12 ways to redefine the testimonial

Let’s start with two facts:

1. The word “testimonial” is defined as “writing testifying to one’s qualification or character.”

2. The word “testimonial” is derived from the 1432 French term testimonie, which means “evidence, statement of a witness.”

So, does a testimonial for your business HAVE to be a piece of letterhead from one of your customers?

Au contraire, Mon Fraire!

Your job is to SHOW and PROVE, not TELL and SELL.

Here’s a list of twelve ways to redefine the testimonial:

1. Video. Capture your customer on tape. Have him show (and tell) the camera about his experience working with you. Get those videos on your website! Get those videos on YouTube! Who have you interviewed lately?

2. Letter. Traditional, yet still effective. Be sure to get the note written on your customer’s letterhead. Consider scanning those letters and making them available as a PDF ebook on your website. Are your testimonials burning a hole in your drawer or being posted online?

3. Email. Encourage your customer to email his colleagues who work in similar positions. Great for regional or area directors, of which there are dozens around the country. Do you have a “Send this site to a friend!” box on your homepage?

4. Comments. Every time you receive a comment on your blog post or website, that’s a testimonial. To your page, to your writing, to your company, to your products and to your value. Be sure your feedback box is easy, accessible and quick.
Wait, you ARE blogging, aren’t you?

5. In person. Invite a potential customer to “see you in action.” When she sees the reaction of the existing customers you’re working with, it will offer sufficient proof that you do, in fact, rock so hard. Another variation is to invite a potential customer and an existing customer to lunch with you. Are you eating alone?

6. Demo Video. Similar to the above example, but on video. Professional speakers, actors, comedians and the like call it a demo video. But just because you’re not a speaker doesn’t mean you can’t have one too! Get a demo. A (personal) demo! Be sure to have audience (aka, customer) reactions too. Do you have a demo?

7. Their Article. Whether a publication quotes you or features you, someone is supporting you with THEIR publication, which testifies to your character and value. Post these online, include them in your press kit or media room and send them out as direct marketing pieces. When was the last time the media pitched YOU?

8. Your Article. Writing is a testimonial because a third party, i.e., a newspaper, values your expertise enough to run an article you write in their publication. Post these online, include them in your press kit or media room and send them out as direct marketing pieces. What did you write today?

9. Ping. Any time someone’s blog, website, message board or publicized message on the Internet reference you and/or your site, you’ve just been pinged, aka, given a testimonial. NOTE: be sure to use Google Alerts to track these! Are you keeping a Word of Mouth Log?

10. Reaction. If you’re giving a speech or working in public, you know you’re good when the staff of the conference center (or other uninvited guests) stop to watch. That’s called social proof. And it’s a great testimonial to your abilities. Are people overhearing you do what you do?

11. Endorsement. If someone sees another person (hopefully famous) using your product, they’ll think, “If it’s good enough for Ben Afleck, it’s good enough for me!” What well known, high-profile person could you give your product to for free?

12. Fans. Next time you have a line of people waiting to get into your club, restaurant, or just to see you, congrats! It’s a perfect way to prove to surrounding customers that you’re in high demand. What have you done in the last week to enhance your celebrity status?

REMEMBER: testimonials qualify your character. They’re among the greatest sales and marketing tools in the world.

It’s time to start thinking outside of the letterhead.

How do you redefine the testimonial?

Share your best technique 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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13 reasons to be That Guy

That Guy is…

Somebody who reminds everybody of nobody else.

Call it personal branding. Call it USP. Uniqueness. Remarkability. Whatever.

That Guy is…

The best.
THEE, not a.
The only one.
The obvious expert.

The go-to person when it comes to your area of expertise.

That Guy is…

Known FOR something.
Known AS something.

And if you’re NOT That Guy, customers will gladly and easily choose someone else who is.

But that shouldn’t be your only motivation. Here’s a list of 13 more reasons to become That Guy:

1. Clients need to know they’re getting YOU. Because they don’t trust corporations, they trust PEOPLE. Tangibility, not magnitude.

