How to turn pigeonholes into goldmines

The other day one of my audience members asked me, “What do you like LEAST about your job?”

“Stereotypes,” I replied.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, a lot of people think that authors and professional speakers are egomaniacal, self-serving, manipulative BS’ers who do nothing but spit fluff and hawk products from the stage instead of delivering real value.”

“Wow,” he said. “Is that really true?”

“That’s what I’ve heard, not what I believe,” I said. “So, I’d say it’s really more of a pigeonhole.”

Pigeonhole. That’s an important word in business.

See, to pigeonhole someone means “to place him into a compartment or to assign him a category.”

Which means you have a few challenges:

1. To figure out what your pigeonhole is.
2. To disarm it whenever you meet someone who wants to put you in it.

The following five steps will help you accomplish those challenges so you can turn pigeonholes into goldmines:

1. Brainstorm. Create a list called “Top Ten Stereotypes and Pigeonholes about My Job as a(n) ____________.” If you’re having trouble getting all ten, just call a coworker or someone who’s worked in your industry for a while. They should be able to help!

2. Defend. Create a sub-list for each item. Gather three examples, stories, statistics, testimonials or any other sort of evidence that proves those pigeonholes wrong.

3. Post. Share that list with the visitors of your website or blog. They’ll appreciate your honesty, transparency and openness. Feel free to use pictures, customer letters and videos. THAT should get them on your side.

4. Review. Spend a few minutes at the beginning of each day reviewing your Pigeonhole List. Keep it fresh in your mind, especially during conversations with customers and prospects. COOL IDEA: write that list on a sticky note and stick it on your phone!

5. Articulate. As soon as possible during a conversation, speech or sales presentation, address your pigeonholes. Reassure your audience (or customers) that working with you will NOT be consistent with the existing stereotypes of your industry.

FINAL NOTE: the whole reason for this approachable practice is to disarm the immediate preoccupations of your buyers.

THAT is what instills comfort.

Which establishes trust.
Which reinforces value.
Which ultimately enables people to buy.

Start brainstorming your stereotypes TODAY.

And tomorrow, you’ll begin turning pigeonholes into goldmines.

What is the #1 pigeonhole of your industry?

Share your list of three ways to disarm it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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Watch The Nametag Guy’s clip from 20/20!

If you’re having diffuculty viewing this video, you can also watch it (or share the link) here!

Who’s the luckiest person you know?

What do they do that nobody else does?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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The #1 way to overcome writer’s block

According to Wikipedia, writer’s block is “a phenomenon involving temporary loss of ability to continue writing, usually due to lack of inspiration or creativity.”

There’s also great list of techniques to help overcome creative barriers such as:

1. Set a time and write whatever comes to mind, without stopping, for that time.

2. Taking a break, meditating, or doing relaxation exercises to relieve any pressure on oneself and on the writing.

3. Doing something out of the ordinary. If writer’s block comes from a lack of new ideas, attempts to spark creativity by going somewhere new or doing something different can be useful.

4. Reading, watching movies or plays, or similar activities that might bring inspiration.

Good stuff. Thanks Wikipedia!


Writing is an extension of thinking. And great writers are great thinkers.

So, if you’re having trouble writing, that probably means you’re having trouble thinking.

Which brings me to the #1 way to overcome writer’s block…

LESSON LEARNED: Go back to the source.

Better writing comes from better thinking.

You know, it’s funny. I’m often accused of “never running out of content,” “never sleeping” or “always pumping out new material.” (Like that’s a bad thing!)

But see, I write like I talk. And I talk like I think. And since I’m usually either talking or thinking, then obviously, it’s not humanly possibly to get writer’s block!

Therefore, allow me to offer my own list for overcoming writer’s block:

1. Clear. Practice meditation, mental dumping, relaxation, breathing or any other brain-conditioning techniques to open your mind, heart and soul to receive new ideas. Best when done first thing in the morning. Read The Artist’s Way and learn how to do morning pages. I promise they will change your life.

2. Exercise. Your body AND your mind. Don’t choose one or the other. Do both. Read books on creative thinking (especially the ones with exercises). Do Sudoku, crossword puzzles, anything to get your brain cranking. Also best when early in the morning.

