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Thursday, January 29, 2009

6 Ways to Use Your Blog to Close More Sales

One of the great leverage questions you could EVER ask yourself is, “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?”

That’s how you kill two stones with one bird, as my mantra says.

And the cool part is, when you plug your blog into that equation, the creative sales possibilities are endless.

SO, HERE’S THE SECRET: Your blog is non-threatening, not salesy, value-driven tool that you can use to close more sales, if you do it right.

Today we’re going to explore six strategies to incorporate your blog into your sales process.

1. Attraction. Can’t seem to fill your prospect pool? No worries.

Consider writing practical, focused, pithy, not-to-long, meaty blog posts that help people make more money. Use emotional headlines, limited self-promotion, consistent humor and of course, list-based content, which, according to my experience, will work for these forty-three reasons; and, according to Copyblogger, will always work because of these seven reasons.

Make your posts easy to read and easier to spread. Oh, and include basic contact information at the end of each one. Do this every day for six months, and I guarantee you’ll have more new prospects than you know what to do with.

2. Outreach. Can’t get new customers to email YOU? Fear not.

Just remember: Your writing becomes persuasive the moment your readers take action on it.

Now, ideally, you want them to contact you. Either to thank you for your awesome post, ask a question, or, hopefully, to buy. The secret is to include a Call to Action or Response Mechanism at the end of each post to garner a response.

For example, you could offer a fifteen-minute phone consultation, a complimentary ebook or a free price quote. Anything to get your readers to personally reach out to you, right now. (See the end of this post for a perfect example of this strategy.)

3. Objections. Noticing some resistance to the sale? Understandable.

Check this out: Next time a customer says something like, “Well, we’re not sure if we want to buy yet because our budget is cut and…”

Simply respond with:

“Actually, I’m glad you said that. Just last week I wrote an article on my blog that explains the five best ways to preserve your budget…” Who could resist?

4. Testimonials. Current prospect still need convincing about whether or not to hire you? No problem.

Consider sending him a link to a blog post that includes one of the following:

*A funny, yet practical success story from a recent business trip to visit one of your clients.
*A video testimonial from a variety of past/current clients, each of which are positively describing their experience with you.
*A glowing email you received from one of your customers – not saying how great YOU are, but rather, how great their lives are now that they’ve started working with you.

5. Follow-Up. Not sure how to approach that indecisive client? That’s cool.

Instead of emailing your prospect with the vomitous, “Just wanted to see if you had any questions on my proposal…” you could use a value-driven follow-up approach like:

*“Hey Steve - I thought of you when I wrote this blog post this morning…”
*"Mary! I just wrote an article using your company as a perfect example of (x)!”
*"Morning, Mr. Randolph! Today I blogged about your biggest competitor. You won’t want to miss this.”

6. Repeat Business. Got an old customer you’d like to work with again, but don’t have a non-salesy reason to contact her? No biggie.

Try this. Send her an email request for an interview. Explain that you’d like to share her company’s philosophy, mission and unique approach to doing business with your (thousands?) of readers.

Email her a half-dozen powerful, penetrating questions. Let her think about them for a while, then conduct an informal, virtual lunch conversation/interview over the phone or Skype. Then, when the piece is published, send her an email right away.

Oh, and make sure to remind her to send it to everybody in her company. (Which she’ll probably do anyway.) The odds of her buying from you again will double.

CAUTION: Keep in mind that none of these six blogging practices will work unless you’ve already taken preparatory action.

That means you need to actually HAVE a blog.
That means you need to be WRITING, every day.
That means you need to POST on your blog, every day.
That means you need to attract decent TRAFFIC to your blog.
That means you need to gather TESTIMONIALS from your customers fans.
That means you need to earn your readers’ TRUST through (consistently) practical and helpful content.

Hey, come on. If my Pitt Bull can write a blog, so can you.

Look, these strategies work. I've been using them weekly for years to close LOTS of sales. And I'm not the only one.

SO REMEMBER: The ultimate leverage question to ask is, “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?”

The answer?

A more creative, more unique, more unexpected, more value-driven; yet a less threatening, less salesy, less pushy and less predictable sales approach.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you incorporating your blog into your sales process?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “75 Ways to Take Your Blog from Anonymous to Award Winning,” 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Nobody seeing YOUR name anywhere?

Bummer. Perhaps my monthly coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

6 Ways to Monopolize the Listening

My doctor, the great Steve Edmundowicz,, once told me, “If I listen to my patients, they give me their diagnosis. If I listen to my patients long enough, they give themselves their cure.”

LESSON LEARNED: Monopolize the listening.

That means patience. Breathing. Relaxing. Affirming. Acknowledging. Questioning.

“Loving someone with your ears,” as I officially define listening.

So, whoever you are, whatever your role is, whenever you’re listening and whomever you're listening to, your goal is simple: Judge nothing. Accept everything. Facilitate someone's understanding.

For growing bigger ears, that’s pretty much it!

Here’s a list of seven practices to help you monopolize the listening:

1. Ask without expecting answers. Enter the conversation with curiosity. Just ponder the question. Listen to the type of thinking your question provokes.

2. Attend to someone’s energy. It’s a gateway into the domains of their lives. Sense it.

3. Begin the exploration. Because listening is archaeological in nature, your task is to explore the energy and emotion behind a subject. To facilitate an exploration of the other person’s experiences.

4. Let people be wrong. This isn’t the same thing as YOU being right. This is about having trust that people’s inner resources will serve them. This is about enabling them to discover their own solutions within, using you as a pointer.

5. Knock, but don’t enter. Illuminate the truth and help them recognize it. Let someone's brain take them where it wants to go.

6. Build a space. Allow space for people to hear themselves so they can feel the impact of what they just said. Give them the choice to continue and elaborate. Allow people to hear themselves through pausing, note taking, asking them to repeat something or repeating their exact words back to them.

REMEMBER: If you listen, people will tell you their problem. But if you MONOPOLIZE the listening, people will give themselves their solution.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you monopolize the listening?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "17 Behaviors to Avoid for Effective Listening," 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

How are you using your ears as a sales tool?

Tune in to The Sales Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on enabling customers to buy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

72 Ways to Take Your Blog from Anonymous to Award Winning

1. Anytime you share link love, email the person you mentioned in your blog and thank them. They’ll probably find your post through their Google Alerts eventually, but still, a personal note from the actual blogger is always appreciated. It’s also more likely to stimulate word of mouth AND cement a new relationship, since it is grounded in value, respect and connectedness.

2. Ask your readers QUESTIONS. Here’s why: Questions aren’t questions. They’re catapults. That’s the best part. Once they’ve been asked, it’s neurologically impossible for the human brain not to seek answers. And when you change your questions, you change your world. You also change your reader’s worlds.

So: Ask dangerous questions. Ask disturbing questions. Ask dumb questions. Ask killer questions. Ask ouch questions. Ask penetrating questions. Ask upside-down questions. Ask soul-shaking questions.

When you do this, when you enhance your Questioning Practice, you stretch your (and your reader’s) mind into unexpected, unencumbered territory, surpassing that threshold level of understanding that so desperately tries to hold you back. What questions are you asking that the other 300 million bloggers out there AREN’T asking?

3. Use lists. Here's a helpful list on how to use them.

4. Vonnegut was right. Be a great date for your reader.

5. BE HONEST: Would YOU read your blog every day?

6. Brainstorm. What have you accomplished that people would not only respect, but also desire to learn and utilize to gain the same benefits for their company? Blog about that.

7. But, don’t ask too many questions. This is a seductive writing trap that’s easy to fall into. And the challenge is, without context, without meat and without solid content to support your questions, you look like an amateur writer who couldn’t think of anything good or original to say, so he just decided to ask a bunch of questions.

