We’ve discussed virtual business ownership at length on this podcast and how to use tools like your website, email marketing tools, and CRM to make the most of incoming leads.
But one tool we haven’t touched on is Google Business which, turns out, can be a secret weapon for getting in front of – and catching the attention of – your ideal clients.
Joining us to explain that in more detail is serial entrepreneur, consultant, speaker, and certified Google Business expert Bobby Kerr.
Having established and scaled five successful real estate businesses, Bobby’s been at the forefront of referral-based marketing for years, and he’s collected a whopping 1200+ Google Business 5-star reviews.
In this episode, he breaks down how you can kickstart the same efforts in your thought leadership business and leverage your happy customers’ testimonials to close more deals, all with Google.
Watch the Podcast 👀
Listen to the Podcast 🎤
Show Notes 📓
✅ Learn more about Bobby and his work: http://thebobbykerr.com/
📷 Watch the video version of this episode and subscribe for updates on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYAr3nGy6lbXrhbezMxoHTSCS40liusyU
🎤 Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/
🚀 And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/
Read the Transcription 🤓
Intro: You know those moments when you’re doing what you love in your business, maybe it’s standing onstage or creating content, whatever it is, you’re totally immersed, and time just seems to slip-by. This is called The Flow State. At Speaker Flow, we’re obsessed with how to get you there more often. Each week we’re joined by a new expert where we share stories, strategies, and systems to help craft a business you love. Welcome to, technically Speaking.
Austin: All right, boom. We are live.
Taylorr: We actually did it.
Austin: Gentlemen, welcome to the show.
Taylorr: Jeez. This is the seventh attempt or something to get this going.
Austin: I think so.
Austin: This is the most unorthodox episode of Technically Speaking that we’ve had yet. Listeners, we are extremely lucky to have the legendary Bobby Kerr with us today, who not only is here to drop a ton of wisdom on the show, but also helped us record this episode in his own podcasting platform because ours was broken. So, Bobby, thank you. And here’s a plug for your podcast.
Bobby: Yeah, I love it.
Austin: This podcast.
Taylorr: And Riverside, I’m about to bail.
Austin: Yeah, that’s right. Riverside, you have a new customer. Congrats.
Taylorr: Yeah, new sponsor. You sponsor Bobby Kerr.
Bobby: Yeah, we’ve worked out pretty well. I’m glad we could make it happen, boys.
Austin: Yeah, that’s good. Well, thanks for joining us. You are such an interesting figure. For me, we were talking about this a little bit before we were recording, but you speak, you coach, you have real estate, you are a musician that tours. You have all of these different elements, and so asking you the question like, how’d you get here, would probably require several weeks of explanation, I imagine. So, maybe if we could just start high-level, how did you land in the place that you’re at today? And I’m also curious to hear a little bit of how these different elements of your life and business sort of mesh together.
Bobby: Sure, sure. Well, thanks for having me, guys. I really appreciate it. As a fan of your show, it’s a great honor to be here. And also, of course, as one of your clients, love working with you guys. So, thank you very much. So, how did I get here? I do have a lot going on, right? You said I’m a touring musician, I’m a coach, I’m a speaker. I have real estate-based businesses. I think, honestly, for a lot of us that are in this space, it starts with the fact that we are relationship-based people, right? So, I was very fortunate enough to where one of my first gigs, right out of college was thrust into casino gaming sales.
Bobby: So, I was a casino host at 23 years old. And for those of us that don’t know what a casino host does, essentially you have a book of business of casino players, and it’s your job to keep them loyal to your casino, right? So, offering them special offers of hotel rooms, special promotions, concert tickets, dinner comps, et cetera. So, at 23, I was handed this book of business that said, hey, here are 300 people that don’t come to the casino very often. Get them to come more, right? So, as a young entrepreneur-minded person, I had this book of business where I just had to get creative on how to build relationships and build them quickly and convert that into sales, right?
