Watch Scott's TEDx talk!

A brand, a business and a career. From a nametag.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Marketing lessons learned from the dating world

I have this theory that marketing and dating are the exact same thing.

(I posted a podcast about this a while back.)

Now, as a single guy (by which I mean, "not married") I've been on my share of dates.

And as a marketing guy, I've seen my share of unique ways to spread the word about ideas, products and websites.

Not it's time to merge the two and see what's been learned:

1) I was once introduced to a girl named Karen by a mutual friend. She and I clicked right away. We discussed sushi. She said she "always wanted to try it." I made a mental note. The following week I found out where she worked and stopped by her office with a little card, the front of which which had a picture of a box of California Rolls. On the inside I simply wrote, "Sushi?" and left my businsss card. I handed it to the receptionist. By the time I returned home, there was an email from Karen. She was ecstatic. We went out the next night, then dated for a few months.

LESSON LEARNED: unexpected + unique = unforgettable.

2) I'm big on gifts. Nothing fancy, just something cute to start the first date off on the right foot. More importantly, something unique. Not flowers, candy or a mixed tape. Something memorable. Now, I'd been talking to this particular girl for a few weeks. I knew that she loved (more than anything in the world) her soaps. One Life to Live, Days of Our Lives, all that stuff. So, I stopped by Walgreens to pick her up a copy of Soap Digest. I wrapped it up and had it waiting on the seat of my car when she stepped in. She almost cried when she opened it and told everyone she knew about it.

LESSON LEARNED: listen to and remember your target market's needs, then give them what they want. WOW them on the first try, and they'll tell everyone.

3) I'll never forget my first night in Portland. I'd just moved in, didn't know a soul, and wanted to meet people ASAP. My neighbor and I went to a local Karaoke Bar. We noticed a table of cute girls in the front. He said he didn't feel like talking to them. I said I would do it. So, when one of the girls from the table went up to the bar, I approached her and asked what her friend's name was sitting next to her. "Tammy, her name is Tammy. Are you going to sing to her?" she asked. "You're damn right." I put in a request for "My Girl," and ended up serenading Tammy in front of the entire bar. I was down on one knee, substituting "Tammy" for "My Girl," in the chorus. By the end of the night, I'd made friends with the whole table. Now, I didn't actually end up dating any of them, but we're still friends to this day!

LESSON LEARNED: ballsy wins the day.

4) Dating customers probably isn't a good idea. But when this sassy redhead came into my store to buy a couch, I had to at least try. So, when I packed her order for delivery, I "accidentally" forget to include her pillow. Two days later she called the store not upset, but in this sort of playful, flirtatious, "I'm pretending to be mad, so what are you going to do about it?" way. I explained to Amber that I'd overnight her pillow right away. Attached to the pillow was a note from me that said, "I'm really sorry about the mess up. I'd be happy to make it up to you by taking you out to dinner." We got together the next week and had a blast. Of course, this would have worked out a lot better if she wasn't dating a player for the LA Kings. Woops.

LESSON LEARNED: recoveries from a messed up sale often come out better than your original plan.

5) After a long night of striking out with every girl we approached, my friend Aaron decided to call it quits. "No, we're not giving up. Come on, let's try something else," I said. We went onto the floor all by ourselves and started dancing like complete idiots who didn't have a care in the world. (And at this point, we really didn't.) Before we knew it, girls were actually coming up to US and saying hello. A few hours later we ended up at a 24 hour diner on an impromtu double date. One of the girls is still a good friend of mine today!

LESSONS LEARNED: don't sell, enable people to buy; don't market, position yourself

What marketing lessons have you learned from dating?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

add to * digg it! * email this post

Friday, September 29, 2006

Find out where you suck

When I submit a book manuscript to my editor, I hope she uses up an entire red Sharpie marking up my draft.

Because I want to know what sucks.

Sure, it hurts. But I’ll take hurting over sucking any day.

Also, notice I said to find out “what” sucks, not “who sucks.”

Don’t take it personally.

It’s not the author who sucks; it’s the writing that sucks.

It’s not the speaker who sucks; it’s the delivery that sucks.

Therefore, it’s not about you. It’s about the work.

So, plain and simple: you need to find out what sucks.

Take it as free advice to help you improve. Sure, it’s harder to ask people to point out the negatives. But this is the only way you’re going to get better.


1. Pick the right person. Not everyone possesses the candor to tell you what sucks, i.e., family members. Be careful who you select.

2. Set ground rules first. Tell your friend, colleague, etc., that you’re looking to improve in certain areas. Ask that they be completely honest and direct with you. Promise there are no hard feelings and that nobody gets defensive.

3. Take it slow, take it small. If you saturate yourself with too many "suck points" all at once, eventually it will start to wear on you. So, agree to accept feedback in small doses.

4. Apply and Reply. Don’t expect to put everything to use. Apply several of the ideas you feel are valid, throw out the ones that don’t work.

5. Gratitude. Thank your partner for helping you find out what sucks. Show him how your work has improved by applying his feedback.

6. Offer to reciprocate. Be willing to help your friend find out what sucks with his work too. Offer to follow the same guidelines as discussed previously.

Ultimately, I think Jerry Seinfeld said it best, “There are only two types of feedback in life: “That’s great!” and “That sucks!”

If you want to make a name for yourself, you better ask for both.

(Oh, and if you think there's something I've done that sucks, super! Email me. Thanks in advance.)

Who's your go-to person that tells you where you suck?

Have at least three people on your Board of Suckers. Get their feedback regularly.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

add to * digg it! * email this post

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Adventures in Nametagging: Jurni Style

This week I was back in Vegas working with Jurni, the best travel agency consortium in the world!

These guys know how to party! To kick off another great year, they put on a spectacular event including a 50's sock hop, poodle skirts and all.

I may or may not have eaten an entire meal comprised of juice-filled wax bottles, candy cigarettes and strips of colored dots.)

They were an awesome group. I don't think I've ever spoken to an audience filled with so many people who loved their jobs so much!

Apropriately, Jurni had custom made nametags for all of their employees available after my speech.

Nice segeuy!

Special thanks to GM Scott Koepf and "Queen" Kathy Humen for making this an unforgettable event!


...go out there and sell those vacations!

What's been your experience working with a travel agent?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

add to * digg it! * email this post

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Walk with the wise

Absolutely the best business/life decision I've made in the past few years was to start hanging out with people who are smarter than me.

It's like Proverbs 13:20, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

If you want to make a name for yourself, you must make friends, hang out with and learn from other people who have already made a name for themselves.

Here is the process I’ve been following for years:

STEP ONE: Initial Contact
Call or email someone you’d like to glean valuable advice from. Introduce yourself. If you have a mutual friend or contact, say that immediately. Explain to the person that you’re “young” (in age, job, career, etc.) and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to pick their brain. Suggest a breakfast or lunch meeting.

STEP TWO: Initial Meeting
Look sharp, arrive early and be prepared. Bring something to take notes with and any relevant items you’d like to share with your wise friend. Have a list of questions prepared. Shut up and listen. Take notes furiously. And when the check comes, insist on paying.

The minute you get back to your office, write a thank you note either via email or handwritten. (Handwritten is better.) Promise to keep your wise friend updated on your progress.

STEP FOUR: Progress Report
On a frequent, yet not too annoying basis, call/email the person with an update on your progress. Be sure to tell he or she which pieces of their advice you actually used. If by using that advice you’ve won an award, made a sale or received any kind of visual representation of success, send them a copy.

