Episode 78 | Posted on

Hug Your Haters with Jay Baer

Jay Baer is a renowned business strategist, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author of five books. In this conversation, you’ll learn why it’s important to be nice even — or especially — to haters. Jay also shares some brilliant insight into reputation management, particularly if your online reputation is already less than stellar. His other tips and techniques include strategies for building your online community and audience, and being more selective (rather than broad) about who you’re marketing to. Tune in for all this and much more — and a free gift that Jay is generously offering to Marketing Speak listeners!

In this Episode

  • [01:07] – Does Jay consider himself a spiritual marketer?
  • [02:04] – Jay offers his general advice on how to deal with someone who’s hating all over you online.
  • [05:19] – Jay answers everybody online, even harsh and rude critics who start out with personal attacks. He offers an example.
  • [06:39] – We hear Jay’s thoughts on the movement toward unfriending on Facebook. Stephan responds by sharing research that suggests that you should be pleasant with devices such as Alexa.
  • [09:57] – Jay struggles to see the positives in trying to figure out or keep track of who has unfriended you on Facebook.
  • [12:40] – Good “marketing karma” really matters, Jay explains, and talks about how this relates to his hug your haters approach.
  • [14:07] – What is the “hatrix”?
  • [16:38] – Stephen shares his own real-world example of something that recently happened to get Jay’s feedback on how he should have handled it.
  • [23:26] – Jay talks about the benefits of long-term instead of short-term thinking.
  • [25:07] – We hear Jay’s advice on what to do if your company’s reputation is already bad. Stephan then talks about getting negative reports removed from search results, and he and Jay discuss Comcast’s reputation problems.
  • [28:53] – Stephan brings up the topic of bedside manner and its importance. Jay then shares a related story from Hug Your Haters.
  • [31:58] – Thanking the people who have connected with you on LinkedIn is a way to apply the techniques Jay has been discussing in that environment.
  • [33:56] – Jay offers some strategies to help you build a tribe. Some of his insights include trying not to appeal to everybody and being consistent with your timing.
  • [39:59] – How would Jay apply the idea of forming or changing habits to content creation and consumption?
  • [42:54] – Jay talks about similarities between Gary Vaynerchuk and Donald Trump’s abilities to provide a sense of “intimacy through attention.” Others who have this skill include Chris Brogan and Bill Clinton.
  • [45:11] – What should listeners do as a next step? Jay offers a free gift of a guide of 13 words not to use when talking to a customer. You can get your copy by filling out the form at this link.
  • [46:26] – How can someone work with Jay directly?


Hello and welcome to Marketing Speak, I’m your host Stephan Spencer. Today we have Jay Baer with us. Jay is a renowned business strategist, keynote speaker and New York Times best-selling author of five books including his latest, Hug Your Haters. He’s the founder of the strategy consulting firm Convince and Convert. Jay travels the world helping businesses get and keep more customers. He’s advised more than 700 companies since 1994 including Caterpillar, Nike, Allstate and 31 of the Fortune 500. Jay, it’s great to have you on the show.

I’m delighted to be here, it’s gonna be fantastic.

Let’s talk a bit about your latest book, Hug Your Haters. I love the premise of that, I think that’s very spiritual. Do you consider yourself a spiritual marketer or more of a conscious marketer than most?

I’m probably the least spiritual, I’m the super practical marketer, I’m a hike free marketing guy but it ended but being a right topic in the right book for the right time. We’re in a time of unprecedented angst, maybe not unprecedented but it’s been a long time since things were as angsty as they are now and I think a lot of people feel that. The book really spoke to a lot of people, not just about marketing but the bigger concept of embracing negativity and not letting it get you down.

I think that applies in pretty much all aspects as you said, not just marketing but in life. We have cyber bullies and trolls, there’s just a lot of hate out there. We’ll get to the marketing stuff in just a minute but for just in general, how do you deal with somebody who’s hating all over you online because it’s so easy to anonymize yourself and just spill vitriol.

It is. I think there’s a couple of things that I try to adhere to and some I discovered while writing the book. I didn’t think this way before but I did all the research for the book and talked to so many people and it was really informative in that way. The first is to understand that in some cases, there is actually a kernel of truth to what people are saying and in some cases a whole cob. The first key is to say, “I’m not gonna consider somebody to be a hater or a troll until they prove themselves to be. Just because somebody disagrees doesn’t mean they are a hater and just because somebody disagrees doesn’t mean they’re a troll.” I see this in message boards all the time. Somebody just has a contrary opinion, all of a sudden, “You’re a troll.” I said, “No man I just don’t agree with you. That doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. We just have a different opinion.” I think, in general, we are too quick to turn away from criticism and we tend to not embrace criticism for what it really is, it’s just an opportunity to get better. That’s the first. The second thing is when people really are out of bounds and they really are negative nasty and vicious, the first thing I always do is the nastier they are, the more polite I am. It’s literally a continuum. If they are crazy mean, I am crazy nice. If they are kind of mean, I am kind of nice. It is amazing how disarming that can be for a lot of people when you just don’t take the bait. The second thing that I do which I talk about quite a bit in the book actually is this rule of reply only twice. This has really helped me personally and helped a lot of our clients. It’s this concept that no matter what the circumstances are, positive, negative, neutral, in between, when you’re interacting with somebody online, you answer no more than twice period. If somebody is like, “I hate you.” You say, “I’m terribly sorry.” And then they come back, “No, I really hate you.” You say, “Hey we should talk about that.” If they don’t wanna get into that, they just keep banging on you and they’re negative, negative, negative, you just walk away. Two and out, that’s it. I’m talking politics with friends or whatever, same rule, two and out, that’s my rule, reply only twice so when you know that, when you have it in your head and going in like, look, there’s gonna be two bites in this apple, it makes it a lot easier to not get burdened by it because you know it’s only gonna happen twice.

