98 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur

Consider the phrase, “Everyone is an entrepreneur.”

Do you think that’s a valid statement?

I don’t.

Not entirely, that is.

See, I don’t think everyone is an entrepreneur. However:

I DO believe everyone could benefit from having entrepreneurial thinking.

HERE’S WHY: The term “entrepreneur” comes from the French word, entreprendre, which means, “to undertake or manage some task.”

Notice it didn’t say anything about business. Or commerce. Or websites. Or running your own cupcake store.

Just a task. Just something you do. Work related or not.

So, next time you find yourself managing some task (which I imagine happens fairly often), keep these 98 entrepreneurial thoughts in mind:

– – –

1. Never stop asking, “What’s next?” When you finish one project, activity or endeavor, celebrate and then move on to the next one.

2. In January, ask yourself, “How could I spend ZERO money this year?”

3. Recognize that the only person who can make you get up, get out of bed and go to work is YOURSELF.

4. In the customer’s eyes, YOU ARE the company.

5. ASK YOURSELF DAILY: “Is what I’m doing right now consistent with my #1 goal?”

6. Speaking of things to do daily, you must market yourself every single day.

7. Ideas are your major source of income.

8. Finish this sentence: I wish there was a _______ so people wouldn’t have to ________.

9. Invest money; don’t spend it.

10. Recognize that most people do not know who you are or what you do. You need to educate them. Everyone who knows you should know what you DO, what you’re DOING and what you’ve DONE.

11. Pioneer in obscure areas.

12. With every new experience or accomplishment, ask yourself, “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?”

13. If you’re the only employee, you need to set healthy boundaries. Because if you don’t set them, other people will set them for you. And then they will violate them. And that will set a precedent that it’s acceptable for other people to do the same. REMEMBER: Boundaries are saviors. For more, watch this NametagTV episode on boundaries!

14. ASK YOURSELF: “Is this an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used?”

15. Figure out what you know that other people find valuable. Then enable them to buy it from you.

16. Figure out why your competitors get more attention than you.

17. You are not your customer.

18. Don’t be stopped by not knowing how. Knowing why is enough. Just go. You’ll figure out the how later. Launch and learn!

19. Don’t be so in love WITH or so close TO your idea that you can’t see its weaknesses. Ask objective outsiders.

20. When you get stumped, experiment with every known fragment of your answer.

21. Make creativity your daily (er, hourly) practice. Don’t make it something you just “turn on” every once in a while. Creativity is an attitude and a lifestyle. Not a weekend warrior thing.

22. ASK YOURSELF: “Is this the most prudent use of my time right now?”

23. Operate on multiple planes of consciousness. Take on various roles of the artist, the mechanic, the CEO, the janitor and the customer service rep.

24. The more you learn, the more valuable you are.

25. The more imitable you are, the less valuable you are.

26. Diversity is equity. Are you a one trick pony?

27. Refuse to discard hunches. Your gut is smarter than you think.

28. Think ridiculously big thoughts.

29. The only way to become more successful is to get BETTER at what you do and/or, to do MORE of what you do.

30. Learn to juggle.

31. Duplicate, clone and multiply yourself. Find a way to deliver value without actually being there. Access isn’t presence.

32. Figure out at what point you’d rather grow your business than make money.

33. Figure out at what point you’d rather make a contribution than grow your business.

34. Ask yourself how YOU can do it before asking how it’s already been done.

35. Study your own discovery process.

36. If everybody loves your idea, you’re doing something wrong. Stop trying to please everybody. Stop trying to be so well rounded. Stop trying to appeal to the masses. Pick a lane, narrow your focus and start polarizing some folks. It won’t kill you. There’s a LOT of potential customers out there.

37. If everybody says you’re crazy, you might just be onto something.

38. If you’re not pissing off (some) people, you’re not doing your job.

39. If nobody’s trying to steal, copy or parody your idea, it’s probably not that good.

40. If you can’t explain your idea to a five year old, it’s not simple enough.

41. If you can’t explain your idea on the back of a business card, it’s not simple enough.

42. If you can’t explain your idea in eight words or less, it’s not simple enough.

43. If people aren’t talking about your idea, it won’t spread and therefore, won’t be successful.

44. ASK YOURSELF: If someone was going to pay you $1000 an hour, what are the questions they’ve got to ask you to get their money’s worth?

