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

Friday, October 30, 2009

How to Build a Rockstar Personal Brand without Breaking the Bank or Selling Your Soul to the Devil

There are no cover bands in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The same goes for business: The more imitatable you are, the less valuable you are.

That’s why imitators never make history – only originators do.

Your challenge is to honestly ask yourself if the personal brand you’re building is (truly) an amplification of your uniqueness … or just an echo of somebody else’s marketing.

Because if you don’t display your own creative originality, your brand will become (yet another) interchangeable mediocrity, fading into the multitude of sameness.

Like a needle in a stack of needles.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lot of money to build a rockstar brand...

Don’t be fooled by headlines like, “Coca-Cola spends ten million dollars on a thirty-second Superbowl spot!” or “Macy’s takes out front page ad for $50,000!”

Branding doesn’t take money – it takes imagination. Just because a brand doesn’t take millions to create doesn’t mean THAT brand can’t create millions.

AS LONG AS YOU REMEMBER: Your personal brand is the price of admission. It’s no longer a novelty – it’s a necessity.

And I’m not talking about all that superficial, low-level advice you read from so-called “branding experts” about how to “dress for success.”

Branding isn’t clothing.

Branding is identity.
Branding is what you’re known for knowing.
Branding is the best, highest version of yourself – and how other people experience themselves in relation TO that self.

THAT’S branding.

And without it, you lose.

“Be branded or be stranded,” I like to remind my clients.

Are you willing to stick yourself out there and make your own music?

Good. Because most marketing just makes noise. For example:

Think of the most horrible sound imaginable.

Maybe it’s fingers on a chalkboard.
Maybe it’s a baby screaming in pain.
Maybe it’s someone choking on a piece of broccoli.
Maybe it’s turning over the ignition on your car when it’s already started.

Yecch! Makes your skin crawl, huh?

That’s the effect noise has on people.

Now, let’s try something else.

Think of the most beautiful music imaginable.

Maybe it’s a song from an opera.
Maybe it’s one of Mozart’s symphonies.
Maybe it’s an ambient mix of keyboards and organs.
Maybe it’s that first song you slow-danced to at your wedding.

Ahhhhhhhh. Puts your soul at ease, doesn’t it?

That’s the effect music has on people.

So, music versus noise. Which one does YOUR marketing make?

That’s precisely the problem. The majority of the marketing out there isn’t music – it noise. And customers are tired of it. Their ears are bleeding, they’re not your little targets anymore, and THEY are the ones who choose how much attention to give to you.

The question is two-fold: (1) Is your marketing making music or noise? And (2), If you ARE making music, is it YOUR music, or are you just playing a cover tune of somebody else’s?

REMEMBER: Be the O.G. or be R.I.P.

YES, you can always play someone else’s material, but it won’t sustain you. It won’t challenge you. It won’t expand you. And it certainly won’t guarantee you success.

YES, sometimes it’s just easier to play other people’s stuff. It’s quick, it’s safe and it’s guaranteed to garner applause.

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

If you truly want to build a rockstar brand without breaking the bank, you better make music and not noise; and you better be sure that music is your own.

LESSON LEARNED: Don’t march to the beat of a different drummer become the drummer yourself.

If your personal brand was a cereal, what would it be?

For the list called, "26 Ways to OUT Brand the Competition," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Who's telling their friends about YOU?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

14 Moves to Make YOUR Economy Rock, Even When THEE Economy Sucks

You have zero control over the economy.

But you DO have 100% control over YOUR economy.

REMEMBER: Just because THEE economy sucks, doesn’t mean YOUR economy can’t rock.

THE QUESTION IS: Which of the two will you invest your time in?

Consider these two facts:

1. The word “economy” derives from the Latin oeconomia, which means, “household management.”

2. The actual definition of the word “economy” is: “The disposition or regulation of the parts or functions of any organic whole; an organized system or method.”

IN SHORT: “Your economy” is how you manage yourself in relation to the world.

Today we’re going to explore a collection of practices to assure that your economy continues to thrive, even when the rest of the world takes a div...

1. Befriend the current. Find a way to position yourself with the economy instead of complaining about it. For example, think about how you can leverage your expertise as the answer to the world’s economic problems. Consider asking yourself (or your team) these questions:

*What ‘Crappy Economy Problem’ does my expertise solve?
*How does my product help people get a job or keep a job?
*In a down economy, what, specifically, is my company the answer to?

I was able to accomplish this when I started writing a regular column for The Ladders. I transitioned my material from “approachability” to “hireability.” Your mission to position yourself as the go-to guy for handling the troubled economic climate – all because you stayed genuinely committed to honoring reality. You surfed the current instead of paddling against it. What do you need to befriend?

2. Don’t feel the need to pretend to be busy. You’re not fooling anybody. Stop acting like you’re totally slammed with new business. Stop constructing a self-important fa├žade of never-ending busyness. Now, that doesn’t mean reflexively announcing to everyone you meet that business sucks and that you’re spending most of your working hours sipping lattes at Starbucks updating your Facebook status.

Rather, learn to be selective about what you reveal to people. You don’t have to lie – you just have to be discerning. Meanwhile, leverage your downtime. Blog more. Volunteer more. Increase community visibility. Whatever it takes. What is your newfound downtime an opportunity for?

3. Surround yourself with people who challenge and inspire you. As long as you’re saddled with energy-draining people, you have a perfect excuse for not being as successful as you could be. Take a look at who’s siphoning the energy around you. Make the choice to personally amputate anyone who doesn’t believe in or support you. And keep in mind what Mr. Miyagi once said, “The best way to block a punch is to not be there.” Where do you need to NOT be?

4. Cancel your cable. Television is the devil. Period. It’s not relaxing – it’s assaulting. And your negative attitude about the crappy economy is only grower stronger with every wasteful minute you spend in front of idiot box. Think of it this way: How much money did you make last year by watching TV? Exactly. Zero. How much inspiration did you receive last year by watching TV? Exactly. Zero. And how much personal growth did you experience last year by watching TV? Exactly. Zero.

Do yourself a favor: Walk away from meaninglessness. Call your cable company right now and tell them to disconnect your signal. I actually canceled my cable about a month ago, and I’ve never felt more liberated. Plus I’m saving ninety bucks a month. That’s sushi money, honey. How much happier, healthier and more productive is your life because you watch television?

5. Create a force field of aliveness. Start by developing a totally honest relationship with yourself. Clear out the underbrush of your own mind and climb more readily into the reality that absolutely terrifies you. Namely, that the economy is in the worst state since the Great Depression.

Sure, that requires that you become more vulnerable. But it sure beats evading the truth. What’s more, that which is denied by the mind becomes trapped in the body. And the last thing you need in a down economy is another ulcer. Blech. How alive are you willing to be?

6. Direct and regulate your own becoming. Release your energies from the struggle against what you don’t want to be. As I read in The Act of Will, “The individual is not fixed and immutable but is in a continual state of becoming.” Allow yourself to fully and confidently face responsibility for your life.

And remember that the ONLY three things you have any control over are your attitudes, your responses and your choices. That’s YOUR economy. Have you precisely determined what you will be?

7. Music is the healing force. I saw that written on the marquee of Vintage Vinyl last month, and I couldn’t agree more. Spending money on music that moves your heart is never, ever a waste. Here’s the plan I live by:

*Go to one concert a month (Leonard Cohen next week!)
*Buy one new album a week (Monsters of Folk is a great pick)
*Sing for five minutes a day (My neighbors hate me)
*And make seasonal mixes or playlists of your favorite songs several times a year. (Mine depend on weather.)

Meanwhile, don’t punish yourself for spending that time or money. When it comes to music, it’s always worth it. If you want your economy to rock, start by rocking OUT. What’s the soundtrack of your life?