2. We live in a hyperspeed, A.D.D. culture. According to Wikipedia, the average human attention span is six seconds. Which means people need shortcuts. And that’s exactly what personal brands are: shortcuts.

3. Customers crave simplicity.

4. Customers are impatient. And they want the best. The ONE. The Guy. The Man. And people who are perceived as the best get rewards that DWARF the people who are second, third, fourth and fifth. (Thanks for that one, Seth Godin.)

5. Customers have near-infinite choices. Which means they’re only going to do business with you if they’ve heard you, heard OF you, or someone they TRUST has heard of you.

6. We live in a culture of sales resistance. Consumers are skeptical and require confidence before deciding to buy. They’ve been advertised to, marketed to, duped, fooled, conned, scammed, sold and screwed over too many times.
7. “Loyalty” is a joke. Because big companies don’t realize that people aren’t loyal to big companies! They’re loyal to people.

8. The world demands specialists. “Being well rounded is totally overrated,” as Seth Godin says. Amen to that! REMEMBER: More Narrow Focus = More Big Opportunities.

9. Trust is at an all time low. (Thanks to, faceless, scandalous corporate and government monoliths.) But That Guy is approachable. That Guy is familiar. And prospects rely on familiarity. Which is good, because familiarity leads to predictability. Predictability leads to trust. And TRUST is foundation of all business.

10. Transparency is a must. Customers have more acute BS meters than ever before. Only the authentic survive.

11. The world is crying for uniqueness. Just turn on your TV. Open a newspaper. People LOVE That Guy, That Girl, Those Guys, That Company, That Firm, That City, That Hotel, That Bar, That Place, That Band, That Airline, That … you get the point.

12. Acronyms suck. Monograms are NOT brands, and generic names generate generic business. (Thank you, Harry Beckwith.)

13. Nobody notices normal. Fifty years ago? Maybe. But this is 2007, man. The market is cluttered, it is crowded and it is L-O-U-D! Positioning yourself as “normal” is like asking customers to find a need in a stack of needles! NOTE: that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with being normal. If you want to be normal, that’s totally cool. Just remember: those who get noticed get remembered; and those who get remembered get business.

What makes you That Guy?

Tell us why!

* * * *
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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Do you know who’s talking about you?

You can’t control your online image.

You can only participate in (and monitor) it.

So, the big question is: How do you know who’s talking about you?


Google Alerts uses its unique Web Intelligence technology to track the entire web for your personalized topics and send you new results by daily email.
You can use Google Alert to keep track of anything, including information regarding yourself, your work, or your interests. (According their FAQ page)

I’ve been using them for a few years now, and have experienced three key benefits:

1. Google Alerts give you a WINDOW into what people honestly think about you and your business. Thus clarifying how your customers, fans and prospects perceive you.

2. Google Alerts give you an OPPORTUNITY to clarify misconceptions, stereotypes and false accusations. Thus protecting your online reputation.

3. Google Alerts give you METRICS to quantify the effectiveness of your marketing, sales, branding and service efforts. Thus validating the success of your hard work.

HERE’S THE SECOND ANSWER: they’re not just for your name.

Consider getting Google Alerts for:

1. Your company name
2. Your biggest competitor’s name
3. Your tagline, slogan, credo or positioning statement
4. The name of your blog
5. Key phrases, one-liners and original quotations you often repeat
6. The names of your products
7. Your job title, moniker or personal brand, i.e., “The Horticultural Guru”
8. Your URL’s
9. Titles for your books, programs, events and company/organization initiatives

IN SHORT: get an alert for everything you are and everything you do.

HERE’S THE THIRD ANSWER: thank people when they talk about you.

When a Google Alert informs you that some random blogger in Tulsa is talking about how much she loves your lawn mower, leave a comment thanking her for the link love. You could also email her personally to introduce yourself. (Bloggers LOVE when you do this!)

