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Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing & More. I have a very special guest today. Joining us to talk about how to win back customers and regain their trust, Jay Baer. Jay is founder of Convince & Convert, an author and a speaker.

In fact, a great, great speaker that was inducted to the Speaker Hall of Fame by National Speakers Association and has published four books. I think. I lost count. And the last one was Talk Triggers.

In this episode:

  • What are the new challenges for marketers
  • What is the role of customer experience in shaping sales
  • How to use the unknown to create new connections and customers’ habbits
  • In what ways ‘the new normal’ situation shapes customer needs and behaviour
  • What can marketers do to adapt their budgets
  • How to rewire customer relationships using data and information
  • how can businesses adjust to an era of never seeing their customer face to face (ever again)

Quotes from the episode:

“The most important thing that marketers can do is to understand that in a way that we’ve never experienced before nobody knows nothing about nothing anymore.”

“You probably didn’t see the pandemic coming, but the fact that customers are going to want everything digital and super fast and low touch and efficient like we’ve been talking about this for a decade.”

Hello from Portland, Oregon. Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing & More. I have a very special guest today. Joining us talking about rebuilding customer loyalty is Jay Baer. He is the founder of Convince & Convert and an author and a speaker. A great, great speaker was inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame by the National Speakers Association and has published four books. I think. I lost count. And the last one was Talk Triggers. So welcome, Jay!

Jay Baer: Pam, fantastic to see you and talk to you. Thank you very much. Uh, I’ve been busy. You’ve been busy, you know, a pandemic got in the way, but other than that, uh, here we are.

Pam Didner: So, how are you and what have you been doing?

Jay Baer: What I haven’t been doing is going to airports. I went from traveling 200 days a year to zero days a year, and I thought that would be terrible, but I don’t miss it at all, as it turns out. I’ve been fortunate. I’ve been doing many virtual remote keynotes and MC assignments, which I like very much. And then, my consulting team at Convince and Convert, we’ve been really busy working with many really interesting and exceptional brands–both B2B and B2–helping them with digital marketing and content marketing and social media strategy and customer experience.

We’re super thankful. My kids were both home from college unexpectedly, for I guess it would have been six months. Uh, and, and that was terrific. It was. It was weird. We wouldn’t have seen them ordinarily. Of course, they would have been at school and probably internships this summer. And so they both came home, and that was terrific to have that kind of time with them that we just wouldn’t have had.

So there, they’re both back on campus now. Uh, so we are. We have renewed our originally scheduled empty nester program.

Pam Didner: Join the club. I was happy to my, I have my sons at home as well, doing a summertime. Now they are off to campus. I’m very happy about that.

So obviously, COVID is reshaping our purchasing behavior, especially for—

Jay Baer: Everything.

Pam Didner: Everything, yeah. I remember seeing, um, a keynote deck from you that 54% of consumers have purchased from a new provider or a new brand since the pandemic.

Jay Baer: And 89% of them plan to stay with this new provider. And I’ll bet you, Pam, most people tuning in, have had that experience. They said, “Hey, you know what? Yeah, I’m using a different dentist now, different restaurants, different software companies, or any number of things. And so the implication for this is that there are significant shifts in market share in every category of business happening right now. And in a way, that has been unprecedented since the Internet itself was invented.

What we’re seeing is people making very different purchase decisions than they would have before. And this puts a lot of pressure on businesses but also a tremendous opportunity. So nobody is pre-pandemic, obviously, but I will tell you this, Pam, this is the single greatest opportunity you will likely ever have in your business career to go out and take market share from competitors. Because of the longstanding relationships between customers and companies, which were calcified over months or years or decades of relationships, they’re now being frayed.

People are like, “you know what? All bets are off. I’m starting from zero. I’m going to reassess all the things that I buy in from home and make different decisions if necessary.” It is an incredible time, and there will be a ton of winners and some losers on the other side of this.

Pam Didner: So why should brands do, what should marketers do, right, to take advantage of that opportunity?

Jay Baer: The most important thing that marketers can do is to understand that nobody knows nothing about nothing anymore in a way that we’ve never experienced before. And I’ll give you an example. It was probably three months ago now. I got my first haircut since the pandemic.

Pam Didner: (laughs) Yeah. My, my husband has been cutting his hair.

Jay Baer: Yeah. I’m not going to do that, but I appreciate that kind of ingenuity. That’s not going to happen for me. I’m a 50-year-old man. I, I sort of felt like, “Hey, at this point in my life, I know haircuts work.” It turns out I do not because to get my hair cut. I had to have like 16 questions successfully answered.

Is the haircut place still open? Does the woman who cuts my hair at the haircut place? Does she still work there? Where do I park now? Do the parking meters downtown still work? Are the appointments the same length? Are they a different time cause they got to clean up between the appointments? Uh, how do I even make an appointment?