8. Double the dosage of inspiration. Refresh your spark. Fire inspiration into yourself. Read The War of Art. Watch Shawshank. Listen to The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale. Or dig up that old Tony Robbins DVD you haven’t watched in years. I guarantee you’ll learn something new this time. Not because the material changed – but because YOU changed. What inspires you?

9. Foster a pervasive tone of gratitude. Don’t make yourself an enemy of the universe. Don’t be a stranger or an intruder – become part of it. Here’s what I want you to do: Buy a new journal. Get a nice pen. Then, every morning, spend five minutes physically listing things you are grateful for. I’ve done this for years and I guarantee this ritual will put you in a great mood every morning. Not to mention, what you appreciate, appreciates. You can expect to attract more of whatever you write down into your life.

Sound cheesy? Well, you’re right – it is. But that doesn’t make it ineffective. Get over yourself. Cheesy works. Ramp up your thankfulness. Otherwise negativity will infiltrate and radiate into everything you do. And people will avoid you like a kindergartner with swine flu. What if you celebrated Thanksgiving everyday?

10. Stop investing energy in your fears and let them go. Just because everyone else is freaking out about the economy doesn’t mean you should too. So, free yourself from the overwhelming sweep of collective panic. Don’t let widespread negativity infiltrate your outlook. Negativity is a form of resistance, and it will creep into your attitude if you’re not careful.

Here’s an idea: Save the time and energy you would have spent worrying about things you cant control and reinvest it in making yourself stronger and smarter. Otherwise, by fixating on someone (or something) beyond your sphere of control, you lose unrecoverable time that could be devoted to becoming uniquely great.

But, if you remember the credo of Optimists International, you’ll be fine: “Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.” When was the last time the economy stayed up all night worrying about YOU?

11. Decide how you’re going to decide. Physically write out your core operating values. Then, create a governing document for daily decision-making. This exercise builds congruency in your behavior and assures stronger, more consistent and more aligned choices.

Who knows? This document might help you make a profound change in the way you approach everything. Or enable you to activate and utilize the best aspects of yourself, bringing your normal capacities to a higher level of effectiveness. It certainly did for me. Are you willing to reorient yourself in new directions?

12. Learn to disappear. Customize a personal system for getting away from everybody and everything – including yourself. Build structured AND spontaneous mini-vacations into every week. Examples: Turn your Crackberry off for two hours on a Tuesday afternoon. Drive across town to a Starbucks you’ve never been to before.

Or, take your lunch hour in a secluded corner of the company warehouse where nobody can bother you. Whatever approach you choose, learning to disappear is about creating an open space from which to create a new way of being. It’s a powerful practice that will change your life for the better, guaranteed.

All it requires is a splash of discipline and a dash of self-control. Remember: If you don’t establish healthy boundaries for yourself – other people will set them for you. And then they will violate them – and it will be YOUR fault. How do you refresh yourself?

13. Be body smart. The absolute stupidest move you could EVER make in a down economy is to lose sight of your health. Period. Physical, mental and spiritual. All three. Now, I’m not going to waste your time telling you how to do that. You know what you need to do be healthier – you just need to do it. If your health were perfect, how would it be different from your health today?

14. Keep pulling your triggers for joy. For me, that means three-hour sushi dinners with people I can act like a complete idiot in front of. Or going to concerts where I can sing as loud as I damn well please without having to worry about other people wondering whether or not I’m a mental patient.

Or watching movies like Superbad, Pineapple Express and Knocked Up, all of which make me laugh until my face hurts. These things are good for the soul. They aren’t luxuries – they’re necessities. How often are you pulling your triggers for joy?

FACE IT: It’s glaringly evident that the economy isn’t going to make a full recovery any time soon.

But YOUR economy, on the other hand, might.


I challenge you to dance in the rain of this economic storm.
I challenge you to wake up from your negative self-hypnosis.
I challenge you to stop trying to control things over which you have no control.
I challenge you to erase the lines on your preconditioned roadmap and make yourself available to new possibilities.

REMEMBER: Just because THEE economy sucks, doesn’t mean YOUR economy can’t rock.

How's your economy?

For the list called, "7 Strategies to Get Potential Employers to Return Your Calls FIRST," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How to become So Interesting that Bravo Gives You Your Own Reality Show

Remember the scene from Planes, Trains and Automobiles when Steve Martin reaches his breaking point?

After sharing a sleep-deprived night with his newfound travel buddy, John Candy, Martin leaps out of the beer-drenched motel bed in the middle of the night and starts ranting about Candy’s maddening behaviors:

“Didn't you notice on the plane when you started talking, eventually I started reading the vomit bag? Didn't that give you some sort of clue, like maybe this guy is not enjoying it? You know, Del, not everything is an anecdote. You have to discriminate. You choose things are funny or mildly amusing.

You're a miracle! Your stories have NONE of that! They're not even amusing accidentally. Oh, and when you're telling these little stories, here's a good idea: Have a point! It makes it makes it so much more interesting for the listener.

I could tolerate any insurance seminar. For days I could sit there and listen to them go on and on with a big smile on my face. They’d say, ‘How can you stand it?’ I’d say, ‘Because I’ve been with Del Griffith. I can take ANYTHING.’ And you know what they’d say? They’d say, "I know what you mean: The shower curtain ring guy. Whoa."

You’re more interesting than that, right?

Just checking.

Because there’s a direct correlation between how boring you are and how successful you become.

As creativity guru Edward Debono wisely suggested, “Becoming interesting will never be a waste of your time.”

How much time are YOU spending becoming more interesting?

ANSWER: Not enough.

Today we’re going to explore a list of ten practices for becoming so interesting that Bravo gives you your own reality show:

1. Amuse me or lose me. This is the reality of our culture. Whether you’re communicating your idea in person, on the phone, during a presentation or via webinar. You need to be more amusing. Period. Interestingly, the word “amuse” dates back to 1480 French term amuser, which means, “to divert or cause to muse.”

Your job is twofold: First, to divert. People’s eyes, ears, attentions and minds. SECOND, to cause to muse. So people stop fixedly and begin to ponder. How amusing are you?

2. Choreograph attention. One of my favorite slides to present during a speech is the word “But…” in huge letters. It silences the audience. It directs their attention. And it makes them eagerly anticipate whatever I’m going to say next.

Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m going to say next. But it doesn’t matter. Because the attention of the audience has been choreographed. How are you taking people exactly where you want them to go?

3. Curiosity is the great driver of interest. That’s DeBono’s theory. That people are motivated by the desire to explore. “There is a biological urge to explore things unknown,” he wrote. “And there is a need to discover territory, find good things and be aware of dangers.”

Your challenge is to become the type of person that, when people meet you, they say, “Wow, I have so many questions…” How do you elicit curiosity?

4. Being fascinating means that moment-to-moment, people want to see what happens next. That’s one of the reasons wearing a nametag 24-7 is so interesting to people – it’s unpredictable. You never know what type of encounter or interaction will ensue next.

As Made to Stick taught us, “Ideas endure if they generate interest AND curiosity. Surprise is not enough. Surprise ATTRACTS customers’ attention, but interest KEEPS their attention.” How could you keep your audience on the edge of their seats?

5. How is this relevant to humanity? That’s the key to being interesting. As Seth Godin said in All Marketers Are Liars, “Marketers succeed when they tell us a story that fits our worldview, a story that we intuitively embrace and share with our friends.”

Ultimately, interest occurs at the moment of relevance. Not relevant = Not interesting. Are you making the effort to demonstrate relevance when it would otherwise slip by?

6. Interest can be stimulated by seeking alternatives and by offering a limited number of choices. “In a way, an offered choice is an attention-directing device. Instead of just asking someone to ‘think’ in general, you provide the specific framework for the thinking,” Debono said.