I like that. That makes a lot of sense via email but what if it’s a discussion thread and then everybody is kinda jumping in.

100% the same, twice and out. It’s actually better, it’s much better online even than email. I follow in discussion, I follow it on Facebook comments, on YouTube comments, on Twitter, everywhere, two and out.

YouTube in particular, they just seem to be vitriolic, so mean.

It’s crazy. People say YouTube is a community, I’m like, well, I don’t know if I would say that, it doesn’t really demonstrate a lot of the values that you’d like to see in a “community” but there’s certainly people there, yeah YouTube is one where, I do the same thing, I answer every complaint even if it’s ridiculous and angry, I answer every single person but never more than twice.

What if it’s like just completely baseless or just stupid or just trying to pick apart something about the way you look or something, “Hey your teeth are crooked or whatever.”

Yeah, I still answer everybody because you are going to gain fans by answering other critics. Customer service is a spectator sport now. It’s not about making that one person happy, that one person may not be able to be happy, it’s about what values are you demonstrating to all the other people who can see how you handle it. I’ll give you an example. For the book Youtility, which I wrote a couple years ago, it is all about making your marketing useful. Somebody left a one star review, it’s the only one star review I’ve ever gotten for any book I’ve written and he said, “This book is terrible, I think it was written by a clown. In fact, my 12-year old son could’ve written a better book than this.” I answered back and I said, “I’m terribly sorry that you weren’t happy with Youtility, I’d be delighted to purchase any book for you on the Amazon store that you’d like as an apology for wasting your time. By the way, if your son is such a good writer, please send me a resume because we’re always looking for intern.” So many people have told me, “I saw how you handled that guy’s complaint, that was amazing.” It actually sold books because of how I handled that and everybody can do the same.

It’s not about making that one person happy, that one person may not be able to be happy, it’s about what values are you demonstrating to all the other people who can see how you handle it.

You’re living what you preach and that’s amazing. What about all the unfriending that happens on Facebook, people are just like, “Oh well, I can’t handle this.”

There is seriously a crazy movement now around this unfriending and it’s been going on for a few months now and it’s really picking up speed and I don’t like it, personally. I think it is dangerous and foolish for a couple of reasons. One, if you say, “Look, I’m gonna prune the tree so that I’m only going to be interacting with people who believe what I believe.” That by definition is shutting you off to contrary opinions and I don’t think that makes you a better citizen or a better person. It may make you happier because you don’t have to see other people’s stuff. This idea of let me create my own echo chamber and do it within strategically, I just don’t think that’s a very good long term decision. I think it’s also disappointing and somewhat dangerous to say, “Because a person that I’m connected with in social media believes one thing about a particular set of circumstances that I can’t possibly interact with that person, I need to pretend that that person doesn’t exist on this planet.” You are reducing that person’s value to their belief about a particular issue that you care about, to me, that is overly reductive to say, “Look, I don’t agree with you about the President or I don’t agree with you about abortion, I don’t agree with you about terrorism or the Church or something else. Therefore, I must ignore you entirely.” I just don’t think that is a long term, a positive way of looking at other human being, that’s just not suggesting you to roll around in conflict in opinions but you can use Facebook in particular, you can say, “I don’t wanna see other posts of this type from this person. There’s a lot of other tools that you can use to rid your feed of some particular issues as opposed to saying, “I just unfollowed this person in total and absolutely.”

That reminds me of some research I recently heard about where there’s this idea of not dealing with conflicting opinions. If you think about how you talk to your Amazon Echo, talk to Alexa, you talk to Siri. If you’re just mean or barking orders, because it’s just a computer, it’s an algorithm, it’s not human, it doesn’t have feelings, you’re actually changing your brain.

I should try scolding my Alexa, I’m gonna give that a shot.

No, no, no, no. Be nice to Alexa.

I just wanna try it, now you’ve got me thinking, “What would happen if I got really mad at Alexa?” It might be a weekend project now. I know that was not your intention but now you’ve got me thinking.