NOTE: if someone is talking trash about you or your company, thank him for his feedback as well. If possible, clarify any misconceptions he might have made. Often times this will cause a “One-Hatey,” in which you turn a saboteur into an enthusiast.

Either way, by giving thanks every time someone talks about you, the universe will recognize your appreciation.

“Oh, did you enjoy that?” The Universe will ask. “Well then, here’s some more!”


HERE’S THE FOURTH ANSWER: keep an Online WOM Journal.

Every time you receive a Google Alert, copy the URL of each “Wommie,” then paste it onto a blank document. Over time, keep weekly and monthly records. Look for trends. Notice spikes during critical days, seasons and events throughout the year. Once you’ve been keeping your WOM Journal for a few months, you’ll be able to develop a Critical Number.

For example, let’s say you’ve been consistently receiving twenty Wommies a month. That’s great! Now, use that number as an accountability tool to measure the success of future marketing efforts.

HERE’S THE FINAL ANSWER: you need a system.

It doesn’t matter HOW you do it; it only matters THAT you do it. Customize your own system that enables you to monitor, record and evaluate every time someone talks (online) about you or your company.

Because, as Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about.”

What makes you That Guy?

Tell us why!

* * * *
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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Approachable Service: Stop, Drop and Roll

PICTURE THIS: you’re one unhappy customer.

You just discovered that something is wrong with your checking account. So, on your lunch break you leave work and head over to the bank to get some answers.


When you walk into the lobby and approach the front desk, nobody seems to be available to assist you!

Now, it’s not like nobody works there. Several employees DO mull about behind the counter.

But they’re all busy!

And not with other customers — busy with themselves.

Surfing the Net.
Reading books or magazines.
Jerking around with fellow employees.
Talking to their friends on the cell phone.
Gossiping with coworkers about the hot new office romance.

In other words, tuning you out.

BIG mistake.

* * *

This is an act of unapproachable service – and it’s a CRIME.

Sadly, it persists daily.

In offices, lobbies, front desks, call centers and waiting rooms around the world, customers are getting tuned out!

And they’re not happy about it.

What’s more, they’re telling their friends about it. And it’s doubtful those friends are rushing to do business with a company whose front line staff isn’t available to its customers.


Remember when you were a kid and you learned fire safety?

“Stop, drop and…?”

Roll, right? Stop, drop and roll. Everybody remembers that.

Well, when it comes to delivering approachable service, especially in those crucial moments of greeting the customer, that same three-step process applies:

STOP. Stop doing whatever you’re doing. Hang up the phone. Pause your conversations. Put down the mouse. Cease any secondary activities the MOMENT you spot a customer who needs assistance.

DROP. Not to the floor. (You probably WILL get fired if you do that!) Instead, drop your attention. Focus your body and mind on to the customer at hand. Unless you’re dealing with another customer or an existing emergency, nothing is more important at that moment than the guy who just walked in the door.

ROLL. Again, please don’t literally roll on the ground! But roll with the problem. Project understanding, patience and friendliness, and most importantly availability.

That’s what approachable service is all about. Showing the customer that you, as a front line employee, are personally AND physically available to them.

And if you remember to STOP, DROP and ROLL, even you will be able to put out the hottest of fires!

What’s your biggest front line pet peeve?

Share your Approachable Service Solutions 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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The single greatest thing you could ever do for your writing career

In Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, she insists upon a daily ritual called “Morning Pages.”

I’ve been doing them for about seven months, and they’ve absolutely changed my life.

AND I PROMISE YOU: it’s the greatest thing you could ever do for your writing career.


Here’s how they work:

1. First thing in the morning (even before checking email!) open a blank document, either on paper or on your computer.

2. Spew out every single thought and/or idea that’s running through your mind. Dreams, worries, fears, annoyances, ideas, what you did the day before, everything. (Most of it will be negative. Don’t worry about that.)

