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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

8 Ways to become More Askable than a Tibetan Mountain Guru

You can’t make people ask you questions.

You CAN, however, increase the probability that people will approach you with their concerns by becoming more ASKABLE.

So, whether you're a teacher, leader, parent or office manager, here’s a list of eight ways to do so:

1. Begin with a willingness to find answers. Sadly, not everybody does. Not everybody is interested in taking the time to find answers to the questions they’ve been asked. Mainly because their ego won’t let them. So, there’s an attitude of curiosity and openness that MUST underscore your askability.

Otherwise people will perceive you as someone who isn’t interested in expanding his worldview. Someone who’s too set in his ways. Never willing to change. Never willing to let new ideas enter his mind. And rarely interested in considering questions that challenge his point of view.

This perception stops questions in their tracks, preventing you from uncovering the key issues in the lives of those you serve. And if you set aside your ego and opened yourself to being changed, how much stronger would your organization become?

2. Dare to be asked more. If you’ve ever done Q & A during a presentation, TV spot, radio interviews, or a public press conference, you certainly recognize the risk in making yourself more askable. After all, it IS a form of sticking yourself out there. And so, notwithstanding the discomfort that’s required, being askable begins with your attitude. It’s about opening yourself to the possibility of being vulnerable, being wrong, and, in some cases, looking like a complete idiot.

Speaking of idiots, take Sarah Palin. During the 2008 Presidential Election, she was reluctant to do almost ANY public interview. Meanwhile, opposing VP Candidate Joe Biden was everywhere. TV. Radio. Print. Town Hall Meetings. If you had a question, Joe would be happy to answer. Palin, on the other hand, was completely unaskable. And I wasn’t surprised that the Obama campaign crushed her and John McCain.

Now, I’m no political analyst, so I’m not going to make any gross assumptions. But if I had to make an educated guess as to what made Sarah Palin such an unaskable person, I’d say it’s because she’s never “dared to be asked more.” Either that, or the fact that she was a colossal redneck bimbo moron. Do you dare to be asked more?

3. An answer for one is an answer for all. People – especially students – will shy away from asking questions because they don’t want to hold up the discussion. (Especially if recess, pizza or the end of class is rapidly approaching.) Students also don’t ask because they assume everyone else in the room already understands everything. However, in many classroom settings, this isn’t always the case.

My mentor and former high school English teacher, Mr. Jenkins, practiced an effective strategy for overcoming this fear. “I always encouraged my students NOT to approach my desk with questions, but rather, to ask me from their seats. That way, ALL the students in the class would hear the answer – including the ones who were too shy to raise their hand.”

What’s more, this approach also helped saved time since multiple students usually pose similar questions. As my yoga instructor always says, “An answer for one is a an answer for all.” How much time would you save if you addressed questions communally?

4. Disarm immediate preoccupations. The challenge is, many people associate question asking with conflict. So, the silent dialogue becomes: “Asking questions means rocking the boat, which means questioning the status quo, which means making a big mess, which means getting in trouble. Better keep quiet during the meeting…”

For that reason, your goal is to make sure your people know that their answers won’t be used against them. That anytime is the right time to ask. That asking questions isn’t a threat to formality or a violation of the chain of command. And that when you ARE asked questions, that you don’t feel like you’re being interrogated. When is the feeling of formality preventing your people from communicating freely and honestly?

5. Have a positive track record of listening. Otherwise people won’t take the time to ask you a question in the first place. It’s only after you have proved yourself as open, trustworthy, non-judgmental and willing to listen that someone starts to think to herself, “I feel like I can ask him anything.”

Like my askable dad, Mark, who reminds me, “It’s about playing the averages. Aggregating trust and building openness by making small, frequent deposits in people’s emotional bank accounts.” What deposits in people’s emotional bank accounts have you made in the past 24 hours to foster greater askability?

6. Be a good answerer. People ask questions to people who give good answers. Period. Creative answers. Unexpected answers. Counterintuitive answers. And the best part is, answering in these kinds of way leads to higher levels of thinking. Which elevates the conversation. Which enables people to discover individual truths. Which yields more compelling results. Here’s a list of ways to become a better answerer:

o “Actually, that question doesn’t matter.”
o “Well, let’s take that question in pieces...”
o “Well, that depends on how you define the word…”
o “Well, there are a couple of answers to that question.”
o “There are three reasons my answer to that question is no. Number one…”

Ultimately, the point of answering questions in these creative, counterintuitive and unexpected ways is NOT to dodge the truth; nor is to appear brilliant. It’s about achieving a higher level of thinking for both parties. What’s your answering style?

7. Be more informative. Without overwhelming people with your knowledge, provide as much information as you can give AND as much as the context will allow. Think meat, not carbs. And if your asker is taking notes, that means you’re doing something right. If your asker is checking their text messages or flipping through pictures of their pet ferret, you’re doing something wrong. Are your messages low-carb?

8. Help people process their questions. My mentor, Arthur, is an expert at this practice. He’s a consummate counterintuitive thinker. So, when you ask HIM a question, he often responds (not) with an answer, but with a challenge to your question itself. Common responses include, “Are you sure that’s the right question to ask?” “What’s the question behind that question?” and, “I’m not sure that question is relevant – instead, what about asking yourself this…?”

That’s the cool part. By helping you process your own question, he opens up new worlds and new answers that you never would have discovered otherwise. What unexpected answers could you give people to challenge their thinking?

REMEMBER: If you want people to ask you questions, you don't have to be a Tibetan Mountain Guru.

Just try being more askable.

Stick yourself out there today.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you increasing your askability?

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You Don’t Need to be Tom Peters to be a Thought Leader

Are you a trusted source who moves people with innovative ideas?

If so, then you’re a Thought Leader.

You don’t need a PhD.
You don’t need to be Tom Peters.
You don’t need to manage some huge consulting company.

You just need to think.

AND: You need to capture, organize, deploy and build a following around your thinking.

Consider this collection of tools for increasing your perception as a Thought Leader:

1. Create a Visibility Plan. When attention is currency, anonymity is bankruptcy. As the book On Being a Thought Leader explained, “It’s impossible to change minds or challenge hearts unless you own SOME of the spotlight.”

Remember: Nobody will be inspired BY you until they’ve heard OF you. Stop winking in the dark and start commandeering attention. Because the more attention you attract the more people your thoughts can touch. How much more visible are you than you were a year ago?

2. Create enduring content. Anchor your expertise in that which is timeless. Democratize and genericize your thoughts so they outlast you. Always be on the lookout for ways to increase the shelf life of your material. Ask questions like, “In five years, will this idea still be irrelevant?” “Is this a fad, a trend or an evergreen?” and “What is a bigger, more stable theory of the universe that I can attach this idea to?”

Remember: If you’re not current, you’re not credible. Always run your expertise through the wringer of WHEN. How stable is your philosophy?

3. Dedicate yourself to building a HOT body. It’s not about writing one book. Or one article. Or one blog post. You’re a thinker. And as such, your goal is to constantly add to and strengthen your body of work. Don’t be a One Hit Wonder, One Trick Pony or One Anything Anything.

As Julia Cameron said in The Artist’s Way, “Each day’s work is part of a larger body of work, and that body of work is the work of a lifetime. Unless we are able to take this long view, we will be derailed by rejection.” Edison registered 1,800 patents. The Grateful Dead played 2,318 shows. Stephen King published 480 books. How hot is YOUR body of work?

4. Develop an ongoing relationship with your market. Combine outreach with attraction. Make it easy for readers, subscribers and audience members to engage with you, every day. Ask for their feedback. Take heed. Take notes. They will tell you how to serve them better. They will also tell you how to sell to them better. What’s your listening platform?

5. Everything you already know about “leadership” still applies. You’re still attracting followers. You’re still a perpetrator of inspiration. You’re still superior article. And you’re still a composite of all you’ve experienced. The only difference is, the medium through which these attributes are experienced by your constituency is your brainstuff. Your thoughts. Your words. Your philosophies. Your writings. Your presentations.

