Spice It Up! Rib Festival Teaches Us About Product Value

The Rib America Festival is a fun filled family event featuring award winning BBQ and live entertainment from national, regional and local talent. Each rib cooker features their very own special cooking strategy and recipes that make for a truly unique food festival experience.

My Dad and I attend every year. And it’s our tradition to sample a few ribs from each of the cookers and ultimately choose our favorite; after which we return home and pass out from meat overload.

Now, amazing sauce, tender meat and spicy rib-rub notwithstanding, I noticed a few environmental elements that altered the perception of certain cookers’ value.

1) Lines: like my Dad always says, “Just because there’s a long line, it doesn’t mean the ribs are good; and just because there’s nobody in line, it doesn’t mean the ribs are bad.” Case in Point: our personal award for the past two years went to Dave’s Good Ol’ Boys BBQ from New York. And for the last two years, those guys have had NO LINE. Hmmm. Interesting.

SPICE THIS UP: Popular doesn’t mean better.

2) Credibility: a lot of the cookers had trophies from various cook-offs over the years – but most of those awards were from the 90’s. To me, that didn’t seem all that impressive. But while waiting in line for some ribs from a South Carolina cooker, the judges from this year’s festival walked over and presented the 2005 1st Place Trophy to their booth! And you better believe their line doubled instantly!

SPICE THIS UP: Credibility is most effective when it’s recent.

3) Promotion: one cooker from Chicago – who makes amazing ribs every year – passes out free stickers with a picture of their mascot, Paulie the Pig. And here’s the cool part: every customer gets one. And they HAVE to wear it! According to one of the cooks I spoke with, at least one third of the people in line were drawn in by others who were wearing those stickers.

SPICE THIS UP: It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

At the end of a long afternoon, all of the ribs were great. And rightly so – only a select group of cookers are chosen to show at this festival. But “great” isn’t that special when everyone else is great. You need something else if you want to stand out and be unforgettable.


How do you spice it up?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Now THIS is what front porches are really for…

Joe McCarthy at Interrelativity sent me a fantastic link to a website called Front Porch Classics. The company was founded by three dads in Seattle, Washington, looking for ways to spend quality time with family and friends.

“Too often we found ourselves watching TV, DVDs, playing cheap plastic games or sitting around a computer game console. This inspired us to create a new line of games. Games that can engage the whole family and get multiple generations gathered around the coffee table to laugh, learn, share and build lasting memories together.”

Check out their site. From coffee table to desktop to bookshelf games, these guys have everything!


What is your favorite front porch activity?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Internetworking: Developing Mutually Valuable Relationships Online

Several hundred years ago Ben Franklin contemplated a revolutionary business concept: to gather people together on a regular basis to share ideas and help each other boost business. Little did he know that his idea would evolve into a field of study embraced by legions of businesspeople centuries later: networking.

Certainly over those next hundred years, networking evolved in myriad ways. But with the advent of and dependence on the Internet, networking has now taken a turn to the on-ramp of the information superhighway. And businesspeople are starting to realize that attending meetings, schmoozing with potential clients and creating connections at conventions and trade shows are only the beginning.

Now the time has come for a new kind of networking: internetworking.

The definition of networking is the development and maintenance of mutually valuable relationships. Therefore this new term, internetworking, can be defined as development and maintenance of mutually valuable relationships online.

In fact, The Federal Bureau of Labor recently indicated that 70% of new business comes from some form of networking. So the real question is: how much of your 70% will come from internetworking?

Here’s a great tip…

Google is the perfect portal to discover not only where you stand, but where other business people stand. Part of internetworking is connecting with other people in your industry – or complimentary industries – with whom you can develop mutually valuable relationships.

Let’s say you sell promotional products. Why not take 30 minutes a week to research who else works in the same field? Here are some suggestions for search terms (make certain to use the quotations):

  • “promotional product sales”
  • “promotional product ideas”
  • “worst promotional products”
  • “best promotional products”

    When you search your industry, job or profession in this manner, you will discover every website, link, article, and reference to it on the web! What’s more, your search results will transcend geographical boundaries and reach valuable contacts you never could have met at your local Chamber meeting.

    And these people would be perfect additions to your network. But you do have to take initiative to extend your virtual handshake, as Scott Allen says. So, no matter what industry you’re in, here’s what to do next:

    1) Review someone’s website or article from your search
    2) Drop him an email
    3) In the letter, tell him how you came across his information, introduce yourself, and why the two of you should connect with each other. Explain how important networking relationships are to business, and that you’d like to be able to help him by sharing ideas and brainstorming and offering resources and recommendations.

    Not every person will respond. But most professionals will be willing to, at the least, check out your site and get to know you a little better so they can expand their network too. And you never know: the one person that you email could change everything!