So, that’s kind of what really wet my whistle whenever it came to getting into sales and relationship-based selling. And then, of course, I have a bunch of different stops in different industries. I was a middle school teacher for five years. I have my master’s degree, which honestly ties in perfectly with what I do with my coaching and speaking because I just look at it as an opportunity to educate and serve people just like I did middle schoolers. So, to take sales from casinos, take sales from my own businesses that are now mostly real estate-based, put that into coaching and speaking, and you have this beautiful cornucopia of sorts to combine all of these different things. But now I just love being able to serve business owners and real estate professionals in order to drive revenue and live the lifestyle that they want to live.
Taylorr: Wow, man. It’s crazy how all that stuff just comes together, hindsight is such an interesting thing where you can kind of see how all of the little pieces eventually guide you to where you are, but I don’t know about you, but in the moment and up all those things, it’s like, what is going on? How is this all coming together?
Bobby: Oh, yeah.
Taylorr: But it finds its way.
Bobby: They’re all one-offs, right? When you’re in the moment and you can’t look at it from 30,000 feet, you’re just saying, man, I’m just a teacher right now. Or I’m just a casino host, or I’m just a business owner. But then when you get, I’m in my forties now, so now that I can look back retroactively and say, oh, here’s the last 20 years of my professional career. Now it all starts to make sense, but my God, when you’re stuck in the trenches, you have no idea how you’re going to get to where you’re going, you know?
Taylorr: Yeah, for sure.
Austin: So true.
Taylorr: Something I’m curious about, this is going to be the theme of the entire show here, so spoiler alert, but if looking at your bio title, we see Google Business Expert. So, I kind have two questions in line of that. One, what does that mean? And then two out of the entire background, you just outlaid, how did you land there?
Bobby: Yeah, those are great questions. So, number one, as a Google business expert, there are only a certain amount of people in this world that have completed the Google Marketing Certification program. So, in the eyes of Google, I have completed the 240 hour course. So, that’s a lot of time, right? So, for someone to sit down, as we know, Google offers a ton of resources for certifications to help people in their professional careers. Well, the marketing one is like the most in-depth. So, it’s legit 240 hours. And I’m not talking continuing education hours where you can just click through and go quickly, this is legit 240 hours.
So, Google says I’m an expert because of that. And then also just me personally with the businesses that I’ve owned, all locally owned Kansas City-based businesses, we have over 1200 Google five star reviews for my few businesses that I’m either an owner or that I’m a leader with. So, that is quite a bit to be able to say that I am an expert in the field. I’m not an all things Google expert, but when it comes to Google business, this is what I’ve leveraged to build my businesses on the local level and the national level. So, kind of how did I get here now? Well, when I started my first business, I started a photo booth rental business about 15 years ago. And as a millennial, right? The tail end of being a millennial, I use Google for everything.
So, if I’m going to start a business, I’m going to treat it, I’m going to look at it as if I’m the consumer. And if I’m the consumer, the first thing I’m going to do when I’m looking to hire a business is I’m going to their Google business profile and immediately, just the same, right? I always teach this, if I’m going to go check out a new restaurant, right? First thing we do is we Google them, we look at the menu, we look at the pricing, we look at the reviews, right? We look to see what the interior looks like, the photos of the food, photos of the exterior of the restaurant. Well, as a business owner, I just took what I was as a consumer and said, what do I need to do as a business owner?
So, at 25 years old, I just leaned heavily into Google business and naturally learned a lot about it. And so, then as I continued to start more and more businesses of my own, I just used that tool to optimize and leverage sales and credibility; that’s the big piece is that people don’t understand. And I know we chatted a little bit beforehand about what people think Google Business is for and what it’s actually made and meant to do. And if you utilize all of, the tools that we’re going to talk about today, you’re just going to be looked at as the expert because the credibility piece translates into revenue. But you can’t drive revenue if you’re not credible. So why not create this beautiful billboard of sorts that’s free and that the whole world can see and extremely show the world that you are a credible expert with whatever you do.
Austin: Oh, man, I love this layer. We’re on the fringes of what gets talked about, especially with our audience, Google my business is, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it be referenced in any other scenario here.
Austin: So, this is really valuable, good, new stuff. I hope our listeners are paying attention.