For example, my friend Jeff has one of the best voicemails I’ve ever heard. It goes like this: “Hey it’s Jeff and thanks for calling! I’d like you to do three things for me: First: Leave the best way for me to get back to you. Two: Share your biggest marketing challenge. And three: Tell me how, specifically, my company can help you the most. Talk to ya soon!” What attention-direction advice could you leverage on your voicemail or auto-responder?

7. Interest is a function of abnormality. A nametag worn in unusual situations – at beach, for example – breaks people’s patterns. It creates a mental pause. It violates people’s schemas. And that’s exactly why they notice it: Because the most basic way to get someone’s attention is to break their pattern. What patterns could YOU break?

8. Questions direct attention. Debono also mentioned, “It is what happens in the listener’s mind that makes him interested.” That’s why questions are your secret to boosting your interestingness. Because they’re not questions – they’re catapults. Setups. Provocations.

That’s how I approach everything I write/speak/coach about. By thinking about the most relevant, challenging and disturbing questions I could ask. Of course, it helps that I have a database of 7000+ questions on standby at all times. How memorable are YOUR questions?

9. The main source of interest is expectation. “There is a setup with a clear expectation,” says Debono. “And interest can be engineered when you’re setting things up.” Take Vocal Hangars, for example. I use them in my writing, videos, presentations and conversations.

These conversational bookmarks (i.e., “Let me ask ya this…”) attract people’s attention by building excitement around what you’re going to say next. This heightens the level of anticipation and energy into the conversation. How do you elicit rapt interest?

10. The process of opening things up is the key to being interesting.Finally, Eddy D argues that being dogmatic and always narrowing everything down to certainty is boring. I couldn’t agree more. The blandness of terminal certainty alienates people faster than an atheist at a Billy Graham revival. How’s your mental flexibility?

REMEMBER: If you want to maximize the noticeability and spreadability of your idea, you need to create a widening circle of interest around it.

And when the pilot of your reality show airs on Bravo, let me know - I'll set my Tivo.

Oh, wait. I forgot: I just cancelled my cable. Nevermind.

Guess we're watching it at your house!

How interesting are YOU?

For the list called, "30 Ways to become the Most Interesting Person You Know," send an email to me, you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

New website go live this week?

Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

12 Ways to Advance Yourself, Your Ideas and Your Career

We’re all trying to advance something.

Our self.
Our idea.
Our cause.
Our status.
Our career.
Our position.
Our initiative.

And it’s hard. Real progress is expensive and time intensive.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: Advancing whatever you’re trying to advance WILL become an inevitable consequence if you make yourself a more advanceable person.

Here’s a collection of twelve practices for doing so::

1. Be prepared to advance. That’s the decisive moment – when you choose to be successful. When you realize your capacity for action. And if you want to bring your plans and ambitions to fulfillment, you need to allow yourself to be carried forward. You need to make yourself available to surrounding forces. And you need to say YES to (most) opportunities.

Even if they sound crazy. Especially if they sound crazy. Then, deliberately generate movement. And then, maintain forward momentum. Will the constellation of your convictions shine bright enough to light the way?

2. Accelerate success – don’t create it. Here’s how. First, identify specific actions you want other people to take to help advance your idea. Write down the three questions you need to ask so others can help you can move forward. Secondly, act on your present environment. Constantly ask yourself the Ultimate Leverage Question:

“Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?”

Third, get ahead during the time that others waste. That’s what Henry Ford suggested to his employees nearly 100 years ago. Heeding his advice, I recently cancelled my cable. Cold turkey. No television reception at ALL. Think that’s helped accelerate my success? You bet. What could you do to increase your chances of advancing successfully?

3. Creativity is useless without innovation. Businesspeople frequently confuse these two words. BIG mistake. And here’s the distinction: The suffix “-ivity” suggests a state of mind, whereas the suffix “-tion” denotes consistent action. So, if you want to become more advanceable, you better have both.

I learned this in the fall of 2009, when I gave a workshop at my alma mater, Miami University. During Q&A, entrepreneurship professor Jay Kayne shared a powerful insight on this topic: “It’s impossible to advance your idea if you’re insufficiently committed TO the idea.” Is your commitment unquestionable?

4. Make an impression of increase. People need proof. And if you want your idea, cause, career or initiative to advance, you’ve got to punch them in the face with it. For example, do you remember watching those Jerry Lewis Telethons? According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the telethon has raised over $1.5 billion since it inception in 1966. In 2009’s program, they raised over $63 million.

What are they doing right? Many things. Namely, making an impression of increase by constantly displaying a donation counter. Most telethons, blood drives and other charity events do this. It’s a great motivator, it’s social proof, not to mention: Success breeds success. How will you alert YOUR audience of your continuous increase?

5. Create a reason for people to remember you. Here’s how. First, be a handyman. Look for something broken that you can fix. Figure out what your customers are SICK of doing – then position your expertise as the key to NEVER doing that again.

Second, be a window cleaner. Help people see clearer. Brainstorm what could you take the mystery out of that people are dying to know. He who clarifies for others, monetizes for himself. Remember: The possibility of being perceived as inconsequential is a powerful motivator. Are you important enough to be remembered?

6. Your personal brand is the price of admission. It’s no longer a novelty – it’s a necessity. And I’m not talking about all that superficial, low-level pseudo-advice about how to “dress for success.” That’s not branding – that’s wardrobe. Branding is identity. Branding is what you’re known for knowing. Branding is who you were when you were seven years old. Branding is the best, highest version of yourself – along with how other people experience themselves in relation TO that self.

THAT’S branding. And no marketing book in the world will tell you that. (Except Stick Yourself Out There, of course.) Either way: Be branded or be stranded. Period. Be brandable and become advanceable. Period. Can your brand afford to pay the price of admission?

7. Be your own devil’s advocate. CAUTION: This next practice requires some ego squashing. Are you up to the challenge? Cool. Try asking Devil’s Advocate questions like:

a. Who cares?
b. Why am I even needed?
c. What’s the one thing I’m totally overlooking?
d. What’s the stupidest thing I could possibly say or do?

This process will humble you. This process will educate you. And this process will equip you with the insight necessary to confidently respond to future challenges. Are you willing to become the rock in your own sandal?

8. Stick yourself out there. Whatever approach you choose to become more advanceable, remember: It doesn’t matter if you look stupid – it matters if it’s one more tool to get you closer to your dream. Don’t let your commitment to creativity outweigh your fear of looking like an idiot. I look like an idiot three times a day, minimum. And I advance the hell out of my ideas as a result. Are you willing to look bad on the road to immortality?

9. Loosen the grip of the past. If you’re depleting your energy by staying mad at the world for not giving you what you want, you won’t have any resources left to actually GET what you want. This kind of attitude will render you unadvanceable. Instead, try this: Fire inspiration into yourself.

Keep the flame of creativity ignited. Keep pulling your triggers for joy. And keep moving in a transformational trajectory. Soon, the past will be a thing of the past. Will you back away in bitterness and confusion or leap forward into mystery?

10. Become a student of error. Monitor the mistakes of others. Learn what not to DO – and what not to BECOME – as early as possible. This will save you considerable time, money, frustration and stomach pain. As I suggested in a blog post called, How to Profit from Listening to Idiots, ask yourself, “Is there anyone else in my life that I treat this way?” This question helps you morph morons into moneymaking mantras. Whose mistakes are you currently a student of?

11. Keep asking, “What’s next?” Most important time-management and productivity question of all time. Period. The cool part is, it’s not just a question – it’s an attitude. The best part is, when you adopt and practice it, advancing yourself and your ideas will become mathematical certainly.

But only if you urge yourself forward. Only if you make imperfect progress. And only if you figure out where to plant the seeds of aggressive upward movement. What one step could you take now to start moving forward to your ideal future?