3. Think. I know. It’s so dumb that I’m telling you to “think.” Still, every single day, take at least 15 minutes to just THINK. Yes, think. It sounds dumb to literally “make time to think,” but you’ll be amazed what you learn. Consider having daily appointments with yourself. I promise they will (also) change your life.

4. Read. Not the newspaper. Ughh. I’m talking about good books. Positive books. Fiction or non-fiction. Just something to get your imagination flowing.

5. Capture. Write everything down. Constantly. “Pluck” ideas daily by tuning in your eyes and ears and capturing content as if your life depended on it. And don’t tell yourself you’ll remember it. That which goes unrecorded goes unmemorable. If you don’t write it down, it NEVER happened. REMEMBER: Writing is the basis of all wealth. Oh, and don’t forget about The Paradox of Inspiration. VERY important.

6. Expand. Take an idea; then stretch it. For example, I thought to myself the other day, “Why don’t I ever get writer’s block?” Then I sat down a made a list of everything I do to kick my creative spirit in the butt. Then I wrote this article. See? Expand it! Do word explorations. Google your idea to get more ideas.

REMEMBER: these tips are only effective when underscored by a foundation of t-h-i-n-k-i-n-g.

Because a writer in motion stays in motion.


If you want to change your writing, change your thinking.
If you want to increase your writing, increase your thinking.
If you want to become a better writer, become a better thinker.

Writer’s block, schmiter’s block.

What’s your #1 way to overcome writer’s block?

Share your best technique here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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Be (somewhat) predictable, part 2

I got an eye-opening instant message yesterday:

“Hey Scott … after I watched your segment on 20/20 last night, I went online to check out your website. I didn’t know what your URL was, so I just guessed it and typed in Sure enough, I was right! Way to make it easy!”

The funny thing is, my total on-air time was only 2:43.

And I didn’t even mentioned my website.

Which means one of two things:

1. Either that guy was a really good guesser,
2. Or my brand was just THAT predictable.

My vote goes for #2.

So. What about you?

o If you had a three-minute conversation about your business, would the other person be able to guess your company’s URL in one try?

o If you delivered a three-minute speech about your business, would the audience members be able to guess your company’s URL in one try?

o If you did a three-minute interview about your business, would the viewers be able to guess your company’s URL in one try?

I hope so.

Because people are impatient.

According to Wikipedia, the human attention span is about 15 seconds.

According to the Washington Post, the amount of delay time web users are willing to tolerate is 8 seconds.

So, they need to get it in one try.

LESSON LEARNED: be (somewhat) predictable.

Here’s another example.

Last year I was giving a speech to a group of salespeople. When it was over, the emcee returned to the stage. When the applause died down, he said this:

“By the way, if anyone would like to learn more about Scott’s books and training programs, you can just go to his website. In fact, I’ll give you guys ONE guess what his website address is…”

In laughing unison, 300 people yelled out, “Hello-my-name-is-Scott-dot-com!”


LESSON LEARNED: Make it really, really easy. And obvious. And simple.

Be (somewhat) predictable.

(Read part 1 of this post here.)

Are you (somewhat) predictable?

List three behaviors your clients could probably predict about you here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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Read ABC’s transcript of Scott’s 20/20 segmet!

Hope everyone tuned in last night to 20/20’s “The Lucky Ones”!

We watched it out here in Maderia, OH, at Casa de S.F.K.A.

It was totally cool.

Here’s the transcript, fresh ABC’s website:

The Lucky Ones: Is It Serendipity or Smarts?
Good Luck and Hard Work Often Go Hand in Hand

‘Hello, My Name Is Scott’

Speaker and author Scott Ginsberg, 27, has no problem finding people to talk to. “I’ve probably had encounters with over 100,000 people,” Ginsberg said.

His popularity is fueled by an accessory that may make most people uncomfortable: He always wears a name tag.

“What is with the name tag? Well, I get that probably three to five times a day. And it’s been approximately 2,237 days that I’ve been wearing this 24/7,” he said.

Ginsberg feels the name tag represents friendliness in a world filled with strangers. In fact, he started his marketing business, “Hello My Name Is Scott,” when he was just 22. He now makes more than six figures a year from book sales and speaking engagements.