This post dedicated to my wisest friend, Shep Hyken.

Do you walk with the wise?

Contact five new wise people in the next month. Let me know what you learn!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

add to * digg it! * email this post

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

So this is what happens when you’re not tainted by the corporate world…

Alright. Something weird is going on here.

In the past few weeks, I’ve had three different people make almost the exact same comment to me.

First it happened in Salt Lake City. I was recovering from a multi-speech day, resting in my hotel room, watching Anchorman. I checked the voicemail on my cell. It was from a strange guy named Mike. His message explained that he’d read my first book and would love to chat sometime.

Cool, I thought. And since I’d already seen Anchorman 73 times, I decided to return his call. A few minutes later, I dialed his number from my cell phone ID. He picked up and said hello.

“Hey Mike, it’s Scott, The Nametag Guy!”

“Really?” he asked, followed by a brief silence. “Oh. Hi. Wow, I…uh…really didn’t expect you to actually call me back.”


And so I said to him (in slight confusion), “Mike, why wouldn’t I call you back?”

“I...I don’t know, I guess. I just didn’t expect it.”

We talked for a few minutes. Pretty cool guy, too. Turns out one of my newest clients was Mike’s former boss at the University of Delaware. Small world, huh?

Anyway, after I hung up, I sat there and wondered: Wait, why wouldn’t Mike expect me to call him back? Isn’t that what you do when you get a voicemail?

We’ll come back to that in a minute. Check out what happened the next day…

I got an email from a potential client who was interested in booking me for an upcoming conference. Excited about the opportunity to work together, I emailed her back two minutes later (like I usually do) with my fee schedule, program description and availability.

Sure enough, later on that afternoon, she wrote back to confirm the engagement! Excellent! I thought.

Then - and I kid you not - the exact words in the body of her email: “Wow, I can’t believe you actually emailed me right back! Are you sure you’re a speaker?”

Yes. She actually said that.

And again, I was thinking, But why wouldn’t she expect to get an email right back from me? Isn’t that what you do when a potential customer inquires about hiring you?

But wait. It gets better.

Last week I was working in Toledo at an entrepreneur conference. The night before my speech, I went out to dinner with my client and a few of her colleagues from the organization.

“Scott, meet Laura,” my client said, “She told me the two of you have already spoken, right?”

“Oh yeah, right. I remember! Nice to meet you in person Laura," I said.

“You too Scott,” she said. “And by the way, I was really impressed that you actually picked up your cell phone when I called last week. I wasn’t expecting that!”

“Really? But why wouldn’t I pick up the phone?” I asked.

“Oh I don’t know, I…just…didn’t think you would.”

OK. Just stop right there. I gotta figure this out.

I pondered for a minute. Scratching my head like I’d been doing something wrong this whole time.

And then it hit me. Holy crap!

All of these people expect to be ignored because that's the attitude they have developed after working in the corporate world.

The world of unreplied emails.
The world of unreturned phone calls.
The world of unapproachable professionals.

And I never worked in the corporate world. That's why this is news to me. How am I supposed to know, right?

Never had a cubicle.
Never had an office.
Never had to fill out TPS reports.

See, I started my company right out of college. No experience. Fresh meat. Untainted by the cruel hands of the white-shirted, red-tied corporate drones a la Dilbert cartoons.

I guess I just don’t know any better.

And I say that in a good way.

See, I return calls and emails right away because, well, that just seems like the right way to do business.

Like the right way to treat people.

Like the same way I would treat my friends.

Like the same way I would want to be treated.

Now, maybe I’m naïve. Sure, I’m 26 years old. I don’t know much.

But I DO know that the one compliment I seem to get more than anything is, “Gosh Scott, you’re so easy to get a hold of!”

And the sad thing is: that should NOT have to be a compliment.

That should be standard operating procedure for all professionals, regardless of age, industry, annual income or job title.

Something weird is going on here. And I don't think it's just me.

Ain't no hollaback girl? Not for this guy.

Have you ever "surprised" someone by being easily accessible?

For one week, try returning calls and emails within five minutes of receiving them (if you don't already). See what happens. I Triple Dog Dare you.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

add to * digg it! * email this post

Monday, September 25, 2006

Adventures in Nametagging: WEN Style

I ventured back to Toledo last week for a few speeches...

First I worked with WEN of Toledo (Women's Entrepreneurial Network). It was excellent. There were a lot more men than I expected! I gave away a few free books to my "homeboys," aka "The MEN of WEN," who clearly stood out from the crowd!

When people walked into the break out session room, I collected business cards for my Top Secret Exercise. As you may remember from last year's most popular blog post, I walk around the room and flash the cards, challenging the audience to pick 1-3 that stood out the most.

Can you guess, based on the poster, which cards stood out the most?

Also, a quick side note: my apologies to the people who had to sit on the floor. It was a crowded session! And I wanted to thank the Hilton Dana Conference Center for not slapping me with a fire code violation, because I'm pretty sure we went WAY over capacity.


Directly after the WEN Conference, I drove out to Cedar Creek Church to work with the YMCA of Toledo.

The room setup was very cool: open, sunny, spacious and great acoustics. I'd definitely add it to my list of Top 10 Venues I've Ever Spoken At!

Next, I learned upon entering their meeting that Toledo is one of the top branches in the entire country! Well done!

We had a great time during the training session. Once again, we discussed the OING Model as it pertained to member/guest approachability.

We also spent some time discovering obscure CPI's between staff members. It's a great exercise: everyone grabs their copy of The Power of Approachability and asks each other Let Me Ask Ya This questions from the appendix.

Many of these CPI's I was told NOT to repeat ;)

And of course, everyone's favorite exercise: Three Word Job Titles. This is when we stand in two lines, five feet apart, face to face. Everyone wears a nametag bearing their brand new job title. Then, they all close their eyes and I walk around reading aloud everyone's label.

Since it was such a large crowd, our lines spanned across the entire church lobby!

The winner for Most Memorable Job Title unanimously went to the staff member whose nametag read: YMCA Money Spender.

All in all, it was an awesome week. Big Ups to CNP Guru Debby Peters for setting everything up!

What's your job title?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

add to * digg it! * email this post

Saturday, September 23, 2006

But deep down, he's a really good guy...

He might be a jerk…
He might be a lazy, unmotivated cheater…
He might instigate fights with all the people from accounting…
He might screw around and get into trouble a lot…

…but deep down, he’s a really good guy.


Let me tell you something: deep down doesn’t matter.

People only give you credit for that which they SEE you do consistently.

Think about it: if someone says, “Yeah, but deep down, he's a really good guy,” that probably means: "up front, he's a real asshole."

I once contributed to an article for the Wall Street Journal. According to their research, someone you’ve just met will form a first impression about you in two seconds.


Which means:

Deep down, even if you are a "really good guy," most of the people you encounter are never going to have enough time to figure that out.

So, you have a choice:

1. Maintain unity and congruency in your personality at all levels
2. Or deep down, just be a really good guy

Face it: it's just not cool to be an asshole.

Do you know someone who, deep down, is a really good guy?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

add to * digg it! * email this post

Friday, September 22, 2006

You're young enough to be my kid!

Being a 26 year old professional speaker sucks.

Actually, not really. I love my job. You couldn’t pay me NOT to do it.