8. Close each post with a Call To Action or Response Mechanism. If you don’t know what that is, wait until the end of this post. You'll see what I mean.

9. Compile a Post Cue or Editorial Calendar in your Content Management System. This prevents you from throwing together some half-assed post last minute. I suggest staying at least two weeks – approximately 10 posts – ahead. (Wait. You DO have a Content Management System, right? If not, email me immediately.)

10. Create a writing schedule. This practice will force you NOT to rely on inspiration.

11. Don’t “use humor.” It won’t come out funny. Any over determined action produces its exact opposite, says The Tao De Ching. Just be funny. Allow your natural hilariousness to shine.

12. Remember: Don’t make your readers do your job for you.

13. Get Meebo. Coolest thing ever.

14. Secret: Give people ideas they can implement TODAY.

15. Give people the meat. If they wanted fluff, they would have taken their kid to Build-A-Bear.

16. Horn Tooting. Higher quality content earns you the right to be a little more self-promotional.

17. Ideally, your blog and your website should be the same thing. If I had to do it over, I would have designed it that way. However, if that’s not a possibility, no worries. Here’s what you do. Make sure your blog has a few static pages built in about you, your products and services and your philosophy.

If your blog host doesn’t allow that, just make your static pages actual blog posts with the comments turned off. Cool little trick. Click on the “Meet Scott” at the top of this blog tab for a perfect example.

18. Identify your TRUE expertise and inventory your negotiable personal assets. Then blog about that.

19. Imagine someone was going to pay you $1000 an hour to rent your brain. What questions would they have to ask you to get their money’s worth? Blog about that.

20. It’s not just about the experiences you’ve had. It’s not just about the lessons learned FROM those experiences. It’s the direct and practical application OF those experiences to the daily lives of your readers, hopefully having something to do with making more money.

21. Read the best Just read Seth Godin’s blog and Brian Clark’s blog everyday. Do what they say, do what they do. Learning from the best increases the chances that you will become the best.

22. Make a list of what do you do that people are eager to pay money for. Then blog about that.

23. WOM. Make it easy for people to share your blog using social bookmarking composite tags, i.e., “Share This" at the end of this post.

24. Make your own words up. Here’s a fun experiment: Go into the preferences section of Microsoft Word and click on “Custom Dictionary.” Then, click on “Edit.” It will formulate a list of every word you’ve right-clicked on and added to the dictionary while writing. You’ll be able to go back in time and see what terms you invented. Then, write out their definitions. Then blog about that.

25. Make your readers stop, nod, gasp and say, “Wow.” A powerful example is a question like, “What are you doing that makes absolutely NO sense?”

26. Be BEAUTIFUL. If it were physically possible to make sweet love to my own blog, I would do it. (Hell, I would even cuddle afterwards.) Anyway, before I get too graphic, here’s my point: Hire a professional blog designer. Don’t download one of those crappy templates from Blogger.com. DEFINITELY don’t try to do it yourself. And certainly don’t commission your sixteen year-old to whip it up on Photoshop during study hall when he should be reviewing for his calculus final.

Call Lucia Mancuso at The Blog Studio at 1-800-SEXY BLOG. (Just kidding. It's 647-428-7038.) Tell her The Nametag Guy sent you, and I guarantee your blog will become gorgeous. NOTE: I receive no affiliate commissions or referral fees for this recommendation. I just think The Blog Studio rocks. And my blog won an award for a “Top 100 Business Blog on the Web” within three months of implementing their new design. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

27. Nobody cares what you’ve done. They only what you’ve learned. Is that what you’re blogging about?

28. Remember Seth's Tip: Notice things and give them names.

29. Also: Pick a lane; take a side.

30. Picture the people who would give their right arm to acquire the valuable expertise you now realize you possess. Then email them every once in a while to tell them you were thinking of them when you published a specific post.

31. Post every single day. If you’re on vacation or sick, have about a dozen posts ready to go in case of emergency. Most blog platforms have future-posting capabilities.

32. Purchase URL’s for specific blog posts. For example, I have a series of articles called, “Attributes of Approachable Leaders.” So, I bought the domain www.approachableleaders.com and now redirect it to the post series.

This makes it easier to share the entire sequence with my readers. Plus, this strategy enables me bookmark key topic ideas for future products and protects my copyright, as trademark is a function of usage.

So for now, The Approachable Leader is just a series of blog posts. I’m sure it will become a book (er, “blook”) eventually. Either way, it’s still MINE. Remember: He who owns the domain owns the idea.

33. Recall what it is everybody is always asking you about. Then blog about that.

34. Remember the headline of this very blog post? Re-read it. Ask yourself what drew you to it. Then replicate that persuasiveness in your own posts.

35. REMEMBER: Nobody cares about you. And I don’t mean that literally. What I mean is, people don’t care how good you are; they care how good you’re going to help them become.

People don’t care what you do for a living; they care what you’re passionate about. People don’t care if you’re having a bad day; they care how you’re going to help them have a better day.

And lastly, people don’t care about your company, they care about the problems your company can solve. Got it?

36. Select either a Niche Topic or Niche Market. Generalism will only succeed if you are (1) really, really good, (2) really, really smart, or (3) have a really, really huge following.

37. Share link love in every post. But don’t overdo it. A confused mind never buys.

38. Sit down and physically write out your answer(s) the question: “If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like?” Once you’ve got 5-7 answers, consider that to be a framework of your personal philosophy. Then, every day when you post, all you have to do is ask this follow-up question:

“Is what I’m blogging about right now giving my readers the tools they need to BUILD that world?” If it’s not, trash it. Simple as that.

39. Comments. Some blogs don’t allow comments from readers unless they’re registered users. I think this is a stupid strategy. So you get a few spam comments. Who cares? Community is more important. Dialogue is more valuable.

40. Some blogs require readers to subscribe before they’re able to read full posts. I think this is also a dumb, fan-alienating strategy. If you’re good, they’ll be back. If you’re really good, they’ll be back with their friends. If you’re really, REALLY good, they’ll be back with their friends and their wallets.

41. Stop quoting Einstein, Rumi, Jesus and Seneca. Quote YOU. If you want to position yourself as a Thought Leader, you need to quote yourself, or else nobody else will.

42. Relevancy. Sure, nobody cares about your dog, but they MIGHT care about the 47 lessons your dog taught you about customer service. Remember: Meat. Content. Guts. Lists. Lessons.

43. Relevancy again. Sure, nobody cares about your dog, but they MIGHT care about the blog your dog writes every day. Make it funny and cool and use great pictures. Create a personality and writing voice for your pet. Wiggle over to www.paisleyblog.com for an example. Yes, my dog has a blog. Why don't you?

44. The attention span of a human being is about six seconds. If you do the math, that comes out to reading four lines of written text. So, unless you want to bore your readers and risk them tuning you out like a Tony Little infomercial, remember two words: LINE BREAKS. Understand The Caveman Principle.

45. Remember: Teach people the secret to something.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Want the remaining 27 strategies? No problem...

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the (entire) list called, "72 Ways to Take Your Blog from Anonymous to Award Winning," 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Who's telling their friends about YOU?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Monday, January 26, 2009

13 Types of People You Need to Stay Away From

Let’s juxtapose two famous quotations, neither of which Google credits to any one source in particular:

1. “Show me your friends I’ll show you your future.”
2. “A man is known by the company he avoids.”


SO: You are a reflection of the people you hang out with. Which also means you (aren’t) a reflection of the people you (don’t) hang out with.