45. Make sure you are being stretched and forced to grow. Daily.

46. One of the most difficult things for an entrepreneur to do is press The Off Button. To (not) check email at 10:30 PM, for example. What about you? Are you addicted to email?

47. Going solo can become a vortex. So, be careful to walk the line between being immersed and submersed. REMEMBER: Tread, don’t drown.

48. Be the one with the most information. You will win.

49. Tooting your own horn is acceptable and necessary. Blowing your own horn? Not so much.

50. ASK YOURSELF: Are your friendships, relationships, and your emotional life suffering as a result of this task?

51. Everything you do should lead to something else you do. Make sure your ideas have movement value.

52. Continually develop options and answers. This will make the solution easier to find.

53. ASK YOURSELF: How can you do the work once and benefit many times?

54. It’s a tough road, being on your own. Sustaining ambition, commitment and dedication will be your biggest challenge. So, you better build a solid support system of multiple mentors, mastermind groups, loved ones, colleagues and other valuable relationships.

55. Execution is probably the biggest secret to all successful entrepreneurs. How do YOU turn your ideas into action? And how long will it take? Those are the big entrepreneurial questions.

56. Be careful not to spend all your time talking about your new idea. Sometimes an entrepreneur will talk the energy out of an idea then and have nothing left for action. Be careful.

57. How much could you be charging for that?

58. How often does perfection keep you from starting? Because there’s never going to be a “right” time. Just when you get there, “there” disappears. Just go, man.

59. Constantly upgrade your qualifications. In what ways are you currently obsolete?

60. State your fee confidently and then shut up. He who talks next loses.

61. Another trait of successful entrepreneurs is the ability to notice things. Trends, patterns, anomalies and the like. This helps you recognize opportunities. What are YOU noticing?

62. What’s your “currency?” Because it might not be money. It could be time with your kids, for example. And you need know what your currency is before undertaking any new endeavor.

63. Your calendar is your inventory. Protect your days.

64. You are what you charge. (Refer back to #60)

65. Listen to everybody or listen to nobody.

66. Find out where you suck. Then decide whether you need to improve in that area or hire someone else to do it for you.

67. Entrepreneurs take risks. Period. And NOT taking risks is an even BIGGER risk. So, you must learn to love your zone of discomfort.

68. Don’t say, “That’s impossible!” Instead, ask yourself, “How can I do this?”

69. Think about what you’re BUILDING, not just what you’re MANAGING.

70. Being an entrepreneur is all about freedom. Freedom to be yourself. Freedom from corporate politics. Freedom to work in your PJ’s all day. Freedom to leave work early and go to a movie on Tuesday afternoon. Freedom to do what you want, when you want it and how you want it. Freedom to lay on the couch in your pajamas all day while writing on your laptop, drinking Fennel Tea and listening to Morphine – and calling that “work.” (Hypothetically, of course.) Is what you’re doing TODAY creating more freedom TOMORROW?

71. Don’t accept the same type of assignments and clients you worked with two years ago. That means you haven’t grown much.

72. You aren’t a salesperson, a businessperson or a service provider. You are a resource. An expert. A trusted advisor.

73. Look into the future and examine what the type of people who do what you do often become. Then ask yourself if that’s the type of person you want to become.

74. Deliver insight, not just expertise.

75. Learn the rules so you know how to break them effectively. NOTE: Consider googling the rule first, just to make sure it’s not illegal.

76. Always think of yourself as self-employed. Even if you work for some huge corporate monolith. This type of thinking will help you take greater ownership and personal responsibility over your job.

77. Sell people on YOU first. Then sell them on your idea.

78. There is no finish line. You’ve never arrived. Instead, you constantly expand your skills and abilities to add more value to your self, your services and your products.

79. Be like the sharks, which start dying when they stop swimming. See, they have to ask themselves, “What’s next?” because they can’t eat, breathe or breed unless they stay in motion.

80. Screw up. Like, a lot. Love your mistakes, because mistakes reveal individuality. Also, find a way to incorporate mistakes into your work. Make them mindfully. REMEMBER: Mistakes are springboards.

81. Don’t attach yourself to a business plan. In fact, consider not even HAVING a business plan! You’d hate to limit yourself.