But picture this: you’re about to walk on stage to address hundreds – sometimes thousands – of seasoned business professionals who are twice your age, have three times your knowledge and four times your experience. Every one of them watches you with skeptical eyes and crossed arms as if to say, “What?! This kid’s young enough to be my son! What the hell is HE gonna teach ME?”

Yikes. Talk about stage fright.

In this situation, what you’re faced with is called Immediate Audience Preoccupation. In other words, the answer to this question: “What skepticisms are running through the minds of my audience members before I open my mouth?”

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to disarm it.

Now, this isn't just about speeches. This applies to any form of interpersonal communication: conversations, sales presentations, interviews, dates and the like. The following list offers five strategies to disarm immediate audience preoccupation so you can win over skeptical clients and prospects.

Honesty First
My conversation partner’s arms are crossed. He’s questioning my credibility. He’s just waiting for me to prove to him that I’m not the right person for the job.

Tell the truth, tell it all, and tell it now. People will appreciate your honesty, especially when you offer it immediately. What’s more, you will validate the credibility of everything you say thereafter.

PERFECT EXAMPLE: Think Peter from Office Space.

Provide Social Proof
My price is too high. They’re never going to buy. My fee is WAY out of their budget.

Consider sharing testimonials from past clients who have paid the full amount and received outstanding ROI as a result. Instill confidence via social proof that working with you will be worth it.

PERFECT EXAMPLE: Think about the (real) families being interviewed on home security commercials.

You’re Young Enough to be My Kid!
I’m just out of college. Everyone I work with is twice my age. My clients are going to think I’m just some kid.

"A chicken ain’t nuthin’ but a bird," my Dad always says. Likewise, age is nothing but a number. You’re only as old as you act. Remember, you are a professional. Project maturity. And show (don’t tell) others your accomplishments which have enabled you to achieve success. When they see that you know what you’re doing, they won’t care how old (or young) you are.

PERFECT EXAMPLE: Tiger Woods. I think he won his first major

Do Your Research
This isn’t my industry. This person or audience is completely different than me. I’m clueless about the way they do business.

Google everything. Interview similar people and ask the question, “What’s the one thing I could say to someone in your position that would totally piss them off?” Then say the opposite. Oh, and don’t forget to share your research EARLY. Make people think, “Wow, she did her homework!”

PERFECT EXAMPLE: Any Major League Pitcher Before the Big Game.

It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage
I’m new to the industry. I’ve only been working here a few months. I’m the most recent hire in the entire company.

So what. When he was new to the business, Tony Robbins would give three speeches a day for years so he could exponentially increase his speaking ability. My suggestion: take inventory of your experiences and figure out what unique lessons you’ve learned and why those lessons benefit your clients. It's like Og Mandino said, "Multiply your value." Remember, people don't care what you've done, they care what you've learned.

PERFECT EXAMPLE: Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men.

Look. Every audience (one-to-one, one-to-many) has some form of immediate preoccupation. If you want to communicate effectively and project approachability – on stage, in a meeting or even on a date – your duty is to make your audience feel comfortable and confident by disarming that preoccupation as soon as possible.

What is the most common audience preoccupation you face?

Using these five techniques, come up with 10 different ways to disarm that preoccupation.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

add to * digg it! * email this post

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The World is a Mirror, Part 9

I is for IDEAS
J is for JOY

1. You HAVE to write all of your ideas down on paper. Get a notebook, a journal, a jotter, a dry erase, whatever. Write it on your hand if you have to. But you’ve got to capture the information.

2. Unrecorded = unremembered = unleveragable.

3. Read books on creativity at least once every few months. I suggest Sam Horn's new book, POP! Read it on the plane yesterday. It's amazing.

4. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with people. Even if they think you’re out of your mind. Especially if they think you’re out of your mind.

5. Which reminds me of what Jack Canfield says, “If everyone thinks you’re out of your mind, you just might be onto something!”

6. Use venues like blogs, forums and bulletin boards to test your ideas. Throw ‘em out there and see how people respond. You can even do it anonymously if you want.

7. It’s tough to be creative alone. Find an idea partner.

8. Especially a partner who’s willing to tell you if your idea sucks.

9. There is no such think as a Natural Idea Guy. Those who come up with the best ideas study and practice and get better at coming up with cool ideas. They aren’t born that way. Get that out of your head. If you’re not coming up with great ideas regularly, it’s your fault. Not your DNA.

10. Crazy, remarkable, cool, hilarious, exaggerated and ridiculous ideas are the ones that spread and last and get supported. For example, here's today's number one movie on YouTube. This is SO cool:

11. Kant’s philosophy mentions the “Universalized Maxim,” in which an idea generator asks, “What if everybody did it?” Lesson learned: start asking yourself this question. All the time.

12. Google your idea before you go any further. See if it’s been done before. If so, don’t get mad; get connected. Email the person who thought of it ahead of you and join forces. If not, get the domain name. Today.

13. Lists are your friends. They boost creativity, force you to come up with a quota and organize your thoughts. Just read any of Tom Peters’ books, he’s got this list stuff down. Lists work.

14. Ideas are only as strong as the people (other than you) who support it. Get a fan club. Stay in front of them. Get feedback from them.

15. Like I said, find out where you suck. This is key. It’s the only way your idea is going to get better.

16. It’s not the idea; it’s how you leverage it.

17. If you explain your idea to a stranger and they don’t respond with some permutation of, “Hey, that’s cool!” then it probably won’t spread.

18. Is your idea simple enough that a five year old could understand it?

19. Here’s a common idea-related phrase: “Man, I wish I would’ve thought of that!” My question for you is, are you the person who says that, or the person other people say that to? Hopefully the latter.

20. Ideas might thrive in one environment and die in another. Be sure to frequently displace yourself.

21. I once read that Walt Disney would ask 10 people what they thought about his new idea. If the majority of them said he was out of his mind, he would say, “Great! Let’s get to work.”

What's your best idea about ideas?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

add to * digg it! * email this post

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Word of Mouth Gods have shined down upon me!

You can't deny it: word of mouth works.

And the most fascinating about WOM are the little stories, encounters and contexts in which it is spread. Me, I monitor my company's word of mouth in a WOM journal. (I suggest you do the same with your company.)

Anyway, the WOM Gods have been good to me this year, so here are 11 recent encounters that have boosted sales, increased visibility and enhanced crediblity. Enjoy!

JANUARY 18, 2006: Today I did an interview on my local FOX affiliate. How did I secure that spot? Well, the lead anchor for the network was getting his hairs cut by the fiancé of a client of mine. He was telling her a story about a nametag, which prompted her to spend several minutes telling him about my business.

THE WORD: it's not about sneezers, mavens or specific people - everyone spreads WOM. Everyone. All the time. And they do so when you own a word in their minds. Remember: mindshare, not marketshare.

APRIL 1, 2006: According to one of my clients, the reason she hired me was: her boss left my business card on her keyboard with a sticky note that read: get this guy!

THE WORD: make your business card SO good, that people not only keep it, they show it to their boss.

APRIL 12, 2006: Went to the new Busch Stadium yesterday. Everyone was excited about the Text Message Board. For $2.99 you could send a text message to the number 78364 and minutes later it would appear on the screen for 50,000 people to see. So, on opening day I messaged, “HELLO, my name is Scott!” Unfortunately the screen malfunctioned and I never saw my brand name during the game. However, today my parents went to the game and during the third inning, they saw my message. They called me right away to give me the exciting news. After they hung up, the man sitting next to them said, “Wait, The Nametag Guy is your SON?”

