How to Gauge Your Entrepreneurial Readiness

When you’re willing to put it all on the line for something. That’s when you’re ready.

When you find yourself constantly asking yourself, “What the hell am I still doing here?” That’s when you’re ready.

When a stagnant existence in the throws of mediocrity no longer fulfills you. That’s when you’re ready.

When you’ve worked so long and hard on something that you actually become sick of that thing. That’s when you’re ready.

When you’ve built a strong enough foundation of inner resources to support you when YOUR economy inevitably starts to crumble. That’s when you’re ready.

When people start to recognize you at airports in other cities. That’s when you’re ready.

When you’ve built a platform that’s strong enough and following that’s large enough. That’s when you’re ready.

When the message you’ve been preaching starts to become the dominant reality of your life. That’s when you’re ready.

When you have no idea WHAT the hell you’re doing (or HOW you’re going to do it) – but know WHY you’re going to do it. That’s when you’re ready.

When three (or more) moments of synchronicity occur within a short period of time. That’s when you’re ready.

When you can’t possibly imagine spending another 14-hour day sitting alone in that goddamn cubicle. That’s when you’re ready.

When you no longer have to ask Google if you’re ready. That’s when you’re ready.

When you spend more time thinking about what it would be like if you owned your own company rather than how you benefit your current company. That’s when you’re ready.

When you’re willing to make yourself uncomfortable and dramatically reprioritize your life. That’s when you’re ready.

When you realize that whether or not you’re “ready” is irrelevant. That’s when you’re ready.

Are you ready?

For the list called, “54 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
[email protected]

Who’s quoting YOU?

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

6 Little Known Ways to Elevate Your Entrepreneurial Edge

1. Decide how impatient you can afford to be. Being impatient might be the smartest decision your company could ever make. My first suggestion is to write the following two words on a sticky note: Just Go. That’s it. Just go.

Be willing to look bad on the road to immortality. Plunge forward plan-less. And stop allowing the need for perfection to preventing you from doing, being and having what you want. Take action on your new idea swiftly. Find out what ONE step you could take NOW to start moving forward to your ideal future. How much money is being (too) patient costing you?

2. Document as you develop. Writing makes everything you do easier and better. Not to mention, if you don’t write it down, it never happened. Whether it’s an idea, a process or a mind map for your next project, keeping records of your creative initiatives always serves you well.

First, it enables you to repeat your process. Secondly, it helps you improve your process. And lastly, it assists you in teaching your process, either to coworkers or customers. What did you write today?

3. Decide what it will take to become a proven entity. That might mean a stronger web presence. That might mean a more robust networking plan. That might mean securing a spot as a regular contributor to an online publication read by your perfect clients.

That might mean getting up an hour earlier every morning to write, accumulate enough content to blog five times a week and slowly expand your thought leadership platform. Just remember: Your strategy for sticking yourself out there needs to be as remarkable as WHAT you’re sticking out there. To whom do you need to become a proven entity to?

4. Help customers visualize the end result. The benefit of the benefit of the benefit. Not a rental car – getting the hell out of the airport. Not a Happy Meal – shutting the damn kids up. Not a deep tissue massage – an escape from your stressful world.

The secret behind this principle is to visually represent this end result to the customer. Take Pizza Hut, for example. Do you think their website is just a bunch of pictures of pies? No way. You see images of families at home, sitting around the dinner table, laughing, sharing and relaxing. The pizza is just a prop. What are you the answer to?

5. Make sure you don’t lose your entrepreneurial edge. Return to your roots. Uncover your beginnings. Ask yourself these questions:

*Why did you get into business in the first place?
*What would you do if you were starting your business all over again right now?
*What injustice did you set out to fight when you first started your business?

If you can’t answer those questions, either execute a plan for recovering your edge or be smart and quit. How much of your entrepreneurial edge have you lost since you started?

6. Offer less. Choice saturation paralyzes people into inaction. Even the simple act of choosing caused mental fatigue. What’s more, the longer customers they take, the less they buy.