Do I wear a mask? Does she wear a mask? Can I tap to pay my phone, or do I have to touch filthy paper, currency and on and on and on and on. This is just to get a haircut. But Pam, this is not just a small business, a local business phenomenon.

On my podcast “Social Pros”, I had on the show a few weeks ago Laurie Meacham, the head of social media customer care for Jet Blue Airlines. She told me on my show that their digital team had found a brand new search term in their Google organic spelunking.

Pam Didner: What is that?

Jay Baer: Are airlines still in business?

Pam: (laughs) Oh my god.

Jay Baer: That’s not a search term we would have had in February or anytime before that. Nobody knows nothing about nothing. So what we have right now, uh, in a way that I’ve never seen in my long career, is information asymmetry. You know way more about your business and how it works post-pandemic during the pandemic than your customers do.

So there is this colossal uncertainty gap that all customers have now about how to buy things, where to buy them, what to pay, who to hire. Consumers are more uncertain than they’ve ever been, and your job as a marketer needs to be to fill that uncertainty gap.

And essentially, what you need is the ultimate FAQ. Like if you think you’ve answered a lot of questions on your website, trust me, you have not because I had 16 questions just about a haircut.

Pam Didner: Yeah. So that means is it to rewrite content, obviously, or content marketing becomes more important? Or do we need to rethink how we have to better engage with our potential customers or customers?

Jay Baer: It’s all those things. It’s, rewiring your customer relationships using information. So it’s, it’s writing down all the questions that your customers have today, which are much more numerous than they would have had in the past. Starting with, are you still in business? Literally—

Pam Didner: –very simple question. Yeah. Am I still open? How long do I open?

Jay Baer: Yes. All of that. Cause they don’t know. Nobody knows nothing about nothing anymore. So you got to start with answering all of those questions with content and then two important things, Pam. Answer all the questions with the content and then. First, make your FAQ portable.

Pam Didner: Can you elaborate that a little bit more portable in terms of like it’s not PDF, I assume, and the needs to be probably–

Jay Baer: –the PDF is great. Yeah, because what happens is most companies, and I mean, like the overwhelming majority, will answer customer questions with a series of web pages. And that’s fine, but in these unprecedented times, a lot of times, you need to communicate with somebody else, a spouse, a family member, a friend, before making that purchase decision.

And it may not be very likely that you’re going to huddle around the laptop. So the best thing you can do is answer not only these key customer questions on your site but also create some longer-form content that can be printed, shared, downloaded, that can transcend the laptop or the phone and be consumed offline or in a group in some other way.

Pam Didner: So it’s kind of like a one-pager—

Jay Baer: Yeah, an Ultimate Guide to Getting a Haircut, for example. Something like that is a really good idea. And then the other piece of that, the kind of companion, is to take your top questions, the ones that are most likely to be asked, the ones that are kind of deal-breakers if they’re not answered sufficiently.

And instead of relying on a pull strategy for customers to show up on your website and then find the questions in your navigation to push those questions and answers out social email, maybe even some paid, right? Don’t rely on your customers to say,” well, I got to get this question answered better go to their website. First, I’ll go through the navigation and find it.”

If you know it’s that important to have a question, push it out to them. Don’t make them have to go find it.

Pam Didner: With that being said, do you see that it is marketing’s job to rewire customers in terms of their loyalty? What if, you know, the product needs to be changed and additional features and needs to be added, which is not marketing’s job. How do you address that?

Jay Baer: Yeah. And it’s so critical. Look, you have to offer the products and services in the ways that people want to buy now, which may very well not be the ways they wanted to buy from you last year. That’s just the nature of a pandemic.

You look at a company like Closet Factory and any of the closest companies. They send somebody to your house, they walk around your closet, and they got a tape measure. They’re like,” okay, how many ties do you have to tie rack over here?” And then they give you a sketch and say, “here’s what it’s gonna look like,” and you, and you write them a deposit check. Then they come back.

Well, that doesn’t work anymore. Most customers do not want random closet dudes walking around their closet, touching all their clothes in the middle of a pandemic. So what most of these closet companies have had to do is pivot to virtual closet design, which gives customers what they want a perceived level of safety when designing the new closet–

Pam Didner: –and also probably communicate if they have to do an installation, what are some of the safety procedures that the installers will—

Jay Baer: That’s right. So the core of that, it’s not marketing’s job to say, “Hey, we’re going to have to go to virtual closet design.” That’s probably not a marketing scenario. That’s probably an ops scenario or an executive teams scenario.

Pam Didner: Right.

Jay Baer: But communicating all of that, nobody knows nothing about marketing with a side order of CX and CS. And I will tell you this. The one thing that this pandemic has brought into sharp focus is marketers’ absolute requirement to work side by side cheek to jowl–not literally because everybody’s working from home–but metaphorically side-by-side cheek to jowl with customer service and customer experience.