82. Having a MARKETING plan, on the other hand, isn’t a bad idea.

83. Having a cool company name goes a LONG way. So please, for the love of God, don’t use something unoriginal and generic like “Daniels & Associates,” “Got termites?” or “The Hagel Company.” Nobody knows the name Daniels. You don’t even HAVE any associates. And that trite “Got milk?” ripoff is about 14 years too old. You can do better. Have some fun. Get a cool company name. Good lord!

84. If you’re the kind of person that constantly needs certainty, your entrepreneurial road will be really, really rocky.

85. Being an entrepreneur isn’t a characteristic or a personality trait. It’s a way of life, a type of attitude, a style of thinking and a pattern of behavior.

86. Learn to kick your own ass, because nobody else will.

87. Focus on creativity, not efficiency. (If you want a list of the 10 best books on creativity you’ve never heard of, email scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll hook you up!)

88. Don’t just think about leveraging what you have. Think also about what else you could do with what you’ve unexpectedly landed with.

89. Figure out what types of people you need to listen to, as well as what types of people (not) to listen to.

90. Criticism comes with the entrepreneurial territory. Learn to accept or discard it; or even sometimes, embrace it. And find out where you suck.

91. Questions are the most valuable resource you have. Ask lots of them. Daily.

92. As an entrepreneur, you get paid according the amount of value you deliver, not the number of hours you put in. Which means 90% of success isn’t seen. Which means you will work your ass off, and most people will only see that final 10%. Ouch. Better make sure it’s good.

93. Invest your money; don’t spend it.

94. Take your core business, build a wall around it and then go be the best.

95. Don’t waste your time dealing with potential customers and partners who (clearly) don’t know how to value you yet.

96. Define your optimal workday and workweek. Stick to it.

97. In a commoditized market, the key differentiator is service.

98. In a commoditized market, customers are just going to pick the best choice. So, if you’re not going to be the best at what you do, why even bother?

What are your three best practices for “thinking like an entrepreneur?”

Share them here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Just starting your own business?
Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on leveraging your ideas!

Why your marketing is no longer enough

For all you marketers out there, I’ve got good news and bad news.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: The world is flat, the barriers to entry are low and the opportunities to leverage new ideas are ENDLESS!

THE BAD NEWS IS: your marketing is no longer enough.

Here are six examples:

1. SHTICK is no longer enough. The word shtick is defined as “A characteristic attribute, talent, gimmick or trait that is helpful in securing recognition or attention.” The challenge is, shtick won’t sustain you. Sure, shtick is catchy and cool and clever and fun and different; but it’s not enough.

REMEMBER: Shtick might get you in the door, but only substance will keep you in the room.

Is your marketing a Tootsie Roll or a Dum Dum?

2. WEBSITE is no longer enough. Websites used to be fancy, expensive tools only possessed by the technologically elite. Not anymore! Now, any 10 year old kid with the right software can create a website in under an hour. So, combine that trend with the expansion of social networking and blogs, websites are no longer enough. You need a web PRESENCE. A interconnected network of different sites, all pointing to the baseline, i.e., your original site.

REMEMBER: Be an octopus, not an earthworm.

Does your marketing have enough tentacles?

3. SATISFACTION is no longer enough. Who cares if your customers are satisfied? The real question is, “Are they telling their friends about you?” See, customers EXPECT to be satisfied. That’s par for the course. That’s like getting a C+. If you REALLY want to make a name for yourself, think of your customer service as having three levels: satisfaction, loyalty and INSISTENCE. Strive for the last two and you will create fans (not customers) for life.

REMEMBER: Satisfied customers don’t tell their friends about you.

And if clients aren’t actively telling their friends about you, this might happen.

4. SOLE CONTACT is no longer enough. If a customer comes to your website, she expects to be able to call, fax or email you instantly. And, get a human response. But again, that’s standard. With the advent of instant messaging, widgets, messages boards, blogs and other cool forms of online communication, that’s no longer enough. The best, most approachable and most ACCESSIBLE businesspeople make themselves available via multiple media.

REMEMBER: Don’t give customers a reason NOT to investigate you further.

Instead, do stuff like this.

5. SOLE DELIVERY is no longer enough. Text-based marketing is SO 1994. This is 2008, Holmes. Your customers’ attention spans are diminishing daily. Not to mention, we live in a “My Culture” where customers call the shots. So, you need to appeal to them with multiple modes of content delivery like video, audio and RSS.