12. Display your own creative originality. Otherwise you’ll become (yet another) interchangeable mediocrity, fading into the multitude of sameness. Don’t be a cover band. Don’t be a fifty-cent color copy of an existing idea. Be the origin, not the echo. And refuse to allow the innovation of others to intimidate and inhibit you.

Hang your balls out there, bring your authentic work close to the heart of the masses, and they will surely support the advancement thereof. Or they’ll call security. Do you have the courage to bet on your vision?

REMEMBER: People trust only movement.

Whatever your goals are, start executing these practices today.

You’ll become more advanceable than a last place NASCAR driver high on PCP.

How will your advance yourself?

For the list called, "24 Ways to Out GROW Your Competition," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, October 23, 2009

How to Show Up without Showing Off

Woody Allen was wrong.

His famous one-liner was, “80% of life is showing up.”

Wrong. Showing up isn’t enough.

Think about it: How many times have YOU showed up … and sucked?

HERE’S THE REALITY: That you show up isn’t nearly as important as how you show up.

People respond to the sum total of what you present to them. Either positively, negatively, or not at all. It all depends on how you show up.

The problem is, people often shrink from showing UP because they’re terrified of being accused of showing OFF.

This doesn’t have to be the case. You can still show up strongly without showing off annoyingly.

Let’s explore seven strategies for doing so:

1. Stop proving yourself and start expressing yourself. This is a hard and humbling shift to make in your behavior. Took me about five years. And looking back, I now realize there are a few steps that can be taken by anyone to do so:

FIRST: Stop proclaiming and start displaying. Create avenues for others to experience your unique talents.

SECOND: Stop demanding your rights and start deploying your gifts. An attitude of entitlement doesn’t look good on anyone.

THIRD: Stop trying to be somebody. Befriend who you already are. It’s a lot less work.

Ultimately, these practices will enable you to inspire people from the inside, as opposed to advising them from the outside. Remember: The less you have to prove, the less other people will feel threatened around you.

Do this, and you will show up stronger than ever. What does your presence awaken in people?

2. Forego the fear of being found out. If you’re at war with yourself, you will not show up well. And the body count will double every time you walk into a room. Instead, your mission is to preserve an attitude of self-acceptance. To occupy your vulnerability and make friends with all aspects of yourself – even the ones that make you cringe.

That’s what I’ve discovered after 3,278 consecutive days of wearing a nametag: When you relax and assume everything is perfect, you begin to feel rightness and complete appropriateness in who you are. And so do the people you meet.

Do this, and you will show up stronger than ever. Are you AT war with yourself or IN love with yourself?

3. Assemble initiative, not inertia. That means being willing to be heard. That means being twice as proactive in everything you do. And that means being diligent in putting yourself in the success moment, and doing so with deadening regularity.

The enemy of initiative, on the other hand, is being paralyzed by your own mistakes. Being distracted by your own nonsense. And becoming a prisoner of yesterday’s errors. Be careful. Inertia is the slaughterer of success. Only movement counts.

Do this, and you will show up stronger than ever. Are you a cause or an effect?

4. Learn to become a part of every place you enter. In the fantastic book, Honoring the Self, I learned: “Come soft and bright as a sponge to be filled, unresisting; and allow nothing to weigh too much within your soul.”

That’s definition of vulnerability. That’s the epitome of openness. And if you practice this, and you will be welcomed everywhere you go. You will feel at home wherever you go.

Do this, and you will show up stronger than ever. When you walk into a room, how does it change?

5. Learn to become someone when you’re alone. That way, should you find yourself suddenly kicked to the curb (by your job, friends, spouse, partner, whatever), you can still prosper. As long as you listen deeply TO yourself, stay in constant rapport WITH yourself and heed what you hear FROM yourself.

That’s why I love yoga. It’s rock-solid practice trusting your support system of inner resources. Plus, you learn to “take your practice off the mat,” which is the process of transporting what you learned from one discipline into various other life containers.

As Emerson wrote in Self-Reliance, “The great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” And ultimately, becoming someone when you’re alone makes it easier to show up AS someone when you’re not.

Do this, and you will show up stronger than ever. How often do you hold daily appointments with yourself?

6. Build a better you. Mousetraps are overrated. YOU are the only product that ever matters. After all, people buy people first. My suggestion is that you rededicate yourself as an instrument, recenter yourself in your commitment and recreate situations where your gifts can flourish.

That’s how you become the person you most admire. By creating a vision of how you would like yourself to be, “trying on” that vision until it fits like a glove, and then making sure lots of key people are watching you wear it.

Do this, and you will show up stronger than ever. In what area(s) of your life are you most motivated to improve?

7. Don’t just DO differently – BE differently. Here’s how: First, choose to approach the world as one giant banquet. Second, regard every moment as a new, positive opportunity to exercise your choice about how to experience life. And third, live like it’s nobody’s business.

That’s what it takes to BE (not just DO) differently. Sadly, most people aren’t ready for different. They get scared when they meet different. And you have to learn to be OK with that. You have to learn to soar in spite of that. So, remember what my Grandpa says, “Do the best you can with as many as you can.”

Do this, and you will show up stronger than ever. Do you have the courage to be unpopular?

REMEMBER: That you show up is eclipsed by the importance of HOW you show up.

Don’t shrink from doing so for fear of being accused of showing off.

Sculpt yourself into the person you want to present to others.

How do you show up?

For the list called, "37 Personal Leadership Questions Guaranteed to Shake Your Soul," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

If they can't come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott's new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You can’t spell A-T-T-R-A-C-T-I-O-N without…

• Action. That means more doing and less talking. How many times did you blog last week?

• Actor. You’re method acting and the character is YOU. What do people get when they get you?

• Attic. Clear the cobwebs off your old marketing. How often are you reinventing yourself?

• Cantor. Stop yelling and interrupting. Start SINGING. People will listen. Is your marketing making music or noise?

• Car. Successful businesspeople don’t advertise their businesses on the windows of their car. It mars your credibility. How much of your marketing is hurting you?

• Icon. Your logo needs to symbolize something bigger than you. Something powerful and emotional that connects to people’s worldview. Do you REALLY think naming your company after your own initials is remarkable?

• Orca. Be a whale in your industry. Be the man. That Guy. The Go To Gal. The person everybody who does what you do, knows. Are you The Observer or The Observed?

• Ricotta. Cheesy doesn’t always mean ineffective. Are you willing to embrace hokeyness?

• Tacit. You shouldn’t have to explain it. People should “get” it right away, or at least within ten seconds. Anything after that and you’ve lost ‘em. How quickly can you explain what you do?

• Tonic. Be the pill. End people’s pain. They will flock to you. What are you the answer to?

• Traction. Shtick might get you in the room; but only SUBSTANCE will keep you at the party. Are you a Dum-Dum or a Tootsie?

What (else) can't you spell "a-t-t-r-a-c-t-i-o-n" without?

For the list called, "11 Ways to Out GOOGLE Your Competition," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Have You Mastered These Six Essentials for Entreprenerial Efficacy?

1. Analyze the why. Why drives you. Why is fueled by purpose. Why is what changes the world. Why is the architecture of vision. And the why is way more important than the how. Are your dreams debunked by the hopeless waiting for how?

2. Assemble the knowledge. You don’t even need to know that much. Just the bare minimum to be able to do something awesome. Once you have it, confidently plunge into the vortex of uncertainty. How little do you need to know before jumping?

3. Destroy the familiar. Unpredictable is the key. Unexpected is the secret. Unplanned is the answer. Are you willing to let go of structure?

4. Make the leap. You’re ready. Especially if you go to work everyday asking yourself, “What the hell am I still DOING here?” Are you willing to take it up to eleven?