THE WORD: word of mouth thrives in serendipitous "No shit?!" moments.

APRIL 22, 2006: After hearing me speak at a BNI meeting last night, my friend Curt had lunch with one of his out of town colleagues who said, “Hey, have you heard about this guy who wears a nametag all the time?” Curt then spent the rest of the meal reading his speech notes to his colleague!

THE WORD: the best spreaders of WOM are your fans. Again, that's FANS, not customers.

MAY 7, 2006: Today my friend Ed invited me to be a guest at his church. During the sermon his pastor asked everyone in the congregation to “greet their neighbor.” When I introduced myself to the guy next to me he said, “Oh yeah, Scott! I know you! You’re Ed’s friend who wears the nametag.”

THE WORD: word of mouth isn't limited to business hours, or even to businesses! It happens everywhere.

MAY 25, 2006: Last week I emailed my friend Karen with a link to the story I contributed to in FastCompany. As a writer for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, she unexpectedly posted my story on her Business Connections Blog. Today my picture and website appeared on the front page of the paper. Wow.

THE WORD: coverage online often leads to coverage in print.

JUNE 19, 2006: Last night during dinner with my friend and fellow speaker Jeff Magee, I told the story about getting a nametag tattooed on my chest. A few minutes later, the women at the table next to us said, “Excuse me, but, aren’t you that guy who wears the nametag all the time? Yeah, I saw you give a speech once! You were great!”

THE WORD: you never know who might be listening, so you better be honest, consistent and authentic.

JUNE 20, 2006: After my speech in Ellensburg, WA today, a woman from the audience told me that she’d just had dinner the night before with a woman who’d seen me speak before. Her friend said, “You’ve got to get that guy to come to Washington!”

THE WORD: if people say, "Your ears must be ringing!" well done.

JUNE 23, 2006: Attended a wedding in Chicago this weekend. My childhood friend Andrew introduced me to his girlfriend. She asked why I was wearing a nametag and I told her. She then responded by saying, “Wow! That’s so funny. Have you heard about that guy who wears a nametag all the time?” I asked her if I was the guy she'd heard of. She said, "No Scott, it couldn't be you - this guy's CRAZY! He's even got a nametag tattooed on his chest!" I showed it to her. She was speechless. Like, for the rest of the night.

THE WORD: if somebody doesn't believe you're the person they've been hearing about, you better be prepared to prove it to them!

AUGUST 12, 2006: Today I got an email from a woman who said, “Scott, I was reading your books on my flight to Houston yesterday. The guy next to me asked about them, so I spent the entire plane ride talking about you! He’s going to order several copies for his business!”

THE WORD: is your idea cool enough that complete strangers would ask someone sitting next to them on a plane what it's all about?

SEPTEMBER 5, 2006: Spoke at a college in Santa Barbara yesterday. My client asked me, “Hey Scott, did I ever tell you how I came across your name? Well, my former partner from Delaware was a big fan of yours. He actually created a program at his university based around your first book that won him an award! He let me borrow it, I went to your website, and three years later, I booked you!”

THE WORD: it takes time. Sometimes years. But when it catches up with you, it does so in a BIG way.

How is WOM working for your business?

Keep a WOM journal. Date it. Localize each entry. Figure out the trends, the lessons, the stuff you did right. Repeat often.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

add to * digg it! * email this post

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How to Inject More Approachability into Your Dental Practice

Last week I spoke to the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. My session was filled with primarily hygienists, receptionists and chair-side assistants.

We explored something I call The OING Model.

OING represents four types of encounters between employees and patients, each of which is an opportunity to inject (no pun intended) a little more of your personality into each encounter.

About 160 people filled out index cards with potential lines, expressions and greetings that were a bit more creative, fun, unique and of course, approachable. Many of these suggestions are listed below, along with a brief description of each category. (Remember: not all of these are gold. It’s an exercise in creativity that brainstorms ideas to make your patients feel more comfortable in a more unforgettable environment.)

Answering the phone in the office, possibly greeting a walk-in

• “This is Beth, I’m here to help…”
• “Smiles are our business, how can we make them yours?”
• “Good morning, and how can we help your child smile today?”
• “You have the pleasure of talking to Rena…”
• “Lovely morning to ya!”
• “World’s greatest dental office…”
• “This is your hunting dentist…”
• “Damn we’re good, when do you want to come in?”
• “Hello, flash us your smile…”

Telling a patient you’ll be right with them during a busy time

• “I’ve lost my mind – you can help me find it in just a sec…”
• “OK, give me two seconds. Start counting...NOW!”
• “I’ll be with you as soon as I catch this kid…”
• “You’ll be the next smile taken care of.”
• “I’ll give you a chance to bite me in just a minute.”

Inviting the next patient in line to enter the office

• “Are you ready for the best cleaning of your life?”
• “Hurry or I’ll start without you!”
• “Come on in, your smile is waiting!”
• “Get moving!”
• “Ready or not, here I come!”
• “Did you draw straws?”
• “Did you flip a coin?”
• “Are you ready to rock and roll?”
• “Come on down! You’re the next contestant at…”
• “Let’s get this party started!”
• “My superpowers have been recharged: I’m ready for you now!”

As patients exit the office, you give them a lasting impression

• “Don’t forget to scrub them bugs away!”
• “We’ll see you in 6 months or 6,000 smiles!”
• “Power to the Plaque Miester!”
• “I’m so glad you got to see me!”
• “See ya later alligator!”
• “Alright, I’m finished picking on you.”

Do you OING?

Brainstorm five new ideas for each of the four encounters with your staff. Try them out, then call me in the morning ;)

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

add to * digg it! * email this post

Monday, September 18, 2006

Remove what robs you

Before today's post gets under way, I just wanted to give a quick shout to all of the haters who posted their uplifting comments (anonymously, of course) on Friday's post.
I've been sick lately, so that really cheered me up! Thanks guys!


The first job I had out of college was a bartender. It wasn’t exactly my number one career choice, but I needed money (fast!) to pay for the production of my first book.

Besides, how hard could bartending be, right?

Well, let me tell you how terrible I was: in addition to such blunders as “dropping chunks of cork into a customer’s Merlot” and “accidentally shattering four pint glasses in front of the District Manager,” I was SO bad, that I actually had to consult the Mix Manual to find out what was in a Jack & Coke.

Which made me pretty much the worst bartender in the history of bartenders.

Still, every night I slaved away. And whether I was hurrying around trying to serve drunken customers or frustratingly scraping ABC gum off the underside of the bar, there was only one thought running through my mind:

What the hell am I doing here?! I’ve GOT to get this book done...

I lasted six weeks. (I guess the manager made his first mistake when he hired a bartender who didn’t drink!) And I remember during my exit interview, Clyde said, “Look Scott, it’s just not working out. I’m sure you’ll go on to bigger and better things.”

He was wrong.

Two months later I started my second job out of college as a floor salesman at a discount furniture store. Worst job I ever had in my life. Complaining customers. Pain in ass boss. No money. Killed my lower back.

I lasted a year. And whether I was desperately attempting to sell a $500 loveseat to a family with three crying children or hiding in the men’s bathroom pretending to have a diarrhea so I wouldn’t have to work, there was only one thought I running through my mind:

What the hell am I doing here?! I just want to go home and check my email…

Then, in the summer of 2003, two things happened:

1) I quit my job at the furniture store.
2) I decided to pursue writing books and giving speeches full time.