REMEMBER: Customers don’t read anymore. They scan.

Or, they watch videos like these.

– – –

Ultimately, when it comes to marketing, something things are just no longer enough.

Something to think about.

What aspects of marketing do you think are no longer enough?

If you’d like to know what the most important word in marketing is, email scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll gladly (attempt to) enlighten you!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

How many people blogged about YOU this week?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word about your company!

68 Things Employees Never Want to Hear Their Manager Say

1. Better luck next time.
2. Can I see you for a second?
3. Close the door.
4. Conditions were different when I said that.
5. Discussion is over.
6. Don’t bother me right now.
7. Don’t bring me problems; bring me solutions.
8. Everybody’s doing it.
9. Get out!
10. Guess what I’ volunteering you for?
11. Here, you handle this problem. I’m busy.
12. Here’s what you’re doing wrong.
13. I can’t help it if it’s your day off.
14. I don’t care if it’s your day off.
15. I don’t have time for you right now.
16. I don’t want to hear it.
17. I know it’s a holiday, but…
18. I know it’s Saturday, but…
19. I know it’s your day off, but…
20. I need to have a word with you.
21. I need you to do this.
22. I never said that!
23. I’m not the problem, you are.
24. I’m right, you’re wrong.
25. I’m too busy to listen.
26. If you could go ahead and drop off those TPS reports, that would be grrrrreeeeat.
27. If you have anything to say, keep it to yourself.
28. In case a bus hits you, I want to make sure you and Karen are inter-changeable.
29. Is this YOUR bag of drugs?
30. It doesn’t matter.
31. It was political.
32. It’s not my fault; I didn’t know the law.
33. Merit didn’t have anything to do with it.
34. My mind is made up.
35. No, I don’t understand and I probably never will.
36. Nobody will know.
37. Oh, we’re finished.
38. Some you win; some you lose.
39. That’s horrible! Do it over.
40. That’s how it’s always been done.
41. That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.
42. The schedule is already made up.
43. There’s no problem.
44. Those are breaks of the game.
45. Try paying attention to what you’re doing.
46. We aren’t the problem, they are.
47. We’re replacing you with this robot…
48. We’re right, they’re wrong.
49. We’ve already tried that before.
50. What’s your name again?
51. Who the hell is responsible for this?
52. You brought this on yourself.
53. You can leave now.
54. You can’t go to church – you have to work.
55. You don’t really feel that way.
56. You got into this mess, now you get out of this mess.
57. You haven’t worked here long enough.
58. You putz; can you do ANYTHING right?
59. You should have known better.
60. You’re fired.
61. You’re not allowed to say that.
62. You’re not educated enough.
63. You’re not living up to your potential.
64. You’re not ready.
65. You’re wrong.
66. You’ve got a looooong way to go before we give you any new responsibilities.
67. Your office chair didn’t show up so you’ll be sitting on orange crates for the next two weeks.
68. You’re going to do it because I say you’re going to do it. Now move!

What’s on YOUR list of things employees never want to hear their manager say?

Share your list here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Tired of waiting for employees to come to YOU?
Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on how to stick yourself out there!

NametagTV: What’s in a (User) Name?

Video not working? Click here for Adobe Flash 9!

Or, click here for the original link to this video on NametagTV.com.

What’s the most memorable username you’ve ever seen?

Share it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Training videos putting your office to sleep?

Tune in to NametagTV.com for an interactive learning experience!

Stick yourself out there!

19 Ways to Build Buzz about Your New Website

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

So. Who’s talking about you?

Well, if you’re not happy with your answer, perhaps these practices, ideas and suggestions will help spread the word about your new website:

1. FIRST THINGS FIRST:Build remarkability into your ideas before they go public. Are you (already) worth making a remark about?

2. Give it away. If you want it to be viral, (some) of your content HAS to be free. What are YOU giving away?

3. Stop writing. Nobody’s going to read all that copy. Think images, not words. And keep it clean and above the fold. How are YOU using video?

4. Harness the power of ITunes. They have AMAZING marketing and reach a LOT of people that might not ever GO to your site. Podcasting – audio or video – is the key to reaching new audiences via web 2.0. How many people’s IPods are YOU on?