Yes. Because we’ve always said, and it’s always been true, that it’s two sides of the same coin, and it is even more true now.

Pam Didner: True, true, true. I 100% agree with that. So it’s very hard to reeducate your customers. Right. So you have any suggestions or ideas, what would be the best way or any kind of specific content format you should use?

You’re talking about making, you know, the FAQ as a portable and a one-pager and any other format, would you suggest?

Jay Baer: Well, especially when you’re talking about safety concerns–like the closet design thing we just talked about, or even my haircut example–wherever possible, you should show instead of telling. And we’ve talked about that in marketing for a long time.

Pam Didner: You also talk about your part of the Talk Triggers.

Jay Baer: Yeah, but it’s critical now. So I did a keynote a couple of months ago for a big group of hospital marketers. And of course, convincing patients to come back to the hospital to get a knee replaced or, hand to surgery or, you know, Lasik or whatever. All the different elective procedures is an enormous challenge for them right now. Hospitals are having a tremendous problem with revenue because people are just delaying and delaying and delaying procedures because they’re still concerned about catching coronavirus at the hospital.

And so I made a side-by-side comparison of one hospital that had a nice, comprehensive, written series of FAQs about safety at the hospital. Here’s our cleaning procedure. Here’s how we’re training the staff. And then, on the other hand, there is a hospital that did that, but then also had three videos that showed people cleaning and showed the actual training program and showed testimonials from patients saying “I’ve never felt safer.”

And this idea that when you see it, you believe it more than when you read it is incredibly true, especially as it relates to people’s perceived health and safety.

Pam Didner: Yeah, I do agree with that. Like when I go to a shopping mall nowadays, you could go to any, uh, store, right? They have a limited amount of occupancy. They also will tell you in terms of, hey, you know, when you walk in, if you want to try certain products, what kind of procedure you will do. Some of them don’t even let you try what you have to buy. And then you, you know, you go home, and then you try it, and then you come back, and you returned it. So, yes, it’s a lot of work to go shopping now.

Can you imagine holiday shopping?

Jay Baer: Hey, that’s why so much is moving online, right? Like, you know, buying online was already debatably easier for most things, but now? Okay, so I don’t have to wear a mask, and I’m just sitting in line, and I don’t have to do all these things. I can just press a button. This is why this is one of the craziest stats: October 5th, we will surpass the totality of all of 2019 e-commerce revenue.

Pam: Wow.

Jay Baer: That’s before Halloween, before Thanksgiving, before Black Friday before Cyber Monday before Christmas.

Pam Didner: We have no choice! Everybody’s buying online.

Jay Baer: Yeah. So, and that’s one of the things to think about, right? Not only do you need to kind of reconfigure your products and services to make sure that customers feel secure, but whatever you can do to move your products and services online/self-serve is a best practice. One of the things that we’ve been talking to, a lot of our clients about, Pam, is certainly as a thought exercise and, at some level, an actual recommendation, how can you build a company now where you never, ever, ever have to see customers face-to-face?

Pam Didner: Yeah, that’s a great question. I didn’t think about that, to be honest with you. So if you don’t see them face-to-face and there’s no, it’s kind of like touchless, but virtual. Right? And how do you close the deal without even seeing them face-to-face? That’s a great question. It’s a hypothetical exercise I think mainly brands probably should consider and explore. I love that.

Jay Baer: Well, even in B2B, right? So many companies have relied on salespeople having some kind of face-to-face interaction with clients at some point in the consideration funnel—

Pam Didner: –it’s kind of essential, in a way, before the pandemic.

Jay Baer: Yes, yes, yes. And, and so the face-to-face part used to often be the highlight of the customer journey. And now, in many cases, it’s the hindrance. Right now, it’s the hangup. And then. If you can build a company that can successfully operate in those circumstances, then maybe once you do more face-to-face, that becomes like a bonus, right? It’s not a requirement. It’s a bonus, right?

Like, so, I have a Tesla. I had to take it in for service recently. And never saw human beings now, Tesla was kind of a head-on, um, touchless/contactless before just kind of the company’s nature. But on the app, it was like: “here’s what’s wrong with the car? Here’s the appointment.” Then they texted me to confirm, drop off the car. I get another text that says, “leave your keys in the car and just go. We’ve got a loaner car for you. Those keys are in that car. We’ve already wiped it down.” I brought the car back. They said, “your keys are in the car,” and they sent me another text and “here’s what we did, and the invoice is in the app.”

I never saw a human being the entire time or talk to a person.

Pam Didner: It’s very technology-driven. That means you all the backend owning integration that needs to be done and very thoughtfully before they can provide that kind of experience to you.