Dave Asprey, the famous biohacker, you’re kinda gonna do that I guess on a more marketing emotional level. Have fun with that.

Yeah, maybe we should do a video of that.

Let me know how it goes. Let’s say that people have unfriended you and you don’t know who’s unfriended you because it’s a lot of work to try and figure that out, piece that together. Are there tools, I think there are tools out there to see who’s unfriended you or do you recommend people just stay away from that thing and just let it be?

I struggle to see the positive in that. If somebody has unfriended you and they said algorithmically that they want to pretend that you don’t exist, I’m not sure how that’s gonna benefit you in any way to know that information, other than you’re just a tit for tat kind of person and that’s just how you see the world. There’s a lot of people out there who really think of everything as some game. If they have something, I cannot have anything, or if I have something, they can’t have it, it’s just their world view, it’s me versus them, that’s not my world view. I believe every competitor is just an eventual colleague, that it’s just a matter of time before everybody works together, that’s just how I’ve always been and how I see things. I may not be the person to ask but I struggle, I think well, it should be great who unfollowed because then what? I can feel worse about them, I can take my revenge, what’s the good news in that scenario? I’m just not sure, I’m just gonna make you feel bad.

I agree, I agree wholeheartedly. I think that that kind of mentally of tit for tat or zero for some game, it’s very lower mind. Donny Epstein describes lower mind is kinda this or that instead of higher level thinking of the higher mind where you’re more creative and it’s not zero or some. I agree.

That’s why I think the Hug Your Haters formula really fits into that thesis a lot because it’s not necessarily about making that customer happy. It’s about sending messages about your value and your business to all the other people looking on who are watching your interactions on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and Instagram and Yelp and TripAdvisor and all these places. You’re thinking about the entirety of your brand but you are manifesting that brand through your interactions with one customer. It really is concentric circles higher mind philosophy. That’s never really been applied to customer service, that’s why I think the book will resonate with people because most customer service books are take care of the customers standing in front of you and here’s how you do that and that’s not unimportant nor is it insignificant but almost every customer service book so far has been about that. How do you make that person happy? In my philosophy, yeah we should do that, of course, but the bigger move on the chessboard, the bigger play and in fact even the bigger revenue implication is on the other people who are watching.

This is where I see it as a spiritual imperative where you’re spreading the light. You’re not just trying to solve a problem, that lower mind thinking, you’re more at the soul level even, just trying to spread good and light and happiness in the world and it will come back to you.

I tell you what, it really matters, it is, it really matters. I’ve had so many people come up to me in the last year and say that they read the book or saw the presentation or whatever. “I decided to put this Hug Your Haters approach in the practice where I used to ignore complaints and turn away from criticism and boy, not only has it really helped our business but I feel so much better.” Exactly, there is an endless supply of oxygen on the high road and people tend to forget that. When they’re confronted with negativity, they tend to sink to that level instead of going to opposite as I mentioned and the more angry the customers, the more happy you become. It has an incredible effect not only in people’s attitude about your business but on your own personal mental state. I think rolling around the negativity and letting it eat you up from the inside out is no way to run your life and certainly no way to run a business.

I love that, that’s very quotable about infinite oxygen on the high road, I love it.

I invented that a few weeks ago just sort of off the cuff at a forum. I incorporated it into my keynote speech but then some smart ass was like, “Well actually, it’s the opposite. The higher the road is, the oxygen gets thinner. The quote is absolutely not factual.” I’m like, “Okay, I know, but it’s a speech. Okay, I get it. I know you’re where you’re coming from but let me have this one, poetic license.”

Yeah, everybody’s a critic, right? Let’s talk about the hatrix. What the heck is the hatrix?

Let me back up and set this up a little bit. The original title of the book was not Hug Your Haters. The original title of the book was Under An Hour, my thesis was that fastest is bestest, that we’re now in an environment where companies who are the most responsive, who can answer the most quickly actually win customers as a result of that rapidity of this being faster. But unlike many consultants and authors and speakers, I thought, “If I’m gonna write a whole book about this, I should make sure this is actually true.” I conducted this massive research project in partnership with Edison Research and we really looked at the science of complaint and how complaints work etcetera. We discovered that in fact, the thesis was not true. Speed is important, speed is in fact very important but speed is not the most important thing. The most important thing is just showing up, is answering all your customers and that seems self-evident but it’s not because about a third of all customer complaints are never answered today, about a third. No response is a response, no real response is a response that says, “We don’t care about you at all. We don’t care about your dissatisfaction enough to even mention it or address it.” The book went from being called Under An Hour to Hug Your Haters when I realized that the core issue, at least today, is to just answer more and faster is obviously not official but it’s not the key. The hatrix is the analysis and infographic if you will of all the different characteristics of people who complain now and what they’re looking for. The different types of complainers, where people complain, how they complain, what they expect when they complain, etcetera. It was cool because my publisher, Penguin, allowed me to take that infographic hatrix and put it in every book kind of almost as a poster in the middle that you can tear out and keep in your office or on your desk, it’s pretty great.