Ginsberg says his success is a result of his approachability and he can trace the first time it worked for him back to one key day years ago. He had a conversation with a stranger on a bus and gave him his card. “About a week later, I get a phone call from the editor of the Portland Tribune, who wants to do an article about my upcoming book. This article went out to every major news wire in the country. … Everything in my entire life since then is because that guy on the bus. His girlfriend was that reporter for the newspaper.”

Ginsberg, like most lucky people, doesn’t listen to naysayers. His belief in his positive attitude is so strong that he even got his name tag tattooed on his body. He said it’s “100 percent real. And you know what? This is as real as my commitment. And I think that is what can actually increase someone’s luck.” According to Ginsberg, he is the luckiest person he knows.

– – –

I’ll be sure to get the clip up on YouTube next week.

Until then, I’ve only got one thing to say…

“I’ve been dancing my ass off since Fresno!”


54 questions every entrepreneur should ask

1. What’s next? Keeps you productive. Keeps you in motion. It keeps you thinking about the future. Helps avoid complacency.

2. What did you write today? Writing is the basis of all wealth. Even if you’re not a writer, you’re a writer. SAY IT WITH ME: Writing is the basis of all wealth.
3. If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like? Helps you clarify your philosophy. Plus, once you discover the answer(s) to that question, you now have a framework. Now all you have to do is make sure you’re giving your people (customers, staff) the tools to build that world.

4. What do you (really) sell? For example, if you work at Hertz, you’re not selling people a car. You selling people a way to get the heck out of the airport! So, ask yourself “What do I sell?” over and over and over. Make a list of at least ten different answers.

5. Is everything you know written down somewhere? If you don’t write it down, it never happened. That which goes unrecorded goes unmemorable.

6. What highly valuable activities did you accomplish today? If you can go to bed every night knowing that you achieved three highly valuable activities during the day, everything will be gravy.

7. Who else lives there that you can see when you’re in town? Helps you keep your network alive.
8. What’s the stupidest thing you could possibly say? Then, don’t say that. Don’t be ashamed to ask your clients or customers this question. They’ll appreciate your willingness to learn what to avoid.
9. How can you be visible to the highest number of people? Especially if you’re at a conference with lots of people.

10. What’s the universal human emotion of this story? That way it connects with everybody.

11. Why are you even telling this story? Don’t tell it just to tell it. Have a point. A lesson. A takeaway.

12. Are customers asking to buy a product or service you don’t presently sell? If so, maybe that should tell you something.

13. What are the best possible questions I could ask this person? Questions are the basis of all cooperation. And he who asks the best questions wins. It’s a perfect way to be that guy.

14. How does that relate to me? There’s a lesson in everything. The challenge is figuring out what you’re supposed to take away from a specific incident.
15. What industry do you want to dominate? Because niches = riches.
16. When was the last tome you were featured IN the media? About your business, about your philosophy and your products. Because anonymity is the greatest barrier to business success.

17. When was the last time you were interviewed BY the media? Because you need to be perceived as an expert.

18. What did I JUST learn from this experience? Because we learn not from our experiences; but from intelligent reflection upon those experiences.

19. Who else can I talk to about this? Make a list of every possible person that would be a good source of advice or help on a challenge.

20. Am I really the best person to be doing this? If not, find someone who is and recommend her. Don’t worry. The world will pay you back.

21. Am I giving away enough stuff for free? Because the more you give away for free, the wealthier you will be.

22. What’s the ONE thing I totally forgot to pack? I ask this to myself right before I leave for the airport. I usually helps out.

23. Is what I’m doing right now consistent with my number one goal? This question made me more money and helped me become more focused than anything. Ever.

24. Is what I’m doing right now leading to a sale? Just like the above example but more focused on selling. (Put this one on a sticky note!)

25. Did you get their email? It’s the single most important piece of information you need to obtain. Because everyone is in the name-accumulate business.

26. Did you listen enough? Twice as much as you talked.

27. What lesson did you learn today? Before you go to bed, take 30 seconds to jot this down on a note card. One sentence, one lesson from one day. At the end of the week and month, re-read them. Then share them with your employees, kids and friends. Encourage them to do the same.

28. What are you thankful for today? Developing an attitude of gratitude will attract more good things in your life because the universe is responsive and participative.

29. When did you say no today? Your time isn’t just valuable; it’s billable. And most entrepreneurs suck at saying no. Consider keeping a No Journal to make sure you’re saying it enough.