    Believe me, it happens. Last year I randomly emailed Seth Godin, one of my favorite authors, to speak highly of his work. He saw my website on my email signature, then decided to post a link to my website on his blog. That link resulted in 70,000 hits every day for a week, the birth of this blog, several new valuable relationships and a tremendous increase in web presence!

    Because with any kind of networking, you just never know.

    (To read the entire article “Internetworking: 5 Ways to Develop Mutually Valuable Relationships Online, click here.)


    How do you “internetwork”?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

  • Customers don’t care if you’re having a bad day

    In a recent article in Sauce magazine, various locals were asked, “If the food was excellent at a restaurant, but the service terrible, would you go back?”

    The following two answers caught my attention:

    “I usually give it a shot one more time. Service is important, but sometimes servers have a bad day.”

    “I would have questions about going back, unless I really like the place. I understand that people have bad days, but service is important and I’m dissapointed if it’s not good.”

    Bad days?

    I spent several years working in both food service and hospitality industries, and I saw too many employees made bad first impressions because of one simple error: they forgot that the job wasn’t about them. In other words, they had a “bad day” and took it out on their guests/customers. (And trust me – I’ve done it before too.)

    I’m not suggesting the elimination of bad days. They’re bound to happen, we all have them, and we obviously sympathize for those people who are having bad days. (It’s obviously tough to work effectively when you’re having one.) But too often, service employees will “spill” their emotions on their customers.

    This reminds me of Patricia Fripp, CSP. She is an internationally loved professional speaker who recently spoke to my NSA chapter. She told a story about a speech she once gave to 5000 people the day after both her parents died! When asked how she accomplished this feat, Fripp said, “You must work from technique – because you never know how you’re going to feel that day.”

    The bottom line about first impressions is this: it doesn’t matter if you have a bad day. It only matters if the customer has a good day.


    When was the last time an employee took his bad day out on you?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Hey look, it’s That Guy!

    You might expect someone approaching his 81st birthday to be taking it easy, watching TV in a nice air-conditioned room. “Not Me,” says Paul Pagano, who will reach that age on August 3. “The Good Lord keeps me healthy, and as long as I can, I will continue making people smile.”

    Pagano, who lives in St. Louis, is better known to the public as Father Time. He has been attending parades, celebrations and sporting events in costumes to fit the occasion since 1985.

    “I love what I do. My mission is to spread myself, to bring smiles to people faces. I greet people and they smile, see. My signs and costumes always express the occasion, like God Bless America, Go Cardinals, and Buona Festa for Hill Day celebrations, things like that. I have no wealth, but I have my health. I can’t be like some old people who say ‘it’s too hot, it’s too crowed, there’s too much walking.’”

    Now, I’ve been attending Cardinals games since I was 5 years old. And I’ve always seen this guy standing in the same spot with his traditional signs and costumes. But yesterday I was at Kinko’s making copies for an audience handout when I saw an old man wearing a sequenced red top hat and a sign that read “NUMBER 1 CARDINAL FAN!”

    It was him! It was the guy from the games!

    I had to say something.

    “See the Cards play Philly last night?” I asked.

    “Yeah, there were a few too many errors in that game. But we’ll get ’em next time!”

    “You know, I see you at the Cardinals games all the time. How long have you been doing this?”

    “Going on 20 years now. Yeah, I love meeting people and going to those games. Sometimes I think I’m more of a mascot to the Cardinals than Fredbird!”

    Not surprisingly, Paul directed me to his website where I could learn more about his brilliant front porch.


    Who is your local “that guy”?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    If you wear a nametag all the time, this shouldn’t happen

    After attending a Cardinals game last week some friends and I walked over to the traditional Redbirds post game celebration at a pub called Patty O’Brien’s.

    Not surprisingly I had my nametag ripped off two times in a three hour period.

    I must say, that still amazes me every time it happens. But it’s interesting to me that in 1,654 days; ONLY WOMEN have ripped my nametag off.

    And what do I do when this happens?


    Well actually, I do keep 10-15 spares in my wallet at all times for immediate reapplication. In fact, putting another nametag on right in front of someone who’s just ripped it off is one of the greatest comebacks of all time.

    But what if the tables were turned? What would happen if I walked up to a strange woman and ripped off HER nametag? I wouldn’t dare do that.

    Now, considering this incident occured at a weekend baseball game, you might wonder if I did something to provoke her. Not at all! In fact, I wasn’t even looking at this woman who came out of nowhere to violate my:

    Was I asking for it? Perhaps. But that doesn’t make it ok.


    How do you handle intrusions upon your personal space?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    The Gallery of Annoying Email Signatures

    I truly believe in the value of the email signature. It’s our duty to make ourselves and our businesses accessible and easy to reach. After all, that’s what approachability is all about.

    But it’s frustrating when an email contains a signature that’s utterly pointless, provides no value and often confuses the recipient.