That’s awesome. Did that get viral spread online then because of that?

Yeah, it’s a cool name. My friend Tamsen Webster, he invented that.

She’s actually been on the show.

Oh fantastic, Tams is a dear friend and helped me with the key note for Hug Your Haters when I first put it out. She was the one who coined the hatrix, I give her full credit.

That’s awesome. Yeah, she’s great and great to interview. Listeners, definitely check out the Tamsen Webster episode, it’s awesome. Before we jump to some other marketing stuff, I wanna share an example, the real world example that just happened this week and see how you suggest I handle it. Some guy was on my webinar this week and I offered a free copy of one my three books. My three books are The Art of SEO, Social ECommerce, and Google Power Search and these are all O’Reilly published books, legit books, they’re great books, I have a deal with O’Reilly where I’ve been able to gift free digital copies of one of these books. They have a landing page on O’Reilly and everything. I really appreciate how kind and awesome O’Reilly is to me. This guy misunderstood in the webinar, I was very clear, here’s the URL that you go to, here’s the unique code that you need to put in on the form on this page which is on my site and then further instructions will happen, you’re gonna have to set up an account on O’Reilly.com and it’ll take two business days, blah, blah, blah, blah. I explained just briefly that there’s a process but it all starts at this URL, use this special code. What does he do? He’s in Canada, he goes on the Amazon.ca and he buys a digital copy of the book, of The Art of SEO. He’s like, “Okay, the special code didn’t work on Amazon and now I’m stuck with this that I bought.” I’m like, seriously? I was so clear. I haven’t responded to him yet, I was gonna let my assistant respond and what I said to my assistant is like, “I was very clear. There’s no grey area here of how he could’ve misinterpreted this.” No one has ever done this before, it’s very clear. What would you do? What would you recommend that I do? If you were me, what would you do in this scenario?

I have several comments on this. One, I have also used that same kind of free copy distribution electronic service and it blows. The customer experience is really bad, I feel for everybody who has to go through that, it’s not an easy process, the whole get a password here and then the two days. As much as I love my publisher and I’m sure you love O’Reilly, it’s 2017 and I really hope somebody can come up with a better system for that whole process, that’s not the question you asked but it is a very hot button issue for me. It’s really terrible. The second thing is let me tell you a story. There’s a case study in the book, from a guy named Wade Lombard, Wade is the owner of a business in Texas called Square Cow Movers. Square Cow, as you might suspect is a moving company, doing good moving company. They’re disproportionately good at moving, there’s a lot of moving companies out there that are, if we can safely agree, are little on the sketchy side. They don’t have a great reputation, just as an industry, except for that Square Cow is good. These guys are solid, they run a very good business. Despite that, they were getting a bunch of negative reviews, mostly on Yelp. Wade thought this doesn’t make any sense to me because I know for a fact that we are better than most of the moving companies out there yet our reviews are not very good, what is going on? He pulled all his Yelp reviews, copied and paste them, did some word clouds analysis, also took some phone call transcripts from his team, took some emails and printed those out, copied and paste them and did some textual analysis of the totality of complaints that they were receiving. What he discovered was that people were not complaining about the actual process of moving, it wasn’t like the guys broke stuff or they were rude or they were smoking or whatever. It was all stuff that the customers didn’t quite understand. They didn’t know they had to move their car, they weren’t sure what time the guys were showing up, didn’t know this one thing they were supposed to know about blankets, it was all this kind of preparation for moving information. Wade thought, “That’s interesting to know that and I guess I feel better that it’s not about true operations but more about information. This is still confusing to me because we tell the customers all this information. We send them an email with all the information they need to know, we send them a voice mail the night before to tell them what’s going on and I don’t understand how they’re not figuring this out.” He took some time and he realized that by definition, his customers are always moving. When you are moving, you are a little bit on tilt mentally and psychologically. It’s a high pressure environment, high stress, you gotta get a new school, what about fluffy the cat, you gotta get a new dentist and kids are unhappy and they gotta get out of the house because a new buyer are coming in and all that kind of stuff. People are not just at their best. What he understood finally was that, yes, they were telling the customers what they needed to know but they weren’t actually reading it, they weren’t perceiving it. He brought his whole team together and said, “Guys, here’s the plan. From now on, we double all information. Instead of sending one email, we send two. Instead of sending one reminder phone call, we send two and we send a text message.” They essentially went through and doubled every single touch point and all the complaints went away and they’re now the number one, best rated and reviewed moving company in the state of Texas because he finally realized that just because you send it, doesn’t mean they read it. I have learned that lesson myself a number of times, certainly as the manager of my son’s hockey team. I sent you an email, how can you don’t know what time the game is? Now I send two emails and ironically, the exact same situation that you described, I sent out ebooks like that for Hug Your Haters and a bunch of not just one person, a bunch of people did the exact same thing that you mentioned. Bought it on Amazon, bought it on Barnes And Noble, wanted it via PDF and I’m like, “Holy cow, I thought I made this really clear.” I realized that I violated my own principle. You would think it’s obvious but it’s not and this is a perfect example where you should send two emails like, “Okay, I just wanna make sure you understand XYZ.” To your actual point, what I’d do, I’d give that guy his $10 back because at the end of the day, the word of mouth, potential of him telling people, “I messed this up and I got a free book out of it and they took care of me,” is worth way more to you than the $10 is.