5. Use Digg and Delicious. Screw Oprah. Digg and Delicious are WAY more powerful (and a LOT less annoying) than her. Also, if someone comes to your website and doesn’t know what Social Bookmarking tool are, forget about it. Let the techies and bloggers who DO know what those buttons mean to use them to spread your message. Stop trying to educate the people who don’t “get” social networking. It’s not your job to convert them. Do people Digg you?

6. Use RSS. This is the PERFECT tool for building your permission asset. How many subscribers do YOU have?

7. Make it easy to share. Include boxes and buttons for link sharing, i.e., “Send this site to a friend” and embeddable HTML tags for videos, playlists and pictures. Are you making your website really, really easy to share?

8. REMEMBER: It’s not how many people come to your site, it’s WHO comes to your site. Eyeballs are overrated. So don’t get caught up in traffic, hits and the like. Are you focusing on the number of eyeballs or the RIGHT eyeballs?

9. People. Find raving fans that have big mouths, market to them and then get out of the way. How many fans do YOU have?

10. Build suspense. Whether you use an ezine, RSS feed or blog, have a countdown during the final month before launch. Build anticipation. For example, you could use a screen shot to drum up interest at the end of each blog post. Does anyone even KNOW about your new website?

11. Humor wins. Think about the last time you said or heard someone say: “Dude, you’ve GOT to check out this website!” More than likely, it’s because somebody, somewhere, was funny. What’s humorous about YOUR site?

12. Get ‘em at hello. Two seconds. That’s about how much time you have to convince someone that your website is worth telling her friends about. So, make sure it passes “The Cubicle Test,” i.e., If somebody walked by her coworker’s workspace, would she stop in tracks and say, “Hey, cool! What website is THAT?”

13. THREE WORDS: Other people’s traffic. What joint ventures are YOU working on?

14. Purpose. Don’t make it a website, make it a destination. Assure that people will actually stick around for more than 60 seconds. Make it community based and interactive through message boards, comments and other social networking tools. Keep the feedback loop constantly flowing. How frequently do people come BACK to your website?

15. Story. Make sure your site has a tab, box or content page that includes “Your Story.” After all, that’s all marketing is: storytelling. Because people don’t remember ads, they remember stories. NOTE: If possible, make “Your Story” a video. Let people see you doing what you do. Let people get to know you as a person, not a professional. What’s YOUR story?

16. User generated content. Enable customers to contribute and participate. Allow them to create their own profiles, accounts and usernames. Create a forum where they can discuss, share and upload their own pictures and videos with other users. They will take ownership of your website as their own and tell everyone they know. How are you giving your visitors a piece of the pie?

17. Simple. Simplicity is better, quicker, easier and most importantly, what customers crave. Could your website be explained to a five year-old?

18. Revisitability. Update new content at LEAST once a week, if not daily. This will bring people back again and again. REMEMBER: Websites are like newspapers – nobody wants to read them if they’re two years old. So, consider embedding a blog into the homepage. It works! If I had to do it again, my website and blog would be the same thing. When was the last time you updated YOUR content?

19. Ask yourself three questions. “What’s remarkable about my website?” “Why would someone come to (and stay at) my website for more than 60 seconds?” “Why would someone tell her friends about my website consistently?” Be honest. Are you evaluating your website objectively?

What’s your #1 tip for building buzz about your new website?

Share your secret here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Who’s blogging about YOUR website?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons to get people talking about YOU!

Your primary task is to diffuse defensiveness

This week I’ve been working in The Bahamas with my friends at Homesteaders Life Company. We’re having a blast! (This is a picture of my mobile office to the left. Sigh...)

Too bad I gotta go back to the four inches of ice in St. Louis. Grrrr…

Anyway, these folks, who sell pre-need funeral and burial arrangements, have QUITE the challenge when approaching new customers. So, one of the key topics in our workshop yesterday was on disarming immediate concerns.

Because defensiveness always exists.

In the minds of every single customers you engage with, there’s always something.

Some concern.
Some insecurity.
Some annoyance.
Some stereotype.

Something she can’t get out of her mind.

And until she does, she not going to be fully comfortable talking with you.

It’s like a wall that, until you get over it, prevents meaningful conversation from advancing.

WHICH MEANS: Your primary task is to diffuse defensiveness.

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s your most IMPORTANT task.

Just your first one.

