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E81 | How to Use Talk Triggers with Jay Baer

If you’re trying to deliver remarkable customer experiences that will get customers talking, then you’re trying to create Talk Triggers. 

And that is exactly what this episode with Jay Baer, the founder of five multimillion-dollar companies, New York Times bestselling author of 6 books, public speaker, social media marketing and customer experience guru, is about. 

“Word of mouth influences 50% of all purchases, and it influences 91% of B2B purchases. And for major purchases, word of mouth is the number one decision-making criteria. Yet fewer than 1% of businesses have an actual word of mouth strategy.”

In this episode, Dom chats to Jay about his most recent book, Talk Triggers. A talk trigger is defined in Jay’s book as an operational choice that is designed to create conversations – something that customers will go away and tell their friends and family about. 

So if you’re trying to figure out your business’ talk trigger, then this episode is for you. 

On today’s podcast:

  • The work that Convince and Convert does
  • Using customer experience to create conversations
  • When talk triggers go wrong
  • The marketing power of word of mouth
  • 5 types of talk triggers


Finding your talk trigger with Jay Baer

“Word of mouth influences 50% of all purchases, and it influences 91% of B2B purchases. And for major purchases, word of mouth is the number one decision-making criteria. Yet fewer than 1% of businesses have an actual word of mouth strategy.”

We know that word of mouth is super important when building your brand, but the vast majority of businesses just don’t get how important it is. They take it for granted, assuming that their customers will talk about them regardless. But competency doesn’t create conversation. You don’t say ‘oh that hotel was great because it had a bed’, or ‘how fab was that restaurant because they served edible food’. 

That’s just not the way people behave. You have to do something different, not just something good, to make people take notice. 

“You’re not going to get conversational credit for doing your job. Right. People are not going to talk about you executing what they paid you to do. Because that’s kind of what the bargain was, you know.”

The DoubleTree example

When 34% of your clients tell their friends and family about your business because you gave them a free, warm cookie, meaning you literally have to do no advertising because your existing customers spread the word about you for free, you’re onto a winner.

This is the holy grail of advertising, and it’s not a dream scenario. 

This has been the reality for the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels global hotel chain for the last 30 years. And while other hotels have tried to replicate their success, they have failed miserably – a bowl of browning bananas is never going to compare to a freshly baked, warm chocolate chip cookie, handed to you by a smiling receptionist as you check-in.

That one simple cookie, right there, is the hotel’s advert and the guests its sales and marketing department. 

If you get this part right, if you get your customer experience so awesome that it creates conversations, then you’re laughing.

“I love it when you see companies trying to copy somebody else’s advantage, and they just don’t get it. They try to do it cheaper and it just is a complete waste of time.”

It’s getting this talk trigger right that Jay Baer has written his latest book about. 

“I don’t care what business you’re in. The best way to grow any business is for your customers to grow it for you. But that doesn’t just happen naturally. You have to do something that customers notice and talk about. And that’s got to be something other than just fulfilling the product or service that they paid you to do.”

The importance of being different

The basis of a talk trigger is the human condition. We all are programmed the same way – to discuss things that are different and ignore things that are average. 

When a hotel decides its talk trigger is going to be installing super comfy beds in their rooms, they’re never going to get the traction they want, because we expect a hotel to have a bed. That’s the whole premise of a hotel. And we expect the hotel bed to be at least adequately comfortable. 

The same way, “you don’t tell that many stories about food quality at a restaurant because you expect it to be good, right? You have to have really, really, really good food in order to create conversations.”

Online and offline word of mouth

When you’re thinking about your talk trigger and your word of mouth strategy, consider this – 50% of word of mouth takes place online. 

Online, word of mouth is easier to spread because someone can just forward your post or share it. However, offline word of mouth has more traction, it’s more persuasive because typically if you engage in offline word of mouth with somebody, you have some measure of relationship with that person. 

You have to decide which strategy you’re going to follow – offline is a little more persuasive, online has the ability to grow.

5 types of talk triggers

The 5 types of talk trigger (according to Jay) are: 

  1. Talkable generosity
  2. Talkable speed
  3. Talkable usefulness
  4. Talkable empathy
  5. Talkable attitude

Remember, when deciding on your talk trigger that value isn’t always necessary to make a good talk trigger. It just has to be remarkably different in order to warrant a conversation. 


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