What kind of people do YOU attract? What do the people closest to you value? And how much of your time is spent with people who are examples of the way you want to live?

As someone who used to make the mistake of attracting (and surrounding himself with) the WRONG types of people, I’ve put together a checklist of sorts for you.

First, each example will compare and contrast two different types of people.
Then, a penetrating question will challenge you to make some evaluations of your current relationships.

13 Types of People You Need to Hang Out With/Stay Away From

Hang out with people who make money.
Stay away from people who just want to learn how YOU make money.

ASK YOURSELF: Are you being fair to yourself by continuing this friendship?

Hang out with the kind of people you want to be like.
Stay away from people who aren’t doing jack with their lives.

ASK YOURSELF: What relationship(s) do you need to end?

Hang out with people who are smarter and more successful than you.
Stay away from bloodsuckers, negatives, complainers and chronic time abusers.

ASK YOURSELF: How many pointless relationships are you nurturing?

Hang out with people who have already done what you’re trying to do.
Stay away from people who are just trying to exploit your time, money, resources and brainpower for their own benefit.

ASK YOURSELF: What are people trying to steal from you?

Hang out with people who are better than you.
Stay away from people whose laziness constantly begs your assistance.

ASK YOURSELF: How successful are the people you associate with?

Hang out with Potential People.
Stay away from Problem People.

ASK YOURSELF: Are you surrounding yourself with the kind of people you want to be like?

Hang out with people in whose presence you feel most alive.
Stay away from energy vampires.

ASK YOURSELF: Are you having too many lunches?

Hang out with people who reciprocate your energy.
Stay away from people who sap your enthusiasms.

ASK YOURSELF: How does your posture change when you’re with this person?

Hang out with people who keep you accountable and occasionally kick you in the ass.
Stay away from people who zap your commitment to your priorities.

ASK YOURSELF: Who’s nudging you?

Hang out with people who set healthy boundaries.
Stay away from people who don’t respect your boundaries.

ASK YOURSELF: Is this an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used?

Hang out with people who give you the space you need to breathe and think and BE.
Stay away from people who suffocate you.

ASK YOURSELF: Whom do you need to help you succeed?

Hang out with people whose thinking sparks your own.
Stay way from people whose words pollute you.

ASK YOURSELF: Whose advice have you outgrown?

Hang out with people whose creativity inspires your own.
Stay away from people who do nothing but piggyback on your ideas.

ASK YOURSELF: How much time do you spend with those who inspire and challenge you?

REMEMBER: You are a reflection of the people you hang out with. Which also means you (aren’t) a reflection of the people you (don’t) hang out with.

Choose wisely.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Whom are you staying away from?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "23 Boundary Questions to Help You Draw the Line," 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about sticking yourself out there.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Scott Ginsberg Gives NBC a Tour of Nametag Headquarters!



To watch Scott's interview, head over to KSDK St. Louis!

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What will you leverage this year?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Nobody seeing YOUR name anywhere?

Bummer. Perhaps my monthly coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!



Thursday, January 22, 2009

Attributes of Approachable Leaders, Pt. 4













Past Posts
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people where they are.
ATTRIBUTE #3: Vortex people in.

Today's Post
ATTRIBUTE #4: Share the spotlight.

It’s one thing to shine; it’s another thing to create an atmosphere where OTHERS can shine.

Richard Tait, founder of Cranium, practices this principle daily.

At the 2008 Fire Sessions, a Brains on Fire conference where he and I both conducted workshops, I remember him saying this:

“When you give each individual person a chance to shine, everybody wins.”

So, it’s all about permission. Making people feel like it’s OK to be awesome. Like it’s cool to kick ass. Hooray!

Here are three ways you can start LIVING this attribute today:

1. Three simple words. “What about you?”

2. Accomplishment introductions. Without making someone feel TOO awkward, introduce them along with something they’ve accomplished. For example, “Carol, this is my colleague, Sasha. She recently published a cool photography book about her adventures in Venezuela!"

3. Make ‘em shine. In a group conversation, highlight someone’s successes by saying, “Hey Courtney, didn’t you have a lot of success with that strategy year?”

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How are you unlocking people’s brilliance?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "68 Things Employees Never Want to Hear Their Manager Say," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

All Posts In This Series
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people where they are.
ATTRIBUTE #3: Vortex people in.
ATTRIBUTE #4: Share the spotlight.
ATTRIBUTE #5: Respond to what IS.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about sticking yourself out there.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Top 10 Brand Building Strategies to Bank BIG in '09

This week my friend Paul asked me a solid question: "What are your All-Time Top Ten Branding Lessons Learned from 3,000 Days of Nametagging?"

So, I spent some time coming up with a sort of "Greatest Hits" list. Here are ten brand building strategies to BANK in 2009:

1. Approachability wins. We live in a culture of sales resistance. Consumers are skeptical and require confidence before deciding to buy. They’ve been advertised to, marketed to, duped, fooled, conned, scammed, sold and screwed over too many times.

Approachability establishes comfort, creates connections and builds trust.

So: Return emails right away. Call back the same hour. Make communication a relaxing experience. Ask unexpected, penetrating questions. Cultivate your creativity and passion and embed that into the pavement, and people will want to sit in your radius.

Remember: If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

2. Be That Guy. We live in a hyperspeed, A.D.D. culture. Clients need to know they’re getting YOU. The world demands specialists and people need shortcuts. And that’s exactly what personal brands are.

Ask yourself: Whom are you known TO? What are you known AS? What are you known FOR? What are you known for KNOWING?

Remember: Anonymity is bankruptcy.

It’s not who you know, it’s who knows YOU. You need to create a monthly plan for making people more aware of you. Create a reputation that accurately describes you, often precedes you and humbly serves you when you’re not there.

3. Be The Origin, not The Echo. There are no cover bands in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Similarly, in business: The more imitable you are, the less valuable you are.

So: Be un-competable. Be un-confusable. Be un-disputable. Be un-stealable. Be The Only.

The secret is: Don’t be different; be unique. “Different” is something you do intentionally; unique is something you are inherently. Being “different” is for amateurs. Extract and magnify your uniqueness.

4. Create Points of Dissonance (POD). Curiosity is a natural motivator of human engagement. So, there’s a certain dissonance when people observe an unexpected or unexplained behavior. And THAT dissonance in increases the probability of an encounter. Because people just HAVE to ask. They just GOTTA to know.

So, it’s about stimulating curiosity, breaking patterns and attracting interest. The goal is to create a fulcrum point from which the conversation can advance. Because before someone gets to the “Aha!” about what you do and who you are, they have to be captivated by the “Huh?”

This permission is a valuable asset because people’s time and attention are being vied for by an infinite amount of forces. Ultimately, it’s about leveraging remarkability to trigger an emotional engagement.

5. Don’t be stopped by not knowing how. Focus (first) on the WHAT, and the HOW will eventually appear.

Here’s why: The “WHAT” can be defined right away; the “WHAT” can lead to immediate action; and the “WHAT” can lay groundwork for the “HOW” to materialize.

Here’s how: Dare to do it badly.

Which might mean making an idiot of yourself. Spending time paying your dues. Which might mean fighting your attitude of instant gratification. Seeking progress, not perfection. Which might mean asking for feedback to find out where you suck.

Remember: Ideas are free; execution is priceless.

6. Fans, not customers. More Fans = Less Selling. You need fans; and you need to give them megaphones. Fans are people who will do your marketing for you, encourage and support everything you do, and most importantly, tell all their friends to become fans of yours too.

The secret is three words: Build a following.

Don’t be selfish with your knowledge. Post on your blog everyday, because writing is the basis of all wealth. Practice Fanagement 101 by asking for people’s email so they become part of your permission asset, then constantly delivering a value message.