5. Ponder the ramifications. Always ask, “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?” Out of my personal catalog of 7000 questions, this is easily in the top twenty. It’s a leverage question. A growth question. A creative possibilities question. And if you if learn to (not only) ask it – but LIVE it – I guarantee your organization will never be the same again. What questions are you known for asking?

6. Screw the reviews. Grow thicker skin and create something critics will criticize. Nobody ever erected a statue of one of those wankers, now did they? Remember: Most art is ignored. Being noticed is a victory because attention is currency. As long as you actually DO something meaningful with that attention. How will you turn eyeballs into money?

Are you an efficacious entrepreneur?

For the list called, "7 Ways to Out LEVERAGE Your Competition," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Little Known Ways to Leverage the Longcut

I was running late to yoga class the other day.

So, I decided to take a shortcut.

Not surprisingly, the shortcut took twice as long as the original route.

How many times has that happened to you?

ANSWER: Too many.

WHY: Because shortcuts are stressful, expensive and time intensive.

But we take them anyway to impress ourselves.

Or, on occasion, to impress the cute girl riding shotgun.

In fact, in the pre-GPS years, I can’t even begin count the number of shortcut attempts I made on first dates that ended up getting me lost.

As you can guess, there weren’t a lot of second dates.

HERE’S THE POINT: I’m a big fan of taking the longcut. And I’ve identified several types of longcuts you might want to consider.

1. Take the critical MASS longcut. Seth Godin’s blog explained, “Critical mass is the pay off from focused, consistent effort. Critical mass is what you DON’T get if you are constantly working the angles and looking for a shortcut.”

For example, John Mayer has over two million followers on Twitter. Now, it only took him a year or so to achieve that number. But it was (actually) the hundreds of shows and thousands of hours he’s been slugging out since he was in college that ultimately enabled that to happen.

LEVERAGE THE LONGCUT: When will you achieve critical mass?

2. Take the critical NUMBER longcut. Malcolm Gladwell explained in his book, Outliers, that 10,000 hours is the mark of mastery. According to Gladwell, it takes about 10,000 hours (approximately ten years) of deliberate practice to truly master a subject area or skill.

So, whether you’re a singer, writer, swimmer or dog trainer, rigorous training and precision drilling are prerequisites of mastery.

LEVERAGE THE LONGCUT: How many hours have you clocked?

3. Take the critical CONTENT longcut. Seth Godin also remarked, “It's not so hard. If you make great stuff, people will find you. If you are transparent and accurate and doing what's good for the searchers, people will find you. If you regularly demonstrate knowledge of content that's worth seeking out, people (being selfish) will come, and people (being generous) will tell other people.”

Think about how much energy you waste on shortcuts every day. Now think about how that same energy could be wisely redirected into taking longcuts for things that (actually) matter.

LEVERAGE THE LONGCUT: How efficient are your patterns of energy investment?

4. Take the critical PATIENCE longcut. In a 2008 episode of HBO’s Real Time, Bill Maher said, “When did Americans become the ‘Something for Nothings’? When did we get this lotto mentality that our only chance for success was to be plucked from obscurity? Too many people get a lot for doing nothing – from models to Wall Street. And these ciphers aren’t reviled or dismissed; they’re adored for it. Maybe that’s what leads to a Guitar Hero Culture – everybody wants to be a rockstar but nobody wants to learn the chords.”

So, because of our hyperspeed, instant-gratification, A.D.D. culture, people naturally assume shortcuts aren’t just the answer – but that they’re norm too.

LEVERAGE THE LONGCUT: How impatient can you afford to be?

REMEMBER: Shortcuts cause stress, rarely succeed and often backfire. They never go unpunished. They are a refuge for slackers and a lazy man’s panacea.

Ultimately, shortcuts don’t lead anywhere but the Exit Door.

Longcuts, on the other hand, lead to the finish line.

Learn the chords.
Take the long cut.
Work your face off.
Develop bottomless patience.

You will win BIG.

How much money is impatience costing you?

For the list called, "55 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Every New (and Old) Blogger Should Know

What do you think every new (and old) blogger should know?

For the list called, "101 Ways to Create a Powerful Web Presence," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!

Friday, October 16, 2009

8 Ways to be More Sought-After Than The Jonas Brothers at a Middle School Sleepover

What’s THEE best adjective to come after your name?

ANSWER: Sought-after.

It denotes credibility.
It depicts desirability.
It displays buyability.

More importantly, “sought-after” demonstrates social proof, which is what helps your buyers (finally) relax and think, “Thank God I don’t have to be the first person to trust this guy.”

Successful marketing is about being demand. And the cool part is: The more in-demand you currently are, the more in-demand you ultimately become – because success breeds success.

But you’ve got to start somewhere. Becoming sought-after doesn’t just happen.

THEREFORE: Sought-after-able is the sum of your efforts to increase the probability of people demanding you on an ongoing basis.

The key word there is “probability.”

So, whether you’re a salesperson, entrepreneur, freelancer – or unemployed professional – consider these eight practices for becoming more sought-after than The Jonas Brothers at a middle school sleepover...

1. Become known as someone who finds (and solves) problems. Two words: Michael Clayton. In this movie, George Clooney portrays an in-house “fixer” at one of the largest corporate law firms in New York. If you didn’t catch it, here’s the plot: Clayton is dispatched to hold the hand of a wealthy client who has just hit someone with his car and sped off.

Then, when told he could “make problems vanish,” Clayton responds with: “There's no play here. There's no angle. There's no champagne room. I'm not a miracle worker – I'm a janitor. The math on this is simple. The smaller the mess the easier it is for me to clean up.”

Clayton has no illusions whatsoever about what he does. He finds and solves problems. That’s what he’s known AS, that’s what he’s known FOR, and that’s what he’s known FOR KNOWING. And you don’t have to be a lawyer to leverage that kind of positioning. You just need to “share your expertise generously so people recognize it and depend on you,” as Seth Godin once wrote. What problem do YOU solve?

2. Build a timeline of credibility. “What have you done for me lately?” That’s the question your prospects are asking. And your challenge is to prove to and show them that you provide sustainable value. Here’s why: Before deciding to buy from you, customers are going to want to validate your abilities from multiple sources. Face the fact that resumes are an endangered species – somebody googling your name IS your resume.

That’s why you need to work with clients from a variety of industries. That’s why you need to contribute to a body of work, not just a single piece. And that’s why you need to accumulate and share rich background of experiences. Then, the secret is to leverage those experiences into a tangible, chronological entity that sells you when you’re not there.

Maybe that means an article archive or library. Or ten year’s worth of client lists. Or, a Media Room that links to each of your interviews. Or an online appearance schedule so people know where you’ll be next. Ultimately, customers want to work with someone with good judgment. The kind of judgment that only comes from experience. How are you quantifying that experience to become more sought-after?

3. Find something at which you can become the first, the best and the only. In Alan Webber’s Rules of Thumb, he suggests, “Invent NEW categories that fit the new realities. If you spot a category before it becomes conventional wisdom, you’ve got an instant advantage.”

That’s the road I took with the word “approachability.” Not “communication.” Not “networking.” And not “attraction.” Approachability. That was the word I owned and embodied. That was my School of Thought, my Life Philosophy and Theory of the Universe.

I picked a lane, put a stake in the ground, and hung a big, beautiful flag on it that nobody else could touch but me. I was The First. I was The Only. And that paved the way to become the best. Your challenge is to be the first to tell the marketplace what the criteria are and that you satisfy them. How will your brand transition from being nice to being necessary?

4. It’s NOT “who you know.” Nor is it “who knows you.” It’s whose life is significantly better because they know you. It’s how many people in your network feel honored to be a part of it. It’s how many people in your network believe that they have greater capability than before because they are a part of it.

And it’s how many people in your network see more possibilities in their world because of their connection to you – even if it’s some retired fighter pilot in Frankfurt who reads your tweets religiously. Ultimately, it’s not about the number of eyeballs that see you – it’s how much clearer those eyeballs can see because OF you. How do you want your future network to remember you?