Because when comfort exists, the rules change.

See, comfort is the baseline from which engaging, open and approachable communication stems.

Think about it. When someone feels comfortable, they’re a LOT more willing to:

o Talk
o Open up
o Ask questions
o Voice concerns
o Share problems
o Express emotions
o Volunteer information
o Say how they (really) feel
o Listen to what you have to say
o Give you their phone number

Just kidding about that last one ☺

Anyway, that’s the big challenge: diffusing defensiveness.

So, I’m curious…

How do you diffuse defensiveness – of prospects, customers, employees – in YOUR profession?

Share your three best practices here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Want your staff members to open up to you?
Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on diffusing defensiveness!

18 Myths about Creativity That Are Holding Your Inner Artist Hostage

MYTH #1: Creativity is about making something out of nothing.
REALITY: Creativity is about making connections between existing things.

MYTH #2: Creativity is something you DO and HAVE
REALITY: Creativity is something you ARE.

MYTH #3: Creativity is about making the material come to you.
REALITY: Creativity is about unblocking the flow of what’s already there. (For the best way to relieve artistic consipation, read this.)

MYTH #4: Writer’s block is the greatest enemy to creativity.
REALITY: Thinker’s block is the greatest enemy to creativity. (If you want to avoid Thinker’s Block, read this.)

MYTH #5: There is an official “process” to creativity.
REALITY: There are many processes to creativity, each of which has many different layers.

MYTH #6: Creativity comes (primarily) from hard work and (partially) from inspiration.
REALITY: Creativity comes equally from forcing yourself to create AND harnessing inspiration when it crosses your path. (Read more on The Paradox of Inspiration.)

MYTH #7: You can teach people to become more creative.
REALITY: You can ONLY teach people how to harness their inherent creativity AND create an environment that fosters creativity. (To create that environment, check this out.)

MYTH #8: Creativity is a skill.
REALITY: Creativity is a skill AND an attitude AND a lifestyle AND a thought process AND a way of being.

MYTH #9: Creativity is about getting your “one big idea.”
REALITY: Creativity is about constantly having lots of ideas, big and small; good and bad.

MYTH #10: Creativity is something you apply to your work.
REALITY: Creativity is something you apply to EVERYTHING, as it is a way of approaching and encountering the world.

MYTH #11: Creativity is about thinking.
REALITY: Creativity is about thinking AND listening AND observing AND watching AND surrendering AND noticing patterns AND combining AND asking AND plucking AND scanning AND receiving.

MYTH #12: Creativity is something you control.
REALITY: Creativity is something that you received from a higher power because you selflessly listened and surrendered to it.

MYTH #13: Creativity comes from chaotic, unstructured, non-linear thinking.
REALITY: Creativity comes from chaotic, unstructured, non-linear thinking COMBINED with small touches of occasional structure.

MYTH #14: Creativity is something you just turn on when needed.
REALITY: Creativity is a muscle that gets stronger with increased use and must be practiced as a daily non-negotiable that is as regular and normal as breathing.

MYTH #15: Creativity is about completing specific pieces.
REALITY: Creativity is about contributing to a lifelong body of work. (To see some HOT bodies – of work, that is – read this.)

MYTH #16: Creativity is about coming up with lots of ideas all the time.
REALITY: Creativity is about maintaining a healthy balance between idea creation AND idea judgment.

MYTH #17: Creativity is about making something nobody else has ever made.
REALITY: Creativity is about giving people new eyes, not new landscapes.

MYTH #18: The purpose of creativity is to make stuff.
REALITY: The purpose is to grow your soul.

What’s holding YOUR Inner Artist hostage?

For a list called “The 10 Best Books on Creativity You’ve Never Heard Of,” send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll gladly motivate your melon 😉

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Tired of waiting around for new customers?
Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on getting them to come to YOU!

13 Killer Sales Questions Your Competitors Aren’t Asking

Questions are differentiators.

With prospects.
With customers
With total strangers!

So, if you want to become That Guy – and if you want to own the MAXIMUM amount of mindshare in your customers’ minds – start by asking better questions.

Now, by “asking BETTER questions,” I mean:

Asking dangerous questions.
Asking disturbing questions.
Asking dumb questions.
Asking guiding questions.
Asking judicious questions.
Asking killer questions.
Asking challenging question.
Asking penetrating questions.
Asking smarter questions.
Asking unexpected questions.
Asking upside-down questions.
Asking well-crafted questions.
Asking well-timed questions.