7. Get a cool company name. If your company name contains words like “Solutions,” “Associates” and “Communications,” you send the following messages to the world: (1) You’re lazy, (2) you’re amateur, (3) You’re unoriginal and (4) You’re uncreative.

You don’t want a generic company name. Generic names = generic products. And generic products = generic value. And generic value = generic service. And generic service = generic business And generic businesses … rarely stay in business.

If people don’t react in SOME way when they see the name of your company, change your name.

8. Make the mundane memorable. If you consistently do this through all of your touchpoints, or brand moments, here’s what happens: (1) Customers start talking. (2) Employees have more fun. (3) The brand lives and breathes in a new way. (4) Uniqueness shine through. (5) Loyalty increases.

The secret is: Nobody notices normal.

Positioning yourself as “normal” is like asking customers to find a need in a stack of needles.

Remember: Those who get noticed get remembered; and those who get remembered get business.

9. People buy people first. Find a way to lead with your person and follow with your profession. Values before vocation. Individuality before industry. Personality before position.

Ultimately, every interaction you have with somebody either adds to or subtracts from the positive perception of your brand.

Remember: People don’t buy from, trust or have loyalty to COMPANIES, but rather, people.

10. Shtick must be supported by substance. The word shtick is defined as “A characteristic attribute, talent, gimmick or trait that is helpful in securing recognition or attention.”

But shtick is not enough. Shtick needs substance. Shtick doesn’t sustain you. Shtick only sells temporarily. Sure, shtick is catchy and cool and clever and fun and different.

But in business, that will only carry you so far. Sure, shtick might get you in the door. But in marketing, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll stay in the room. Only VALUE and SUBSTANCE can do that.

In business, you CAN’T be all sugar. Customers want value. Customers want substance. Customers want to take a few licks and then discover your Tootsie center.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you build your brand to bank BIG this year?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "12 Dangerous Doozies to Avoid in 2009," 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Who's telling their friends about YOU?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

40 Major Misconceptions That Are Hurting Your Business


















As the 3,000 Days of Nametagging celebration continues, I thought we'd spend today talking about misconceptions. Here are a few I've discovered in my own business. I challenge you to come up with a list of your own:

1. Access isn’t presence. You can still “be there” and offer value to your clients if you’re across the country.

2. Activity isn’t results. Beware of mistaking one for the other.

3. Advising isn’t listening. Especially if the person didn’t ASK you for advice.

4. Aloneness isn’t loneliness. It’s just a healthy form of solitude that all humans need.

5. Art isn’t linear. So, beware of imposing too many rules.

6. Attention isn’t infinite. Make sure your message is quick, simple and digestible.

7. Biography isn’t destiny. Because you ALWAYS have a choice.

8. Change isn’t weakness. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

9. Complaining isn’t attractive. Like farting, complaining relieves you but annoys others.

10. Create without responsibility. And just make art for the sake of making art.

11. Creativity isn’t enough. Nope. You need talent, discipline and passion.

12. Difficult isn’t impossible. Keep plugging away.

13. Duplicity isn’t advantageous. Don’t allow your mind to split.

14. Education isn’t knowing. No matter how many books you read.

15. Evidence isn’t proof. It only suggests the possibility of proof.

16. Excellence isn’t optional. It’s the price of admission.

17. Facelessness isn’t accidental. Companies are monoliths because they choose to be.

18. Faith isn’t fact. You don’t “know,” you simply “believe.”

19. Fit isn’t thin. Magazines are liars.

20. Growth isn’t automatic. It’s a choice. It’s a daily duty.

21. Humility isn’t weakness. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

22. Information isn’t communication. Make your emails shorter.

23. Information isn’t wisdom. Because we learn not from our experiences, but from intelligent reflection upon them.

24. Knowing isn’t understanding. You have to LIVE it first.

25. Listening isn’t agreeing. It’s OK to say, “I respectfully disagree.”

26. Motion isn’t progress. Is what you’re doing RIGHT NOW consistent with your #1 goal?

27. Obvious isn’t easy. Be careful what you dismiss.

28. Passion isn’t unrealistic. It only seems that way to people who are too afraid to express their passion.

29. Pressuring isn’t listening. It’s just awkward.

30. Quitting isn’t failing. Not if you do it at the right time.

31. Reading isn’t believing. Doing, living, being – now THAT’S believing!

32. Respect isn’t weakness. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

33. Retreat isn’t defeat. Walking away is smart.

34. Satisfaction isn’t retention. The real question is, “How many of their friends did they tell about you?”

35. School isn’t education. Where’s your classroom?

36. Success isn’t bestsellers. It’s contribution, significance and validation.

37. Success isn’t perfection. How often do you screw up?

38. Sunday isn’t enough. Your spiritual practice is daily.

39. Suspending isn’t losing. Don’t be such a control freak. Gosh!

40. Technique isn’t enough. Nope. Your heart and soul must be there too. Or else the audience will KNOW.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What misconceptions might be hurting YOUR business?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "65 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me When I First Started My Company," 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

How are you using your ears as a sales tool?

Buy Scott's new book and learn how to sell enable people to buy!

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

Monday, January 19, 2009

22 Compelling Reasons Why Wearing Nametags Will Change Your Life Forever


















A nametag isn’t just a sticker; it’s a statement.

About friendliness. About identity. About culture. About human nature.

Now, as The World’s Expert on Nametags, I’m not suggesting you should wear a nametag everyday. However, in my experiences over the past 3,000 days, I’ve discovered a series of simple truths that answer the question, “What’s in a nametag?”

THEREFORE: My challenge you to is twofold: (1) consider the following list of the twenty-two elements a nametag symbolizes, and (2) reflect on how well each of those elements are practiced your own daily life.

Ultimately, if reading this list inspires you to wear nametags more often, cool. If not, that’s cool too. The goal is for you to use these elements, lessons and questions as mirrors for your own personal growth.

1. A nametag is a permission slip. It’s OK to talk to strangers. If you say hello to a random person, he’s not going to snap. He’s not going to kill you. Don’t be afraid. This person might actually be nice. And cool. And interesting. Hell, you might even learn a thing or two. How are you giving strangers permission to talk to you?

2. A nametag is a conversation advancer and engagement tool. The hardest part about conversations is getting the ball rolling. That’s why names are so great. They are THEE basic building block of conversation. The sooner you know people’s names, the sooner you feel comfortable around them. How could you expedite the conversation by self-disclosing first with people?

3. A nametag is an invitation for friendliness. It’s like walking around saying, “Here. Take it. I’m giving you an opening. I’m making this really, really easy. All you have to do is say hello.” How could you make it really, really easy for people to start a conversation with you?

4. A nametag is a simple act of self-confidence and comfort. It’s also like walking around saying, “Alright world. Here’s who I am. This is ME. I’m proud of my name and my existence. I gladly wear it over my heart. Perhaps this will inspire the people I encounter to do the same." How comfortable are you with your personal Truth? How often does your state of being inspire others to be comfortable with theirs?

5. A nametag is a disarming gesture. Sigmund Freud discovered that a person’s name is the single context of human memory most forgotten. So, wearing a nametag means one less name people have to worry about remembering. Thank GOD. How are you relieving psychological pressures? How are you lowering the probability that someone will lose face in a social encounter with you?

6. A nametag is an immediate tool of accountability. If you’re wearing a nametag, you are statistically less likely to lie or cheat, steal, litter or start fights with people. See, when everybody knows your name, you kind of have to be nice. If you’re not, people will know that “Dave” is a jerk. How are you painting yourself into a good corner?