Thus: Complexity generates contemplation, and contemplation kills sales. Because a confused mind never buys. What if you gave people ZERO choice to eliminate customer frustration remove the threat of rejection?

How are you elevating your entrepreneurial edge?

For the list called, “65 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me When I Started My Company,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
[email protected]

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to be an Imperfectionist

About once a month, I get an email from a reader who kindly points out a typo in one of my books.

This, in my opinion, is a victory. Because at least I know somebody’s reading. Other than my mother.

And part of me wishes I’d thought to include those typos intentionally, just for the purpose of measuring readership. But I didn’t. The typos are there (not because I’m savvy), but because I’m imperfect.

Even after writing nine books. Somehow, one or two always manage to squeeze by in each one. Dang it.

But I’m cool with that. Perfection is overrated anyway.

THEREFORE: Exerting your imperfect humanity is a hallmark of approachability.

In the words of U.S. Anderson, author of The Magic in Your Mind:

“When imperfectness enters a man’s soul, he is able to show that he does not live alone in the world, but with millions of others, in whose hearts exists the same animating spirit.”

What about you?
Are you willing to be an Imperfectionist?

If so, consider these practices for implementing a little imperfection into your daily life…

1. Learn to thrive in shades of gray. Learn to walk the halls with an attitude of confident uncertainty. Ellen Langer explains the power of this practice in Mindfulness:

“You’re confident that the job will get done, but without being certain of exactly the best way of doing it. This gives employees more room to be creative, alert and self-starting; plus, risk taking becomes less risky.”

It’s about increasing your tolerance for ambiguity. It’s about not reaching for ready-made replies. And it’s about asking questions you don’t know the answer to. Are you confidently uncertain?

2. Don’t be at war with HOW when you should be in love with WHY. You don’t have to know what you’re doing. You don’t have to know where you’re going. You don’t have to know how you’re going to get there.

You just need to move – and you need to know WHY you’re moving. Lesson learned: Just keep starting. The finishing will take care of itself. If there even IS a finish line. Which there isn’t. Are you stopped by not knowing how?

3. Forego superficiality and, just for once, try being real. Here’s the deal: Honesty makes you vulnerable. And vulnerability reinforces your humanity because human beings are, by their very nature, imperfect.

Yes, it takes significantly more work to walk your truth. Especially in a world of (mostly) fiction. But, as my Aunt Vicki once told me, “If everything is perfect, somebody isn’t being honest.” What social mask are you willing to retire?

4. Trust that people want the real you. In Writing for Your Life, Deena Metzger explains that “beauty appears when something is completely and absolutely and openly itself.”

Similarly, you need to believe that people really DO want the best, most honest, most imperfect version of you. And if they don’t, you need to believe that that’s cool, too. But if that’s the case, now might be a good time to walk away. Which version of you do you think people want?

5. Allow unguarded moments. Who knows? Maybe now is the chance to screw up royally because you’ve been too perfect lately. Don’t worry: When you open the door to your imperfect nature and remove that which blocks the path of truth, the selfhood on which you stand will support you.

And, the awareness and honesty of your imperfections – ugly and terrifying as they may be – will set you free. Well, either that, or your secretary will call the police. What if you laid your weapons down, just for one round?

6. Stop trying to be a leader. Instead, exert your passion fueled by your purpose. Instead, make your life a work of art. Instead, become a living brochure of your own awesomeness. If you do these things – and do them IM-perfectly – people will follow. As Warren Bennis reminds us in On Becoming a Leader:

“No leader sets out to be a leader. People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves fully. Then, when that expression is of value, they become leaders. The point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely – all your skills, gifts and energies – in order to make your vision manifest.”

Wow. The un-leader approach. I like it. In what situations do you inhibit your own authentic self-expression?