5. Send a continuous flow of education. Not just information. Any schmuck can do that. You need to be a broker of wisdom. An impulsive and compulsive finder and messenger of truth. And it’s your responsibility to deliver that truth in an educational way via your permission asset that helps your customers grow their businesses.

Ideally, in a three-dimensional medium like video. Or, if you’re camera shy, blogging, tweeting, newsletters and the like. All that matters is that you keep the beat going. And that people remember that beat came from YOU. You will eventually compose a Thought Leadership soundtrack that rocks the face off of your market. How are you making your customers smarter?

6. Discover where your great joy meets the world’s great need. Theologian Frederick Buechner suggested this nearly fifty years ago. And although I highly doubt he was talking about small business and entrepreneurship, the lesson still applies: Balance your boldness. Make sure your dreams get acquainted with reality. And deploy your joy with meaningful concrete immediacy so the lives of the people you serve actually get better.

Here’s a helpful formula. Before taking action on your next idea, ask yourself three questions: (a) Am I the best at this? (b) Do I love doing this? (c) Will people buy this? If you can’t go three-for-three, find something else. What actions have you taken to ensure that your market knows what you bring to the marketplace?

7. Get people to physically recognize you. You don’t have to shave your head. You don’t have to get tattoos all over your body. And you definitely don’t have to wear a nametag 24-7. What you DO need is to consider is the value of physical recognizability as an impetus of sought-after-ability.

Running a Google Image Search on your full name in quotes is the perfect exercise to audit your current recognizability. As you explore the pictures (assuming you ARE googleable), look for patterns in your appearance. Note colors, trends and styles that are uniquely yours. Stick to them. You might even consider physically creating a “character sketch” for yourself. That way you can stay consistent. Tune into to see what I mean. What’s YOUR look?

8. Building up a critical mass of interest. I don’t make cold calls. This is partly by choice, since I totally SUCK at cold calls. But the central driver of my critical mass of interest is by virtue of the sheer volume of material I’ve published since 2002. Most people don’t know this, but I write for four to seven hours a day. Four to seven hours. And when I get blank stares back at me, my half-joke/half-serious response to people is: “But I’m a writer. That’s what I DO. What do YOU do all day?”

I've been a writer since I was seven years old. It’s the only part of my life that I can’t remember NOT being a part of my life. So, it’s a perfect fit. And as such, writing is my occupation inasmuch as writing occupies most of my time. My job, however, is an author, speaker, consultant and entrepreneur. But writing is still the foundation. Writing is the basis of all wealth. And writing is the strategy that stamps tens of thousands of my digital footprints (in print and online) that lead people back to me.

And, you don’t even have to be a professional writer to leverage writing. You’ll discover that whatever industry you work in, writing is one of the few practices guaranteed to build a critical mass of interest in your brand, expertise and work. The hard part is, you have to do it every day. EVERY day. Because if you don’t write it down – it never happened. What did YOU write today?

REMEMBER: Becoming more sought-after-able makes you more credible, more desirable and more buyable.

I challenge you to put these practices into action, and you’ll be more sought-after than The Jonas Brothers at a middle school sleepover.

Who's seeking after you?

For the list called, "29 Pieces of Simple, Easy Advice That Will Change Your Business Forever," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

New website go live this week?

Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You Can Laugh at Your Writer's Block Worries if You Follow this Plan

Here's a question my readers, audience members and clients often ask me:

"How do you decide what you’re going to write about each day?"

You don’t.

Creativity doesn’t come FROM you – it comes THROUGH you.

The challenge when you sit down to write every morning isn’t DECIDING what you’re going to write, but rather, LISTENING for what wants to be written.

Naturally, this approach is tricky for a lot of writers. After all, it suggests surrender. And it requires you to relinquish creative control.

But that’s the best part about creativity:

It’s nothing more than active listening followed by active rendering.

Can’t decide what to write about today? Consider three practices to help you listen for what wants to be written:

1. Morning Pages. Along with physical exercise and daily appointments with yourself, Morning Pages are the single most important component to a profitable writing practice.

Here’s how they work: For the first thirty minutes of your day, just sit down and start writing. Whatever is swirling around in your brain, get it down. No structure. No stopping. No grammar. No spelling checks.

Just puke your truth all over the page. No matter how stupid, incoherent or terrible your words sound. Give yourself permission to write three pages of nonsensical garbage. Nobody will ever see it but you.

WHY IT WORKS: When you honor your first awakening thoughts, two things happen. First, you clear away all the crap floating around in your inner world. This is akin to spending an hour at the driving range before playing 18 holes. It’s all about getting the shanks out.

Secondly, you open the floodgates to whatever ideas and thoughts hold the most importance in your brain at that moment. By relaxing into the page, this form of meditative freewriting allows the self-organizing system of your brain to prioritize its best stuff.

2. Invocation. Creativity hinges on your ability to listen (then render) whatever your heart is currently whispering to you. So, approaching this process with a posture of humility and honor is the best way to open yourself to receiving inspiration.

The secret is to introduce a ritual of invocation. Calling on The Muse. The Great Spirit. God. The Collective Unconscious. Whatever. It doesn’t matter what you call it; it only matters THAT you call it. Personally, I found the invocations from Eric Maisel’s Ten Zen Seconds to be easy, relaxing and effective.

Of course, you’re free to customize this practice around your own preferences. For example, satanic rituals are perfectly acceptable, as long as you wipe the goat’s blood off your keyboard.

WHY IT WORKS: No matter what you believe – or don’t believe – creativity is spiritual. Period. Not religious, but spiritual. I triple dog dare you to prove me otherwise. So, to listen for what wants to be written, all it takes is a little trust.

Trust that your inner resources will provide for you. Trust that you are richly supported. Trust that when you expect nothing, failure is impossible. And trust that whatever truth needs to be expressed at this very moment will eventually stand up and say, “Here I am! Write me!”

3. Listen to your body. The stupidest mistake a writer can make is to sit down at his desk and stare at a blank page until something comes. I guarantee this will (a) scare your brain, (b) stress out your body and (c) piss off your Muse. Look: You’re making it too hard on yourself. Don’t attempt to start from scratch.

Instead, spend a few minutes in your Content Management System searching through your collection of module ideas, words, phrases and sentences. See what jumps out at you. Listen to your body, not your brain. Listen for reactions, not opinions.

For example, if a particular sentence causes you to react physiologically in any way – a ping in your stomach, a chuckle under your breath, a gasp of amazement – write about that. Heed your physiology. Whatever manifests in your body is probably what wants to be written.

WHY IT WORKS: The idea of “staring at a blank page,” as romantic and classical as it sounds, is not a smart move. By doing so, you significantly decrease the probability of discovering what wants to be written.

On the other hand, when you flood your brain with hundreds of (seemingly unrelated) ideas – even the ones with remote relevance – you allow the unconscious integration process to cognitively distribute those ideas in ways a blank page never could.

You enhance your ability to be inspired and find the one sentence that absolutely defines the moment. And that’s when you think, “Ooh! That’s the one. That’s what I should write about today…”

REMEMBER: Creativity comes through you, not from you.

You can’t decide what to write.

You can only listen for what wants to be written.

What are you listening to?

For the list called, "9 Things Every Writer Needs to Do Every Day," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How to Stand By Your Value and Sidestep Bloodsuckers - While Still Remaining Approachable

If you don’t set healthy boundaries for yourself, people will set them for you.

And then they will violate them.
And then they will tell their friends that it’s OK to violate them.
All because you failed to set a precedent of value.

You know the types of conversations I’m talking about. Those unsolicited phone calls, emails or in-person requests from people you barely know (or don’t know at all) that want to abuse your expertise for their own personal gain without reciprocating any value in return.


