dollars of bad debt and they’ll say, “Okay, we’re gonna take Company A and we’re gonna give Company A 50% of this test case and we’re gonna give Company B the other 50%, and we’re gonna see who collects the most money.” Whoever collects the most is, then, gonna get all the opportunities going forward. It’s almost like an A/B test in the marketing world.

Well, since they went to ridiculous nice collections, Americollect has won 1,997 out of 2,000 of these shootouts. They are, essentially, all the time better than anybody who doesn’t use the ridiculously nice approach. I think that tells you how much it stands out.

Roger Dooley:    You know, I think that if you were a medical professional or an organization like a hospital who wanted to engage a collection agency, some of these may be potential repeat customers down the road. I don’t necessarily want somebody who’s going to … A, turn them off forever, because I think a lot of customers don’t really distinguish between the people they owe the money to and the collection agency. I mean, it’s all, sort of, a unit, and they don’t want to do that to the reputation, plus, then get that negative word of mouth of, “Oh, my god. Yeah, I went to Hospital X, and a little bit late on my bill, and now I’ve got Guido and Luigi knocking on my door. So it is surprising, though, they actually collect more money. That’s more a talk trigger. That’s a whole business strategy, there.

Daniel Lemin:      It is. No, you’re exactly right. Yeah, it’s certainly an operational choice, but it’s even more than that. It’s, sort of, a theory of the firm choice which is pretty impressive.

Roger Dooley:    Now, there’s another example that doesn’t really cost anything other than a little bit of time. You describe an oral surgeon who calls on new patients the weekend before they’re scheduled to come in for surgery. To my, that was brilliant, not just because it’s something different that, perhaps, relaxes the patient a little bit, but there’s research that shows patients are less likely to sue doctors if they’re empathetic and communicative.

If a doctor is a jerk and there’s a bad outcome for some reason, patients are more than ready to sue because they figure that the guy’s a jerk and screwed or the gal’s a jerk, but on the other hand, if the doctor was empathetic and communicated with him beforehand, and then something goes wrong, they just assume that, “Well, she was doing her best and she did say that this was one possible outcome and, apparently, that was just bad luck.”

To me that’s a double win. First of all, it probably generates some great word of mouth … no pun intended, I guess, for an oral surgeon. Also, is really, sort of, immunizing himself against lawsuits.

Daniel Lemin:      Yeah. It’s so interesting. He actually told us that, in the entire history of his practice, knock on wood, that he’s never been sued. That’s not a common thing for any kind of surgeon, especially oral surgeons. So why is that connected directly to his weekly cadence of calls to the patient, maybe. Maybe there’s a little bit of presuasion going, there. They feel like he’s not trying to do damage control when he calls. He’s actually doing it ahead of time. So, there is definitely a correlation from patient satisfaction to that effort and he’s making a phone call anyway, so why doesn’t everyone do that?

Roger Dooley:    Yeah, well, I think I read this a long time ago. I think it might’ve been in Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink,” about people being able to accurately guess whether a doctor would get sued or not simply by watching a few seconds of, I think, even audio free tape of an interaction with a patient.

In other words, just from the body language in a few seconds of interaction, they could tell later on if that doctor was likely to be sued or not and it had to do with communication and empathy.

Here, in Austin, we’ve got a company called, “Spiceworks,” which strangely enough doesn’t make little bottles of seasoning. Explain what their talk trigger is.

Jay Baer:            It should be seasoning, Roger.

Roger Dooley:    I wonder how many calls they’re getting from people who wanna buy a carton of oregano or something.

Jay Baer:            They have a talk trigger which is around usefulness. The Spiceworks was founded was it was a network monitoring service for IT professionals, just to make sure you know what nodes are on your network and is everything up, is it down, et cetera.

Well, the typical playbook for a company like that is to charge for the software, maybe a freemium model where one version of the software is free and a more advance version has a fee associated with it, et cetera.