That’s good advice, it makes sense. It’s very long term thinking instead of short term thinking, I like it.

That’s my whole thing. I really don’t care what happens this month or this quarter or this year or even this three years. I’m always thinking how do you build reputation and trust because that pays an annuity forever. You can get clicks and sales and whatever today and this week and this month and this year and that’s how I got into digital 25 years ago because I like that kind of stuff. But ultimately, the real game, the next level game is building trust and authority because then you benefit from that not this month, this quarter or this year, you benefit from that for a decade or two decades or three decades and that’s how you really do it.

Always think how do you build reputation and trust because that pays an annuity forever. Click To Tweet

Square Cow, they were able to recover their reputation through first this analysis, the word clouds and all that in the Yelp complaints and then to address that with over informing their customers. That’s awesome but what if you have a burned, scorched reputation. One person I met this week, we were talking at an event and her company, she closed the original office and opened up a new, it was a new business, the same name. The original business had two listings, one for her name and one for her company’s name on Yelp and there were just horrible, horrible reviews, .5 stars and everything on average and it’s ranking for her company’s name.

Reviews are so dominant in SERPS now, it’s incredible.

I don’t often see three Yelp listings on page one in Google for search.

No, it’s unusual.

That is unusual.

Couple things. I will talk to Yelp and try and come by them just to avoid confusion. The second thing I would do is as long as I could get permission to do so, I need Yelp to grant it. Go through and answer all the reviews on all the pages. I would say, “I am terribly sorry you have this kind of experience, I want you to know that I’m the new owner, we’ll do a new thing, it’s all different now and you probably don’t believe me and you’d probably never come back but in case you see this, I’d love to invite you back in. Anybody else who see this, I just want to let you know that times have changed, it’s a new era.” Again, spectator sport. It’s essentially free advertising and you just put that out there. Every reputation can be repaired. One of my largest clients right now is Comcast. Every reputation can be repaired, it just takes time. The reality is once you have a bad reputation, it takes that much longer to repair it because people are not gonna give you the benefit of a doubt. You have to demonstrate over and over and over and over. If you can do that, if you can absolutely deliver outstanding customer experience time after time after time after time, eventually, word of mouth will help you change that reputation. You just cannot get dismayed by how long it takes because it does takes a lot time but SEO can help with that. That’s one of the great things about search, even if you’re not trying to be great at about it, you can really use content to help repair reputation, you just gotta be smart about it.

Yeah. In fact, I have a whole great episode on reputation management or repair where I interviewed Kenton Hutcherson who’s an expert on getting rip off reports removed from Google and other kinds like consumer.com and Yelp, anything that has defamatory content. It could be just one of the reviews and if it’s on the page, the whole page is defamatory, by definition. There’s a whole process as long as you’re within the statute of limitations time period. If this applies to you, listeners, where you got some haters that you think that some of that content is defamatory and you’re within a year or two, statute of limitations changes by state, you can listen to that, I’ll put a link in the show notes to that episode. It’s really, really cool. It’s funny you mentioned Comcast because the first thing that came to mind when you mentioned that is the viral video of the guy falling asleep on the couch.

That was about ten years ago, you recall that instantly. You’re talking about something like that, pretty close to that, it’s at least eight, maybe ten. That’s the kind of uphill climb that sometimes you’re faced with when you have a historically bad reputation but it can all be repaired. We are forgiving society especially in the US, you just gotta prove it.

For those listeners who aren’t familiar with what we’re talking about, there’s a video where a Comcast employee or installer fell asleep on the guy’s couch waiting on hold to talk to Comcast service to help him get something set up. It was like an hour or something on hold and the guy videoed the whole thing of this guy sleeping, falling asleep waiting for the call to pick-up and then it was pretty viral, not good for Comcast.

No, not good, not good. But they also just invented $300 million in improving their customer service. They’re taking it real seriously.

That’s awesome. This whole thing reminds me, it’s like bedside manner, it really makes a difference. I remember some research that medical malpractice lawsuits were correlated not to the skills of the practitioner, instead their bedside manner.