You don’t need a title, a corporation or a gavel to be a leader. There is no leadership. Leadership, shmeadership. There is only being and expressing yourself truthfully and passionately. Does that describe you?

6. Have a paper memory. Your brain is a moron. And if you don’t write it down, it never happened. So, the secret is simple: Take a serious inventory of your thoughts. Chronicle your thinking. Make sure everything you know is written down somewhere. Develop a unique process for entertaining ideas. What’s your Content Management System?

7. Make your ideas more accessible. Accessibility doesn’t just apply to interpersonal communication. Ideas can be accessible too. Here are four examples along with a helpful article on each one:

a. Don’t just tell a story. Stick the landing.
b. Don’t just write a blog. Be a great date for your reader.
c. Don’t just deliver a presentation. Engage every audience instantly.
d. Don’t just give an interview. Craft a listenable, unforgettable telepresence.

Remember: Accessible means easy. Open. Relaxed. Attainable. Understandable. Relatable. Is that an accurate description of your ideas?

8. Mold a beautiful thought atmosphere for yourself. This space looks different for everyone. For example, my thought atmosphere includes hot tea, a rising sun, sticky notes, dry erase boards, flip charts, note cards on the floor, instant access to my content management system and hours of relaxing music by All India Radio, Marc Cohn and The Buddha Lounge. What does yours look like?

9. Smart is overrated – be an intellectual. My mentor, Bill Jenkins, is one of the great intellectuals I know. He explained the difference between the two as follows: “Smart people study content for the purposes of memorization. Intellectuals entertain ideas for the purpose of democratization.”

Look: The world has too many smart people and not enough intellectuals. So, stop accumulating knowledge and start becoming an explorer of ideas who can extract universal truths from his experiences and apply them to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Are you an intellectual or just really smart?

10. Syndicate your expertise. Deploy, deploy, deploy! Go public with your words, ideas, philosophies, expertise and School of Thought. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever. And considering the sheer volume of diverse social media tools available, there is NO excuse for not getting your ideas out there and creating more opportunities for people to say YES to your expertise.

Remember: Be out IN the marketplace with your ideas or be out OF the marketplace completely. What’s your system for shipping your idea off to battle?

REMEMBER: You don’t have to be Tom Peters to be a Thought Leader.

Think. Capture. Organize. Deploy. Listen. Repeat.

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

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Monday, September 28, 2009

The 10 Secrets to Becoming Your Own Muse

People who complain that they can’t find any good ideas should their vision checked.

Ideas are in abundance everywhere. Every minute of every day. And they’re waiting for you to snag them.

All you have to do is give them permission to happen to you. To make yourself available to their offerings. After all, art is learning to listen your world – then rendering whatever you feel.

Let’s examine ten secrets to becoming your own Muse:

1. Begin by bowing. Humility grants you an all access pass to where your ideas might take you. But only if you recognize that it’s not you coming up with these ideas. Because they’re coming through you – not from you. My suggestion is to invoke the Muse before you officially begin your day’s work. Say a prayer. Light a candle. Recite an invocation. Whatever ignites your soul.

The secret is to ritualize it. To establish a practice that’s an official, consistent and necessary component to your artistic process. Approached in this humble fashion, there are no limits to where your creativity may lead. What are you doing to set your creativity on FIRE right now?

2. Write what comes up immediately. Honor your first waking thoughts. After all, if you don’t write it down – it never happened. The first suggestion is to begin writing Morning Pages. I guarantee you this practice will change your creative life forever. Even if you’re not a writer.

Secondly, remember what Nancy Slonim suggested in Writing from the Heart:

“As writers, we must go with our instant ideas, our immediate poetry, our first thoughts. We cannot take the time to rethink, reconsider, reedit, restrain. Go with what comes up. Don’t make time for your inner editor to happily announce, ‘They’ll really think you’re suck if you write that.’”

Are you willing to capture and express the truth, even if someone you know reads it and thinks you’re crazy?

3. Escape structure. Stop creating Top 40 music. Annihilate the box. Give yourself permission to write and accumulate and share a bunch of totally random thoughts. They don’t have to make sense. They don’t have to be organized. They don’t have to be brilliant. They just have to be written.

You can use them later. You can stretch and grow and expand them later. You can go back and add dimensions to and improve on those ideas in the future. Have you given yourself permission to buck the creative system?

4. Start with one true thing. That’s what Hemingway did: One sheet of paper, one true thing, and off he wrote. Doesn’t get simpler than that. Here’s an example. I remember the first time I read Emerson’s quotation, “Make yourself necessary to the world, and mankind will give you bread.” And I immediately thought to myself, “Cool. Now I’m wondering what action items people could take make themselves necessary to the world.”

The result was a module called 9 Must-Dos to Make Yourself Necessary to the World. Came out great. People retweeted the hell out of it. So, that’s the secret: Instead of reading something and saying, “What is wrong with this?” start wondering, “How could this be democratized and actionized?” What questions do you ask yourself to light a fire under the Muse’s ass?

5. Stay home. Write what you know about, run into, have a passion for and obsess over. It makes the artistic process a billion times easier, more efficient and less stressful. Don’t write about baseball if you’ve never been to a game in your life. Don’t sing country songs if you grew up listening to hip-hop.

Stay home. Do YOU. Otherwise, every minute of your creative workday will feel like you’re traversing the artistic rapids without a life jacket and an oar the size of a toothbrush. Are you creating from core?

6. Find a place to shape your thoughts. When George Carlin died in 2008, long-time friend and comedian colleague, Jerry Seinfeld, wrote the following in an op-ed for the New York Times:

“George didn’t just ‘do’ material. He worked over an idea like a diamond cutter with facets and angles and refractions of light. He made you sorry you ever thought you wanted to be a comedian. He was like a train hobo with a chicken bone. When he was done there was nothing left for anybody else.”

In order to accomplish this, you need to double your patience. To hang around words and see what they have to say. To allow them to hatch and come alive, right there on the page in front of your eyes. How far down the rabbit hole are you willing to go?

7. Search for meaning constantly and aggressively. Never allow your intellectual curiosity to waver. Be on a quest. An idea hunt. And not to the point where you’re always on, always working, perpetually existing in a contracted position.

Rather, becoming able to move swiftly from complete relaxation to complete exertion (back to complete relaxation again) on a moment’s notice. Have you made it your responsibility to go out and find things?

8. Treat all ideas with deep democracy. In the phenomenal book, Unintentional Music, Lane Arye suggests you value everything you write whether it was intended or not. “Let all the different parts express themselves and influence your artistic decisions. If you are deeply democratic, you listen to and value all parts.”

Therefore, don’t overlook the serendipity of adjacent ideas. Fringe thoughts are your friends. Follow your unintentionals. Let your mind cycle through unrelated facts. Allow unanticipated insight to enter and allow nothing to be meaningless in your sight.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll find exactly what you’re not looking for. What would happen if you regarded no idea as pointless?

9. Don’t just sit in bed thinking. Get up and go think on paper. This kinesthetic process allows you to notice patterns, structures, questions and assumptions connected to your idea that were previously unavailable to an unmoving mind. What’s more, the simple act of experiencing your idea three-dimensionally moves you lightyears beyond where your brain could have taken it unassisted.

So, whether your capture device is a journal, whiteboard, sketchbook, audio recorder or video camera, just get it down. Puke it out. Otherwise your thoughts are going to find a home in your body. And there’s no way you’re going to get any sleep when that happens. What is rising up from within your depths?

10. Build a solid mental reservoir of ideas. Always be collecting words, phrases, paragraphs and lines you enjoy. Allow them to self-organize within your mental matrix. Then, every day when it’s time to clock in, plunge headfirst into that reservoir without expectation or outcome. Soften your eyes and allow the words to come alive on the page.

And, as you watch them do their dance, don’t ask yourself what you “feel” like writing about – ask yourself what wants to be written. You will be amazed, guaranteed. How can you create more than enough of what you need so that you NEVER need to worry about running out?