Bobby: Well, I’ll say, and I know you guys are going to have some questions, but this is a cool thing of how I got to this space, especially because I know you guys have worked with Grant Baldwin, right? In the speaker lab, that’s who I’ve worked with as my coaching platform. And so, when you go through and you’re kind of meddling and you’re narrowing down your focus, right? And you guys talk a lot about this in your episodes. You have a very niche market, right? You go after a good group of people, of course you have some outliers, I’m sure that are from other industries, but when you get laser-focused on what you are really, really great at, business picks up, that sniper approach really helps a lot of people.
And so, for me personally, if I’m going to help people and teach and coach people how to be better business owners and how to create this beautiful credibility and drive sales with online, well, that’s exactly what I’ve done. And so, I just took exactly what I’ve done as a consumer, as a business owner, and said, to my coaches at the speaker lab, shout out to Ravi, right? I’m like, Hey, I want to be inspirational. I have these talents, I want to incorporate music. How can we do this? And you go from motivational to educational, right? And for me, that was the big piece because I do have this interesting thing to be able to coach people on how to leverage this tool because, Austin, to your point, I really haven’t found other public speakers leveraging Google business to show their credibility.
And for me, it was the very first thing that I did, right? Because it’s naturally in the way that I’ve started my other businesses. So, for the public speakers out there and the coaches, why wouldn’t you create this free billboard that anyone can access from anywhere where you can show that you’re a badass at what you do, everyone should be doing it, and then let’s show your reviews. So, when you get people at your workshops, your conferences, get them all to leave you a review right then and there, and all of a sudden, how is someone going to be able to compete or not look at you as a speaker and say, wow, that is an expert in their arena when they have 500 Google five star reviews from people who have attended their workshops at their conferences. So, it really is an underutilized tool, I think, across all spaces, but especially for your audience.
Austin: Yeah. Well, I could not agree more. So, you mentioned this several times, and I think this is where most people go, if they know about Google My Business at all, which is probably a small percentage of the time, really. But people jump to reviews. It’s a place where somebody can go and submit a review and that’s visible to the world, and you can interact with that review. And I think most of us, to your point, have interacted with that, at least at the consumer level. But if you understand how this works as a business owner, probably people understand that. But I know that that’s not the entirety of the point of Google my business. So, can you outline some of the components that go into Google My Business and maybe some of the ones that aren’t as regularly discussed?
Bobby: Yeah, absolutely. So, I think the overarching theme here that we would like people to take away from listening to this episode is that Google Business is a social media platform. I’m going to say that again for the people in the back. Google Business profile is a social media platform, okay? And whenever we utilize the platform as Google intended it, then Google rewards us, so to speak, right? Through all of the algorithms and the bots, they reward us and reward our profiles and showcase us more to our target audience. So, we have SEO components, and I know you guys just did an episode last week, I think, with someone speaking about SEO and how it all works. But this is the same thing.
We have the biggest platform on Earth, Google; saying, hey, we have all of these other tools to use besides reviews, and when you use all of our tools, it makes us happy and we will promote you up the Google rankings. Okay? So, some of those other tools that we’re talking about, in addition to reviews, you have the capability to post photos, videos, updates, special events, special offers. I teach this workshop in three hours, right? So, we’re really condensing this down, but essentially it’s a platform where you can post all these things, you can do short-form content now, you can do videos up to 60 seconds. You have the opportunity to have a question and answer section on your site, which is really cool. I utilize that as an opportunity to essentially educate people before they reach out to me.
So, if somebody has questions about Google business or my coaching platform, they can go to my Google business profile and see 25 already answered questions. So, all of the business owners out there, or speakers or who anybody can essentially preload this question and answer section of their business profile and it’s right there on the homepage. So, that’s a thing. Obviously, the review component is so large. To be perfectly honest, talking CRM with Google Business is hand-in-hand, hand in glove. We could talk for two hours just on leveraging, right? Your CRM and tying that into Google reviews in order to drive more reviews, right?
So, there are all kinds of cool tools, but the big one I think that people mostly miss out on is utilizing it for photos, videos, offers, and updates. Because when you use these tools, Google is happy. And so, it’s just like any other social platform, you can get on there, upload things. Here’s a nugget for everybody that’s listening. So, with Google business and adding photos, there’s a statistic straight from Google that businesses with over 100 photos on their Google business profile get far more clicks, a thousand percent more clicks on their business profile.