7. A nametag is an alarm clock. If I’m in a rush and someone says, “Hey Scott!” or “Dude, you’re still wearing your nametag…” I have no choice but to stop (or at least S-L-O-W down) to acknowledge that person. Their greeting – in jest or not – has acknowledged my existence, and the proper, HUMAN thing to do is to reciprocate. How do you find your center of gravity at the moment? What will keep you mindful today?

8. A nametag is a bell of awareness. When standing in line or waiting for something, I often find myself daydreaming. Or brainstorming. Or thinking. Or writing something in my jotter. Or playing on my iPhone. Either way, when the cashier or person behind me says something like, “Scott, you’re next in line!” it’s a gentle nudge away from La-La Land and back into the present moment. How are you getting out of your mind and into the now?

9. A nametag is a cue for fun. It makes people smile. It makes people laugh. It invites jokes and playfulness. Even in the most serious and formal and professional situations, the hand-written, casual, relaxing – yet curious – nature of an adhesive nametag is impossible to ignore. How much fun are you having at work? Do you give others permission to be playful around you? And when you, how does that positively affect productivity?

10. A nametag is personalizes and humanizes someone. Instead of being a nameless statistic or just another face in the crowd, now I have an identity. A name. I’m a person. Which, in a fast-paced, overpopulated society, is almost an accomplishment. How are you shining (and helping other people shine) in a sea of sameness?

11. A nametag eliminates labeling. Instead of people looking at me and making a judgment about my identity, gently broadcasting to them that I’m simply, “Scott” gives them nowhere to go. I’ve labeled myself before they got a chance to do so. I beat them to the punch, and all they can do is agree and say, “Well, I guess this guy’s name is Scott.” How are you silently disarming strangers?

12. A nametag reduces psychological distance. The minute you know someone’s name, you immediately feel closer and more connected to that person. Simply stated, names reduce the distance between people. How are you reducing the distance between you and the people around you? What are you doing to reduce the conflict level around you?

13. A nametag is a reminder to be open. A reminder that it’s important and necessary and powerful to be open and transparent with everyone. A reminder that radical honesty actually works. Especially in our hyperspeed, A.D.D. and (increasingly) socially isolated culture, openness isn’t just valuable, it’s demanded. How transparent are you? How transparent do your customers perceive you to be? And how much money are you losing by not being totally open?

14. A nametag is honest. In a world of mistrust, dishonesty and non-stop bullshite, it’s refreshing to see even the tiniest symbol of truthfulness. What’s fascinating to me is when people look at me with a furrowed brow and a finger on their chin and ask, “Is that your REAL name?”

Now, I know they’re just joking around with me. But in the back of my mind I’m asking two questions: (1) “Why would I lie about my own NAME? It’s the most basic element of my personal truth!” and (2) “Has our society demonstrated SUCH a consistent pattern of dishonestly that a stranger would be skeptical about another stranger’s willingness to share his real name?” How honest are you? How honest do your customers perceive you to be? And how are you branding your honesty, every day?

15. A nametag stretches you. By way of self-disclosure, by way of forgoing anonymity, wearing a nametag LITERALLY causes you to “stick yourself out there.” Sure, it might be uncomfortable. But that’s the best way to learn. Comfort zones are overrated. You have no business there anyway.

In the words of Henry James, “To risk is to risk being shattered. But without the shattering, there is no glory.” What are you shattering? How did you step out of your comfort zone yesterday? And what three lessons did you learn from that?

16. A nametag is a white flag. Human beings avoid conflict, and nametags are natural eliminators of conflict. Think about it: Ever avoided someone because you couldn’t remember their name? Remember: Psychological Distance. Disarming people. Building comfort. It works. Does conflict dissolve in your presence? How are you increasing the probability of an encounter with the people around you?

17. A nametag is a time machine. The farther you go back in time, the friendlier people become. Spooky, but it makes sense: Decades ago, the world was smaller, slower, simpler and safer. So, of course people were friendlier. Ironically, at this point in our world’s history, friendliness is so rare it’s become remarkable. All the more reason to amp up your “hello count.” How many people did you go out of your way to ignore last week? What are you doing to reverse the trend of unfriendliness and interpersonal fear in your daily actions?

18. A nametag is a mini-sacrifice. Sure, you feel dumb when wearing a nametag. It’s uncomfortable. But think about how many people whose lives you just made easier. Like the guy who’s been working down the hall from you for six years but didn’t know how to spell your name until now. Like the shy person across the room who didn’t have the courage to walk up and say hello until now. Like the new yoga teacher who had thirty new students, yet only 29 new names to memorize. Whew! How are you practicing mini-sacrifices each day to make other people’s lives (even a LITTLE) easier? What comfort are you willing to forego?

19. A nametag is a signal of bigger ears. One of the more fascinating outcomes of wearing a nametag every day is: People just start talking to me. It’s the strangest thing. Complete strangers will open up about topics they wouldn’t normally discuss with someone they just met ten seconds ago.

So now, after nine years, I’ve finally figured out what the deal is. Apparently, listening is so rare these days that people will jump at any opportunity, any opening, to actually have someone open their ears to them. Wow. Are you all ears or all mouth? Are you monopolizing the talking or the listening? And when was the last time someone complimented you on your listening skills?

20. A nametag INSINUATES instead of IMPOSING. A nametag is non-threatening. It doesn’t force anybody to do anything. People can choose to say hi or ignore it. No hard feelings. Either way, it’s still an act of friendliness. The nametag is there if you want it. It’s the difference between interruption and interaction. The difference between music and noise. Are you interrupting people or interacting with them? Are you trying to get people to join you, or taking the first step to join THEM?

21. A nametag is an equalizer. When nametags are worn CORRECTLY (which means no last names, logos, titles, acronyms, degrees, positions or designations – just the first name your mama gave you) you successfully level the playing field. Plain and handwritten. Values before vocation. Individuality before industry. Personality before position.

This allows you to lead with your person, NOT your profession. This allows people to know you first as a human, not a statistic. What labels could you delete? How could you make it impossible for people to pigeonhole hole you?

22. A nametag is a chisel. Because nametags are permission slips, because they invite encounters and encourage engagement, and because they personalize and humanize people, nametags are ALSO chisels. Now, I say that because Michelangelo famously remarked, “The sculpture is inside the stone.”

That’s been the coolest outcome after 3,000 days. Wearing a nametag hasn’t created my identity; it’s revealed it. The nametag excavated and amplified who I always was as a person. It enabled me to continue becoming the person I was in the process of becoming. As a chisel, it chipped away. And the sculpture – that was there the whole time – turned out to be pretty damn impressive.

So, here’s the best part: Every time you meet someone new it’s an opportunity to learn more about yourself. Which means: The more people you meet the more you learn about yourself. Cool! What did you learn about yourself today? What natural, lifelong inner sculpture are you chipping away at?

- - -

Well, there it is. 3,000 days of wearing a nametag.

Whew!

What's in a nametag? Looks like a lot.

Here's to 3,000 more!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How have nametags changed your life?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "57 Lessons My Nametag Taught Me in 2008," 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Is your frontline IN line?

Tune in to The Frontline Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on delivering unforgettable service!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Scott Reveals Branding & Business Growth Secrets on "The Rise to the Top"

















A few weeks ago I sat down with my STL homebody, David Siteman Garland, for an interview me on his new show, The Rise to the Top. We chatted about branding, writing, commitment and, of course, waking up early.

Watch both segments of our episode here!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you rise to the top?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "22 Questions to Sidestep Entrepreneurial Atrophy," 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Nobody coming into your new store?

Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on NametagTV.com.