I’ve got a great story about that, if I may, from the book actually. In Hug Your Haters, there’s a case study, a guy whose name is Glenn Gorab. Glenn lives outside of New York in Connecticut, I forget which city in Connecticut. He’s an oral surgeon, he’s been one for 25 or 30 years, been there for a long time. He does something so simple and so powerful that it is absolutely remarkable to me that I have never experienced it anywhere else in my life nor have I ever heard of it happen, here’s what he does. Every Saturday, he calls every single person who’s coming to the office the next week for the first time. He calls every new patient before they come in for the first time. His team gives him the list when he leaves on Friday, “Here’s six people, here’s their phone numbers.” He just calls them up on Saturdays since says, “Hi I’m Glenn, I’m the oral surgeon, understand that you’re coming in for the first next week. Do you have any questions?” It blows people’s minds because some surgeons will call you post-op and say, “Hey how is it going? Do you have any bleeding and everything cool?” No surgeon calls you calls you pre-op. It builds this instant relationship with patients that is so profound. He says he gets tons and tons and tons of patients who come in and choose him specifically, they say, “There’s lots of oral surgeons in the area but I picked you because you’re the doctor who called my friend before she even came in the office. That’s really amazing.” To your point, when I interviewed Glenn, he said, “Here’s the thing, I know every oral surgeon in this area. All the ones in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, it’s a fraternity. As far as I know, I am the only oral surgeon in the tristate area who has never been sued. I don’t know that I’m the best surgeon, I’m pretty good but I’m probably not the best but I believe it’s because I start to build relationships before people ever hit the parking lot.” Amazing, right? That’s amazing stuff and it’s so simple. It takes him a half hour every Saturday. Holy cow, why doesn’t everybody do that? Why doesn’t every doctor that? Why doesn’t every lawyer do that? Why doesn’t every chef do that? “Hey I understand you’re coming in for your anniversary dinner on Saturday, is there something special we can do for you?” You know what the problem is? It’s twofold. One, people treat service customer like unnecessary evil instead of a marketing opportunity. Two, people are freaking lazy. That’s the list.

Very true and I love it, we’re totally on the same page.

As I say in the book, customer service is the new marketing, that’s not just a slogan, it’s true.

A great example of this that you can do on LinkedIn, for example, is just to thank the follow who reached out and connected with you. You grant somebody a connection request and then send them a message on LinkedIn and say, “Hey, thanks for adding me.”

That’s such a good idea and it takes no time.

It’s so unexpected, it’s polite, it’s spreading the light. I love this framework that [00:34:14] taught me, I was in his black belt program for a year. One of the frameworks I appreciated hearing about from him was flipping the script on what people do on LinkedIn versus Facebook. On LinkedIn, people are very professional and Facebook very personal. He says, “Flip the script, be professional on Facebook and personal on LinkedIn.” People are not expecting that.” Case in point, thank the new connections on LinkedIn after they add you or be professional on Facebook would be like think of ways that you could add massive value through lead magnets and video series and whatever else and advertise, do the funnels and all the stuff and you can get amazing performance with Facebook. People are sharing their cat photos and so forth and you’re adding value in a business.

I love it, it’s a great idea.

This is a great segway to how to build a tribe or what Kevin Kelly calls a thousand true fans because really, what you’re doing is you’re building that fan base. You’re not just avoiding medical malpractice, you’re creating this rabid fan base who love you to death and just want to help you because you are special, you do something that nobody else does. Let’s talk about some of the other strategies that will help you build that kind of a tribe.

From a content standpoint, I think it’s about specificity. I’ve said this for a long time, the only way you can have a successful podcast or successful blog or successful video series or anything along those lines is if you are somebody’s favorite version of that thing in the world. The only reason the show works is that many people listening right now will tell you that this is their favorite podcast. If they didn’t think that, the show wouldn’t work, the show wouldn’t succeed, you wouldn’t have an audience. Same thing is true with blogs, same thing is true with video series. The only way you can ever be anybody’s favorite is to be sharp and specific. The big mistake that people make is they say, “I wanna reach a larger audience therefore I want the topics that I cover and the things that I do to be broader as well.” It’s very counter intuitive but to get a bigger audience, you need a more specific approach to audience.

Interesting. I would say that Marketing Speak is very broad because I’ve had guests talking about YouTube Advertising, Facebook Advertising, SEO, Google AdWords, Conversion Optimization Analytics, Customer Service, it’s not exactly specific. It’s specific to marketing but that’s really broad.

But within the big [00:37:24] of the world, that’s super specific. That is really specific when you look at the actual world that we live in and I take your point, it’s not a show only about SEO or show only about reviews or show only about Facebook Ads, there are shows like that that succeed but you are doing something that clearly resonates with people and you are their favorite and there’s a reason why that’s true. It may be you, it may be the way you run the show, maybe the guests that you have, there may be something else, it’s not always topic, sometimes it’s approach but there’s gotta be something that people say, “This is my favorite.” Because if it’s just like yeah I don’t mind it, it’s never gonna go anywhere.