Unfortunately, I learned that there is VERY little money in this industry when you first start out. Especially if:

• You’re 23 years old
• You have no work experience
• You’re just some guy who walks around wearing a nametag 24-7 to make people friendlier

So, while pursuing my writing/speaking career full time, I took a nights/weekends position as a valet parker at the Ritz Carlton.

This job wasn’t nearly as bad as bartending or slinging couches: the money was good, the networking opportunities were excellent and Ritz Carlton ended up being an awesome company to work for.

I lasted two years. (Maybe it would’ve helped if I knew how to drive stick!) Still, I sucked it up; whether I was running full speed for two straight hours during an 80-car wedding in the 105-degree heat, or standing by the lobby door until 2 AM layered in every piece of clothing I had during the biting cold of a St. Louis January.

And the funny thing is, just like every other job I’d held since college, that same thought kept running through my mind:

What the hell am I doing here?! I should be on the phones trying to book speeches…

Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore.

I knew that every minute I’d spent mixing drinks, selling couches or parking cars was robbing me of:

• My true talent
• Chances to further my career
• Time needed to grow my business
• Opportunities to make a name for myself

So, I made a crucial decision. A decision that everyone, at some point in their career, needs to make:

Remove what robs you, embrace what excites you.

And I never looked back. Best professional decision I ever made.

Look: be fair to yourself. Be fair to your talents and gifts. Remove what robs you.

And if you ever find yourself shaking your head and saying, “What the hell am I doing here?!”

…then you’re on the right track.

What job used to rob you?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

add to * digg it! * email this post

Friday, September 15, 2006

Lessons learned from a job that sucked

My first job out of college was at a discount furniture warehouse.

I hated it. Every day was a perfect combination of boredom, back pain and complaints from frustrated customers. The store was hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Most of my coworkers with were twice my age and my boss was a grumpy old jerk.

Fortunately, the pay sucked and there were no benefits.

Nevertheless, I needed money and I needed experience. Fast. So, I sucked it up and did the best I could.

I spent a year there. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, I actually learned a lot about business, sales, service and life. So, here are nine business lessons learned from a job that sucked:

Make a Friend in 30 Seconds
First thing I learned. My boss said it was the key to retail sales. And since he’d been in the business since roughly the 1850’s, I figured he was right. And I think it applies to retail, general sales and networking too. After all, people do business with their friends.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: How long does it take you to turn a stranger into a friend?

Don’t be a Typical Salesman
I shadowed several veteran salesmen for the first week. I studied their approaches, opening lines, closing lines and the like. Then I studied their customers: non-verbal behaviors, emotions and responses. And what I realized was: customers hate salesmen. So, I made it my goal to be the atypical salesman in every way I could. (More on this later.)

LET ME ASK YA THIS: Are you like everyone else you work with?

Think like a Chess Player
I’ve been a customer before. I know what it’s like. So, one afternoon on a slow day, I sat down and made a list of every possible feeling, emotion and assumption made by customers walking through the store. For example: “God I hope the salesman doesn’t talk to me…” and “I just want to browse, go away!” By predicting their behaviors, I was able to disarm their concerns. Instead of approaching them, I enabled them to approach me with my sense of attraction.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What are your customers thinking about when they walk through the door?

Bring a Soda
I don’t know why, but by carrying a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper wherever I went, customers seemed to feel more comfortable. The soda made me appear friendly, approachable, casual and not goal oriented. As if I was saying, “Yep, I’m just hanging out, drinkin’ a pop. If you need anything, I’ll be around.” Interesting, huh?

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What object could help you appear more approachable?

Be Upfront and Honest
I wasn’t on commission. So, I told customers that right away. Most of the time it made them feel comfortable, less intimidated and more willing to work with me. This strategy helped me become an atypical salesman because most of my coworkers refused to work with customers who only bought small items. They just wanted the fat commission from the bedroom set. I, on the other hand, treated all customers equally. I just didn’t care. Interestingly, the customers who bought small items from me loved working together so much, that they often returned six months later with their kids to buy the bedroom set. And who do you think they wanted them to sell it to them? Damn right.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What truths do you tell the customers right away?

Product Knowledge
During my first few weeks, I walked around the store and made flashcards of every piece of furniture we sold. The cards included descriptions, prices and the like. Over time I was able to speed up my learning curve and memorize every item we offered to better help the customers. I’d even quiz myself on the various products when we were slow. Hell, there was nothing else to do.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: Are you the expert?

Help Customers Participate
As one of the few young salesmen in the store, I was always assigned the task of moving various couches, loveseats and tables. (Damn it!) But, although it was tough on my back, I used the moving process as a sales tool. For example, if I were sliding a couch into a corner, I’d ask customers walking by, “So, does this look good with that maple table?” or “Could you help me slide this chair around the couch please?” They were almost always happy to help. We’d often end up talking about the decorating process, sore muscles and the like. Instant friends! Also, in many instances, instant sales.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: How do you get your customers involved?

Unique Openers
I hated phrases like, “Can I help you?” or “Are you looking for anything special today?” And I knew customers hated them too. So, here’s a list of some of my favorite opening lines that enabled me to make a friend (and often a sale) in 30 seconds:

• While sitting on a couch I’d say to customers passing by, “If you guys have any questions, just wake me up!” or “Don’t tell my boss I’m here.”

• If someone was looking at the Big Lips Couch (yes, we actually sold stuff like that!) I’d say, “See, when you buy this couch, everyone who comes over to your house will get their ass kissed!”

• Lots of kids came into the store. Instead of trying to sell the parents, I sold the kids. I sold them on ME. This included offering them free donuts or taking 50% off or HOT DEAL stickers and putting them on their shirts. They loved it! The kids AND the parents.

• Because we offered donuts on the weekend, I’d always look for customers who were eating them. Then I’d offer such lines as, “Are you all hopped up on sugar yet?” and “If you spill jelly on this couch, you gotta buy it!” They loved it. Good times.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What’s your unique opener(s)?

Unique Closers
I’m not talking about closing the sale. I’m talking about the last thing you say to a customer in your opening conversation that reminds them who you are and that you’d be happy to help. So, instead of saying, “I’m Scott if you have any questions,” or “Here’s my card if you need me,” I’d say:

• “If you need anything, I’ll be over by the donuts.”

• “Well, I’m Scott. If you have an questions, I’ll be in the back corner sleeping on the $3000 Italian Leather Sofa.” (SIDE NOTE: one out of every five customers then asked me, “Ooh! Can we see that sofa?”)

• “I’ll let you guys go have fun. If you need me, I’m the only salesman under 50.”

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What’s your unique closer(s)?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Make your own music

I gave a speech to the DC chapter of ISES last night at a club called Love. Coolest place I've ever seen in my life.

The bartender, Preston, told me that on Friday of this week, Ludacris will be performing on the same stage I took last night.

Wow! I can see it now: halfway through his show, Ludacris will say, "Yo, I just wanna thank Club Love for allowing me to perform on the same stage as my hommie Scotty G. Big ups to the Nametag Guy."

Hey, no problem Ludacris. Whatever I can do dog.

Anyway, that got me thinking about college. During my stint at Miami, I spent a number of nights playing music in coffee shops. Nothing too elaborate, just me, my guitar and a microphone. Sharing songs I’d written about stuff that was going on in my life.