7. Don’t criticize imperfections. This increases the probability of people thinking to themselves, “Thank you for treating me like a human being.” The challenge is learning to tolerate a reasonable amount of error. Otherwise people will perceive you as an unimpeachable leader with unrealistic expectations.

My suggestion: Stay away from the attitude personified by Dilbert’s Pointy Haired Boss, who regularly requests, “Read my mind and then recommend the decision I’ve already decided on.” What would happen to your career if you were known as the biggest imperfectionist in your company?

8. Leave room for yourself (and others) to be imperfect. Stop trying to convince everyone you encounter that you’re invincible, unbreakable and infallible. Approachable means bustable. Approachable means crackable. Approachable means surrendering to your imperfections.

Instead of pulling a Lady Macbeth and screaming, “Out, damned spot!” learn to say, “Hallelujah, blessed spot!” Come on. Even The Death Star had a weakness. And that thing was freaking HUGE.

Remember: Endorsing your own weakness establishes your acceptance of the imperfect humanness of others. Are you willing to abandon yourself to your own (and others’) inadequacies?

REMEMBER: Perfectionism is procrastination. Perfectionism blocks inventiveness. Perfectionism stains communication. And perfectionism slaughters playfulness.

Exerting your imperfect humanity, on the other hand, is one of the hallmarks of being an approachable leader.

In conclusion, when it comes to being an imperfectionist, let us remember Leonard Cohen’s famous tune, Anthem, in which he sang:

“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a few manuscript typos to corrrrect for my next book.

Are you willing to be an Imperfectionist?

For the list called, “23 Ways to Bring More of Yourself to Any Situation,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
[email protected]

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

Get Rid of Your Reputation for Being an Unapproachable Boss Once and for All!

This month we’ve been exploring the “Impending Dangers of Inapproachability.”

In part one, you examined five early warning signs.

Today, let’s talk about how people might feel interacting with you if you are unapproachable:

1. People will be on guard around you. Because they feel tense. Self-conscious. Afraid to offend you. Walking on eggshells. Hesitant to set off your emotions.

And the mental energy they expend on those fear-based thoughts (1) robs them of their ability to be true, (2) prevents them from offering full information, and (3) scares them away from sharing what’s most important. What questions are your employees afraid to ask you?

STRATEGY: At the end of your meetings, try asking, “What questions did I NOT ask that you were hoping I WOULD ask?”

2. People will be at a loss of words around you. Because you make them nervous. Because you don’t give them permission. Because you aren’t making communication a relaxing experience. How easy is it for people to open up around you?

STRATEGY: Learn to influence and inspire through imperfection and inadequacy.

3. People will feel like a non-person around you. Especially if unnecessary titles prevent them from getting to know each other authentically. Also, if unspoken hierarchies exist, take caution. This hampers the freedom of expression and creates psychological distance between people. No matter how “open” (you say) your door really is. Are you treating people like people, or statistics?

STRATEGY: Lead with your person and follow with your profession. Put values before vocation, individuality before industry and personality before profession.

4. People will feel tense or nervous around you. Which causes them stress. Which corrodes their health. Which impairs their positive attitude. Which lowers their overall performance. Which loses the company money. Do you bring peace or drama to other people’s lives?

STRATEGY: Learn how to incorporate deep breathing into everything you do. I suggest reading Eric Maisel’s Ten Zen Seconds. Changed my life forever.

5. People will hold (mostly) shallow interactions. And your communication topics will always remain superficial. Nobody will ever get to the heart of any important issues because they’re holding back, unsure about how you might react. As a result, very little ever gets accomplished. Do you really think asking about traffic or the weather is an effective conversation starter?

STRATEGY: Ask Passion Finding Questions (PFQ) like, “What was the best part
about your weekend?” and “What keeps you busy when you’re not working here?”

6. People will perceive interactions with as being longer. And, therefore, uncomfortable. As such, most interactions will end prematurely because people will want to get the hell out of there as soon as possible. Ultimately, this reputation will contaminate the space that surrounds you. How could you make the time spent with you seem shorter?