I get those kind of comments from people that this is their favorite show, that they replaced listening to audiobooks or music at the gym to now listening to my podcast. I actually have two podcasts, I get the same commentary on both shows. The other one is completely different, it’s nothing to do with marketing, it’s all about life hacking, biohacking, I’ve had Dave Asprey on and so forth and productivity, I have David Allen on, it is very sharp and I guess specific in the sense that it’s I have world class guests. I spend a lot of money on personal developments, going to expensive seminars and expensive masterminds and the kinds of people that I’ve met and the networked that I’ve built up, I’ve leveraged that to create an outstanding show. In that way, yes, it’s very specific but in another way it would be very broad because I got episodes on wealth building, episodes on fitness, on biohacking, episodes on masterminds and peer groups, it was quite a broad array of topics. I guess the same ideas applies that I’m being sharp and specific in the type of guests I have.

The other thing that is to your advantage that most people do not do well is you got a consistent cadence. You continue to create new content all the time and you do it on a routine basis. One of the biggest frustrations I have as a consultant is working with companies including many of the most interesting brands in the world who are making random acts of content or random acts on social media and they’re making things when they feel motivated to do so, I’m like, you can’t. You can’t really succeed like that with these kind of random editorial calendar. Success is based on perspiration, not inspiration. This idea that, “Hey I’m only gonna write a blog post when I feel like it, when I feel like I’ve got something to say.” That’s a recipe for not having a very successful blog unless you are massively, disproportionately good at blogging. The people who succeed write a blog post routinely, people who succeed do a podcast routinely. Treating your own content like a media company, that’s not like Sports Illustrated], you know what guys, all the games suck this week so we’re just not making a magazine. You just can’t do that, it’s not like ABC, it’s like you know what? We agree, these shows suck, we had no signal tonight, it’s just bars, test pattern, you just can’t do that. You need to treat your content the same way and say, “Look, I’m gonna keep doing this every Monday boom, boom, boom, boom, boom and that’s how you build habit because audience is all about habit. You’re having a thousand super fans is absolute true but those super fans are typically accrued because it becomes a habit. Not only do I think you need to be somewhat specific where at least disproportionately likeable in some way but you gotta keep at it in a way that you’re feeding those fans new stuff all the time.

Not only do I think you need to be somewhat specific or at least disproportionately likeable in some way but you gotta keep at it in a way that you’re feeding those fans new stuff all the time.

It’s like you’re creating a habit in the consumer of your content, you’re creating habit in yourself as the content creator. I love this idea of the habit is actually a three component thing where you have the cue, the habit and the reward. Let’s say that you wanna quit binging on Netflix, the best way to do that is to change the cue rather than try to brute force a different habit. For example if the cue is sitting on the couch, when you sit on the couch you go for the remote and turn on the TV, instill a new habit for that cue like take the remote, hide it in another room like in a drawer and put your favorite that you haven’t finished reading next to the couch. How would you apply that idea of habit forming or habit changing to content creation and the content consumption?

On the content consumption side, one of the challenges that I think a lot of people face and more so today than ever before is just having to tune in and awareness tactics to make sure the audience knows that there’s new content. Is it email effectively, is it using retargeting effectively? Is it using mobile push effectively? There’s a lot of people out there who are just relying on their audience to know that there’s a new episode or know there’s a new blog post and they’re like, “They’ll figure it out, they’ll find it.” That’s a dangerous game to play. From a habit standpoint, you need to get into the habit of making sure that you’re telling people that you have new content, not assuming that they know that there’s a new content and that requires actual effort and time and sometimes expense and processes and things like that. That’s a big one, I think, for professional content marketer to say, “Let’s make sure that we have a tune in behavior that we are adhering to on a weekly basis or daily or the case maybe.”

I’ve started, for example, sending out newsletters every week to announce the two episodes of my two shows and I also post three times on Twitter, not just once, about each episode. I find interesting tidbits from each episode like three different pieces to push out on Twitter. Getting in front of them in a more intentional way, not just relying on them to discover it on their own and then also, I think this is important too that it’s gotta run like clockwork, you don’t just, “Oh I’m gonna publish on Monday.” It’s like, “I’m gonna publish at [9:00]AM Pacific on Monday.” Not [9:03], not 10 am, but [9:00]AM.

Absolutely, couldn’t agree more. We have five podcast in our podcast network. My show is called Social Pros. We have Content Pros, Influence Pros, etc. We do five weekly shows. We have separate retargeting pools set up for each show. If you’ve ever been to any web pages associated with that particular show, we will retarget you using the Google Display Ad Network and using Facebook and you’ll see ads reasonably for this week’s guest. If you’ve been to the social pros web pages at some point, look at episode recap, we will tag you and then the next time you’re on Facebook, you may see an ad that says Jay Baer Social Pros podcast next week’s guest is or this most recent guest was X, just try and make it habitual.

