Talk Triggers with Jay Baer

In This Episode

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What it was like


Jay grew up in Lake Havasu City, AZ. Not a place that turns out a lot of digital marketers.

Best known as America’s home of The London Bridge!

Jay was a journalism guy in high school.

All he wanted to do by college was write for the Washington Post.

Jay’s family goes back 7 Generations as entrepreneurs making wood furniture – “It’s Oak.”

Jay’s father is color blind – not the makings of a good furniture salesman.

His great grandfather came up with the tagline based on the fact that furniture makers would line the wood with steel to make it feel heavier.

Was there pressure to be an entrepreneur?

Not pressure per se, but it was sort of an unspoken expectation that, that is just what you did.

Jay’s dad met a guy randomly who convinced him to move his family to Arizona – “based on a conversation in an airport bar” as in – “we’ll figure out the details later…”

On to college, Jay took an intro to Political Science. He met his wife on his first day there.

The class taught about how they develop political campaigns. Jay switched from journalism to Political science.

Jay interned twice with a public affairs and political consulting firm. Then he landed a job there right out of college.

At 23 he went on to be a political consultant.

This was a great job because there is so much finality to it – either you win or lose!

Jay got out of this and got into more traditional marketing, and worked for the government for a bit in between.

He worked for the Department of Juvenile Corrections in Arizona.

His job was to give tours of the juvenile prison system to the media and legislators.

Then his friends asked him for help with marketing for this internet company.

Anxious for any way to get out of the prison, Jay accepted their offer and request for help.

The company did very well and eventually sold.

Jay has done two things really well:

  1. Convincing his wife to marry him.
  2. Getting involved in the internet very early.

They sold to Anheuser Busch for 50 cases of beer!

His partner registered and sold for $5 million.

Jay has written several books, including Youtility.

Back to political consulting – most of Jay’s time was spent as a specialist – direct mail campaigns, later digital, website, email campaigns. So this was essentially marketing for Political candidates.


What Happened

The prison job ironically was like anti-marketing. The idea was to make sure no one was talking about them.

This gave Jay a chance to understand that working for the government was not a good match for his entrepreneurial spirit.

What really caused him to go (in addition to drinking beers with friends), was that he was put in charge of a 13 person business card redesign committee.

The hardest part of Jay’s entrepreneurial journey was starting his entrepreneurial journey.

He had a daughter and was scared about what would happen if it didn’t work out. Why take the risk when he had this job.

Then jay’s best friend and brother in law was diagnosed with a terminal disease. This is when Jay decided to quit and go out on his own.


Get a piece of paper and write down exactly what you are afraid of.

What you will probably find is that most of these fears are just between your ears. They are boogeymen! Something you’re afraid of that doesn’t really exist.

Jay can you walk us through an example of what one of your fears was and how you came to this realization?

You write, “I am afraid of X, because Y.”

I am afraid of a giant reduction in income, because I can’t get enough clients if I do this by myself.

The Z equation is where you ask how realistic is that?

It’s true you might not get enough clients, but there is a fallback. You can go get a job. And he had a savings.

The risk is greater for your ego than it is for your bank account. Get over that!

A bruised ego is not fatal.

Go out and just ask for things, so that you can get used to rejection. You might find you’re surprised at what things you DO get!

You miss every shot you don’t take

– Wayne Gretzky

Every no is one closer to a yes.

Lean on the people closest to you for support, and remember to show them how much you appreciate them. They will give you the push you need at the times when you need it most.

Jay’s wife was a trained paralegal. She would work all day at a big firm. Come home. Feed Jay and the kids. Then she would manage all of Jay’s search marketing from 9pm to midnight.

We have to get out of our own way.

We have to recognize that some of the things we fear – the process of facing those fears is what we need most to get over them.

Once I jumped off the high diving board the first time, it was easier and easier to do it again.

Jay was with the .com boom.

Then he started a company in conjunction with a network of TV, Radio, and Magazines as a leading internet business.

Then he left that firm to create a new product that was Skype, before there was Skype. Timing is everything. It didn’t work out.

Then Jay started his own company called, “Mighty Interactive” and then sold it to an ad agency.

Then he started Convince and Convert 10 years ago.


What it’s like today

Find Jay at

Jay’s favorite kind of companies are companies that know what they are!

Pick a type of client and be indispensable to that client.

In his own company they do not do tactical work. They only do strategy. They do one thing and they do it as well as anyone in the world.

Just finished his sixth book, Talk Triggers.


Jay’s Books:

The Now Revolution


Youtility for Accountants

Youtility for Real Estate

Hug Your Haters

Talk Triggers


Convince and Convert has three components

  • Live Teaching
  • Media Division
  • Consulting Division


What is your top tip for how I can get my customers referring everyone to me?

Word of mouth has influence on 91% of all B2B buying decision.

They need a frame of reference.

So what you want to do is give your customers a story to tell.

You need a word of mouth strategy. Just being a “good company” is not going to do it.

Nobody has ever said, “let me tell you about this perfectly adequate experience I’ve just had.”

Example of a company that does this well.

A restaurant in Sacramento called, “Skip Kitchen.”

Before you pay them they fan a deck of cards. If you get a joker, your meal is free.

Their only promotion is word of mouth. On average three people a day win, and when they do, they go crazy promoting their win on Social Media.

You have to do something for your clients that they remember.

In & Out Burger has “animal style.”

A talk trigger is a word of mouth generator. This is not a contest or something. It is just something you do in your operation and people will talk about it.

Holiday World in Santa Clause, Indiana!

They have a shack that gives away free sunscreen!

Start writing notes about what you can do, to create your own talk triggers.

How do you do this without going out of business?

You don’t want to go TOO large, or people become suspicious.

Doubletree hotels gives you a warm cookie. They give out 75,000 per day. 38% of them have mentioned the cookie. So current customers are their best marketers.

If you can get 4/10 customers to tell people about what you did, the benefits will far outweigh the costs.

So this is an investment.


The Hilton Story

Hilton Suggests


They will help you find what you need when you’re traveling no matter where you’re staying!

Marketers ruin everything! They can’t leave well enough alone. We don’t trust our customers enough to let them go and do their thing, and make the referrals.

The first step is to talk to your customers about what they expect from you.

I used to look for people complaining about how they can’t do something with QuickBooks. Then I would create the content that answered their questions and send them the link.



The Now Revolution


Youtility for Accountants

Youtility for Real Estate

Hug Your Haters

Talk Triggers


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