3. Keep writing until you’ve filled up three pages. You simply show up and write, “This is how I feel.”

4. When you’re done, don’t even read it. Just save it in a folder called “Morning Pages.”

5. Then, get on with your day’s work.

That’s pretty much it. That’s the best thing you could ever do for your writing career.

But don’t it from me.

Take it from Julia, someone who’s (not only) written 20+ books and taught writing and creativity, but someone who’s been writing morning pages every day for decades.

I’ve pulled a collection of passages from several of Julia’s books on this topic. All of these are direct quotes.

32 Reasons to Write Morning Pages.

First, here’s what they ARE:

1. They are time outs.
2. They are portable solitude.
3. They are rituals of reflection.
4. They are a form of meditation.
5. They are the first check-in of the day.
6. They are psychological holding environments.
7. They are gateways to inner and higher selves.
8. They are tools to help you listen to yourself.
9. They are moments of free association and celebration.
10. They get the shanks out and bring forth the good stuff.

Second, here’s what they DO:

11. Morning pages lend you stability.
12. Morning pages provide intimacy.
13. Morning pages prioritize your day.
14. Morning pages keep you grounded.
15. Morning pages give you a place to ventilate.
16. Morning pages give you the privacy you crave.
17. Morning pages reveal weaknesses AND strengths.
18. Morning pages render us present to the moment.
19. Morning Pages are places to examine many aspects of an experience.
20. Morning pages are places to reframe our failures into lessons learned.
21. Morning pages introduce us to an unsuspected inner strength and agility.
22. Morning pages allow you to spit out what is troubling you NOW, just when you “should” be grateful.
23. Morning Pages are places to approach our next challenge from an emotionally neutral or positive stance.

Lastly, here’s why they’re so EFFECTIVE:

24. You awaken your intuition.
25. You need to release thoughts.
26. You must train your censor to stand aside.
27. You can find out what you like and don’t like.
28. You keep your spirit from being parched and dry.
29. You can shape your lives by your authentic desires.
30. Your problems are exposed and solutions are suggested.
31. You draw to your attention those areas of your life that need your focus.
32. You discover that a little trickle of writing keeps the flow from closing down completely.

Because a writer writes. Always.

Lastly, as Julia says, “Only in writing do you discover what you know. And writing teaches you something: that you never write just what you know. You write what you learn as you’re writing. Ideas come to you and trigger other ideas. Thoughts crystallize and connect with others, and the combination produces a compound: an insight.”


Morning pages. Best thing ever.

Start today. Never stop.

Thanks, JC!

What’s the best thing you ever did for your writing career?

Do Morning Pages every day for a month. When you’re done, email [email protected] and tell me how they worked out!

* * * *
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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Observe your future self


If you’re a “young blade,” as my Grandma likes to say, you need to take a good look at the veterans of your industry.

I suggest:

Meet them.
Observe them
Hang out with them.
Ask questions of them.

THEN: create a picture of the type of person that someone who does what you do often becomes.

This is something you need to know going in. To a new career OR a new job.

FOR EXAMPLE: as an entrepreneur under 30, I tend to work with a lot of people who are sometimes 20 years ahead of me.

And a few of the trends I notice (although not for everybody) include:

o Lack of work-life balance
o Incredible stress, physically and mentally
o Sabotaged relationships
o Absentee fathers and husbands
o Complacency and therefore lack of reinvention and/or expansion

That’s not who I want to become! I think.

I remember last year I asked a friend of mine, “Do you ever come into the office on Sundays?”

He said, “I come into the office when I’m in town.


Sure am glad I realize this now!

So. What about you?

What do you want (and not want) to become?

Even if you’re not under 30, here a few steps to help you find the answer:

1. Observe your future self. Create a picture of the type of person that someone who does what you do often becomes.

2. Self-Assessment. Ask yourself three questions:

a. Do I want to end up like them?
b. If not, whom DO I want to end up like?
c. And what steps will I have to take (now) in order to become that person (later)?