REMEMBER: Opportunity doesn’t stop knocking – only YOU stop listening.

Execute these strategies to become your own Muse today.

And you’ll never complain that you can’t find any good ideas again.

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

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Friday, September 25, 2009

9 Must-Dos for Making Yourself Necessary to the World

Emerson once suggested, “Make yourself necessary to the world, and mankind will give you bread.”

Bread meaning support and livelihood.
Bread meaning money and financial reward.
Bread meaning nourishment and sustenance.

Dee-licious.

Unfortunately, as profound as that quotation is, there’s never been much of a how-to on the topic.

Until now.

Here’s a list of nine strategies for making yourself necessary to the world:

1. Be essential. Whenever there’s a technology-related problem in my family, my Dad is the go-to guy. Not because he’s a computer engineer. Not because he can fix everything. But because he’s a master problem solver. See, as a veteran CEO, the thought process he undertakes to approach challenges – organizational, electrical or interpersonal – revolve around logical, linear thinking.

Not everyone in our family can do that. And that’s what makes my dad necessary to the world: We’d be screwed without him. To whom is your unique thought-process essential?

2. Be inescapable, inevitable and unavoidable. In Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, he revealed the genius behind sales legend John Patterson: “Rather than just trying to sell the concept of a cash register, Patterson create the demand for a receipt.”

Cool. Because that way, Patterson didn’t have to sell. Every consumer who made a purchase and demanded a receipt made the sales pitch FOR him. All Patterson had to do was supply the cash registers. (And then ring one of his own!) He was necessary to the world. How could you make it impossible for people to NOT do business with you?

3. Be the cure, the answer and the shortcut. Halfway through Pulp Fiction, mob hit men John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson run into a BIG problem: They accidentally shoot their key witness, Marvin, in the face. Naturally, the backseat of their car is a bit messy.

In a panic, they call their boss, Marsellis Wallis, for help. And his response is, “You ain't got no problems. I’m on it. Go back in there, chill those guys out and wait for The Wolf, who should be coming directly. Feel better?”

Upon hearing who was on the case, Samuel L. Jackson replies, “You’re sending The Wolf? Shoot. That’s all you had to say!” Twenty minutes later, Harvey Keitel shows up to their house dressed in a tuxedo, rings the doorbell and says, “HELLO, my name is Mr. Wolf. I solve problems.”

Now that’s what I call being necessary to the world. Maintaining such a positive reputation that when people hear the mere mention of your name, a wave of calm comes over their soul. What are you the shortcut for?

4. Become a possiblitarian. Norman Vincent Peale coined this term in his book, The Tough-Minded Optimist, which I recently bought for three bucks at a book fair in Brisbane.

“With a possiblitarian, you get the idea that he actually enjoys problems. That life would be dull without them,” he wrote. “And when the gloom artists sit around, taking dismal views, they wonder why they never saw the possibilities in the first place.”

Your challenge, according to Peale, is to walk around the problems mentally and prayerfully and see what you see. He contends that you will never see a problem that doesn’t have a soft spot if you just keep on poking.

I totally agree. It’s about facing problems artfully and loving them enough to convert them into something beautiful. It’s about asking people this question: If, overnight, a miracle occurred, and you woke up tomorrow morning and the problem was solved – what would be the first thing you would notice?

5. Become noticeable in your absence. Not only do you want people to notice when you’re away, you want people to miss you, too. To wonder: (1) Where you’ve gone, (2) Why you’ve left, and (3) When you’re coming back. And not in that stalker, micro-manager, Big Brother kind of way. But from a baby-I-love-you-so-please-don’t-go kind of way.

It’s like driving cross-country with so many boxes in the back seat that your rear view mirror becomes useless. And what happens is, you still look in the mirror out of habit, but because it’s blocked, you suddenly realize how often you actually use it.

Ever happen to you? That’s being noticeable in your absence. Compelling customers to look in the rearview mirrors of their daily lives and think, “Damn it! I wish Steve was here.” Who misses you when you’re gone?

6. Develop signature and singular capabilities. After finishing a marketing workshop in Great Falls, Montana, my client took me by Fritz’s Auto Repair Shop. Now, for some reason, I kept hearing about this place from all the locals.

When we arrived, I asked my client, “What makes Fritz’s so popular?” He smiled and said, “Well, just look around. What do you notice about the cars in lot?” And then it hit me: They were all Cadillacs. Every last one of them. From ’56 Coupe de Villes to ’71 El Doradoes. Apparently, Fritz actually worked on the Cadillac assembly lines for twenty years. Then he spent the next five years as a contract consultant for Cadillac.

Eventually, he retied and opened his own shop in Montana. And the promise he’s made to his customers for the past twenty years is: “Fritz will fix any problem, any model, any year – as long as it’s a Cadillac.” He has a three-month waiting list and does ZERO marketing. Customers drive in from hundreds of miles away just to have Fritz work on their Caddillacs. Why? Because he’s The Only. And that’s what makes him necessary to the world. What are you the world heavyweight champion of?

7. Plug your expertise into strategy needs. Which means you have to be a resource. An expert. An advisor. Not a salesperson. Not an employee. Not a consultant. A Thought Leader who anchors her expertise in that which is timeless. That’s how you get invited to strategy tables. When you demonstrate that it’s not about what you do, it’s about the effect of what you do. Do you solve problems that are real, expensive, urgent and pervasive?

8. Position yourself as an unconditional servant of truth. Interface Construction is one of the largest minority-owned firms in my hometown of St. Louis. During their 30-year anniversary celebration in 2008, I had the honor of meeting their president and founder, Sam Hutchinson.

Now, the question I asked him was, “Sam, after thirty years of profitable growth – what’s Interface’s secret?” And his response floored me. Certainly not the kind of insight I expected to hear from a construction guy. He said, “Scott, our job is to respond to the demands of truth.” Whoa. I thought he was going to spout some construction cliche like, “Measure twice – cut once.” No wonder their company is so successful. Have you decided to become a servant of truth?

9. Position yourself as the only path to fulfillment. Position your expertise in such a way that your fans wouldn’t DARE go into the marketplace without your opinion. That way, they wouldn’t make a move without consulting you first. Now, this can happen if you aren’t selfish with your knowledge. Because if you share your expertise generously, people will recognize it, became addicted to it and eventually depend on you for it.

That’s called mindshare, and it eclipses the value of marketshare. Suggestions: Courageously step forth and make your natural talents available. To put LOTS of samples out there. Not just a few pieces of chicken on toothpicks – we’re talking free Happy Meals for EVERYBODY. Also, regularly let people know the different ways they can use you. This will crate a need for what you have to uniquely offer. That will make you necessary to the world. What makes you The Only?

REMEMBER: Your mission to make yourself, your business and your value desirable, needable and wantable to the point of absolute necessity.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you make yourself necessary to the world?

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

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Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Now You Can Become as Trusted as Oprah without Resorting to Brainwashing or Jedi Mind Tricks

The more people trust IN you, the more they will bet on, buy from, follow after, stand beside and tell others about you.

And if you’ve ever wondered, “Why don’t people don’t trust me?” perhaps it’s time to ask the bigger question, “Am I trustable?”

Here are ten practices to become as trusted as Oprah without resorting to brainwashing or Jedi mind tricks:

1. Trust people first. I learned this lesson at a cupcake during my recent trip to Australia. When the cashier rang me up, I clumsily grabbed all the coins in my pocket, took one look at the confusing shapes and colors – then took one look at the long line behind me – turned to cashier and said, “Here. You do it.”

She smiled back; picked out the coins she needed and completed the transaction. Piece a’ cupcake. And any time I bought anything during the remainder of my trip down under, I used the same technique. Worked every time.

Lesson learned: If you want people to trust you, try trusting them first. Even if you have no logical reason to do so. You’ll discover that when you approach others as (already) being trustworthy, they rarely prove you wrong. Are you willing to ante up first?

2. Lower the threat level. “I don’t want to have to be the first person to trust this guy.” During the buying process, your potential customers are likely to have this concern. Your mission is to prevent this type of emotional resistance from entering their minds.