30. What (small) victories did you have today? Any victories build confidence and skill. Keep a Victory Log. (And if you don’t feel like keeping a bunch of journals or logs to answers these various questions, go back and read #2 again.)
31. How many new ideas did you come up with last week? The best way to come up with great ideas is to have a LOT of ideas.

32. Are you able to speak on your expertise at the drop of a hat? That’s how good you need to be. That’s how smart you need to be.

33. Can you speak on your expertise forever? If not, that’s cool. Your customers will find someone who can.

34. Do you really want to make this a career? If not, don’t bother. Hobbies aren’t enough. You need to make this a business. (Whatever “this” is.)
35. What did you read today? Every. Single. Day. And not the newspaper or magazines. Positive, healthy, enriching stuff.
36. How many books did you read last year? I read about 300. What about you?
37. What’s the stereotype of your profession? Know this at the beginning (of your career, of your sales calls and of your days) so you can address it early, disarm people and earn their trust.
38. Have people heard about you? Because the only reason anyone will do business with you is because 1) They’ve heard you, 2) They’ve heard OF you, or 3) Someone they trust has heard of you.

39. Are people talking about you? Because word of mouth is the most honest, most effective and most sincere marketing medium. Also, Oscar Wilde once remarked, “The only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about.”

40. What do you do? Be prepared to answer this question confidently, uniquely and quickly. Have several versions ready to go for various situations.
41. Are you talking to the right person? Find the economic buyer. Don’t waste people’s time.

42. What if you got sick? Would you still make money? Would your business function by itself?

43. What if 9/11 happens again? Will you still make money? Can your business thrive without travel?
44. Do people know what you do? If you successfully answered #40, this shouldn’t be a problem.

45. Do people know what you’re DOING? Publish an ezine, blog or calendar that keeps your network in the loop. Makes it easier for them to refer you.

46. Do people know what you’ve DONE? Because there’s nothing more persuasive than a working example. Also makes it easier for them to refer you.
47. What type of marketing will you use? Remember, there’s like 46 different ways. Consider using all of them.
48. What have you done in the last 24 hours to promote YOU? Tom Peters asked this question in his awesome book The Brand You 50.

49. What have you done in the last 24 hours to increase your credibility? Because complacency is the enemy of growth.
50. Have you googled yourself this week? Becaue you can participate your online image, but you can’t control it. Because if you don’t exist on the Internet, you don’t exist.

51. Why are people picking you? The media, your customers, etc. Constantly ask them, “Why me?” Figure out the answer; repeat often.

52. What is today’s creative opportunity? There will probably be more than one per day. Still, the world is filled with them. Listen closely.

53. If you were to close your doors TODAY, what would you customers miss most? Hopefully there’s a good answer (or answers) to this question. Because a LOT of entrepreneurs out there are quickly and easily replaceable.

54. What’s your guarantee? Have something cool, remarkable and unexpected. When you remove risk from your transactions, it sets you apart, earns trust and stimulates word of mouth. For example, my guarantee to any of my customers is, “If you feel that any of my products suck, call my cell phone and your money will be refunded.” Nobody’s ever called me on it. Yet.

Who’s the luckiest person you know?

What do they do that nobody else does?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!
Tune in here!

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Watch The Nametag Guy on ABC’s 20/20!

OK. I’ve kept it a secret for three months…

I’M GOING TO BE ON 20/20!!!

I got the call in March. One of their producers read my article, How to become the Luckiest Person You Know.

HERE’S THE BEST PART: their upcoming episode is all about (get this) … people who create their own luck!

That’s me!

Anyway, their crew flew down from New York City, came to my office, sat in the audience of one of my speeches … even rigged me up with “Nametag Cam!”

Sure, they completely took over my entire office. But it was a blast. And I’m excited to see how the segment turns out.

(Boy, ABC brings a lot of gear, huh?)

REMEMBER: tune in THIS FRIDAY, June 15th on ABC’s 20/20 at 10 PM Eastern!

And if you can’t watch it, don’t worry … it’ll be on YouTube by next week.

ONE FINAL NOTE: you’re probably wondering, “How in the world did you get on 20/20?”

Check this out.

In March, 20/20 online posted this page.

It’s a online form.

You fill it out, share your “lucky” story and HOPE that 20/20 maybe calls you back.

Who knows how many thousands of other people you’re competing with?