So, 100 or more photos on a Google business profile that the owner of the profile has uploaded. It’s actually 1065% more likely to get calls and clicks from your Google business profile. So, what we see is most people get on there, they start their profile, they set it, they forget it, they might send people there to collect reviews, but they don’t do anything else. So, it’s not living, it’s not breathing, it’s not telling Google that it’s a living, breathing business. So, Google just says, okay, well, we’re not going to help promote you if you’re not going to help promote our platform.
So, 1000% more likely to get clicks if we’re adding at least 100 photos. And the thing for people to remember when it comes to reviews is that online reviews now are almost as reputable as a friend or a family recommending somebody. So, some data, some recent data from Google is that positive reviews, number one make consumers 91% more likely to use you. So, if you have a bunch of four and five star reviews, people are much more likely to use your business. 76% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. So, you have this incredible tool here that’s just as powerful as your best friend or your mom recommending you, but it’s to the rest of the world. Holy cow. Why isn’t everybody utilizing this tool?
I look back and I even say as a public school teacher, if I was going to teach today, I’d start a Google business profile and I would allow my students to review me, to showcase to my administrators, to parents of what a quality, professional and teacher I am to serve their children, right? So, I just think that there’s this massive gap for people to utilize this tool and they’re just leaving it out in the wind.
Taylorr: Yeah. Well, I think this perfectly kind of segues us into a core question I had about this. Because even when we set up Google business for Speaker Flow, I was kind of scratching my head and I’m like, is this really the right thing? I think there’s a misconception that Google business is for local stuff, if we recall at the start of the episode, we were talking about being in Kansas restaurants, real estate stuff. I think a lot of people listening would be like, yeah, that makes sense. I’m looking for a good restaurant, I’m going to look locally, but I’m a speaker, I can serve the entire world. Or I’m a coach; I can serve the entire world. We’re Speaker Flow, we can serve the entire world.
Is it only reserved to local? And chances are the answer is no, given everything you’ve just said, I’ll have you elaborate more. But where did that misconception come from? Was it at one point local? Is it really not as exclusive? Does Google want non-local businesses on here? What’s the state of Google and whether or not this is purely local?
Bobby: Yeah, I think it originally started as a local thing. So, restaurants, a lot of food and beverage was kind of the initial wave of Google business. And it is highly geographically-driven, right? So, about a year and a half ago, or not even, but July, 2022, Google My Business was a standalone app. And that’s how you managed your business profile. Well, in July, 2022, Google scrapped Google my Business completely. And now you run your Google business profile through Google Maps. So, that’s a big shift for people. So, for those of us that are listening saying, man, I haven’t touched my Google business profile in a couple of years. Well, your Google My Business app is obsolete, it’s gone. You’re only going to be able to access it by getting into Google Maps and managing your business profiles there.
So, I think, Taylorr, it started out highly geographical on the local level, but then just with the explosion of the internet over the last 15 years, we have the opportunity now through Google business to not only be at the local level, but you have the opportunity to be a hybrid business. So, I work with a lot of real estate professionals, so let’s just kind of talk about that for a second. Realtors, right? They might be in an office, but most of the time they’re serving people all over a metro area with a, let’s say a hundred mile radius. So, that’s an online-based business for the most part. They might just have an address to meet clients if they need to or to do closings or whatever. But we have the opportunity now as a, the internet has no borders, right?
And so, Google recognizes that, so whenever you create your profile, you literally tell it, okay, I am a storefront business, or I’m an online-based business, or I’m a hybrid-based business and I have an address to meet people and I also go to meet them on remote locations. So, I think right now there’s no limitation on it. I know there’s no limitation on it. I have a physical address on my Google business profile just because I don’t really necessarily meet people at my business address, but I have found that when you do have a physical address, it tends to help the algorithm a little bit more because it is highly geographical. And since it’s ran through maps now, that’s a big deal. So, anything that is geographically-based is very valuable.