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

The Hangout Factor: 16 Secrets for Leveraging Local Networking

If you don’t have a “real” job, keep reading.

Because one the biggest challenges of being a solo practitioner, entrepreneur, independent contractor or self-employed spare-room-tycoon .. is the loneliness.

It sucks.

You have no coworkers, save your dog. You have no employees, save your spouse. And you have few local customers, or if you DO, you don’t see them that often.

Bummer.

You have nobody that’s going to make you get up in the morning. You have nobody that’s going to hold you accountable if you show up 20 minutes late. And you work out of your “home office,” which may or may not double as your living room, garage, basement or linen closet.

DOUBLE bummer.

So, what’s the solution?

THREE WORDS: The Hangout Factor

It’s part marketing, part networking, part positioning, and ALL self-discipline.

As a writer, speaker, coach and entrepreneur, I’ve incorporated this strategy into my business for about seven years now. And I must say, it’s one of the smartest, most lucrative, and most FUN practices I’ve ever implemented.

Here’s what you do:

1. Identity Your Hangout. Find a local coffee shop, restaurant or public meeting place. Consider it your Annex. Choose one that has high traffic, great atmosphere, solid snacks/drinks, wifi and accessible outlets. Be sure to pick a place close to your neighborhood.

Be sure to pick a place that’s rich in creative stimuli. And, make sure your hangout resides in a somewhat centralized location where other businesspeople like yourself might frequent. Where do businesspeople “meet for coffee” in your neighborhood?

2. Plan your schedule. Early birds will show up when the store opens at six or seven, which is a great way to secure the same spot everyday. On the other hand, you may prefer mid-morning or lunch for the highest traffic. Me? I used to go super early in the morning, but now I prefer the afternoon when it’s quiet, yet steady.

Also, don’t overlook the possibility of hanging out during dinner or evening time. You probably won’t get the same type of crowd, so it all depends on what type of business you run and what type of people you hope to meet. What’s your best hangout time?

3. Be busy, yet available. Set up shop with your materials, laptop, iPhone etc. Know what you want to accomplish that day. Remember to stay on task – you’re there to work! Still, remember build in time for regular breaks. Wander around and see who else is there.

My speaker/coaching colleague Richard Avdoian, veteran practitioner of The Hangout Factor says, “Versus the hard-sell or always being the initiator conversation, you build ease and comfort that invites others to approach YOU.”

Now, remember, while productivity is important, part of the reason you implement The Hangout Factor is for networking purposes. So, set a boundary. Be approachable, yet discerning. Are you so busy at your hangout that people are hesitant to approach you? How many relationship opportunities are you missing by wearing headphones?

4. Come prepared. If you’re an artist, bring examples of your work. If you’re a salesperson, have order forms ready to go. If you’re an entrepreneur, have samples of your products in your bag. And of course, always have business cards and other tools in your networking arsenal at your disposal.

Now, that doesn’t mean parade your products around the store like a walking trade show booth. And there’s no reason to over self-promote. Just be ready. You never know. As Avdoian suggested to me when I first started my business, “Through slow, subtle exposure, you create a real presence, yet in a passive way.” Are you ready to pitch at a moment’s notice? What if someone asks for a copy of your book?

5. Reinforce your regularity. Let’s say you decide to hang out at Starbucks, every morning, from 8-11. Cool. So, whenever you meet a new friend at your hangout, always remind them, “Well, I’m usually here most mornings. Feel free to come over and say hey!” Also, when you see people outside of your hangout, let them know where you hang out. “Yeah, you can usually find me over at the Starbucks at Hanley & Wydown most mornings. Stop by some time…”

This makes your presence public, plus keeps you accountable with the knowledge that people will be keeping an eye out for you. The ultimate goal is to cause people to say, “Yeah, I hear he hangs out at that Starbucks a lot…” Who knows where you hang out? Are they going out of their way to come and see you? What if you’re not there that morning?

6. Maintain the right attitude. Lastly, be sure your behaviors don’t reflect the wrong kind of attitude. Over the years, I’ve watched hundreds of people practice The Hangout Factor unsuccessfully. It’s so obvious too. They sell too much. They talk too much. They don’t have fun. They don’t honor other people’s boundaries or respect their time.

Conversely, sometimes people do the opposite. They talk too little. They don’t approach anybody. They bury their nose in their work, headphones in place, creating a wall over which most people aren’t interesting in climbing. So, it’s about finding the right balance for you.

My suggestion: Just relax. Just be cool. It’s called a “hangout” for a reason. So, don’t telegraph neediness. Don’t be flaky. You don’t need to say hi to everybody. You don’t need to give a business card to every person that walks past your table. Just be cool. What do your behaviors broadcast about your attitude?

OK! Now that you’ve seen how The Hangout Factor works, here are ten reminders WHY this strategy is important to you as a solo-practitioner.

1. Visibility. Anonymity is bankruptcy. Anonymity is your greatest barrier to business success. It’s time to stop winking in the dark and start getting visible. And you can only be SO successful if you never leave the house.

So, going to Panera every morning, for example, is a great way to position yourself as a friendly person, a loyal customer, a hard worker and someone who values his community. Plus the French Toast Bagels are ree-diculous. Who knows YOU? What do they know you AS?

2. Daily Appointments. Ever since starting my business at the age of 22, I’ve spent anywhere from fifteen minutes to one hour every single day having a Daily Appointment with Myself. I’ve probably missed ten appointments in seven yeas. And, in my books and speeches, I cite this practice as the absolute, number one, 100% smartest daily practice I’ve ever done in my life, ever EVER.

So, I challenge you to use some of your time at your hangout for your Daily Appointment. How much time do you spend each day just thinking? Are you treating yourself as the most important person in the world?

3. Discipline. Not that you should regiment and routine your days TOO much, but The Hangout Factor will help train your entrepreneurial mind and body. This discipline will eventually become an inseparable part of you and translate into other domains of your life and business.

During the first few years of daily trips to my hangout, I slowly built a strong enough foundation of discipline that it eventually carried over to my writing, exercise and mediation routines. Now I start work at 4 AM every day, no problem. It’s amazing what forcing yourself to be at the same coffee shop at the same time every morning will do for you. What are your non-negotiables? What’s the one ritual you can’t do without?

4. Accountability. Because you don’t have a real job, establishing a specific, consistent hangout regimen will almost force you to show up. That’s always been my favorite part – the sense of purpose you feel. Like you actually have to BE somewhere, as opposed to going from your bed to your shower to your couch.

And if you miss a day, it’s not like the chef is going to storm out from behind the oven to yell at you for being absent. (Although that DID happen to me once.) Still, there IS something to be said about public accountability. It’s like painting yourself into a good corner. Who’s keeping you on task? Who’s kicking your butt?

5. Social Interaction. Once The Hangout Factor becomes a part of your regular schedule, a few immediate patterns start to show up. You meet the other regulars. You get to know the staff. You start seeing people you know pass through. And, you meet new people, too.

So the best part is, all of these encounters combined nourish the part of your self-employed soul that becomes deprived without human interaction.

See, we need connection. We need engagement. We need to touch other human beings. It’s healthy. It affirms your self-worth. It sustains your business. And this is kind of hard to do when you spend most days sitting in your living room, pounding away on your laptop, still wearing your Hello Kitty pajamas as the mid-afternoon sun starts to set. How late did you sleep yesterday? How many times did you leave the house last week?

6. Informing your work. Getting out of the house and into the world is crucial component to supporting, enriching, inspiring and informing your work.

You share ideas, when you bounce them off others for feedback.
You get ideas, as the raw material for your work is everywhere.
You round out ideas, as new experiences add fresh dimensions to existing thoughts.
You change your scenery, which alters your routines and patterns, which stimulates creativity.