It was a singer/songwriter’s dream: unplugged, intimate and authentic. Like an episode of VH1 Storytellers. The perfect venue to share my art with the world.

The only problem was, people didn’t want art. They wanted to hear songs they knew:

“Play some Dave Matthews!”
“American Pie!”

Right. I’m going to stand up here all night and play covers like some typical, unoriginal, crowd-pleasing, sell out copycat so you and your friends can get drunk and sing along to jams you’ve heard a thousand times before. If you want that, stay home and listen to your stereo!

Unfortunately, some of them actually did. (Or they went to another bar. One of the two.)

However, despite smaller crowds, I stayed committed to playing my own stuff.
Not because I was the next campus rock star. Not because I was the next Dylan. But because it’s just not in my nature to do other people’s material.

That’s just not how I roll. Not in art, not in business and not in life.

I make my own music. Period.

Interestingly enough, after a few years of playing shows, audiences started to listen between the notes. People finally embraced the originality of the music. Songs touched them in a new way, even if they didn’t know all the words. And ultimately, the music was that much more beautiful. It was sustained by its creativity and uniqueness.

But we're not talking about music here.

The point is: you can always play someone else’s material, but that won’t sustain you. It won’t challenge you. It won’t expand you. And it certainly won’t guarantee you success. After all, how many tribute bands have ever been inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame?

That’s right. Zip-o.

Look. I know sometimes it’s just easier to play other people’s stuff: it’s quick, it’s safe and it’s guaranteed to get you some applause.

But you know what? Receiving a nice round of inner applause feels a hell of a lot better.

If you truly want to make a name for yourself, make your own music.

In what way do you make your own music?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Read Scott's interview with Young Wealth Weekly

I was recently interviewed by a very cool new website, Youth Wealth Weekly.

Founder Josiah Mackenzie offers young entrepreneurs free newsletters filled with fascinating stories, helpful tips, private interviews, inspirational quotes, book reviews, and more.

You can read my interview here, or just scroll down. I pasted the text for ya:

How did you make the transition from a "dude who wears a name tag" to a successful speaking and writing business?

When I started wearing a nametag 24-7 in college, I kept a journal of observations, stories and responses; It seemed like it would make a cool book. Since I always wanted to be an author, I decided to write it. I asked some other authors how to self-publish, did some research and put the book out when I graduated.

When my website and book got picked up by the media, people started asking me to give speeches. Since I'd always excelled at speaking, it felt like a good fit. I did more research on the speaking industry, hooked up with some amazing mentors, did a LOT of research and speaking for free, and eventually was able to sustain myself on authorship/speaking.

And hey, it only took 3 years to make money!

How did you become unforgettable?

Well, there's this pill I take called...just kidding! I'd say by learning how to be UNIQUE, not DIFFERENT. In other words, how not to just stand out, but to be the ONLY ONE.

How have you incorporated 'Web 2.0' applications into your self promotion?

Gosh, what haven't I used! I have two blogs I update regularly. I also podcast, use online social networking like MySpace, Flickr and Squidoo, and also use widgets on my website to talk to people live. Basically, everything Web 2.0 offers, I use. And it's great. It builds community, enables me to live and breathe the brand, stay in front of fans, market myself daily and drive traffic. 100% of my business is WOM (word of mouth), I've never made a cold call in my life and I don't (nor will ever) spend a dime on advertising. KEY LESSON: If you are remarkable, they'll find YOU. (Thanks, Seth)

What obstacles or advantages does your young age present when becoming established as a speker and writer?

My GOSH it sucked. Still does. Who the heck is going to listen to a 26 year old kid give a speech, right? But I have learned something called "Disarming Audience Preoccupation," in which you address the obvious barrier first and explain why it's not an issue. For example, I open my speeches with a quote from Indiana Jones by saying, "It's not the years, it's the mileage."

Also, I just go out there and be myself and try to give value, and usually people forget how young I am. After all, few 26 year olds have written three books and speak internationally. That's gotta count for something! If all else fails, I just show people the picture of my tattoo. That shows 'em I mean business. What's more, being young is also a great advantage insofar as offering a new, fresh, untainted-by-corporate-world perspective.

Is it tough to be a professional speaker when most of your peers are 40 years older than you?

Yep. It's tough because people won't take you seriously, but it's glorious at the same time because it enables you to be a sleeper. They don't see ya comin!

How should I go about writing a book?

Very carefully. No, just kiding. I'd go buy Dan Poynter's book "The Self Publishing Manual." He's the best in the biz, and he can help you more than I could. It's my bible.

How did you start recieving media coverage?

Dude, I have no idea. I met the right person at the right time who passed my info to a reporter which started a collossal snowball effect which got me on every radio, TV and print outlet in the country. I wouldn't call it luck, because if my idea wasn't remarkable they wouldn't have interviewed me.

But I've never "pitched" a media outlet before. I think the key is: get them to call you. Be amazing and unforgettable and remarkable and unique and cool and they will find you. Oh, and it helps to be funny. And if possible, smart. I'm still working on that last one ;)

How can our readers achieve success as a young entrepeneur?

Huge question. I actually have a fourth book called Make a Name for Yourself coming out next year about that exact idea. So, let me give you some ideas from the closing chapter. They're alphabetical. This is good stuff here. Enjoy...

Action develops courage.
Ask, "What's next?"
Ask, "Why me?"
Assault the minute.
Attract through attitude.
Authenticity, not charisma.
Avoid the always.
Be a sleeper.
Be completely original.
Be one eyed.
Be regularly silly.
Become your beliefs.
Cherish uncertain ground.
Confidence is king.
Consider nothing useless.
Create the fist.
Don't overeducate audiences.
Do something cool.
Earn inner applause.
Fans, not customers.
Feed your brain.
Friendly always wins.
Get a glory.
Give value first.
Give yourself away.
Go somewhere alone.
Have big ears.
Imagination is everything.
Interaction, not interruption.
Just do something.
Let it go.
Life leaves clues.
Market yourself daily.
Medium is message.
Mundane into memorable.
Never be bored.
Nurture your nature.
Opportunity knocks constantly.
Own a word.
Plant impossible gardens.
Prepare for serendipity.
Respect people's nos.
Respect your hunches.
Say affirmations daily.
Schmoozing is stupid.
Self talk works.
Small victories first.
Success isn't perfection.
Take massive action.
Take more pictures.
Think grandiose thoughts.
Travel without plans.
Unique, not different.
Verbs, not nouns.
We're all marketers.
We're all salesmen.
Write everything down.
You're always marketing.

What advice would you like to leave with our readers?

Read three books a week. That's what I do.

What advice would you give young entrepreneurs?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Adventures in Nametagging: MadeBig Style

This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak at the Conference. As you can see, "big" isn't just the name of the company, it's a way of life for these guys! The event was huge. 2000 people from around the US met in Salt Lake City at the Grand America, pretty much the nicest hotel I've ever stayed at in my life. I even had a bag of Kookaburra waiting for me!

I showed the audience my favorite picture, the famous CNN interview in which I was dubbed "Name Tag Wearer." After we all stopped laughing, I reminded them, "If you don't actively make a name for yourself, someone will make one for you."