Today I’m going to teach you how to handle these situations in a professional, approachable, value-driven way that (still) maintains your integrity, wastes minimal time and effort for both parties – all while simultaneously educating people on your boundaries.

1. “I just have one quick question.”

No, they don’t. Their “question” is rarely quick and usually requires a lengthy answer that you probably don’t have the time to offer.

An example of “one quick question” is, “What was the name of that satanic death metal band we listened to last night?” NOT, “How did you get your start as a writer?”

Next time this happens to you, try one of these responses:

o “I’m glad you asked! My free ebook addresses that issue in great detail. Download it here, read it, and if you still have questions when you’re finished, get back to me.” Delivers value and challenges them to work.

o “You know, that question would take about an hour to answer. When would you like to set up a one-on-one coaching session to do so?” Sets a precedent of value.

o “That’s a great question. And I definitely have a great answer for you. How much money would it be worth to you to have that answer?” Risky, but makes them put a price on their problem.

o “I’d be happy to sit down with you and share my thoughts. My One Quick Question Fee is $250. How about Thursday at 10:30am at the Starbucks on Walnut and Main?” Sales closer.

2. “I’d like to get together to talk about an opportunity.”

Odds are, it’s an opportunity for them to sell you something. Or make money off of you. Which I’m not saying is a crime – salespeople have to eat too.

But your job as the master of your boundaries is to require specific information about this “opportunity” before proceeding to waste two hours of your day sitting in a coffee shop listening to some glossy-eyed housewife pitch you on her amazing system for becoming your own boss and making a six-figure income selling non-FDA approved herbal supplements that may or may not cause rectal bleeding.

Next time this happens to you, try one of these responses:

o "Can you email me a copy of the meeting agenda?" Odds are, they won't have one.

o “If we got together, what, specifically, would the agenda be for our meeting?” Asks for clarification.

o “Are you affiliated with any direct selling or network marketing organizations?” Weeds out the pyramid people.

o “Could you give me a specific description of this opportunity in twenty words or less so that I can make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed?” Forces them to be more concise.

3. “I’d love to buy you lunch.”

Riiiiight. That way you’d be committed to (at least) twenty minutes of facetime so this bloodsucker can ask every possible question he can think of, listen carefully to your advice, and then take ZERO action on any of the gems you gave him because he didn’t pay.

No. You’re not a lunch whore. “Will work for food” is not part of your business plan (barring extenuating circumstances). Not anymore.

Next time this happens to you, try one of these responses:

o “What is your positive motivation for wanting to meet with me?”Calls their bluff.

o “What specific questions do you have? I bet most of them could be answered via email more efficiently.” Saves time, mixes the medium.

o “Thanks for the invitation! I'd love to get together if my schedule wasn't so darn full. My lunches for the next few months are either client/prospect meetings or coaching/consulting sessions. And I need to make those my priority during that time slot to optimize my time and reach my goals. If you would like to book a one-on-one session, attached is my fee schedule and availability. Otherwise, I respectfully decline.” Sets boundaries, retains value.

4. “Could we chat on the phone sometime?”

In the words of Scott “Dilbert” Adams, “Nothing good can ever come from answering the phone. It’s always someone asking you to do work. Incoming phone calls rarely involve people volunteering to help you.”

Interesting point. And in many cases, true point. See, it’s harder to set boundaries, restrict time or say no to someone on the phone. Nobody likes rejecting or being rejected in person OR on the phone. Email, on the other hand, is much easier, accessible and efficient. Plus it’s less threatening.

Next time this happens to you, try one of these responses:

o “We (could) talk on the phone, but you’ll have a better chance of reaching me and a MUCH quicker response if you send an email.” More efficient.

o “Actually, I hate the phone. Here’s my email address…” Honest, efficient, mixes the medium.

o “Well, what’s your burning question? I bet I can answer it right now…” Time saver.

5. “I’d like to set up a meeting with you.”

First of all, meetings are useless. They waste time, kill productivity and bore people to tears. And the fact that most businesspeople still have meetings every day is an indication that evolution never happened.

Not to mention, “meetings” are often code for “sales pitches.” Stay away from these vortexes. Their undertow is designed to suck you in. Protect of your time.

Next time this happens to you, try one of these responses:

o “Dang it! I’m all booked up. Email me with your issue and we’ll solve it online together.” Next best option.

o “I would, but meetings are the bane of my existence. And I maintain a personal policy that doesn’t allow meetings. So, what the best way I can help you the most, right now?” Honesty, levity, brevity, integrity.

o “What, specifically, is your burning question? I bet I could answer it quickly without the need for a meeting.” Forces clarification and compactness.

6. “Can I pick your brain?”

For years I allowed people to “pick my brain.” We’d eat, brainstorm, chat, laugh – even sometimes map out their entire ideas. And it was a lot of fun, except for two things. One: I felt like a prostitute. And two: People NEVER, EVER took a modicum of action of any of the ideas because (a) most people don’t execute in general, and (b) people didn’t pay me.

What I’ve discovered is that when people don’t pay me – they don’t hear me. So, I started charging enough money that people would not only listen to me; but also do what I said. And they did. Funny how that works.

Next time this happens to you, try one of these responses:

o “Fantastic! I’d be happy to let you pick my brain. My brain-picking fee is $2000. How about Monday at 2:00pm at Panera on Brentwood?” Value, sales closer.

o “Actually, you can’t PICK my brain – but you can rent my brain. Go to for details.” Smart branding, unexpected, stands by value, changes the conversation.

o “Actually, my brain’s all booked up right now. Fortunately, my website has over 700 pages of articles and probably contains the answers to most of your immediate questions. Good luck!” Redirection with value.

REMEMBER: Your time isn’t valuable – it’s billable.

The good news is:

You can still reject people without being an unapproachable jerk.
You can still maintain the integrity of your boundaries without being a lunch whore.
You can still restrict the access to your brain without being selfish with your knowledge.

As long as you start by asking yourself: “Is this an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used?”

Because if you don’t set healthy boundaries for yourself, people will set them for you.

Will you stand by your value?

For the list called, "66 Questions to Prevent Your Time from Managing YOU," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Who's quoting YOU?

Check out Scott's Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on branding success!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

8 Ways Make Your Message More Spreadable than Syphilis in a Slovakian Steam Room

Businesses that get talked about GET more business.


And if people aren’t actively telling their friends about you, your products and your services, they don’t exist.


Enter “spreadability.”

No, this has nothing to do with Ritz Crackers.

THE SECRET IS: You can’t “go viral” or “get people to start talking about you.”

What you CAN do is create an environment in which word of mouth is most likely to occur.

And you do that by making your message more spreadable.

Here are eight ways to do so:

1. Sell without selling. Spreadability is the result of subtly pitching your product in SUCH an entertaining way that customers never feel like they’re being sold. Joe Pulizzi from The Content Marketing Revolution wrote, “Stop thinking about pushing your product and start thinking about what your customers would do after engaging in your marketing. If the inclination is to spread the message, then you've done something right.” Are you SO good that people will voluntarily sign up to watch your marketing?

2. Think like a doctor. Marketers should hang out with doctors. Not because marketers are sick (even though some people might argue otherwise), but because there’s some overlap between the two disciplines. For example: “You can’t spread a disease that’s dormant.” That’s a medical truth. Interestingly, the word “dormant” comes from the Latin dormire, which means, “to sleep.”

Here are my questions: Which of your marketing efforts are asleep? Which of your marketing efforts are putting customers TO sleep? And who in your marketing department needs to wake up FROM their sleep? "Paging Dr. Bankruptcy, Dr. Bankruptcy. You have a patient waiting in Surgery 2." How dormant is the disease you’re trying to spread?

