If you’re looking to grow your learning business, you need to know how to gain more customers – and keep more of the customers you’ve already earned. To do this requires thoughtful marketing, customer service, and customer experience that customers love enough to talk about.
Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert, helps the world’s most iconic brands do just this. He’s a marketing and customer experience expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times best-selling author of five books, as well as the host of the award-winning Social Pros podcast.
In this episode of the Leading Learning podcast, Jeff talks with Jay about how to win prospective customers and create lasting relationships, the importance of top-notch customer service, and the power of word of mouth.
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Read the Show Notes
[00:18] – Our sponsor this quarter is ReviewMyLMS, a collaboration between our company, Tagoras, and 100Reviews, the company that is behind the very successful ReviewMyAMS site. As the name suggests, ReviewMyLMS is a site where users can share and access reviews of learning management systems, but in this case, the focus is specifically on systems that are a good fit for learning businesses, meaning organizations that market and sell lifelong learning. Contribute a review and you will get access to all existing and future reviews—there are already more than 100 on the site. And, if you don’t have review to contribute, there is also a subscription option. Just go to reviewmylms.com to get all the detail.
[01:30] – Highlighted Resource of the Week – The Convince & Convert Blog – this is the blog started many years ago by Jay Baer, our guest for this episode and frankly, if you aren’t already subscribed, you should be. Convince and Convert is one of a handful of “must read” marketing blogs on our list – one we link to regularly in our Leading Learning newsletter.
[02:04] – A preview of what will be covered in this podcast where Jeff interviews marketing and customer experience expert, Jay Baer.
[04:12] – Introduction to Jay.
[05:30] – What happened in your earlier life that led you to be an entrepreneur and someone who is so clearly passionate about marketing? Jay shares he comes by it naturally as a 7th-generation entrepreneur and, in his family, being an entrepreneur wasn’t really an optional exercise. He was extremely fortunate to have worked for four or five people in a row who were outstanding managers so he was able to learn from the best.
[07:55] – I think of you as someone on the forefront in identifying how marketing is changing – when did you first realize, way back when, that a really big shift was taking place? Jay explains that if you look at a digital transformation as usually the fulcrum for all of those shifts, one inflection point might be from the early nineties when we first started getting serious about the internet. He shares his experience working as the VP of Sales and Marketing for an internet company (having never been on the open internet) and admits it took a while for him to see that it was going to transform everything.
[11:03] – I’d like to take a mini-tour of some of your big ideas – mainly your big book ideas starting with your book, Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype. Could you encapsulate the big idea behind Youtility? Jay explains that each time he writes a book (he’s getting ready to publish his sixth book this fall) he’s getting less and less focused on digital and more focused on larger themes that transcend the particular technology. His first book, The Now Revolution, is all about digital transformation, whereas Youtility is about the premise that if you sell something you make a customer today, but if you help someone you can create a customer relationship for life—so information is how relationships are created now. The best brands out there cut through the enormous messaging clutter that we’re faced with by providing resources and information to their customers and prospects that is inherently useful. He defines youtility as marketing that’s so useful, people would pay for it if you asked them to do so. This idea is now part of the marketing lexicon in hundreds, if not thousands, of companies all over the world.
[14:09] – It can feel scary to give something of high value away for free – it takes courage. Can you speak a little about this and how somebody who is in the education business might think about youtility? Jay emphasizes that courage is the secret recipe – and is the missing ingredient in most organizations. It really comes down to trust and you need to trust that some portion of the audience to whom you give away value is going to reward you. So you’re giving away information “snacks” in order to sell information “meals” down the road. When you charge for everything, you are coming from a scarcity mindset rather than an abundance mindset. He points out that obstacles in front of ideas are by definition, the enemy of spread. So if you want your ideas to spread, the best way to do that is to unleash ideas and not put them behind a pay wall. To overcome this, Jay recommends putting the information collection mechanism after the value, not in front of the value. Although this decreases your total number of leads, it increases the average lead value and quality because it’s actually people who are interested in hearing from you a second time. One of the real challenges, especially with people who are in learning and education, is the belief they have some kind of “secret sauce”, or proprietary method, which he points out just isn’t the case. Therefore it’s better to come at it as giving away what you know, one little bite at a time, and then people will want you to help them connect all the dots.