Taylorr: Right. That makes perfect sense. I could even see it in the context of a speaker, right? Put in whatever your business address is. And then if you have a bunch of reviews, oh, this is the best speaker ever, your likelihood for popping up in search for Twin Cities keynote speaker. If that were to ever be searched, is a lot more likely because you’re stapling your brand in a location, even though you may operate purely online.
Bobby: I think for speakers, since that is such a large part of this audience. I want those speakers to imagine themselves onstage or in a workshop or in a classroom setting and they’ve just killed their talk or their workshop, right? And at the end of the presentation, there’s a giant QR code on the screen that says, if you found value in today’s workshop with me, would you please take 30 seconds to scan this code and leave me a Google five-star review. Now, no matter how many people are in that room, you’re going to get 40 to 50% of people that take care of that for you right then and there. And then you have this thing packaged to be able to present to anyone to book future gigs, right?
Not to mention, if, let’s just say I’m introducing myself to Taylorr and Austin for the very first time. I send you guys my link and I say, Hey, I’d love to be a guest on your show, you don’t know me, but here’s a link to my, just Google me. Let’s just leave it at that, google me. And you Google Bobby Kerr real estate coach or speaker. And all of a sudden, instead of seeing a bunch of links that are social media links or whatever, boom, right on the front homepage, you see my Google business profile with hundreds of photos, hundreds of videos, hundreds of reviews. Talk about instant credibility that someone’s going to say, yeah, I want them to work with our people that we’re trying to serve at this conference or at this talk or whatever.
So, we have this huge opportunity to just, again, I keep saying it, but, man, credibility equals sales. And as soon as we understand that there’s a combination between social media and Google business and a high-quality website and a CRM that’s dialed in with drip campaigns and text campaigns, all of a sudden, if you have this 10 headed monster, you are absolutely unstoppable as a speaker and as a business owner.
Austin: Yeah. It’s kind of interesting that the whole idea of working remote makes it seem like there’s zero infrastructure that’s required to run the business. Like as long as I have a computer, I can do my thing. But the reality is, even if you are just an online business, you have to have virtual real estate that’s showing the world that you’re legitimate. You want to show up as if you’re an organization. You’re not just a scrappy entrepreneur and that’s not to disparage the scrappy entrepreneur, but perception matters, right? And I think that that’s where this can be so helpful, is Google My Business shows the world that you are a legit business to the point of your credibility thing, I’m just reinforcing this. It creates legitimacy and that creates confidence, which builds trust, which makes it easier to sell stuff.
So, yeah, even outside of is this going to make me more money? Which is what I think a lot of people jump to with anything as it relates to their business, it’s about perception more than it’s about getting found, I think. And that’s partially from our own experience at Speaker Flow, right? To Taylorr’s point, we we’re a Wyoming-based company, but we don’t just serve people in Wyoming. We can serve people across the entire planet. So, from the localized perspectives, it doesn’t make any sense to us, I don’t care if somebody finds me geographically there, right? But having it has created the perception that we are a legitimate business at a specific place, and that credibility and trust has helped us. So, anyway, I can speak from firsthand experience that what you’re talking about is a hundred percent legit, and it’s just not something that gets talked about very much.
Bobby: No, and it doesn’t matter the industry, this is just such an opportunity for people because it doesn’t matter. We’re going to sit here and we’re going to give everybody these nuggets, and I might connect with some people afterward, and I hope I do, but the majority of the people will not follow through and do the things that it takes to optimize their profile. So, if you’re one of the 10% that.
Taylorr: Same with CRMs.
Bobby: It’s exactly the same with CRM, Taylorr. It’s exactly the same.
Taylorr: Just throwing shade at all of you.
Bobby: If you build it, they will come, right? And so, I meet with realtors all of the time and they pay me to coach them and we build it up, but then after the session, they just kind of don’t do the follow-up. Okay, well it’s not going to build your business. And so, if you do the little things and you do the free things, that’s the beauty, right? That’s the thing about Google. It’s not going anywhere. Is it creepy sometimes? Absolutely. You’re going to get stuff that pops up in your feed just by talking, right? But if you’re a business owner and people that are listening to this podcast, they’re business owners, right? If you’re a speaker, you own your business, you are the CEO and the marketer and everything.