3. The flu has feelings too. As cyberculture journalist Douglas Rushkoff suggested, “People don't engage with each other to exchange viruses; people exchange viruses as an excuse to engage with each other.” And often times, they do so unintentionally.

And, as social networking blogger Izzie Neis explained, “From a marketers perspective, if you can engineer the perfect viral campaign, the people will be powerless to resist. They’ll be diffusing your ideas before they know what hit them.” How could you spread your virus to people without them even knowing, but without them even caring that they have it?

4. Reward the spreaders. Provide an incentive for users, customers, readers and viewers to spread your content. Give away freebies. Offer samples. Maybe even allow customers to tally a scorecard for every time they spread your idea. You could even structure an incentive system based on the customer’s number of “spread points,” much like airlines miles. Whatever it takes to ensure people truly believe they have something to gain by spreading the message. Because if they don’t, they won’t. What carrot can you dangle in front of your spreaders noses?

5. Sticky is for suckers. Sticky doesn’t necessarily mean viable. Spreadable, on the other hand, is powerful AND profitable. Henry Jenkins, Director of Comparative Media Studies at MIT, wrote a fantastic article on spreadability in 2009. He explained: “In the era of convergence culture, spreadable content is designed in a way to be circulated by grassroots intermediaries who pass it along to their friends or circulate it through larger communities.”

Lesson learned: Surrender control. Enable people to take YOUR idea into THEIR own hands. Openly embrace a “fan” mentality and transfer ownership to the customer. Find people that have big mouths, market to them – give them megaphones – then get out of the way. That’s how spreadability becomes long-term viability. Are you (truly) spreadable, or just sticky?

6. Unspreadable is the enemy. Ever tried to spread refrigerated butter? It’s near impossible. You almost always puncture a hole in the bread, right? Not exactly an efficient way to make a sandwich. Interestingly, in my research on spreadability, I came across an article from the Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry. It’s called, Melting Properties of Butter Fat, The Consistency of Butter and The Effect of Modification of Cream Ripening and Fatty Acid Composition.

Fascinating stuff. According to the Hungarian professors who wrote the piece, there is a close relationship between the consistency of butter and its product characteristics:

“The cold, unspreadable consistency of butter after taking it out of the refrigerator is a rightful objection on behalf of consumers. And it can only be improved by the combination of the heat-step cream ripening and enrichment with low melting point triglycerides to achieve stable consistency at room temperature.”

Now, if you’re like me, you probably have no idea what the hell that means. But stay with me here. Because this article proves, scientifically, that spreadability is directly related to high quality ingredients. And that doesn’t just go for butter. In marketing, the same principle applies:

Shtick isn’t enough – you’ve got to support remarkability with substance.

Otherwise customers aren’t going to tell their friends about you. What does your product have going for it that surpasses baseline remarkability?

7. Medium AND message. As Duncan Watts says in the bestselling Six Degrees, “The structure of the network is perhaps more important in predicting the spread of content than the nature of the content.” Lesson learned: Viral marketing is a social animal. So, whatever message you’re spreading, don’t just focus on the content – but on the needs of the people you’re asking to spread that content. What do your followers crave?

8. Propagation planning. “Plan not for the people you reach, but for the people they reach,” says Griffin Farley, noted spreadability thought leader. That’s the central idea behind propagation planning, something I recently learned about from reading Griffin’s blog.

I also learned about propagation planning from Ivan Pollard, who said:

“Plant the message or bits of the message in various places in such a way that people pull the entire message or components of the message down. Let them play with the stuff you give them. Get involved with it. Package it back up again in a way that reflects their take on it (even if it is just adding a comment), then pass it on to people in their network or circle.”

In the process of doing this, says Ivan, the message gets stronger and more powerful as it moves on – not weaker and more fragmented. Think mash-up. Think parody videos. Are you forgetting about your customer’s customer?

REMEMBER: If you don’t spread – you’re dead.

Now if you’ll excuse me, all this talk about being spreadable is making me hungry.

I see a box of Ritz Crackers in my future.

How are you boosting your spreadability?

For the list called, "123 Questions Every Salesperson Should Ask," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!

Monday, October 12, 2009

How to Make Your Business More Sellable than a Case of Coors Light at Denver Broncos Tailgate Party

You could be the greatest salesperson in the world.

But if you’re trying to sell an unsellable product, that doesn’t matter.

Any number multiplied by zero is still zero.

The real issue isn’t, “How can I get people to buy?” but rather, “What could I do to make my business more sellable?”

Let’s explore five strategies for boosting sellability:

1. Be picture perfect. In an article called, “How to Make Your Car More Sellable” on, I learned an interesting factoid: “Online car buyers like photos. Very rarely does a person spend a consistent amount of time viewing a listing without them. If they're willing to drop several thousand dollars, they will want to see what they're putting their money into.”

Lesson learned: Buyers need proof. No matter what industry you’re a part of. We live in a sales resistant culture that demands you show people your bonafides. Secure the legitimacy of your product by proving you’ve got nothing to hide. Pictures, pictures, pictures. Is your product camera friendly?

2. Post your fee publicly. I’ve been doing so since I started my company in 2002, and I’ve NEVER regretted it. For several reasons. First, posting your fee demonstrates transparency. It helps you brand your honesty in a low-trust environment. For example, instead of just quoting your fee spontaneously (and running the risk of prospects wondering if you just pulled that number out of your ass), just email them a link to your fee schedule page.

Second, public fees qualify your leads and cut out no-money prospects you don’t want to waste your time talking on the phone with anyway. It’s a great time saver AND saves you from rejecting prospects in person, which nobody likes. Finally, posting your price helps you maintain fee integrity when someone asks you for a discount. For example, “Come on Scott! Can’t you do it for less?” a customer asks. And you respond with this:

“As you know, Mr. Jackson, my fee is posted on my website. So, in order to be fair to everyone – and to maintain the integrity of my value – I cannot offer you a lower price. I hope you understand my position.”

So, I’m not suggesting you NEVER negotiate. I certainly do. The secret is setting a precedent of value. Are you willing to stick yourself (and your fee) out there?

3. Make your product a blank canvas. Sellability is crucial in the real estate industry – especially for residential properties. British real estate columnist Serena Cowdy explained in a recent article on Wallet Pop UK, “One person's 'eclectic chic' is another person's 'big old mess'. Viewings aren't the time to display your quirky set of African burial relics or your enormous collection of comedy mugs.”

Lesson learned: In our highly individualized, “customer first” culture, buyers seek permission to stamp their own personalities on a new product. Your challenge is to make it easier for them to imagine doing so by presenting a blank canvas. Sellable equals customizable. How are helping your customers make it THEIRS?

4. An Apple a day keeps the bankruptcy away. According to a survey by, when the first version of the iPhone was released in January of 2007, it took seventy-five days to sell one million units. When the new iPhone 3G came out eighteen months later, it only took four days.

What happened? Increased sellability. And Apple accomplished that by offering faster data speeds, assisted GPS, boosted the camera megapixel rate, added video capability and enabled voice control. I know that’s why I bought one. What new features and benefits would skyrocket your sales?

5. Unsellable art. In February of 2008, three masked men pulled off one of the largest art heists in decades. According to the article in The Washington Post, they stole four paintings by impressionist and post-impressionist masters Cezanne, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh. The art was worth an estimated $163 million.

Interestingly, museum director Lukas Gloor explained, “The stolen paintings were so well-known that, on the open market, these pictures are unsellable.”

Wow. Maybe getting known and being famous (in certain contexts) can work against your sellability. Maybe being TOO good and TOO perfect and TOO rare scares buyers away. Is your status your enemy?

REMEMBER: You can’t make people buy.

All you can do is increase the probability of a sale by becoming more sellable.

How sellable are you?

For the list called, "11 Ways to Out MARKET Your Competitors," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!