One suggestion is to collect and share video testimonials of past customers voicing that same concern. Ask the people who trust you WHY they trust you. Better yet, ask them cite specific examples of how you overcame their anxiety with your amazing service. The threat level of your future customers will lower immediately.

Also, you might consider adding a Media Room to your website or blog. By updating a chronological record of every publication that featured, quoted or mentioned you or your company, mass social proof will accumulate. Then, fear will dissipate. How are you going from red to green?

3. I feel like I already know you. Trust is a function of intimacy. And intimacy is a function of self-disclosure. So, I’m not suggesting you reveal your deepest secrets or darkest perversions to everyone you meet. You might scare them into hiding. Ultimately, the question isn’t, “How well do you know your customers?” but rather, “How well do your customers know YOU?”

Therefore: Avail yourself. Be vibrantly vulnerable. Create a plan for slowly and appropriately revealing your truth to the people you serve. How are you using truthfulness to build trustworthiness?

4. Less talkey, more doey. Trust requires evidence, not eloquence. Therefore: The more venues in which you reveal yourself, the more trust you will earn. And the more people trust IN you; the more people will buy FROM you. So, take action: Start a thought leadership blog.

Or, begin posting short, relevant, helpful videos. Perhaps share pictures of you, in your element, doing what you do. Remember: Don’t put your money where you mouth is – put it where you feet are. Most people trust (only) movement. Are you keeping secrets?

5. If you have to “persuade” people, odds are, trust is low. As Margaret Thatcher once said, “If you have to tell people you are, you probably aren't.” Which makes sense. Think about it: Apples never make health claims. They don’t have to. Snackwells’ poisonous-processed-pumped-full-of-sugar-and-other-crap cookies, on the other hand, do. Because they’re toxic for your body. Of COURSE the box will proclaim their low-fat benefits.

Lesson learned: Be careful not to come off overly persuasive. People can’t trust your words if they’re too busy questioning your motives. Are your efforts to become more trustable working in reverse?

6. Surprise people with your impeccable word. “Wow. He actually did what he said. Didn’t see that one coming.” How profitable would it be if your customers said that about you? How equitable would it be if your customers said that about you …to their friends?

Psssht. You’d have more new business than Netflix. Remember: When trust is at an all time low, the opportunity to floor people with your unexpected integrity is high. How could you surprise people?

7. What will it take to get people to see your name daily? And, what consistent value and promise will be attached to your name when they see it? Those are the big questions. And whether your answers involve blogging, tweeting, or updating your Facebook status, remember the secret: Meaningful Concrete Immediacy. Be relevant, be concise and be actionable.

Still be human, of course. Just remember that “seeing your name daily” will start to get REALLY annoying if your updates include words like “My cat just,” “Waffles for breakfast” or “My idiot husband left the seat up again.” Remember: If you want to become a proven entity, trust comes from constant exposure. What do people think when they hear your name speak?

8. What could I do to establish instant credibility in this moment? This is a question to silently ask yourself during meetings, on sales calls or when out to lunch. For example, maybe now is the perfect time to share that story about an expensive problem you solved for a client.

Or maybe that article about your website in the current issue of FastCompany would be a worthwhile visual aid during this product demonstration. It’s all about leverage and timing. Are you punching people in the face with your credibility?

9. Pack value into everything. Trust is about being a SOURCE of something for people. More importantly, it’s about delivering the goods consistently and predictably to those people. Your challenge is to answer three basic questions about the value you deliver:

*What are you known for knowing?
*What do you know that people would pay to learn?
*What value are you prepared to give to others so that they will voluntarily give you their money?

Once you uncover those truths about your unique value, you’ll be able to pack it into everything. What are you a source of?

10. Be funnier. In 2009, John Stewart was voted as “American’s #1 Trusted News Source.” Now, keep in mind; John Stewart is a comedian. His show airs on Comedy Central. And yet, he beat out mainstream news veterans like Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly. Why? Because Stewart is funny as hell, and those other stiffs are not. Period.

As bestselling author Jeffrey Gitomer said in The Little Teal Book of Trust: “The funnier you are, the more engaging you are, the closer the audience will listen, and the more authentic you’re perceived to be. Getting the audience to laugh is tacit approval, and it’s your best change to deliver important facts. At the end of laughter is the height of listening.”

Lesson learned: Just be funny. Humor is the great catchall. If people perceive you as being funny, you’re halfway home. What have you done in the past month to become funnier?

REMEMBER: You can’t make anybody trust you.

All you can do is increase the probability that they will bet on, buy from, follow after, stand beside and tell others about you by making yourself more trustable.

And you don’t even need to use brainwashing or Jedi mind tricks.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What steps are you taking to boost your trustability?

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The #1 Secret to Getting Discovered as an Artist, Entrepreneur or Independent Professional

Everyone’s just waiting to get discovered.

And that’s the problem: They’re waiting.

BIG mistake.

You can’t just sit around, hoping someone will discover how cool and special and unique and talented you are.

You’ve GOT to stick yourself out there.

And whether you’re a salesperson, writer, photographer, entrepreneur or entertainer -- the absolute, number-one, failproof strategy for getting discovered is:

BE MORE DISCOVERABLE.

Here’s a list of four ways to do so:

1. Get out of the house. I recently stumbled across as website that published the following list: “The 50 Hottest Victoria’s Secret Models Of All Time.” Don’t ask me how I ended up there. Not important. Anyway, after “carefully researching” the lovely ladies on the list, I started to notice a commonality: Every one of them was discovered in a similar fashion. No pun intended. Check out the ten most common venues in which these supermodels were first spotted:

• Shopping Mall.
• Flea Market.
• Six Flags.
• Supermarket.
• Cornfield.
• Beach.
• Talent contest.
• Pizza Parlor.
• Hollywood party.
• My closet.

What’s the commonality? They're all public venues. Interesting. I guess guitar legend Doyle Dykes was correct in saying, “Get your butt out of the basement and go out and play for people.” And I suppose my mentor was correct in saying, “If you want to speak more – speak more.”

DISCOVER THIS: If you want to be in the right place at the right time, you need to be in a lot of places. How many places are YOU in?

2. Position your unique value on a discovery platform. Speaking of iTunes and YouTube, let’s talk about platform. That’s the single greatest tool for driving your discoverability. And when I think of platform, I’m reminded of Lisa Donnavan (aka, Lisa Nova), a stunningly beautiful friend of mine from college. Well, OK, she wasn’t really my friend, but at least she knew who I was. Actually, not exactly. I’m pretty sure she used to call me George. Not the point.

What IS important is that after college, Lisa moved to New York to begin her acting career. Naturally, she struggled. (Who wouldn’t?) But instead of throwing in the towel and getting a job as a bartender, Lisa spent her days writing scripts for short movies, comedy monologues, song parodies and other entertaining vignettes.

Next, Lisa decided to post dozens of samples of her work on her YouTube channel. Long story short: After enough hits, views, comments and support, one of the producers of MadTV discovered her. And he liked her work SO much that the show eventually hired Lisa as a regular cast member. She now works as a successful actress in LA. And I would email her, but I’m pretty sure that restraining order is still active. Stupid judge.

DISCOVER THIS: More content = More visible. What discovery platform can you create a presence on with your unique content?

3. Persistence is the price of admission. Arty Skye has been producing and engineering music in New York City for over twenty-five years. He’s worked on over one thousand records with major stars like Madonna, Will Smith, Santana, Public Enemy and Alicia Keys. So, with fourteen Gold/Platinum Records and six number-one Billboard Hits, Skye certain knows what it takes to be discoverable.

“If you want to get anywhere, if you're really serious, you'll learn the guidelines and do everything possible to increase your chances of success,” Arty said. “Don’t be one of the thousands of people who email companies saying ‘please give me a chance,’ and then get confused and bitter when no one responds.”