3. Journal. Start a “Don’t Ever Let That Happen to Me” Log. Consider doing it with another person or a mastermind group for accountability purposes.

4. Evaluate. On a regular basis, do a check-in. See where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re going. Be sure your path is consistent with what you’ve observed and what you want.

REMEMBER: you don’t have to become what everyone else who does what you do often becomes.

It’s up to you.

Because you always have a choice.

What are the trappings of your industry?

Start your accountability TODAY. Make a list right here, right now, of three things you DON’T want to become.

* * * *
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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7 ways to become a Virtual Extrovert

Anonymity is the greatest barrier to business success.

Especially online.

Because if you don’t exist on the Internet, you don’t exist.

HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS: even the painfully shy, even the most introverted souls, can still become Virtual Extroverts.

A Virtual Expert voices her opinion … online.
A Virtual Expert takes the first step … online.
A Virtual Expert sticks herself out there … online.

Here’s a list of 7 ways to do so:

1. Post pictures. On a photo-sharing website like Flickr. On your blog posts. On your website. Just make sure customers can see you doing what you do..

2. Email the author. If you read an article that touches, educates or connects with your philosophy, respond! Scroll down to the bio box at the end of the piece – it usually lists an email for the author. Send a note with your comments. (If you’ve never done this before, here ya go: [email protected])

3. Blog comments. When you read a great blog post, always leave comments. Even if it’s as simple as, “Great post! Thanks!” Doing so not only sticks yourself out there, but also enables other readers to see who you are and link back to your website.

4. Connect with like-minded colleagues. Do some Googling. Find other people who do what you do. Check out associations, user groups and other online communities. Introduce yourself with the intention of connecting, not selling. Be proactive in developing mutually valuable relationships.

5. Publish! Don’t be selfish with your knowledge. At least once a month, publish an ezine. At least once every few weeks, publish an article. And at least one a week, publish a blog. Be the fhe first one to step out there and share your thoughts. Over time as content accumulates, they WILL come to you.

6. Join up! Part of extroversion is going where people are. Especially your target customers. Consider brainstorming a list called “10 Online Hotspots for My Industry.” From MySpace to LinkdIn to Facebook, create strong presence in a variety of online communities.

7. Message Boards. Another great resource for knowledge sharing, building community and making friends. Don’t be afraid to post questions and ask for help. Most message board types are willing to help AND respond quickly.

With these seven tips, you can be sure to boost your online approachability and become a virtual extrovert!

Are you sticking yourself out there … online?

Think about your 3 best ideas for becoming a Virtual Extrovert – share them 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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Immediate Personal Discounting

The first words out of your mouth MUST project confidence.

That way, you build the right frame for your argument.

In a speech.
In a classroom.
In an audience.
In a boardroom.
In an interview.

When I was a marketing student at Miami University, my professor, Dr. David Rosenthal, stressed the importance building the right frame.

“Avoid Immediate Personal Discounting,” he stressed.

IPD, as we learned, was a dangerous way of opening an argument, question or comment.

For example:

o “I’m not sure if this is right, but…”
o “I could be wrong, but…”
o “This might be a stupid question, but…”
o “I could be way off, but…”
o “I probably shouldn’t ask this, but…”
o “You might think this is dumb, but…”
o “This is going to sound really (x), but…”

No. No, no, no! Immediate Personal Discounting is detrimental to the effectiveness of your argument for a several reasons:

It shows lack of confidence.
It sets the wrong expectation.
It nullifies anything you say next.
It preps people to satisfy your self-fulfilling prophecy.
It usually ends with the word “but,” which deletes everything you just said.

REMEMBER: just because YOU think your comment isn’t correct, appropriate, or brilliant, doesn’t mean other people will agree with you!

So, when communicating your ideas, remember these two keys:

1. Watch your butts. But is a dangerous word. It nullifies anything you say before it and limits positive/creative thinking. Check out this list of 20 alternatives for the word “but.”