I guess you could say it would be “lucky” if you got the call.

That is, if you actually believed in luck.

Which I don’t.

That’s why I NEVER filled anything out.

And miraculously, they called me.

Here’s why…

Because the producer, who was creating a piece about “lucky people,” went onto Google and did a search on the exact phrase “the luckiest person you know.”

And out of 539,000 pages, guess who’s article came up first AND second?


1. Writing is the basis of all wealth.
2. It ain’t about luck.
3. Stick yourself out there; get them to come to you.

Who’s the luckiest person you know?

What do they do that nobody else does?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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Approachable Service: Avoid the First Word Farce

I pushed my shopping cart up to the counter.

“Good morning!” I said to the cashier.

I awaited my greeting.

And the first words out of her mouth were:

“Zip code please.”

Yes. That was her actual greeting.

Not “Hello.”
Not “How are ya?”
Not “Welcome to Office Depot!”

Zip code please.

Gee, thanks for the friendly greeting, I thought.

WARNING: This indicator of unapproachable service is called The First Word Farce. And here’s why it’s so crucial:

According to an article from the Wall Street Journal in February of 2006, you only have a few seconds to make an UNFORGETTABLE first impression.

A few seconds!

LESSON LEARNED: Greetings are GOLD because confidence is KING.

So, the challenge is: Which extreme of the unforgettable spectrum will you project?

Unfortunately, too many front line employees go the wrong way.

That is, they greet the customer according protocol. What THEY have to say, as opposed to what THE CUSTOMER wants to hear.

Examples include:

Next in line!
Paper or plastic?
Last name please!
Phone number with area code first…

You get the point.

A similar example that comes to mind is the local sandwich shop by my office.

When customers step up to the front counter, the first words out of the cashiers’ mouths are, “For here, or to go?”

Sometimes, they’ll even interrupt YOUR friendly greeting, just because they HAVE to ask that question first!

OK, so here’s the deal. If you’re a receptionist, cashier or any other front line employees AND want to avoid the First Word Farce, consider three ideas:

1. Brainstorm. Sit down (or have line-up) with your entire front line team. Challenge each employee to come up with three brand new, brand consistent greetings. Then, vote on which greetings you like best, and try them out for a week.

2. Field Research. Now that you understand the First Word Farce, the next step is to keep your eyes and ears open. Pay close attention to the first words used by other front lines employees when you’re the customer. Make note of how they made you feel. Ask yourself, “Would I want MY customers to be greeted that way?”

3. Think big picture. Whatever greeting you decide upon, just remember one thing: make it customer oriented.

Even if you’re in a rush.

Even if you need some information from a customer to begin the transaction.

There’s always time.

AND, there’s always room, too.

In that respect, Approachable Service is sort of like JELLO.

Because when you do it right, it’s not only sweet, it’s also satisfying.

Both for you AND the customer.

What’s your best tip for making an UNFORGETTABLE first impression?

Share it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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Competition is all about attitude

Competition is all about attitude.

For example…

When something great happens to one of your competitors, don’t get jealous and upset.

INSTEAD, think, “Man I need to get on the ball!”
INSTEAD, ask, “Hmm. Are we doing stuff like that?”

Competition is all about attitude.

When you feel like comparing yourself to one of your competitors, don’t.

INSTEAD, don’t be better than anyone else; just be better than you used to be.
INSTEAD, ask, “What am I doing?” and not, “How am I doing?”

Competition is all about attitude.

When you become preoccupied with what the other guy’s progress, stop.

INSTEAD, ask, “What can I do to serve?” and not “What can I do to win?”
INSTEAD, think about being the finest, not the first.

Competition is all about attitude.

And now, here are two people much smarter than me who said it best:

“When you are content to simply be yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.” –Lao-tzu

“Competition deflects our attention from self to others. When a business is merely focused on what the competitors are up to, it becomes reactive instead of proactive; it copycats instead of developing originality.” –Julia Cameron

Now, your ULTIMATE goal would be position yourself in a way that disables the mere possibility of competition.

But being “the only one,” being thee, not a, takes time.

And you’ll get there eventually. So for now, remember:

Proactive; not reactive.
Compare; don’t compete.
Finest; not first.

Competition is all about attitude.

What’s your approach to the competition?

Share your formula here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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