I also reminded the audience about something I call The Triple If Factor:

1) IF...everybody loves your brand, you're doing something wrong (Peter Montoya)
2) first your idea doesn't sound absurd, there is no hope for it (Einstein)
3) IF...everyone says you're out of your mind, you just might be onto something (Canfield)

The breakout sessions in the afternoon furthered our discussion on how to be that guy. I even showed the ol' tattoo to a few curious Oregonians, who were easily spotted by their sandals (my kind of people).

And as a plus, Salt Lake City was excellent. Clean, beautiful, really good gumbo, even better jazz, and as a nice surprise, many friendly homeless people who asked, "What's up Scott!?" all night.

What are your "If Factors?"

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Monday, September 11, 2006

The World is a Mirror, Part 10

I is for IDEAS (coming next week)
J is for JOY

For the past few months I’ve been writing essays on how wearing a nametag 24-7 for the past 2,139 days to make people friendlier has reflected back on my own life. (Hence the title, The World is a Mirror.)

If you’ve been keeping up, I’ve addressed myriad issues: personal, professional, simple and humorous.

None of those categories apply to today’s post.

When I got to the letter “J,” I thought long and hard about possible words to tackle. Job? Jerk? Jabberwocky? (Which, by the way, is my new favorite word.)

Nah. I’d rather pick something bigger.

I decided to go with “joy.”

The word actually means: “To feel great happiness or pleasure, especially of an elevated or spiritual kind.”

So, it’s kind of like happiness, but better. Deeper. Bordering on ethereal.

Now, I won’t waste your time with quotations or scriptures about joy. That would be too easy.

Instead, I’d like to share a few things that happened to me over the past year as a direct result of wearing a nametag that have been sources of joy.

1) Over the summer I gave a speech at a conference for The Washington Initiative for Supportive Employment. Many of my audience members had physical or mental disabilities, some of which were unable to speak. After my speech was over, a man from the front row whose badge read, “Hurricane Mike,” came right up to me a with a huge smile on his face. And even though he could barely put the words together to speak, he placed his hand on my nametag and said, “It’s not the nametag; it’s the heart behind it.”

2) Last year I received an email from a subscriber to my blog who said, “Scott, I’ve been having a terrible time moving my bowels lately; but thanks to your blog, apparently daily hysterical laughter has kept me regular!”

3) When I returned home from giving a speech in Orlando, I received an email from a fellow blogger who said, “Scott, your speech changed my life. I am serious. You got me thinking in completely different ways now!”

4) Yesterday I met a woman who had just heard me give a speech to 2000 people in Salt Lake City. Her only comment was, “Scott, I want to meet your parents.”

5) My older brother and I were hanging out in Chicago a few weeks ago for his birthday/engagement celebration. On the way to the airport he said, “Scott, I know I gave you a lot of shit when you first started wearing a nametag, but I’m really proud of you.”

Truthfully, stuff like this makes me tear up. But these are tears of joy. Tears that I’m happy to shed. And tears that in no way compare to the tears shed by thousands of people five years ago who lost their lives - or the lives of someone they loved – in the 9/11 attacks.

Here’s the point: today when you open the newspaper, turn on the TV or listen to the radio, you will be exposed to articles, interviews, pictures and stories about the horror that was 9/11.

And it’s going to be sad. It’s going to be tough. It might even scare you a little.

So, when that happens, I want you to do three things:

1) Mourn for the people who lost their lives during the attack.
2) Pray for the intrepid soldiers defending our country to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
3) Give thanks for all the things in your life that give you joy.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Saturday, September 09, 2006

People buy people first

I’d just finished a speech with group of sales managers at a Fortune 500 company. After everyone cleared out of the room, my client came up to me with a huge smile on his face.

“Great job Scott! I’ve been getting awesome feedback. You truly resonated with my staff!”

“Cool, that’s what I like to hear,” I replied.

Steve sat down in the chair in front of me. He leaned back, put his feet up and said, “You know Scott, I gotta be honest: I hire a lot of outside trainers just like yourself. And as valuable as your message of approachability is, the real reason I chose you … is because I LIKED you.”

Wow. So there it was. Just like that. Because he liked me.

LESSON LEARNED: people buy people first.

Before your company.
Before your products.
Before your services.

They buy YOU first.

Before your ideas.
Before your suggestions.
Before your work.

They buy YOU first.

THEREFORE: you owe it to yourself to put your values before vocation. Beliefs before business. Person before profession. Individuality before industry.

Here’s how. I call it The ABC’s of Leading with Your Person:

A is for attitude.
(Cliché but true!) Sun Tzu said, “What you believe about yourself, the world will believe about you.” So, before you sell a product, idea or service, first sell yourself on yourself. Because if you don’t like you, nobody else will.

How much time do you spend each day selling yourself to yourself?

B is for breathing.
...your person through every possible touch point, that is. The way you answer the phone, type emails, engage in person, or appear on paper – all of these are different channels through which you have an opportunity to communicate your person FIRST. It's like Seth Godin says, "The only thing people judge about you is how an engagement with you makes them feel."

Do your communication channels define you by what you do or who you are?

C is for consistency.
Ever run into one of your coworkers outside of the office and think, “Oh my God! Jan from Accounting?! She’s like a completely different person!”

It’s a bummer when that happens. I feel like I see it a lot. Not exactly consistent, huh?

Now I know, I know: some people work in jobs that require them to be someone different compared to who they are when they’re off the clock.

Those people should find new jobs.

When was the last time someone told you “tone down” your real self?


That’s how you lead with your person. Got it?


How do you lead with your person?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Are you That Guy?

Find out in Scott's new book at!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Adventures in Nametagging: Santa Barbara Style

This week I had the opportunity to speak with 150 student leaders of Res Hall Life at University of California Santa Barbara.

It's actually a cool story how I ended up there...

Several years ago, a guy named Mike bought my first book. After reading it, he was inspired to create a community-building program for his Res Hall in Delaware which included using nametags with all of his students. Apparently it worked so well that he actually won an award! (Way to go Mike!)

Long story short: my client, Michele, was his coworker. She and I kept in touch over the years and finally got our scheduling together for UCSB's program.

They were definitely an unforgettable group! First of all, the entire front row was filled with couches. That's what I'm talkin' about! I was tempted to sit down in the middle of the training!

We spent the bulk of the program talking about personal availability. And I have to apologize to everyone in the audience for TOTALLY blanking on my second "success sentence." (Hey, I'm human...)

My three points were:

1) Listening is not waiting to talk.
2) You have two ears and one mouth, listen and talk proportionately.
3) Say to people, "I don't know what that means" and "How do you feel about that?" to show your humanness. (This was the one I forgot. D'oh!)

We also had awesome feedback from the students during the famous Three Word Nametag Exercise. They all agreed that the favorites of the day included:

*Big Ben Casanova
*I'm Rick James
*Sexiest Unemployed Millionaire

Now, since I'm still trying to get the hang of my new Mac, we had to bail on the PowerPoint; which wasn't really a problem, although I do love seeing the audience's reaction to this slide.

So, I had to think fast. And right before I finished up, I got the permission of the audience (and of course, the director of Res Hall Life) to reveal the tattoo in person as my closing point on consistency and commitment.

I rarely (and I DO mean rarely) ever do that, but everyone agreed: what the hell.

I started unbuttoning the top two buttons of my shirt. All 150 of the students were laughing so hard that I could barely stand, much less keep a straight face. But sure enough, as I held open my shirt and thought to myself (Man, I must be out of my f***ing mind!) I revealed The Ink and reminded them, "Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness."

