I attend many conferences and seminars throughout the year (it’s one of the perks of this job). Of course, my favorite part of these industry events is the opportunity it affords me to meet and interact with contractors, distributors and manufacturers.
It also allows me to be among the first to see latest products and technologies available to this industry. Many of these events also host a variety of keynote speakers and breakout sessions. Throughout the years, I’ve noticed a great deal of these have taken on a business management focus.
We pride ourselves at HVACR Business on being the first (and only) industry publication with an editorial direction focused solely on this type of content — it’s our mission to provide you with real ideas to help you grow your business and be profitable. So, it’s reassuring to see such as increase in demand for business management information everywhere.
I recently attended the IE3 Expo, the annual conference put on by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), in Washington, D.C. As in past years, the IE3 Expo included a terrific slate of breakout sessions devoted to helping contractors improve business operations in many of the same categories we cover each month.
One that really stood out was the keynote address given by Jay Baer, a marketing authority with whom I am wholly familiar.
I’ve followed Jay on social media for a while now and have always found his advice and insight to be extremely valuable and on point. We also share quite a few common friend/associates, so I was excited to finally meet him and see him speak in person.
In his keynote address, Jay spoke about Talk Triggers — a concept that states that your best marketing opportunities are operational rather than traditional marketing campaigns or advertising movements.
A Talk Trigger is, simply put, something you or your company does that is so exceptional and out of the ordinary, that your customer can’t help but talk about it. Essentially, you’re giving your customers a reason to give you referrals.
As Jay says, “Word of mouth is responsible for as much as 50 percent of all purchases, yet almost nobody has an actual plan to generate it.”
You already provide exceptional service, you offer quality products and you do your best to make your company memorable. But, maybe your competitors do as well.
The question is: What can you do to differentiate yourself from your competitors and give your customers something to remember and talk about?
“When you offer a differentiated, talkable customer experience, it compels conversation,” Jay says. “And when customers talk, they recruit new customers ... for free.”
Jay uses the example, among others, of Holiday World theme park in Santa Claus, Ind. It’s not a Six Flags or a Cedar Point or even a Disney World, but Holiday World is the
No. 1 rated theme park online because they give their visitors something so unique that they can’t help but spread the word and heap praise upon them.
Three things Holiday World does differently is they provide a FREE sunscreen station for every visitor, FREE soft drinks and FREE parking. That’s it!
Sure, people love free stuff, but these unexpected perks are something you will see in every single one of Holiday World’s online reviews.
These are Talk Triggers — something so different and so special, people can’t help but talk about them.
I’ve heard this example used before in a similar keynote at last year’s Service World Expo given by Daniel Lemin. As a former Google employee, Daniel is an expert in online reviews and how to cultivate them (full disclosure, I am good friends with Daniel, having had many classes together at Ohio Northern University where we were in the same public relations program).
This whole idea of developing Talk Triggers and cultivating positive online reviews to help grow your business is fascinating. Your customers basically live online and chances are they research your company and read reviews about you well before they pick up the phone.
Jay and Daniel have actually teamed up to write a book on this topic, due out this October.
The new book — Talk Triggers — includes a complete system for word of mouth marketing and how to use operational differences to create customer conversations.
I encourage you to visit talktriggers.com for updates and information on this new resource coming soon.
I know I’m excited to read what these two marketing gurus have to say, and you’d better believe more on this topic will be covered in HVACR Business — the industry’s management magazine.