I discovered this quotation on a 2008 article on www.GetSigned.com, a Discovery Platform where unsigned artists can share music and learn how to grow their careers. In the piece, Arty also shared a list of myths of getting discovered.

“Don’t assume that if you email and call enough people, someone will give you a chance,” he wrote. “Why should they? What you don't realize is that companies get literally thousands of emails everyday with people telling their stories about how they love singing and it’s their dream."

"Yet, some people have no recording, no music up on the internet, no live performances and the only step they've taken in their musical careers is to email companies asking for a shot. Sorry, but that's not the way it works. If you don't believe in yourself enough to invest in getting a good recording made, don't expect anyone else to believe in you.”

DISCOVER THIS: Calling a lot isn’t enough. Believe in yourself. Prepare yourself. Equip yourself. Are you a waste of people’s time?

4. Luck isn’t a profitable strategy. In March of 2007, one of the producers of ABC’s 20/20 contacted me about being a guest on their upcoming show called, “Luck: Fact or Fiction?” Apparently she had read an article I’d published called How to become the Luckiest Person You Know.

Naturally, as soon as I changed my underwear, I said yes. A week later, ABC flew a four-man camera crew, two producers and a news anchor to St. Louis. They filmed interviews at my office, shot footage from one of my speeches and followed me around town for two days. Overall, it was an amazing experience. More importantly, when the piece aired a few months later, more than four million viewers tuned in.

And within the next 48 hours, I received thousands of emails, booked several pieces of business and sold cases of books. Now, here’s the best part: On ABC’s website, millions of other potential show guests filled out an online form to be considered as an interviewee for that same segment.

But none of them were picked. Instead, the producer chose ME because she googled the phrase “luckiest person you know,” and stumbled upon my series of blog posts on that very topic. I’ll never forget email she sent me after the episode aired, “Scott, it’s a good thing you wrote those articles or I never would have discovered you!”

DISCOVER THIS: L.U.C.K. is an acronym for “Working Your Ass Off.” How could you find out where the rock created the ripple so you could go throw more rocks?

REMEMBER: If you’re just waiting to be discovered, you’re probably gonna end up just waiting tables.

Stick yourself out there. Make yourself more discoverable TODAY.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How are you boosting your discoverability?

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

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

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

Rent Scott's Brain today!



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

8 Ways to Make Your Name More Invokable

“I invoke your name a lot.”

Now THERE’S a compliment.

If people start telling YOU that they’re telling others ABOUT you, congratulations.

That makes you invokable.

Not in a religious way or anything. I assume your clients, friends and fans aren’t setting up candle-lit shrines with pictures, newspaper clippings and locks of your hair in their bedrooms.

Wait. ARE they?

Nevermind.

THE POINT IS: Having someone “invoke” your name is exponentially more powerful, more memorable and more valuable than having someone just “say” it.

Here’s why: The word “invoke” derives from the Latin invocare, which means, “to call upon for help.”

Therefore:

When people invoke your name, they’re building your credibility.
When people invoke your name, they’re advancing your mindshare.
When people invoke your name, they’re enhancing your personal brand.

Ultimately, being invokable is a combination of being quotatable, remarkable, referable and aboutable.

THE CHALLENGE IS: How can you continually boost your invokability?

Because straight-up ASKING people to do so won’t work. Nobody is going to invoke your name just because you put in a request. Word of mouth is casual, unsolicited and authentic. It’s just like referability: The minute you try to force it, you lose it.

So, let’s look at eight ways to become more invokable:

1. Purple cows MUST give milk. Building remarkability into your products and services before they’re released isn’t enough. Baseline remarkability is only the beginning. You need preserve originalness by assuring that your unique value proposition has (some) transformational purpose connected to it.

The secret is advancing your name to the second level: Enduring remarkability. Here’s what that looks like:

(Remarkable) + Relevant + Worthwhile + Marketable + Substantive + Consistent.

Any name connected to those attributes will become impossible NOT to invoke. Are you remarkable but inconsequential?

2. Free is your friend. Speaking of purple cows. Seth Godin and Jeffrey Gitomer are two people whose names I invoke almost daily. And it’s not just because they’re my friends, but also because they freely distribute their wisdom. Everywhere.

Lesson learned: Don’t come off as someone with a sense of scarcity. It’s hard to invoke people who are selfish with their knowledge. Are people working energetically to favorably and publicly mention YOU?

3. Consider your own invocations. Next, think of the three people whose names you invoke most frequently. Ask yourself: What have they done – or what do they continuously do – that makes YOU so willing to drop their name? Is it because of their attitude and actions; or more of a foundational component like character?

Either way, your job is twofold: (1) Pinpoint that which drives their invokability, and (2) Challenge yourself to achieve similar standards in your own life. People will notice, and people will talk. Whom do you invoke regularly, and why?

4. Put yourself in invokable positions. In 2000 when I began wearing a nametag 24-7, I was a college student at Miami University. One of the first trends I noticed – other than the weird looks from strangers and the inability to get a date, EVER – was that my professors started calling on me during class a lot more.

And the strange thing was, I didn’t raise my hand more. I didn’t sit in the front more. I didn’t even study that much. But, by virtue of being the ONLY student in the entire class whose name was visible FOR the entire class, my invokability instantly doubled. Literally. Professors called on me for everything. Especially during those awkward moments when none of the students raised their hands. Professors would think, “Well, I guess I’ll just call on Scott again.”

Huh. Maybe that’s what happens when you put yourself in an invokable position: It’s sheer probability.

In fact, you wanna hear something kinda spooky? Fast forward to today, ten years out of college. The exact same trend of invokability happens to me when I take yoga class. Instructors – who have never had me in class before – will use my name constantly. And I’ll get these weird looks from the other students because they think I’m, like, sleeping my way to the front of the room. Which I’m not. Hell, I’m not even that good at yoga.

But the role of the instructor is to challenge and support the student’s practice. And it’s just easier to do so when there’s a guy with a nametag tattooed across his chest staring back at you. Lesson learned: If you want to be in the right place at the right time, you need to be in a lot of places. How many places are YOU in?

5. Stick yourself out there. My favorite Law of the Universe is, “Whatever you want to get, just try GIVING that thing first.” It works for pretty much anything: Love. Trust. Kindness. Referrals. Occasional dirty looks. And the cool part is, the same principle applies to becoming more invokable: Do it for others, and they will do it for you.

Start by becoming an invoker yourself. Period. Now, one word of caution. Steel yourself against the temptation to become one of those incessant, name-dropping bottom feeders who spends WAY too much time hitching free rides on the coattails of others. People will assume you can’t think for yourself, and you will lose. Are you willing to ante up first?

6. Become a known entity. The next way to boost invokability is to create a game plan for remaining on people’s radars. This helps you achieve what I call “Radar Equity.” And it begins by asking yourself five questions:

a. Whose radar do I want to be on?
b. What do I want to happen as a result of being on it?
c. Who do I know that is already on that person’s radar?
d. What steps have they taken to get there?
e. What actions could I take to emulate those steps?

Remember: The secret to Radar Equity is that you have to EARN the right to be on it. That means publishing. That means social networking. That means OFF-line networking. Whatever it takes. How can you position yourself so thousands of people whom you never met will get to know you instantly?

7. Stop occupying the middle. People will recall and invoke your name if the philosophy attached to it is unexpected and non-template driven. Your challenge is to build an original, fertile and uncommon Theory of the Universe. Your strategy is to maintain contrarian positions to as many subjects as you can. And your action item is to make a list of all the conventional wisdom, traditional principles and standard operating procedures you disagree with or oppose to. Is your thought leadership position a waffle?

8. Thank your invokers. When people invoke your name – either in person, during a presentation or somewhere online – ALWAYS thank them. Send an email, instant message, wall-to-wall on Facebook or tweet them a direct message. Tell them you appreciate the kind words.

And, in your daily Gratitude Journal, be sure to write down the invokers you’re thankful for that day. I do it every morning. EVERY morning. And it works. Remember: What you appreciate, appreciates. Who did you thank today?