    Here’s an example:

    “Microsoft isn’t the evil software company everyone thinks they are.
    They just make crappy programs.” -Linus Torvalds, Creator of Linux OS.

    This signature, among many other annoying examples can be found on The Gallery of Annoying Email Signatures from www.orsi.net


    What’s the worst email signature you’ve ever received?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Once Again, Guinness Book Rejected My Submission for a World Record

    Every year I submit my proposal to the Guinness Book of World Records for “Longest Time Consistently Wearing a Nametag.” Not surprisingly, it was rejected again. Here’s what the nice people at Guinness World Records had to say:

    Dear Mr. Ginsberg:

    Thank you for sending us the details of your recent record proposal for Longest Time Consistently Wearing a Nametag. We are afraid to say that we are unable to accept this as a Guinness World Record.

    We receive over 60,000 enquiries a year from which only a small proportion are approved by our experienced researchers to establish new categories. These are not ‘made up’ to suit an individual proposal, but rather ‘evolve’ as a result of international competition in a field, which naturally accommodates superlatives of the sort that we are interested in. We think you will appreciate that we are bound to favour those that reflect the greatest interest.

    We appreciate that this may be disappointing to you. We are always keen to hear from people who wish to set a Guinness World Record. If you should need any advice regarding record breaking in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us, quoting the above membership number.

    Once again thank you for your interest in Guinness World Records.

    Yours sincerely,

    Records Research Services

    Oh well. I guess I’ll try again next year.


    Which Guinness World Record would you want to attempt?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    How to Transform Your Car Into a Networking Tool

    I recently finished Ivan Misner’s book, It’s in The Cards: Getting the Biggest Impact from Your Smallest Ad.

    It’s a fantastic book. It’s fun, informative and full of color pictures of classic business cards. Misner is the CEO of Business Networks International (BNI), and he takes the reader through a comprehensive look at the value of business cards. He also recommends various business card resources, one of which caught my eye. It’s called Vehicle Pocket, Inc.

    The website explains, “According to the American Trucking Association, the average service vehicle makes 16 MILLION visual impressions in a single year.

    Vehicle Card Pockets are changing the way companies use their service vehicles for advertising purposes, and are sure to increase your sales. Vehicle Card Pockets are the most effective and inexpensive way to market your business. Just put them on and they will transform your vehicle from a mobile billboard to a traveling sales representative.”

    I want to buy one of these for every person I know in Real Estate!


    Would you put a Vehicle Card Pocket on your car?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Do You Possess Any of These Four “X-Factors?”

    I just finished a brilliant article in the June 2005 issue of Psychology Today called “The Superpowers.” It discusses the X-factors such as charisma, chutzpah, joie de virvre and grace. Here are some of the highlights…

    * * *
    X-factors are enviable dispositions that defy easy definition; even as they are immediately recognizable in people we admire…they project a positive energy that radiates beyond the person who embodies them. Only recently have psychologists begun to articulate and study what X-factors are made of…here are the four major types:

    1) Charisma
    It is, in fact, just short of magic: it’s a rare quality but common in figures who inspire devotion. Charismatic people are essentially brilliant communicators…they consist of overlapping components such as expressivity, sensitivity, control, eloquence, vision and self-confidence.

    Synchrony may be the key to charisma. Synchrony is a marker of rapport; if two people click, they unconsciously adjust their posture and speech rate to each other. Charasmatic people are natural ‘attractors,’ who get others to synchronize to them.

    PT’s Perfect Example: Oprah

    2) Chutzpah
    Chutzpah makes our jaws drop because it openly challenges our conformist tendencies. It is a behavior that crosses a social norm, not merely to get away with something, but rather to purposefully challenge convention.

    PT’s Perfect Example: Craig Venter

    3) Joie de Vivre
    People with joie de vivre are like windup dolls that never run down. They are passionate explorers who view their work as play. They’re a lot of fun to be around. AKA ‘exuberance,’ it spreads quickly and expands people’s sense of possibilities.

    Positive rewards like social interaction do more for them (people with this X-factor) than they do for others. As a result, they are motivated not only to meet new people but to connect well with them.

    PT’s Perfect Example: Richard Simmons

    4) Grace
    Grace, AKA “benevolence,” is the quietest of the X-factors. Wisdom is also associated with benevolence, and it is in warm, compassionate individuals that we often see grace. Another key to grace is equaniminty, the ability to accept life’s inevitable slings and arrows. The charm and kindness that we associate with regal beauties like Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelley are another form of grace, one that surpasses their breeding and impeccable manners.

    PT’s Perfect Example: Nelson Mandela

    * * *
    At the end of the article, PT went on to say, ‘People possessed of X-factors know the hold they have over us. And if they use these qualities for the common good, we gladly go under their spell.'”


    Whom do you know that personifies any of these X-factors?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

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