Lastly, you become more relatable, infusing a spirit of humanness and ordinariness in your work; created by someone who, himself, is human and ordinary because spends time with OTHER ordinary humans in ordinary places doing ordinary things.

After all, it’s hard to run a business in a vacuum. And your Pit Bull, as sweet as she is, probably isn’t the best focus group for testing our your new company tagline. What inspires your work? How have you allowed your surroundings to fill in the holes of your ideas?

7. Curiosity. If you hang out at the same place – and sit in the same spot – every single day, after a few months, here’s what will happen. Other regulars (and probably some employees, too) will start to approach you out of a sheer curiosity about what you do, who you are, what your deal is. And you will happily tell them!

For example, when I’m at my hangout, I often spread dozens of colored content notecards across the table. This is my unique process for creating modules for upcoming books, speeches, coaching programs and NametagTV episodes. And what’s cool is that (1) everyone notices it, (2) many people watch it curiously, and (3) some people even come over and ask me about it.

See! You don’t need a nametag to be approachable. The Hangout Factor is about repeated impressions and stimulating interest. How are you creating a Point of Dissonance? Who’s coming up to just to find out what YOU’RE doing?

8. DUH! Think about it: If you planned on spending the next three hours checking email, working on proposals, designing a new website or doing simple online work, why stay at home? You may as well be public, be visible and be out there. It could only increase your chances.

That’s what’s great about Hangout Marketing. Remember, L.U.C.K. is an acronym for “Working Your Ass Off.” And if you want to be in the right place at the right time, you need to be in a lot of places. In the words of my favorite songwriter, Glen Phillips, “There is nothing that doesn’t matter. Every word is a seed that scatters. Everything matters.” How many seeds did YOU scatter this week?

9. Intentional Discomfort. Your success as a small businessperson is a function of your willingness to BE – and the amount of time you spend IN – your zone of discomfort. That’s where the learning occurs. That’s where the good stuff happens.

The barrier is that too many of us overlook a strategy like The Hangout Factor because we’re afraid of being out of our element. We’re afraid of not being in control, not being “on stage,” like we would be in a conference room or normal office.

Well, here’s the reality: You can’t choreograph everything. You’ve GOT to embrace unpredictability. That’s what “sticking yourself out there” is all about. The challenge, then, is to intentionally put yourself in situations where you can practice being yourself. Enter into environments that almost FORCE you to practice being natural and human.

After all, that’s the kind of person customers want to do business with. Because people buy people first. How did you step out of your comfort zone yesterday? What five lessons did you learn from that experience?

10. Opportunity. Because you never know. Everybody is somebody’s somebody. So, think of The Hangout Factor as a simple solution for exponentially increasing your activity level. In my experience, I’ve secured coaching clients, made friends, even scored interviews with local media outlets because of the people I’ve met at my hangout.

Also, let us not forget the intangible value. The resulting opportunities you’re never aware of. Colleagues of mine who (also) don’t have real jobs have netted results in the neighborhood of $20,000 of new business, just from practicing this strategy! I wonder what would happen if you started doing it. How many friends did you make today? How many places are YOU in?

OK! Let’s recap two facets of The Hangout Factor.

FIRST, HOW TO DO IT: Identity Your Hangout. Plan your schedule. Be busy, yet available. Come prepared. Reinforce your regularity. Maintain the right attitude.

SECOND, WHY YOU DO IT: Visibility. Daily Appointments. Discipline. Accountability. Social Interaction. Informing your work. Curiosity. Activity Level. Intentional Discomfort. Opportunity.

Got it? Ready to start hanging out?

Cool. Good luck to ya. And if you need me, I’ll be at the Bread Company on Brentwood with a bunch of colored note cards and a bowl of French Onion Soup.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s YOUR hangout?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "7 Ways to Out ATTRACT 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

How many sales have you lost because you weren't approachable?

Buy Scott's new book and learn how to sell enable people to buy!

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

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

13 Secrets for Developing Your Personal & Professional Awesomeness

1. Develop burning desire. You have to be on fire or else you will not succeed. You have to sustain an undousable flame in your belly or else you will not survive the cruelty that naturally gravitates to those who boldly venture out of their wussy little boxes. Are you on fire yet?

2. Develop deeper silences. That’s where you hear the good stuff. The stuff this noisy world doesn’t want you to hear. The stuff that tells you the truth about yourself, without fail. Have you done your meditation today?

3. Develop entrepreneurial skill. We’re all entrepreneurs, like it or not. So, it behooves you to become a master of common business practices like marketing, selling, networking and customer service; and not-so-common business practices like leverage, execution, time management and creativity. How many books did you read last month?

4. Develop great timing. Timing is everything. Not just in stand-up comedy or trapeze flying. In business, too. Timing can be the difference between a crash-and-burn website like Pets.com and a life-changing-money-generating machine like GoDaddy.com. Do you possess know-HOW; or know-WHEN?

5. Develop healthy environments. Ones that are conducive to creativity and favorable to fire starting. Environments that encourage questioning, model patient listening and foster dialogue and community. Would a MBA class on Corporate Culture use your company as a case study?

6. Develop intellectual gravity. By writing a lot. By reading a lot. By hanging out with smart people and asking them muchas preguntas. By observing a lot. By thinking a lot. By writing a lot. Did I say writing a lot?

7. Develop mature judgment. Which, essentially comes from (1) screwing up a lot when you’re NOT mature, (2) having the humility to learn lessons from those experiences, and (3) teaching those lessons to the world. What have you screwed up lately?

8. Develop microscopic vision. Focus is mobilizing. Focus is wealth. Focus wins ballgames. SO: Know who you (uniquely) are; know what you (unqiely) do; know for whom you (uniquely) do it; and know what five practical, unarguable benefits that (uniquely) result. What can you do in the first half of this day to demonstrate focus and unstoppable action?

9. Develop newsworthy content. An article about me was once featured in the USA Today among top stories about fear, death, despair, war, famine and ill-health. My headline read, “Man wears nametag for a friendlier society.” Wow. I guess friendliness is so rare that it’s become remarkable. How are you making the mundane memorable?

10. Develop options continually. The most dangerous answer is the one you’ve convinced yourself is the ONLY answer. Careful. Are you putting yourself into a position where you think you know all the answers?

11. Develop specialized knowledge. That way people (prospects, clients, the media, etc.) start coming to YOU. Not to Wikipedia. Not to Google. To YOU. Because you’re the specialist. You’re The Man. You’re the Go To Guy for this particular topic or industry. What specific topic have you written more articles about than anybody else?

12. Develop unique knowledge. Be known for knowing something. Be known for your questions. Publish the best blog in the world on the specific topic of (x). What does the media consistently come to you for an opinion about?

13. Develop your unpredictability. Be predictably unpredictable. Be a sleeper. Come out of nowhere. Don't let 'em see ya comin'. Keep people guessing and constantly on their toes. And I don’t mean that fearful, oh-crap-here-comes-the-boss kind of way. Rather, a challenging and exciting presence that shifts the dialogue up when you walk into the room. How predictable are you?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Have you rededicated yourself to personal and professional development this year?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "24 Ways to Out GROW 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Add any value to yourself today?

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

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

3 Ways to Make Your Fear of Writing Melt Away Like a August Creamsicle

1,400.

That’s how many pages are in War & Peace.

Making it one of the longest novels in the history of literature.

This little piece of trivia isn’t exactly obscure. Anyone with access to Google, Amazon or Wikipedia could figure that out in about seven seconds.

But what you might NOT have discovered in your Internet search about author Leo Tolstoy is that during the time it took him to write War & Peace…

…He had 12 children!!!