What's the most dangerous thing you've ever done on stage?

Next time you give a speech, remember: dangerous can be good.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Are you That Guy?

Find out in Scott's new book at

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Focus on the umbrella

I really hate to admit it, but I once watched an episode of Dr. Phil.

I know.

Anyway, his advice to the panel of overweight guests was, "Don’t dwell on the idea of shedding pounds, but rather, focus on living a healthier lifestyle."

He encouraged (er, yelled at) them to modify their eating, drinking, exercising and sleeping habits. As a result, he said, they would experience increased energy, higher self-esteem, a more positive self-image, and of course, a loss of weight.

In other words, they needed be healthy intentionally so they could lose weight incidentally.

I saw that episode two years ago. But it wasn’t until yesterday afternoon during an eight mile run in the middle of the mountains – the type of environment where I always seem to get my best ideas – that I realized how applicable the concept was to business.

I even came up with a cool name for it: focus on the umbrella.

Take networking, for example. Some people think it’s about selling. Or gaining referrals. Or obtaining new clients.


Networking is about the development and maintenance of mutually valuable relationships. In other words, the healthier lifestyle. The umbrella.

Now, sure, while you’re networking, it’s possible that you’ll make a few sales, earn a referral or two or even gain a new client, i.e., lose weight.

But those things will only happen to you incidentally, not intentionally.

Focus on the umbrella.

What are you doing intentionally to create indicental results?

On the top of a sheet of paper, write: MY INTENTIONAL ACTION IS __________. Then, below it write all the possible incidental results.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Are you That Guy?

Find out in Scott's new book at

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ginsberg and Gitomer Team Up Again!

Buy Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Black Book of Connectionson today and get hundreds of dollars of free stuff from Jeffrey and 19 other top business leaders around the world

…including me!

The Little Black Book of Connections is the newest companion to Jeffrey’s best selling Little Red Book Series, and gives you the 6.5 critical assets, that get you from “Who You Know” to “Who Knows You.”

NOTE: I read this book about month ago. It's un-believable. Best networking book I've read in years!

And it’s written for the professional salesperson, the entrepreneur, the small business owner, the sales leader, the sales executive, and anyone who wants to uncover the secret of powerful connections that lead to RICH relationships.

BUY THE BOOK TODAY right here, send your receipt to and you win! You will receive more than $300 dollars worth of downloadable e-books, white papers, articles, reports, and chapters of best selling books being offered by Jeffrey and 17 top sales, marketing, publishing, communications, public relations, and business growth leaders. It’s that simple, and that valuable.

Do you have a little black book?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Are you That Guy?

Find out in Scott's new book at!

Monday, September 04, 2006

8 unexpected (yet unforgettable) follow-up techniques

Follow up can be tough.

You want to be persistent but not annoying. Creative but not unprofessional. Unique but not too crazy.

Last week I bought a new computer. Because I went from PC to Mac (thank God) I had to transfer my contact database. During the process I realized there were several dozen prospects or past clients that I hadn't heard back from in a while. I figured they were busy, never got my message, or were just avoiding me.

So, instead of following up with the traditional phone call or email, I got creative. I went to Target, WalMart, Dollar General and Petsmart to search for cheap toys to send instead, along with little notes. It's something I've always wanted to do, but never got the chance.

Above you can see TLC granola bars ($3.49 for a box of 6). When I saw the box I thought, Oh man, this is too easy. So, several packages included one bar with a note that said, "Thought you could use a little TLC!"

Then I found these surfboard keychains (99 cents a piece). One client for whom I was unable to speak this year told me to stay in touch about future events. So, I wrote a note saying, "If you're surfing for '07 speakers, keep me in mind!"

Next was a bag of Shockers candy (2 for a dollar). Another one that's just too easy. Possible notes include:

1)"I'd love to help your people achieve shocking results!"
2)"It would be a shocker if we didn't work together!"
3)"I'm shocked you haven't returned my calls!"

Speaking of returning calls, I found two cell phones that worked perfectly. The first one actually talked in Spanish! ($5.99) As you can see, I just took a Sharpie and wrote directly on the phone. Pretty clever if you ask me ;)

This other phone actually looks a little more realistic (99 cents). I stuck the nametag on the back of it:

And look, I don't want to be a pest, but... ($1.99)

By the way, I'd love to work together in 2007. If you're planning your Spring events, here's my calendar. Just pick the date you want me for!

This calendar was a buck. A BUCK. What if you bought 30 of them and sent them to all of your prospective clients with circles around the dates you had available for appointments?

Better yet, what if you wrote in the other appointments you had throughout the year with their competitors?

The calendar idea might be my favorite. Although...

This was cool too. It was $1.99. I sent it to several (almost) clients, in other words, clients that were SO CLOSE to working with me, but for whatever reason, it didn't work out. Hey, it happens, right?

I got this idea while reading Seth's new book. About halfway through, there's a great rant about saying no. His line is, "Even when you say no, you're still marketing."

Think about the last five people that said no to you. Did you get upset? Defensive? Give up? Yell at them?

I say: use their NO to your advantage. Still respect it, of course, but at the same time, do something to remind them that there's no hard feelings and that maybe someday in the future it'll work out.

*Toys - $80
*Postage - $70

*Shopping - 1 hour
*Fullfillment - 3 hours

Hey, it sure beats phone calls! I'll keep you posted on what kind of response I get. Meanwhile...

What's your most creative follow up technique?

Try one of these unusual (yet unforgettable) techniques. Let me know what works!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Are you That Guy?

Find out in Scott's new book at

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Three words of advice

I have this thing for three word sentences.

They’re so perfect. So simple. So pithy. So rhythmic. So memorable.

I think some of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received were only three words long.

For example:

Action develops courage.
Ask, “What’s next?” (Thanks, Pam Pellette)
Ask, “Why me?”
Assault the minute.
Attract through attitude.
Authenticity, not charisma.
Avoid the always.
Be a sleeper.
Be completely original.
Be one eyed.
Be regularly silly.
Become your beliefs.
Cherish uncertain ground.
Confidence is king.
Consider nothing useless.
Create the fist. (Thanks Marc LeBlanc)
Don’t overeducate audiences.
Do something cool.
Earn inner applause.
Fans, not customers. (Thanks Bob Baker)
Feed your brain.
Friendly always wins.
Get a glory.
Give value first.
Give yourself away.
Go somewhere alone.
Have big ears.
Imagination is everything. (Thanks Earl Nightingale)
Interaction, not interruption. (Thanks Seth Godin)
Let it go. (Thanks Joe Calloway)
Life leaves clues.
Market yourself daily.
Medium is message. (Thanks Marshall McLuhan)
Mundane into memorable.
Never be bored.
Nurture your nature.
Opportunity knocks constantly.
Own a word. (Thanks Al Ries)
Plant impossible gardens. (Thanks Sark)
Prepare for serendipity.
Respect people’s nos. (Thanks Bill Jenkins)
Respect your hunches.
Say affirmations daily.
Schmoozing is stupid.
Self talk works. (Thanks Shad Helmstetter)
Small victories first.
Success isn’t perfection.
Take massive action. (Thanks Tony Robbins)
Think grandiose thoughts.
Travel without plans.
Unique, not different.
Verbs, not nouns.
We’re all marketers.
We’re all salesmen.
Write everything down.
You’re always marketing.

What three words of advice do you have for the blogosphere?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Are you That Guy?

Find out in Scott's new book at