Ultimately, becoming more invokable is about achieving mindshare, not marketshare.

Start executing these strategies regularly. Find the ones that work best for your business model. And I promise your invokability will start to build PROFIT-ability.

Then maybe you can FINALLY finish that Scott Ginsberg shrine you’ve been working so hard on.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How invokable is your name?

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

The world's FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Does Your Business Pass the Brokeback Mountain Test?

“I can’t quit you!”

Remember when Heath Ledger said that to Jake Gyllenhall in Brokeback Mountain?

Whatever. Don't act like you didn't love that movie.

Because that’s exactly what you want: Customers who can’t quit you.

HERE’S WHY: If you can get to that point, you no longer have customers. You have fans. And they’re lightyears beyond “satisfied” or “loyal.”

They’re INSISTENT.

SO, HERE’S THE SECRET: If you want to make it impossible for people to quit you, you’ve got to become addictable.

Does your business pass the Brokeback Mountain Test? Here are six action items to boost your addictability today.

1. Start with yourself. Think of the five websites you’re currently addicted to. Why are they so addictive? How did you become addicted to them? And what still brings you back every day? Make a list, extract the commonalities and then emulate those attributes in your own business. You’ll become more addictable immediately. Where do you get YOUR fix?

2. Update content regularly. Websites are like newspapers – nobody wants to read them if they’re two years old. Whether it’s videos, pictures, music, articles or recipes, your need new content regularly. For example, I receive emails about once a week from viewers of NametagTV that write, “I think I’ve watched every video you have!”

And I think to myself, “Awesome. Thank you. Glad you liked them. There’s more where that came from…” Remember: Familiar structures lead to mental laziness. As a result, people’s brains filter out unchanging backgrounds because, in their minds, there’s no need to pay attention. When was the last time you refreshed YOUR content? Is your website a dinosaur?

3. Have more depth. Don’t just post a few videos or pictures and call it a day. Have dozens. Hundreds. Thousands. The more the better. The goal is to gently and respectfully suck people into your vortex of content so they lose track of time. Think Vegas. Think Casinos. “No windows, no clocks.” Minus the mobsters, of course.

I’m reminded of this strategy when I receive emails DAILY from readers of this blog that write, “I just spent the last hour reading a month’s worth of articles!” And I think to myself with a slight Mr. Burns accent, “Exxxxxcellent.” Remember: Less isn’t more – more is more. When was the last time someone told you, “I just spend the last two hours on your site!”

4. Be a destination, not a website. A “website” is not going to get people to come TO, hang out AT and tell their friends ABOUT anything. It needs to be much more than just information. It needs to be interactive. It needs to be participative. It needs to be updated regularly.

It needs to be THEE source, THEE go-to-place, the El Dorado, The Mecca … for a certain kind of people who want a certain kind of thing. In short: A destination. Websites are so 2005. Why would someone come to (and stay at) your website for more than 60 seconds?

5. Make passion palpable. The more your website (destination) revolves around passion, the easier it is for you to win. And the easier it is for your visitors to win. The challenge is creating an interactive environment where health participation naturally emerges. An environment that enables, supports and rewards authentic dialogue.

That’s the best part. If you create the right kind of environment, the right atmosphere, the right space and the right energy, the people inside of it will take care of themselves. How many of your customers are talking to each other?

6. Addictable comes from Obsessable. The word “obsess” comes from the Latin obsidere, which means, “to occupy.” Hmm. Interesting. I wonder if all this blather about “website hits” is a misnomer. Maybe “hits” don’t mean anything. Maybe “hits” is an acronym for “How Idiots Track Sales.”

Perhaps what’s more important is how LONG people stay on your site, if they come BACK regularly, and if they’re the RIGHT people. To quote Seth Godin from Meatball Sundae, “How many eyeballs isn’t as important as whose eyeballs.” How could being obsessable help you become more addictable?

REMEMBER: The easiest way to make yourself more addictable is to make customers say, “I can’t quit you!”

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Does your business pass the Brokeback Mountain test?

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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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

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

Rent Scott's Brain today!



Friday, September 18, 2009

4 Secrets to Retain Relevancy So Customers Don't Get Bored with You and Buy from Someone Else

As an author, used book fairs are my candy store.

The price is insanely cheap.
The selection is overwhelming.
The smell is mildewy and wonderful.

Is there a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?

I think not.

Recently, I stopped by the 31st annual St. Louis YMCA Book Fair to stock up on fall reading. And I’m excited to report that I DID NOT find one of my own books for a dollar like I did last year. That was terribly depressing.

What I did notice, however, was that certain books had titles that were so incredibly irrelevant, outdated and poorly chosen, they actually made me laugh out loud. For example:

• Is Stalinism Dead? The Future of Perestroika as a Moral Revolution
• The Omega Strategy: How You Can Retire Rich by 1986
• Start Your Own Mail Order Business
• How to Make $25,000 a Year Publishing Newsletters
• Mastering Pacman: Tripling Your Score on the Game that’s Sweeping the Nation!

By the way, I just finished reading that last book, and am now convinced that I could pretty much annihilate ANYBODY in Pacman.

But I digress.

HERE’S THE POINT: These titles are irrelevant. Inconsequential. Obsolete. Valueless.

And as such, they’re unbuyable, unrelatable and unreadable.

SO, HERE’S THE QUESTION: How much profitability are YOU sacrificing by being irrelevant?

For many individuals and organizations, the answer is “too much.”

So, today we’re going to learn four strategies for retaining relevancy:

1. Publish a steady stream of solid content. You need to be the generator. The source. The origin. The distributor. Now, everything you put out there doesn’t have to be amazing. But if you want to be amazing, you’ve got to put everything out there.

So, here’s the secret: Send a continuous flow of education. Don’t come off as someone who has a sense of scarcity. Whether you leverage RSS, social media, podcasts or ezines, never stop publishing.

Because if you’re viewed as a broker of intelligence and wisdom; an aggregator of valuable content that’s light on the self-promotion and heavy on the actionable practices, your ideas WILL become compulsively readable (or listenable!)

What’s more, as explained in the book Value Forward Marketing by Paul DiModica, “Use Thought Leadership devices that force people to become educated and subliminally teach them how to buy and what to buy from you.”

RELEVANCY REMINDER: Consistently deploy enduring content BY you, and it will become less threatening to do business WITH you. What did you publish today?

2. Implement a system for staying constantly relevant. Consider these questions to help design yours:

a. Where are you customers hanging out? Go there!
b. How healthy is your media diet? Cut out the crap!
c. How responsive are you to “requestions”? Answer them!
d. What terms are your customers searching for? Google them!
e. How are you upgrading your qualifications? Recertify them!
f. Are you dedicated to life-long learning? Rededicate yourself!
g. What publications are your customers reading? Subscribe to them!
h. When was the last time you got new headshots taken? Shoot them!
i. What three industry blogs are you reading weekly? Bookmark them!
j. How many networking events have you attended this week? Sign up!
k. What market opportunities do you need to respond to? Leverage them!
l. How frequently are you updating your online profiles/statuses? Write them!
m. How many of your customers have you taken to lunch this month? Invite them!
n. How often are you asking your customers to help make your business better? Ask them!

RELEVANCY REMINDER: Riches come from relevant, which comes from current. So, no current = No curren-CY. What’s your relevancy system?

3. Build your listening platform. No matter what title is printed on your business card, you work in the problem solving business. Period. So, here’s most effective strategy for understanding which real, expensive, urgent, relevant pervasive problems you need to solve: LISTEN.

Listen everywhere. Use every listening post you can find. Consider how people are reacting to your current thinking. Listen to what your customers aren’t telling you. When you really listen, people WILL describe their truths about you. And those truths will be the key to retaining relevancy in their eyes.

So, whether you use social media, Google alerts, informal surveys, online evaluations, interviews, user conferences, 360 feedback reports, refuse to be anywhere that doesn’t allow you to listen and learn.

RELEVANCY REMINDER: Schedule a listening occasion. Listen very carefully to what people tell you they remember about you. What will building a listening platform earn you the right to do?