2. Sell yourself first. No matter what you’re selling, you need to first sell YOURSELF. On yourself AND on your ideas. Otherwise nobody is going to listen to, agree with, or buy from you.

A powerful, yet practical technique to accomplish these three ideas is to use affirmations.

(I know. They’re totally cheesy. But that doesn’t mean they don’t work!)

CONSIDER THIS: prior to your next meeting, interview or appointment, affirm the following phrase over and over: “I always communicate persuasively, effectively and confidently … I always communicate persuasively, effectively and confidently … I always communicate persuasively, effectively and confidently …”

Then, let people decide for themselves. Trust your gut and trust your words. Articulate your thought, idea or question in a confident, approachable manner.

Ultimately, if you can avoid Immediate Personal Discounting, and you will get them to come to you.

Are you shooting yourself in the foot before your opening sentence is complete?

Keep track of any time you hear someone use an IPD, for one week. When your list is done, go back and think about the Phrases That Payses someone could have use instead.

* * * *
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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How pluggable are you?

I plugged your blog.
I plugged your book.
I plugged your show.
I plugged your website.
I plugged your product.
I plugged your company.
I plugged your new movie.
I plugged your new album.

Don’t you love it when someone says that to you?

It means you’re pluggable.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word plug didn’t take on its “promotional” meaning until 1902.

Today it’s defined as “the informal, favorable and public mention of something.”

Interestingly, the word plug also comes from a verb meaning “to work energetically at.”

HERE’S THE BIG QUESTION: are people working energetically to favorably and publicly mention YOU?

Publicly, meaning online.
Publicly, meaning in person.
Publicly, meaning on the phone.
Publicly, meaning on the airwaves.

If your answer is “not enough,” here’s a list of seven ways to become (more) pluggable:

PLUG PRINCIPLE 1: Start early.
Build remarkability into your products and services before they’re even released. When you create a baseline of coolness, plugging will come naturally.

PLUG PRINCIPLE 2: Make it easy.
Do you have a “Send this site to a friend!” box on your homepage? Are you using Digg, del.i.cious and other tagging software to enable people to plug you? I hope so, because people need shortcuts. And part of being pluggable is making it SUPER easy for people to tell their friends about you.

PLUG PRINCIPLE 3: Keep a record.
Every time someone plugs you, write it down in your Plug Log. Whether it’s a Google Alert, email, article, blog post or casual conversation, write-it-down. Keep track of your progress. Soon, you’ll hit a critical mass. And THAT’S when you’ll notice a direct relationship between plugging and profits.

PLUG PRINCIPLE 4: Don’t ask.
Have you ever seen a businessperson’s email signature that read, “Please refer me to your friends and family!”?

If so, did you ever refer that person?

Probably not!

See, people aren’t going to plug you if you ASK them to plug you. Word of mouth is casual, unsolicited and authentic. The minute you try to force it, you lose it.

PLUG PRINCIPLE 5: Free is key.
Bestselling author Greg Godek once gave 200+ copies of his book 1001 Ways to be Romantic to every person waiting in line at the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Later that night, Jay made a comment on air to millions of viewers! That’s one hell of a plug! What are you giving away for free? And are you giving it away to the right people?

PLUG PRINCIPLE 6: Be gracious.
Any time someone mentions you on her blog, writes about you in her column or holds up your book to a viewing audience of several million, thank her. Even if it’s as simple blog comment, instant message or email saying, “Thanks for the link love.” This gratitude makes you more receptive to attracting future blessings.

PLUG PRINCIPLE 7: Reciprocate.
He who plugs first GETS plugged back.

Who have you plugged this week?

REMEMBER: word of mouth is a beautiful thing. It’s the most effective, most honest, most inexpensive and most sincere form of marketing in the world.

And it’s a function of your ability to be pluggable.

Are people working energetically to favorably and publicly mention YOU?

Make a list of the last five things, people or companies you plugged. What characteristics did they all have in common?

* * * *
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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