So.

What’s YOUR excuse for not writing?

Now, I know.

Tolstoy probably wasn’t a great father.
Tolstoy had affairs with his two female serfs.
Tolstoy had an incredibly devoted, caring wife.
Tolstoy lost five of his youngest children to poor health.

Fine.

Stop justifying. Stop making excuses. Stop getting defensive.

THE BOTTOM LINE IS: You’re not writing.

For example: What did you write today?

ANSWER: Not enough.

If you’re attributing your lack of wring to “lack of time,” then you’re only lying to yourself...

Because it’s not lack of TIME – it’s lack of COURAGE.

And that's totally cool. Every writer goes through it, myself included.

Look, writing is a scary thing. One of the scariest. As my mentor Bill Jenkins says, “Good writing is like walking across a stage naked.”

And, as Tolstoy himself said, “You write only with your pen dipped in your own blood.”

Even as a professional writer myself, I still get zapped with impulses of creative fear on a daily basis.

And those little buggers hurt.

But "sticking yourself out there" isn't just something you do in person or on your business card.

It's something you do on The Page. That blank sheet of paper staring back at you.

So, today I’m going to share three exercises to help you enhance your creative courage.

NOTE: These practices come straight from my own writing experience, all of which have been revolutionary in my own career. They DO work, if you stick ‘em out.

1. Give yourself permission. Permission to write something totally irrational, weird, odd, silly or ridiculous. Permission to capture, express and say ANYTHING, no matter how outrageous, stupid or idiotic it sounds. You don’t have to publish it on your blog or share it with your spouse. You just need to write it.

By doing so, the idea will become public in your mind. This cleansing process will broaden your acceptance of otherwise crazy notions and lay a foundation of confidence in even the most absurd notions. Ultimately, by embracing your creative ridiculousness, you’ll surrender the need to appraise and evaluate everything you write.

EXERCISE: Learn to write Morning Pages.

Coined by one of my writing heroes, Julia Cameron, here’s how they work: You sit down, first thing in the morning, and just PUKE for three pages. No stopping. No editing. No thinking. Just writing. It’s stream of consciousness meditation. It’s a check-in with yourself.

“A psychological holding environment that becomes a gateway to your inner and higher selves,” Cameron says. And these “gripe sessions,” where you work out your grudges, become moments of free association and celebration.

If you’d like to learn more about this invaluable tool (WHICH, I’ve been doing daily for several years and TO which I attribute 90% of my creative success), email scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll send you an article that will change your writing practice forever.

REMEMBER: When you work out your mental shanks, you bring forth your creative gold.

2. Remove the threat of rejection. “Nobody will like my writing. Nobody will relate to my writing. Nobody will want to read my writing.”

Sadly, these excuses prevent many writers from EVER putting their work out there. So, I often ask my coaching clients the following:

“Well, what if it wasn’t YOUR writing?”

(At which point they look at me like I’m nuts.)

And I explain: “What I mean is, if your name wasn’t attached to your writing, would you be more likely to share it?”

90% of the time, they say yes.

By writing anonymously (or under a pseudonym), you take yourself out of the equation. You remove the threat of rejection. And this disassociation prevents you from becoming overly defensive when someone reacts negatively (or worse yet, not at all!) to your writing.

EXERCISE: Blog anonymously everyday for six months.

In 2004 when I noticed waning confidence in my writing abilities, I started an anonymous blog. My goal was to write simply for the sake writing. To get better. To have fun. No pressure. No expectations. And, to post ideas, stories and thoughts that I otherwise wouldn’t have wanted to take credit for on my regular blog. (That anonymous blog has since been deleted. Sorry.)

As a result, several cool things happened:

FIRST, I became a more confident writer, simply by writing every day.
SECOND, I became a more comfortable writer, sharing even my craziest thoughts, knowing that nobody knew it was me.
THIRD, I became a more desirable writer, as I slowly attracted readers, comments and support from complete strangers who connected with and enjoyed reading my work.

If you’d like to learn more about the psychology of writing anonymously, email scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll send you an article that will change your writing confidence forever.

REMEMBER: When you expect nothing, failure is impossible.

3. Find (the right) people to validate your writing. We writers crave validation. We THRIVE on it. We need people to say, “Great article!” or “I loved your book!” or “This post really got me thinking…” Otherwise, our writing is in vain. May as well be to a brick wall.

The challenge is, we need validation from unbiased sources. Not our parents. Not our friends. Not our partners. But rather, people who have no personal stake in our creative success.

EXERCISE: Today, spend fifteen minutes searching online for writing events in your local community. Pick two or three events to attend each month for the next twelve months. Think of this as your Validation Plan. Your goal is to surround yourself with other successful Creative Professionals who will offer honest, helpful feedback on your work.

Ultimately, whether you choose artists groups, publishing associations or writer’s guilds, just concentrate on finding other people who do what you do and ask them help you do what you do better. Period.

REMEMBER: Decide (wisely) whom you want to listen to.

- - -

Look. As a writer, fear comes with the territory.

Fear of failing.
Fear of being judged.
Fear of exposing your Truth to the world.

MY SUGGESTION: Deal with it. You're a writer. It’s part of your job description. And if you're not a writer, it still applies. If you're a HUMAN, it's part of your life description.

So, love it that fear. Because it means that you are awakening.
So, channel that fear. Into the words and onto the page.

Ultimately, if you can learn to give yourself permission, find a way to remove the threat of rejection and successfully seek out credible validation for your writing, your creative fears will slowly fade away.

But.

Only if you stop lying to yourself.
Only if you stop making the excuse that you don’t “have time” time write.

REMEMBER: It’s not lack of time – it’s lack of courage.

Even Tolstoy, who had enough children to outfit his own football team, still MADE time to write War & Peace.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What did you write today?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "9 Things Every Write Needs to Do Every Day," 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Terrified to face the page?

Bummer. Perhaps my monthly coaching program for writers would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!



Monday, January 12, 2009

Attributes of Approachable Leaders, Pt. 3













Past Posts
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people where they are.

Today's Post
ATTRIBUTE #3: Vortex people in.

My high school English teacher, mentor and close friend, William Jenkins, is the consummate example of this attribute.

He’s the kind of guy whose presence you value SO much, that when you’re with him, simply “absorbing who he is” is enough.

Whether you’ve taken his class at Parkway North, attended his church in Troy, MO; read any of his gazillion books or enjoyed his conversation, one thing’s for sure: You’re there to listen. You’re there to take notes. You’re there to observe Bill being Bill.

As his students like to call it, “We’ve enrolled in The Jenkins Experience.” Priceless.

Here are three ways you can start LIVING this attribute today:

1. Ask character questions. Honestly assess: “Are you spending time increasing your talent or increasing your character?” “Have you made it a practice to take full responsibility for your character?” and “What are you biggest character flaws?”

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Sure, you can take your work and your life and your health and your family seriously. But not yourself. Try a little self-deprecating humor once in a while. It grounds you and puts others at ease.

3. Find the common denominator. Make a list called, “10 People Whose Radius I Want To Sit In.” Next, for each person, write down his or her three leading attributes. Then, boil down your list down the Top Five Attributes. Finally, write each of those words on a sticky note and look at them every day for a year.

LET ME ASK YA THIS
Who wants to sit in your radius?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "7 Ways to Out ATTRACT Your Competition," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

All Posts In This Series
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people where they are.
ATTRIBUTE #3: Vortex people in.
ATTRIBUTE #4: Share the spotlight.
ATTRIBUTE #5: Respond to what IS.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about sticking yourself out there.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!