4. Discard the inconsequential. In 1997, Scott Adams published The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century. Aside from being hysterical, the book also made several predictions that (actually) came true. For example:

“In the future, more people will actively ignore the news because it is irrelevant.”

Wow. Adams couldn’t be more right. Especially when stations like CNN and Fox News continuously air hour-long discussions on inconsequential drivel like “Barack and Michelle’s Date to the Opera” and “Brittney’s Bodyguard Calls it Quits.”

Who. The Hell. Cares.

Answer: Nobody. And that’s why nobody’s watching. So, my question for you is: Do people care about what YOU’RE saying? Are YOUR ideas inconsequential? If so, expect your customers and employees to tune you out instantly.

RELEVANCY REMINDER: Learn the questions to identify and appeal to anyone's self-interest. Do people wish they could fast-forward your conversations?

In summary, we turn to Marc Ecko, billionaire creator of Ecko Unlimited Clothing, who said:

“You stay relevant by being conscious and not over-intellectualizing things. The biggest trap for creative types is the moment they start becoming introspective it paralyzes them. You can't operate from a position of fear of irrelevance. You have to operate from a position of strength and confidence."

REMEMBER: Retaining relevancy isn’t about being a chameleon; but rather, it’s about consciously evolving towards a future you’re both the creator OF and the participator IN.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to start training for my upcoming Pacman tournament.

Blinky doesn’t stand a chance.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How much profitability are YOU sacrificing by being irrelevant?

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For the list called, "6 Ways to Out POSITION 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Who's quoting YOU?

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

www.stuffscottsaid.com.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

11 Questions to Determine if Your Passion Will become Profitable

"Passionate" doesn’t (necessarily) mean "profitable."

Passion isn’t a panacea.

This is a common entrepreneurial mistake.

People think that just because they’ve pinpointed their passion – POOF! – They can now magically make a business out of it.

Wrong.

Entrepreneurship isn’t a Beatles song. Passion (or love, for that matter) isn’t all you need.

Passion only becomes profitable when it’s: (1) Enhanced by competence, (2) Entwined with purpose, and (3) Embraced by market demand.

Without achieving harmony between those three elements, your passion will remain a gorgeous (but dangerous) fire that ends up burning you AND everyone you touch.

Not to mention, you also end up annoying the bejesus out of people with your misguided inconsequentiality.

That’s a misfire you and your business can’t afford to make.

In order to prevent that from happening, I invite you to (honestly) ask yourself the following questions:

• Are you passionately incompetent?
• Are you confusing passion with talent and ability?
• How much do you know about running a business?
• Is your passion cool, but irrelevant to the marketplace?
• Is your passion inherently interesting, but difficult to sell?
• Is your passion intrinsically appealing, but something you suck at?
• Will the thrill of your passion dissipate once it becomes a daily task?
• Are you wasting your passion on people who don’t appreciate or deserve it?
• Are there at least ten other people out there who are successfully making money from a passion similar to yours?
• Do you really know how to run a bakery, or do you just like to cook because people always tell you they enjoy your cupcakes?
• If you DID end up making a business out of your passion, how long before you start to feel robbed of your true talent because you’re wasting most of your time and energy on menial, soul-sucking activities that have nothing to do with your passion?

Not to be Debby Downer or anything.

But somebody’s got to say it.

REMEMBER: Passion without competence is nothing but misguided energy; passion without purpose is nothing but chaotic fire; and passion without a viable market is nothing but a hobby.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Will your passion become profit?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "86 Passion-Finding Questions to Invite Someone to Talk about What They Love," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Download a free copy of The Nametag Guy's (unofficial) 9th book!

HELLO, my name is Scott's...
"Live your name."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

13 Strategies for Creating an Aura of Superiority around Your Brand - Without Looking Like an Arrogant Ass

The word “superior” comes from the Latin superus, which means, “situated above.”

So, for your brand to be superior, you don’t have to be arrogant – you just have to be awesome. Plus, a lot of people have to agree with you. That’s the formula.

What about you? How do you demonstrate superior expertise? And are you turning out work that has a genuine superiority?

If not, today you’re going to learn a list of thirteen strategies for creating an aura of superiority around your brand – without looking like an arrogant ass:

1. Adopt a preeminent mindset. This is the first step in building awareness and exposure to become the default in your space. Mohammad Ali is the perfect reminder. Four words: “I am the greatest.” He said this phrase often enough that (not only) did he convince himself that he was the greatest, but he convinced the world he was the greatest too.

Now, certainly Ali was able to support his assertion with unparalleled fighting skill. He really DID float like a butterfly. He really DID sting like a bee. The question is: If Ali never declared that he was the greatest over and over, would he (still) have become the greatest?

Doubtful. Similarly, if you don’t believe in your own preeminence – in a non-arrogant way – nobody else will either. What are you the world heavyweight champion of?

2. Repeatedly articulate your EST. That’s not an acronym; it’s a suffix. As in: Craziest. Dizziest. Fanciest. Gutsiest. Heaviest. Juiciest. Knottiest. Laziest. Purest. Quietest. Rarest. Got it? Essentially, EST is a stronger, more specific version of the superlative best. And customers can’t help but be attracted to that. Your challenge is to answer the following three questions:

*What’s the ONE THING your company does that nobody else can touch?
*How could you reframe, repurpose or reposition that uniqueness in the form of an EST?
*How many different ways could you leverage that EST in your marketing so you become KNOWN for it?

Remember: Everyone possesses inherent, unique superiority, but not everyone articulates it. How much longer can you continue winking in the dark?

3. Be a recognized innovator. That means you have to be the FIRST at something. Doesn’t matter what it is. As long as it’s relevant and you did it before anybody else. Example: Do you think anyone remembers the second woman to fly across the Atlantic?

Nope. Earhart was the recognized innovator. Everyone else fell to the wayside. Therefore: Your mission is to become the first to do, say or be SOMETHING. What are you recognized as being the FIRST at?

4. Be a shortcut. In Scott Halford’s awesome book of the same name, he wrote, “If you’re not a shortcut, you’re taking up too much space.” Great point. Your challenge is to answer these three questions:

*What are you a shortcut for?
*What are you a shortcut to?
*For whom are you that shortcut?

Remember: We live in a fast paced, instant gratification, A.D.D. hyperspeed culture. Be quicker or be deader. Which one are you?

5. Be a statement of action. The simplest solution for solidifying a position of superiority is to just DO stuff. Every day. Action is the engine of credibility, the conduit of character and the stamp of superiority.

That’s the difference: Creating an aura of inferiority is nothing but a landfill of idea CREATION. Creating an aura of superiority is a like trophy case of idea EXECUTION. The choice is yours. Will you talk or DO?

6. Be proprietary. “Spend a lot of money making it yours. Otherwise you become a victim,” remarked bestselling author Jeffrey Gitomer. “You can’t trust your business to someone who might not BE in business.”

Good advice. Remember: The moment you use something that anybody could use, you are no longer unique. What percentage of the technology you’re using is YOURS?

7. Be the first, not the best. If people don’t think of your name first, they may never get a chance to see if you really are the best. That’s the reality of Google, and it might be hurting your business. In the words of the wise philosopher, Ricky Bobby, “If you ain’t first, you’re last!”

Now, obviously if you recall Talladega Nights, you know that mantra is clearly insane.

Or is it? After all, when presented with an infinite amount of choices, customers are just going to pick the best. Which, on Google means “the first.” So maybe Ricky was right. Maybe creating an aura of superiority starts with a little shake and bake. What are you recognized as being the first at?

8. Convince people that you’re doing something important. In the world of fundraising, here’s the big secret: Stop asking for money and start making such a passionate, compelling case, that people ask for the opportunity to contribute to your cause. See? That’s the difference between selling and enabling people to buy. Which one are YOU doing?

9. Don’t be smart – be an intellectual. Here’s the difference: Smart is for students who study content for the purpose of memorization. Which means information comes in one ear and out the other.