AND I PROMISE YOU: If you ask questions like THAT, your customers will form an impression of you as someone who is creative, intelligent, observant … and has BIG ears.

That will ENABLE them to buy from you.
That will ENTICE them to come back to you.
That will ENCOURAGE them to tell their friends about you.

Sound good?


So, I suggest you start by making a list called “Top Ten Most Common Questions Asked by a Salesperson in My Field.”

Whether it’s during a sales presentation, over the phone or at a networking event, identify the types of questions every other salesperson just like you is asking their prospects.

Examples might include textbook, unoriginal questions like, “How much are you currently spending on…?” or “How happy are you with you present suppliers?”

HERE’S WHY YOU DO THIS: Knowing what questions your prospects are used TO and tired OF being asked is a powerful sales weapon.

Because now all YOU have to do is NOT ask those questions!

(Well, that’s not all you have to do.) You ALSO need to keep an arsenal of killer questions yourself. And those questions need to be easily accessible.

So, that leads to the next step: creating another list.

Title this one, “Killer Sales Questions My Competitors Aren’t Asking.”

Think of the best, most creative and most original sales questions you’ve ever used or heard.

Questions that made customers smile.
Questions that caused customers to stop in their tracks.
Questions that enabled customers to share their needs and wants.

MY SUGGESTION: Spend a few hours searching through your notes, old emails, training manuals, on Google and in the books of your personal success library for the BEST questions you can find.

Over time, edit, update and review your list regularly. Keep it handy on your laptop, bulletin board and in your briefcase. (Or, if you want to be supremely dorky and O.C.D. like me, type out your best questions on a laminated card and keep it in your wallet for easy access.)

THE POINT IS: Cherish that list. It will become a powerful tool for differentiating yourself that will only get stronger over time.

And it will help you make sales forever.

And soon, people will be asking YOU for YOUR best sales questions!

Now, you probably noticed that the title of this article was “13 Killer Sales Questions Your Competitors Aren’t Asking.”

Well, I am a man of my word.

So, to finish up today’s post, I’m going to share my personal list with you.

NOTE: These questions were purposely left incomplete.

I did this so YOU could individually tailor these questions to your industry, customers and products.

So, think of them more as “prefixes” to your own unique questions. Fill them in however you wish. And feel free to use and share them with customers and coworkers today!

13 Killer Sales Questions Your Competitors Aren’t Asking

1. How are you making it difficult for your customers to…?
2. How are you making it easy for your customers to…?
3. How many customers are you losing by…?
4. What are the benefits you’d like to see as a result of…?
5. What are the bottlenecks in…?
6. What are the three biggest mistakes being made by…?
7. What do you think makes the difference between…?
8. What excuses are preventing you from…?
9. What one word do you want customers to use when describing…?
10. When someone comes to your website, what’s the ONE thing…?
11. When someone walks into your store, how do you want them…?
12. When was the first occasion you noticed…?
13. When was the last time you actually…?

REMEMBER: Questions ARE differentiators.

What’s your #1 killer sales question your competitors aren’t asking?

Post your question here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

How many unsolicited referrals did YOU get this week?

Tune in to The Sales Channel on NametagTV.com!

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How do you add value to your answers?

Share your best practices here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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Stick yourself out there!

Growing Bigger Ears: Avoid Emotional Reactivity

“You did WHAT? Three thousand dollars? Oh my God! Are you freaking CRAZY?!”

– – –

How would you feel if someone reacted that way to YOU?

Maybe a little defensive?
Maybe a little frustrated?
Maybe a little hesitant to open up further?

Right. Of course you would. Who wouldn’t?

This is a typical example of Emotional Reactivity, and it’s a dangerous barrier to Growing Bigger Ears.

See, certain things that people say WILL emotionally activate you. And as a result, you might felt the need to defend yourself, get huffy or even get the uncontrollable urge to yell!


Stay cool, stay calm and stay open.

That’s easy for YOU to say! you think. You’re not the one whose 17 year-old son just crashed the car into the garage door! You’re not the one whose best salesperson just lost the firm’s biggest client!

Fair enough.