Jay Baer: Yeah. You just have to think, think it through it and look at a lot of the things we have engineered for face-to-face interaction there. Just because it was easier or that was the legacy here, that’s how we always did it. And we knew it was inefficient. It just, we didn’t have enough motivation to change.

And most of the things that have changed since the pandemic–as it relates to digital transformation–we’re already going to happen, Pam. Telehealth was already happening. Working from home was already happening. E-commerce was already happening. Self-serve information was already happening. It was already happening in all of it.

Pam Didner: It just accelerated.

Jay Baer: Exactly. It was just happening- it was hard to kind of get critical mass because there was no forcing mechanism to drive adoption at any sort of velocity rate. Now we certainly have a forcing mechanism. But that’s the part that people are freaked out about. About all these changes to their customer journey because of the pandemic. I’m like, “How did you not see this coming?” You probably didn’t see the pandemic coming, but the fact that customers are going to want everything digital and super fast and low touch and efficient like we’ve been talking about this for a decade.

Pam Didner: Yeah, they want fast, quick and cheap. They want all three.

Jay Baer: That’s it.

Pam Didner: Exactly. So there’s another question I wanted to ask you. During the pandemic, many brands, especially on the B2B side, scale back on the marketing budget. They will like, “Oh, you know what, we’re going to hold the marketing budget, or they reduce it?

And what is your suggestion on that – in terms of reducing the budget? Or should they allocate their budget a little bit differently?

Jay Baer: I think it’s insane that you would reduce a marketing budget right now. Let me tell you a story. Um, when I was 22, I think. I was in ad to Phoenix when I live in Phoenix, and we had a joint luncheon with the Ad Club, an older seasoned professional. I think that cutoff was 30 years old. So under 30 people over 30 people.

And the Ad Club brought in as the keynote guest speaker for this luncheon, Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines, a curmudgeonly legend of business, you know, literally his drinking Jack Daniels onstage and smoking a cigarette at 11:30 in the morning luncheon, right? And I was like, “wow, this guy, this guy gives zero F’s.” But he said something, Pam, that I never forgot. He said, “the worse the economy is, the more we advertise.”

Pam Didner: I love that. I wish every single brand kind of take that into account! (laughs).

Jay Baer: What he emphasized was if you believe in your company and you believe in the long-term future of your company–

Pam Didner: –also, you believe in your product!

Jay Baer: Right! Then when times are quote-unquote “bad,” that’s when you go out and take business from all your scared competitors. So what I would tell people and what I do tell my clients right now is the last thing you should do right now is cut your marketing budget. And you should double your marketing budget because you can’t cut your way out of a pandemic. It doesn’t work like that. You, you can delay your demise. But nobody cuts themselves to growth. It’s not possible, right?

So, I told you at the outset of this conversation that people aren’t talking about enough because market share is shifting. Customers of all types have a wandering eye. Now there are willing to change horses in ways that they wouldn’t have been willing to do before. And that is a huge opportunity. And if all your competitors are cutting their budgets and running scared, fantastic! Best possible situation.

Pam Didner: Double down! Double down!

Jay Baer: Yep.

Pam Didner: Um, great. This is fantastic. Any additional parting thoughts that you want to share with us? And also, tell our listeners where we can find you and the way you can do it.

Jay Baer: One thing I would pay attention to that changed during the pandemic is customer attitudes around speed.

Pam Didner: Okay. So, they want things fast now. Is that right?

Jay Baer: Faster. Because everybody’s uncertain– I talked about the uncertainty gap. When you’re uncertain the entire time that you’re uncertain, it creates a lot of anguish and angst in your head. So if somebody has a question: how much does this cost or do I want to buy this or that? Or any other question like that, the whole time that they are processing that answer, they are not in an idealized frame of mind or any other question like that.

And so speed can be a competitive advantage right now, even more so than it was pre-pandemic. I would work on that. And again, that’s another place where marketing and CX and CS can collaborate.

Pam Didner: Yeah. I 100% agree with you. So where can they find you?

Jay Baer: Three places. You can go to convinceandconvert.com, which is the main site for our company. We have more than 3,000 articles and advice, and videos for marketers and business owners: convinceandconvert.com. My site for speaking and such is Jay Baer.com. And my podcast is Social Pros that social pros.com, for enterprise social media marketers.

Pam Didner: Wonderful. Hey Jay, thank you so much for coming to my podcast. You’ve been fantastic, and I hope, I sincerely hope, that we’ll see each other soon and hug each other.

Jay Baer: One of these days. I believe in us. Thanks so much for having me.

Pam Didner: Yes. Thank you.

—————

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To keep on expanding your knowledge about marketing, how to win back customers check out some of my previous podcast episodes.

3 Ways to Keep Your Marketing Moving in Times of Uncertainty

One Big Marketing Takeaway from COVID-19

Prepare for Future Disruptions with a Marketing Continuity Plan


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