[17:42] – Jay shares a story (which is highlighted in Youtility for Real Estate: Why Smart Real Estate Professionals are Helping, Not Selling) about a realtor who demonstrates the power of youtility. This person wrote a 62-page, free, downloadable e-book explaining how to sell a home on your own. When asked why he would do this, the realtor said that most people make it only partially through the book and then realize how hard it is to do on their own—this becomes his main source of new customers because on every page is his name, email address, and phone number.
[20:14] – The next book is Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers. Can you talk a little bit about the big idea behind this? Jay shares that until he wrote this book, there really wasn’t a modern book on customer service. He says increasingly, we’re seeing more and more customer interactions taking place in public (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), so the implication there is that customer service is now a spectator sport. This changes the financial implication for customer service dramatically, which has a much bigger impact on customer retention, and even customer acquisition, than ever before. He notes that if you have a call center for customer complaints, you’re going to have to make some changes because eventually nobody is going to use the telephone for customer service. So you’re going to have to fundamentally change the way you think about customer service by making it more important in the fabric of your organization and changing the actual operations and tactics that you use to interact with your customers. Jay further explains that research showed that one-third of all customer complaints are never answered—and a customer you ignore is a customer you should be prepared to lose. The research also showed that if you answer a customer complaint, it increases their advocacy by 25% or more, even if you can’t fix the problem. Conversely, if you don’t answer the complaint, it decreases their advocacy by 50%. He says one of the most amazing psychological phenomenon in all of business is that a customer who has a problem that you successfully solve, buys more and is more loyal than customers who never had a problem at all.
[24:37] – A further discussion about customer/learner complaints and how when you get one about a course, for example, you often assume it’s an outlier. But the math says that for every 100 dissatisfied customers, only 5 will complain to you. So on average, for every complaint you get, 19 other people had the exact same problem but just didn’t say anything to you. Jay makes the point that good companies tolerate negativity, but great companies seek it out.
[27:50] – And now your upcoming book, Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth – what’s the big idea there? Jay shares that the book will officially be available on October 2, 2018 (and you can pre-order on Amazon now). He says word of mouth is the oldest form of marketing and still the most effective form of customer acquisition. We believe each other far more than we believe messaging from organizations and word of mouth is so incredibly important financially. The newest research shows that 19% of the entire U.S. economy is driven directly by word of mouth (approximately $6.5 trillion) and more than half of all purchases are at least influenced by word of mouth. No other form of marketing is even as remotely close to that share of influence yet. Jay points out what’s crazy – and the reason they wrote the book – is that 100% of the people listening to this podcast care about word of mouth, yet 0% of us have a word of mouth strategy. In lieu of having a word of mouth strategy, most people just focus on operations and say they will be a good business. But Jay points out good is a four-letter word when it comes to word of mouth—it just doesn’t work—same is lame. If you want to create word of mouth, you have to do something different that people notice. Competency doesn’t create conversation, it has to be more than that. There are tons of case studies in the book and they use the 4-5-6 system—the 4 things that must be true for your differentiator to be a talk trigger; 5 different types of talk triggers from which you can select; and a 6-step process for how to discover and implement them in your own organization.
[31:01] – Jay shares some specific examples of how two different companies are effectively capitalizing on talk triggers.
[33:40] – What is one of the most powerful learning experiences you’ve been involved in, as an adult, since finishing your formal education? Jay first shares about his experience as a political campaign consultant working for Senator John McCain and how he learned so much from him. And currently, he has the best learning lab in the world because on the consulting side, he and his team are working with dozens of really interesting brands everyday. On the speaking side, he does 60-70 presentations a year with different organizations so he learns enough to be dangerous about a lot of different things, something he wouldn’t trade for anything.
[36:48] – How to connect with Jay and/or learn more:
[37:28] – Wrap Up
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[39:51] – Sign off