But I’m not suggesting you repress your anger or hide your emotions. Instead, challenge yourself to become a better listener by responding emotionally objective, not emotionally reactive.

That means you…

STRIVE TO: pause, not jump.
STRIVE FOR: dialogue, not debate.
STRIVE TO BE: curious, not judgmental.
STRIVE TO APPEAR: observant, not accusatory.

IN SHORT: Objective, not reactive.

Because if you don’t, here are the potential dangers:

Emotional Reactivity is contagious.
Which increases conversational tension.

Emotional Reactivity is disrespectful.
Which is antithetical to the entire philosophy of Growing Bigger Ears.

Emotional Reactivity undermines trust.
Which taints the effectiveness of your listening environment.

Emotional Reactivity blocks understanding.
Which actively interferes with the listening process.

Emotional Reactivity creates defensiveness.
Which decreases the likelihood of someone opening up further.

Emotional Reactivity prevents people from saying what they want to say.
Which means it takes longer to achieve a resolution.

– – –

So, now that you understand the definitions and dangers of Emotional Reactivity, next we’re going explore six practices to help you avoid it.

1. Start with yourself. Before you can effectively listen to others, you must first listen within. Know thyself. To thine own self be true. You know, all of that stuff.

Consider these three questions to pinpoint the triggers of your Emotional Reactivity:

o Where does your emotional reactivity come from?
o What personal biases get in the way of listening effectively?
o When was the last time you listened, all the way through, to an idea that made you uncomfortable?

2. Objective, not reactive. Objectivity is in short supply. So, learn to act in response to the thoughts that fuel your Emotional Reactivity.

For example, if a comment made by an employee stirs up something fierce inside you, just STOP. Consider removing yourself from the situation doing a few exercises to increase oxygen and blood flow.

You could try focused breathing, taking a break or just getting up and walking around. All of these practices will relax your mind and body, thus reducing reactivity.

CAUTION: These relaxation techniques are most effective when carried out in private, so as to reduce the likelihood of coworkers thinking you’re really, really weird.

3. Respond; don’t react. There’s a MAJOR difference between these two words philosophies. See, reactions don’t require thought. They’re knee-jerk reflexes. Responses, on the other hand, are more thought-out. They’re mindful and reflective.

So, it’s important to first recognize that you always have a choice: to either react or respond. To resist the impulse.

Here are four solid questions to ask yourself:

o Why do I feel this way?
o What kinds of things am I reactive to?
o What would be an appropriate way to respond?
o What are the emotional triggers that generate anxiety inside me that prevent me from listening well?

4. Say what you see. Use statements of observation that are non-judgmental, non-comparison based and non-YOU-oriented. Phrases That Payses include:

o “I noticed…”
o “Tell me about…”
o “I wonder if…”
o “How do you feel about…?”
o “Here’s what I observed…”

Comments like these accomplish several goals. First of all, an objective piece of feedback doesn’t challenge someone’s character or attitude. Secondly, it opens the door to discussion. Thirdly, it fosters explanation, not accusation. And lastly, it doesn’t put the other person on the spot for an immediate answer.

5. Conduct internal dialogues. During periods of silence that precede your reactions responses, pay attention to what’s happening inside you while you listen. Consult the Spirits. The Powers That Be. The Muse. The Third Ear.

Or whatever you call it.

Ask yourself NOT, “What do I want to say?” but rather, “What wants to be said next?” and “What’s the next question that wants to be asked?”

Then, wait for your Inner Voice to respond.

– – –

As you can see, Growing Bigger Ears is about a series of CHOICES.

The choice to be objective.
The choice to pause, not jump.
The choice to respond, not react.
The choice to be objective, not reactive.
The choice to conserve your emotional energy.
The choice to replace defensiveness with understanding.

What’s more, because human beings shape their identity by the way others respond to them, your actions play a significant role in the formation of someone’s self-image.

SO REMEMBER:i Objective, not reactive.

Be known as someone who welcomes the truth no matter how disturbing or difficult it might be to hear.

Listen for what the person is trying to communicate AND what they’re actually saying.

After all, it’s awfully hard to Grow Bigger Ears when your Emotional Reactivity is louder than what the other person says.

How do you remain emotionally objective?

For a list of 8 non-threatening, objective and inviting Phrases That Payses that demonstrate emotional objectivity, send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll hook you up!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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