Well, Spiceworks decided, “Let’s do something different, and let’s keep it free forever but support it with advertising.” So it’s advertising-supported software. So, that was their business … made sense. Then they built some help forums, as you do in the software business, for customers to get help with, “I don’t know how this is supposed to work,” or setup. Then people started, over time, asking questions in these help forums that weren’t necessarily about Spiceworks. By definition, all of their users are it professionals.

So they go, “I have a question, but it’s not about Spiceworks. What about this other thing?” Somebody might answer, and that was, sort of, the stark that lit the match that created a bonfire where, today, Spiceworks is, without question, the largest online and offline community of IT professionals in the world.

They have a huge conference in Austin every year where I’ve spoken in the past. This online discussion group, ratings and reviews, and … is massive. Right? So they still have software, but it’s not really about the software. Now it’s about this community, and it is incredibly useful. This is the church for IT professionals and is incredibly, incredibly useful, and they do no advertising. It’s all word of mouth.

Roger Dooley:    That’s amazing. Let me ask, sort of, one final question. I realize that we could probably spend another half hour on this one, but if we agree that having a talk trigger would be a good idea, how does a business, whether it’s large or small, start thinking about coming up with something that would work, assuming that they can’t look at their current operation and just say, “Hey, we’ve already got this. We just need to amplify it a little bit.” How do you start thinking about it and looking or one?

Daniel Lemin:      The thing when we started looking at, and talking to businesses, developed for talk triggers, we realized that they don’t happen by accident. We assumed people will talk about our businesses. We hope for the best, but companies have the talk triggers have done so, for the most part, intentionally.

So when we really talk with them about the process they use and the discovery method hey used to come up with the idea, I kept hearing this common refrain, and it’s not unusual or foreign to any of us as marketing or brand folks, which was sort of, they went on listening tours. They went out to ask customers about their lives and their experience. In doing so, you identified these tight little gaps where an opportunity exists, for Dr Glen Corab, that was the call before the surgery and after. For Spiceworks, it was a completely different animal. It was more about connectedness, and that, maybe, developed more organically over time.

For Jay Silver, the locksmith in New York, he knew in talking to customers they were fed up with the behavior of other locksmiths. They are scam artists. They take your money. They upsell you, and he decided to go and run in the opposite direction from that. In doing so, this talk trigger sort of developed. So, listening to a basic issue is the first step. It’s the most important step beaus you don’t know if, without doing that, where do you have opportunity? Where are the gaps?

Roger Dooley:    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right. So identifying pain point … that’s, sort of, service strategy 101 as well. If you can find pain point that isn’t being well addressed then service that, but if you can do in a way that your competitors aren’t doing it, then not only will it give you an actual advantage in providing a better service or more valuable service, bu tit can be something that people actually talk about to other people. That makes a lot of sense.

Let me remind our listeners that today, we are speaking with Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin. They are co-authors of the new book, “Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating customers with word of Mouth.” Where can people find you and Daniel online, Jay?

Jay Baer:            Well, the best place to get a hold of the book is at We actually put together a version of our six-step guide of how you can create a talk trigger in your business. Of course there’s more detail in the book, but this is an excerpt, a really useful six-step guide that anybody listening can download for absolutely no cost whatsoever. That is our gift to you and your listeners. The book, of course, is available online, offline, bookstores, audiobooks, all the different ways and places that books can be procured including airports near you, starting soon. So look for it. You can’t miss the book, Roger, because the book itself is a talk trigger. It is hot pink and it has alpacas on the cover. That’s probably something you don’t see in a business-

Roger Dooley:    No, no, I have to admit, it’s been a while since I’ve seen alpacas or even llamas, for that matter, on the cover of a business gook. So, it does standout.

Jay Baer:            It’s easy to see.

Roger Dooley:    It will get attention. Well tret. We will link there and to any other resources we spoke bout on the Show Notes page at, and we’ll have a text transcript of our conversation there, too.

Jay and Daniel, thanks for being on the show.

Jay Baer:            Thanks so much. We had a great time. We appreciate it and we hope everybody starts to do word of mouth on purpose.

Roger Dooley:    Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Brainfluence Podcast. To continue the discussion, and to find your own path to brainy success, please visit us at


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