That’s great, that’s best practice, that’s just good marketing and I love it. You had made the analogy of Gary Vaynerchuk to Donald Trump and the gifted intimacy through attention that they have both Gary and Donald. I’d love to hear you riff on that for a little bit

I know Gary and I’ve spent a fair bit of time with him, I don’t know President Trump, I have never actually been in the same room. From interactions that I have seen on television and people who I’ve talked to who have spent time with President Trump, I believe they do both have this skill and it is a skill, maybe it’s a gift. It is intimacy through attention. They both have this variability and I do not have this, at least not anyone near the degree that they have it where even if they’re in a crowded space as they typically are, when they are talking to you, you feel like you’re the only person they’re talking to. Even if they’re on stage, if they look at you and answer your question, you feel like it’s just you and them in the room and it is a really incredibly powerful device. It builds a tremendous amount of false intimacy but believed intimacy and it really sucks you into their gravitational field. You know a person who is really good at that? Chris Brogan, if you know Chris, he’s got the same kind of vibe and it’s really, really powerful, I wish I could do it.

I’ve heard this about Bill Clinton.

I’ve heard that too, the same thing that everybody feels like he’s their best friend and they’re not obviously, but they have that impression. A lot of people in marketing know Gary or have met Gary or have been in a room with Gary or seen Gary in an event. Every single person that you talk to or you hear on a podcast will say exactly these words in this way, they’d say, “My friend Gary Vaynerchuk.” They don’t say, “I met Gary once or I saw him speak.” Everybody says, “My friend Gary Vaynerchuk.” Is Gary actually friends with all those people? No, but they perceive themselves to be friends with him and that’s the power of intimacy through attention.

Amazing. Let’s give our listeners a next step, if they resonate with what we’ve been talking about, I’ll put together the show notes, the links and we’ll have a checklist of actions to take from stuff we talked about in the episode that’ll all go on marketingspeak.com, transcript as well. What should people do as a very next step?

I’ve done a cool thing I wanna share with listeners. There’s the ebook that I wrote, it’s like eight pages and I wrote it after Hug Your Haters was published, it’s not in the actual book. I’d be happy to give it you for free, just go to jaybaer.com/13words. It’s called The 13 Words You Should Never Use When Talking To A Customer. What we discovered is there’s lots of things that we say when we’re interacting with customers either face to face or email or social media that we feel are innocuous and harmless but the way we say it can really set customers off in a path that we didn’t intend and there’s little trigger words and sometimes there’s lazy writing or lazy language and it can make all the difference when you eliminate these words out of your customer dialogue. Just grab that and I think you’ll really like it.

Awesome. I presume there’s an opt in so you’d get on.

Yes, if you wanna be on my list, we would be delighted to interact with you, we’ve got a tremendous amount of content about digital marketing and online customer service, we produce ten blog posts a week and a bunch of other stuff. We’re delighted to help you.

What if somebody wanted to work with you directly? Hire you as their consultants or work with your agency, what would be the next step for them?

If you go to the 13 Words document, there will be an opportunity to check a box and say, “Have somebody give me a call about what you do on the consulting side.” We’d be delighted to talk about that as well.

Awesome. Thank you, Jay. This was inspiring and information rich and spiritual.

Thank you. I really enjoyed, it was a terrific conversation and thank you for having me on. I will go back and listen to a couple of episodes that we mentioned and drop those into my iTunes as well.

Yeah, for sure. Thank you, Jay, thank you listeners. This is Stephan Spencer signing off, we’ll catch you on the next episode of Marketing Speak.

Important Links:

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

☑ When someone disagrees with me, consider whether they are simply disagreeing or being rude before writing them off as a “troll.” Sometimes there is value in understanding why people are disagreeing with me.

☑ When dealing with a rude person, the ruder they are, the nicer I should be. This helps to diffuse the situation.

☑ When dealing with a hater online, a good rule of thumb is to only reply twice.

☑ Answer all negative comments on my social media pages – it will help build my fan base in the long run.

☑ Before unfriending someone on Facebook who has a belief that I don’t agree with, consider their other values. Unfriending someone based on one belief reduces their value as a whole person.

☑ It’s always better to respond to a customer complaint than not. When faced with a complaint, remember, no response basically means, I don’t care.

☑ If my business is receiving complaints, take an inventory of the nature of the complaints. It could be enlightening to understand what they are complaining about, which will allow me to better serve them moving forward.

☑ Embrace long-term thinking when it comes to customer service. Thinking about the big picture will help me build a more loyal fan base.

☑ Remember that every competitor has the potential to be an eventual colleague, and it’s just a matter of time before we all work together. Let this mindset guide my daily interactions.

☑ Think about how I can go the extra mile in my business to make customers feel special. Try something new until I find something that resonates and sets me apart.

About Jay Baer

Jay Baer is a renowned business strategist, keynote speaker and the New York Times bestselling author of four books who travels the world helping business people get and keep more customers. Jay has advised with more than 700 companies since 1994, including Caterpillar, Nike, Allstate, and 31 of the FORTUNE 500.

He is the founder of Convince & Convert, a strategy consulting firm that helps prominent companies gain and keep more customers through the smart intersection of technology, social media, and customer service. His Convince & Convert Media division owns the world’s #1 content marketing blog, multiple podcasts, and many other education resources for business owners and executives.

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