Intellectuals are people who absorb ideas for the purpose of democratization. Which means people are extracting truth and redelivering it in a way that’s applicable and actionable across the board.

That’s why intellectuals are superior – because anyone can be smart. Which word would your customers use to describe you?

10. Go name something. In Seth Godin’s The Big Moo, he explains, “Isaac Newton created a word that described something that was already there, something that affected everyone, all the time. By naming gravity, he gave us power over it. He gave us a handle, which permitted both scientists and lay people to talk about and interact with this mysterious force.”

Lesson learned: When you name something, you can gain power over that something. You can do something about that something. You can get people to talk about that something. And you can become the superior voice on that something. Me? I started wearing a nametag everyday and ended up naming approachability. What could you make into a household word?

11. Position yourself as an aggregator of valuable content. Nobody wants to sift through the entire forty-seven-year catalog of The Rolling Stones’ library. They just want to buy Forty Licks and get on with their life. The cool part is: YOU could be that album. You could be the summary. The chronicle. The Cliffs notes. People will think you’re a genius. All because you aggregated.

The secret is learning to see to the heart of the matter quickly. Then, making the effort to uncover the essence of a system, distilling it and then deploying it to people in a simple, actionable way. Do this, and I promise your customers will LOVE this for three simple reasons: They’re busy, they’re lazy and they’re impatient. Thank God for your superior content aggregation. Are you a broker of information and wisdom?

12. Three words: And nowhere else. That means your company is The Only. The One. The unsurpassed stop. THEE go-to place. Fortunately, you may have already accomplished this. Here’s the test. Imagine a new customer calls tomorrow morning. He needs your help bad.

The question is: Has your company earned the right to say, “Mr. Jackson, you didn’t just come to the RIGHT place – you came to the ONLY place”? If so, congrats. You’ve passed the “And Nowhere Else Test.” If not, it’s time to get moving on deploying your matchlessness. What industry or niche are you the standard-bearer of?

13. Raise your thought frequency. Ultimately, that’s what drives your ability to engineer a continuous flow of superior breakthroughs. The cool part is, when you become known as an elegant thinker, people will pay money to watch you do it in action. Better yet, they will bring their friends with them.

As advertising legend Joey Riemann explained in his book, Thinking for a Living, ““Profits go to the prophets. Big thinkers are the most valuable human beings on Earth. And grey matter is real estate –what grows out of it will be your net worth.” How much is seeing the light worth to a company or person in the dark?

REMEMBER: It IS possible to become clearly superior – and to PRESERVE your superiority – without looking like an arrogant ass.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you create an aura of superiority around your brand?

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

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

8 Ways to become More Buyable than a Bottle of Viagra at a Boca Raton Bingo Hall

“I just cannot WAIT to send you a check!”

How cool would it be if your customers thought that? How profitable would it be if your customers SAID that?

Very.

And the best part is, this concept has nothing to do with selling; but rather, enabling people to buy.

IN SHORT: Being buyable.

AND HERE’S THE DISTINCTION: Most salespeople constantly run around asking prospects, “Do you want to buy me?”

On the other hand, buyable salespeople don’t run – they position. And they do so in a value-driven, unique role so prospects say to them, “We want to buy you!”

MY QUESTION IS: How’s your buyability?

Not strong enough? Not a problem. Let’s explore a list of eight strategies for becoming more buyable than a bottle of Viagra at a bingo hall.

1. Migrate fans into paying customers. In order to do so, you MUST deliver unique value first. Ideally: Meaningful, concrete and immediate answers that will help your customers grow their business – delivered via email, blogging, a public presentation or an in-person meeting.

And, yes, this migration process may take months, even years. The question you have to ask yourself is: What are you willing to LOSE on the first sale in order to guarantee a relationship? Time? Lunch? Money? Free samples? A few hundred bucks?

It might be worth it. Start building your migration strategy today. How long will it take to turn strangers into friends, friends into fans and fans into paying customers?

2. Try your customer’s head on. First, ask yourself: “If I were my customer, what would I want to buy from me next?” Second, ask your customers, “What new offering would you LOVE to see from me that I don’t currently offer?”

Example: I recently asked that very question to the 20,000 subscribers of HELLO, my name is Ezine. I also offered a free book to whomever offered the best most helpful suggestion. Sure enough, heaps of emails came in. My customers’ feedback was priceless. I even modified one of my future programs accordingly.

Lesson learned: Your customers will tell you how to sell to them. Remember what sales legend Jeffrey Gitomer reminds us, “People hate to be sold, but they love to buy.” Are you giving your customers permission to tell you how to serve them better?

3. More isn’t more. All you can eat buffets are great for heart disease, but ghastly for business. Here’s why: Choice saturation paralyzes people into inaction. And confused minds never buy. Conversely, the less you offer, the easier it is for people to refer TO and FROM you.

Not to mention, when you remove choices, you also remove the threat of rejection. Your mission is to arrange things so that selling is easy. And the first step to doing so is simple: Offer less.

In Seth Godin’s very short ebook, Do Less, he writes: “By not cluttering your life and reputation with a string of low-budget process, you actually increase your chances of getting great projects in the future.” What if you stopped giving customers so many choices, or any choice at all?

4. Reopen the wound. Here’s the reality: If there’s nothing bleeding, customers won’t think they need you. This doesn’t mean you should act like an evil pharmaceutical company that manufactures bogus diseases so they can push pills (ahem, Restless Leg Syndrome).

Rather, your job is to serve as a reminder. As if to say to your customers, “I think you’re forgetting that you have this problem, and it hasn’t gone away. So, if you want to eliminate it, you need to call me.” It’s all about framing. Presenting offerings in a way where resistance is impossible. Helping them WANT it. What were you designed to cure?

5. Keep asking: What’s next? According to the owner of Honest Selling and the founder of Yellow Tie International, Gil Wagner, “These are the two strongest words for maintaining control of the buying conversation.”

I agree. Especially on email. Especially when you’ve done your part and you’re waiting for the prospect to make a move. Instead of appearing too pushy, all you have to do is ask, “What’s next?” Period. End of email. You’ll find that it’s is a conversation-advancer, a time-saver and an action-oriented request that demonstrates your willingness to cut to the chase and move forward.

I’ve been using it almost daily since 2005, and I’m constantly amazed how (a) how many sales I’ve closed because of it, and (2) how much customers appreciate it. Remember: The listener controls. Are you asking simple, yet powerful questions to become more buyable?

6. People sell – products don’t. People buy people first. Period. So, if you notice a lack of buyability, realize that customers aren’t resisting the product – they are resisting you. Conversely, buyable people (and businesses) are the ones customers think, “Dude, we would be nuts NOT to hire this guy!” How could you become more irresistible?

7. Become a known-entity. The best way to do so is to achieve what I call “Radar Equity.” And it begins by asking yourself five few questions:

a. Whose radar do I want to be on?
b. What do I want to happen as a result of being on it?
c. Who do I know that is already on that radar?
d. What steps have they taken to get there?
e. What actions could I take to emulate those steps?

Remember: The secret to Radar Equity is that you have to EARN the right to be on it. That means publishing. That means social networking. That means OFF-line networking. Whatever it takes. How can you position yourself so thousands of people whom you never met will get to know you instantly?

8. Put yourself in their future. “I’m going to be happier at the end of this transaction because I gave you money.” This is what your prospects need to think. So, the first step toward reaching that future is to activate mental ownership. And you do this by helping the customers visualize the END.

The benefit of the benefit of the benefit of the benefit. The customers of the customers. Not just a mowed lawn – their kids and dogs playing in the freshly cut grass. Not just a rental car – their feeling of getting the hell out of the airport quickly. How are you traveling through time to put yourself in your customer’s future?

REMEMBER: Selling is for amateurs – enabling people to buy is the secret.

Ultimately, buyability is about creating a value-forward relationship within the client environment.

Do that, and they might actually become excited about sending you a check.

Then you can buy all the Viagra you want!

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How are you boosting your buyability?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "134 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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