So, when you utilize this tool and you do the right things, people will come. Why wouldn’t you showcase yourself and scream from the world’s biggest mountaintop, Google; that you are a credible source for your field and that someone should be hiring you with whatever it is that you do.
Taylorr: Right. Okay. So, I can already hear some voices in my head being like, oh, Bobby, this sounds all well and fine, but every time I’m done with a gig, I get a bunch of emails that just tell me how great I am. And I just copy and paste those reviews on the website. What’s the difference? Who cares?
Bobby: Yeah. Well, the big difference is, number one, Google is the number one platform in the whole world, right? And there’s no way to, as the business owner, post reviews from other platforms or emails, right? So, a person has to have a Gmail account to leave a Google review. So, that’s kind of the bad news, is I can’t ask someone to leave a review if they have Yahoo or they’re stuck in 1999 and have a Hotmail account, right? They have to have a Gmail account. The biggest difference is, Taylorr, this is the number one platform in the whole world. So, this carries more weight than anything else.
I will say, there are some tips, let’s say a lot of people have used experience.com, right? It’s this third-party platform where you collect reviews. Well, you could take snippets of those reviews and add them as photos on your Google page, right? So, then at least you’re able to showcase some previous reviews you’ve had on another platform and still put them on Google. They’re not going to show up as an actual review, but at least they’re showing up on your profile. So, if someone’s searching through all of your photos, again, we’re kind of brainwashing people into that credibility sense to say, oh, yeah, well, not only does Bobby have 1200 reviews across all of his businesses, but I’m looking through the hundreds of photos and oh my gosh, there’s more, there are more reviews.
So, there are some other tips and tricks to be able to combine other platforms. But again, to hammer home the CRM component for you guys, dialing in a drip campaign or several drip campaigns following the events, that’s the gold, it’s the follow-up, right? It’s at the event number one, and then it’s the follow-up. Because most people aren’t really that inclined to leave positive reviews. Something happens bad at a restaurant, we’re quick to leave a review, but if we have a great server or great chef, we’re just not as driven to do this naturally. So, we have to, I say, hit ‘hem hard and hit them often. We have to request reviews multiple times.
So, I know we’re kind of getting close to the end of our time, but I want to give some nuggets here for people that you do have to ask more than once. To be perfectly honest, my drip campaigns, whether it’s someone closes a mortgage with our mortgage company, or we write a policy for their insurance, or I’m coaching someone, the follow-up email and texts that request a Google five star review immediately, okay, that’s component number one. But they’re getting that request via email, text, and an automated voicemail. And presumably they’re not going to do it upon first request.
So, two days later, part of that drip campaign is they’re going to get another email, text, and automated voicemail from me. Okay? Now, if any point in time they click on a link in one of those links, it stops the campaign so they’re not getting harassed. But my point is, I have nine touches on a client when the deal is done. Nine touches asking for a Google Review. Some people might say, man, that’s a lot, Bobby. And to those people, I would say, well, you probably don’t have very many Google reviews.
Taylorr: The proof is in the pudding.
Bobby: Right? These are the things that it takes and doing it also, when your clients are the most happy and excited; the timing piece is so incredibly important. So, if you’re at an event and you throw up a QR code linked to your Google Business profile to leave a review, those people are excited in that moment, right? So, we want to make sure we capture those people at that exact time. Don’t wait a week. It’s like realtors, right?
A real estate agent. Well, somebody closes, that’s when they’re the most excited, right? If you wait three days, they’re unpacking boxes; they’re moving their kids into schools. They don’t give a crap about your Google five star review, so you have to get that timing component down to where your clients are the most enthusiastic and excited to where they feel just enthused to leave you that Google five star review and say, yeah, man, Bobby was awesome. Or Taylorr and Austin, their CRM is so phenomenal; I have to leave a review. For you guys, it’d be probably immediately following their training sessions, their one-on-one training sessions with you guys, just capturing that time when people are really, really excited, that’s going to be a very, very important piece.