STRATEGY: Hold meetings in which everybody is standing up. Instantly cuts the perceived meeting time spent in half.

– – –

REMEMBER: The only judgment your people can (honestly) make about you is how interacting with you makes them FEEL.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if YOU think you’re approachable – it only matters if you’re perceived and remembered as being approachable by the people you serve.

If not, I guarantee your organization WILL suffer.

How is being unapproachable hurting your organization?

For the list called, “71 Words Employees Never Want to Hear Their Manager Say,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
[email protected]

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Are You Using the Most Dangerous Word in Marketing?

In marketing, there’s ONE WORD that solidifies your failure:


Here’s why:

People say “Next…!” when they cease to see value.

People say “Next…!” when they’ve become hurried, harried or had enough of you.

People say “Next…!” when they’re faced with too many choices and not enough time.

People say “Next…!” when they’ve become tired OF or bored WITH their current option.

Customers. Prospects. Prospective employers. Readers. Followers. Audience members.

Whomever you’re trying to reach with your message. If they either say or think, “Next…!”, here’s the problem…

…That means you’re instantly forgettable.
…That means you’re not inherently competitive.
…That means you haven’t delivered enough value.
…That means you haven’t conveyed enough uniqueness.
…That means you didn’t achieve the Gotta-Have-It Factor.
…That means you’ve created ZERO interest through a Point of Dissonance.
…That means you’re boring, normal, average, or some combination of the three.
…That means the snapshot of your idea hasn’t lodged and exploded in people’s minds.
…That means you didn’t evoke people to slam their fist down on the boardroom table and say, “We need to hire THIS guy!”


SO, HERE’S YOUR CHALLENGE: Practice making yourself, your ideas and your business “unnextable.”

Here’s a list of nine ways to do so:

1. Amuse me or lose me. Diana Krall once recorded a classic jazz tune called, Peel Me a Grape. Here’s how the chorus goes: “Don’t try to fool me, bejewel me. Polar bear rug me, don’t bug me. New Thunderbird me, you heard me. Either amuse me or lose me. I’m getting hungry, peel me a grape.”

Here’s the reality: Attention spans are declining. Technology is accelerating. Choices are infinite. And customers are deciding how much attention they want to give to you. So, if you’re not at least a LITTLE amusing, you’re toast. How amusing are YOU?

2. Anchor your expertise in that which is timeless. You’ll stick around longer. You’ll be hired quicker. And you’ll be relevant forever. Otherwise, your expertise will melt away into the multitude. Just another Marketing One Hit Wonder. What do you know that people will always need to learn more about and get better at?

3. Begin with value. Because if you deliver enough value, you will attract enough attention. If you attract enough attention, you will win enough trust. And if you win enough trust, you will earn enough money. What’s your baseline value?

4. If you give something away, put a price tag on it anyway. This sets a precedent of value. This assures that people recognize the incredible deal you’re giving them. And this prevents other people from violating your boundaries and saying:

“Well, my friend Ted told me you coached him for nothing. I want the same deal.” Remember: You are what you charge. And when people don’t pay you, people don’t hear you. What are you charging?

5. Make yourself necessary to the world. Establish a position where people wouldn’t DARE proceed with (x) until they spoke with you FIRST. A position where organizations wouldn’t explore the topic of (y) until they got your opinion on it FIRST.

And, a position where the media wouldn’t do a story on (z) until they sought out your expertise FIRST. Be necessary. Be impossible to live without. Be impossible to do business without. Are you establishing marketshare or MIND-share?

6. Nothing deserves to be worked on harder than your message. As such, remember to dance across these fine lines: Catchy, but not corny. Clear, yet curious. Cool, but not contrived. Emotional, yet engaging. Informative, yet incomplete.

Also: Philosophical, yet pragmatic. Playful, yet professional. Quirky, but not questionable. Simple, yet profound. Relevant, yet unexpected. Smart, but not clever. Unusual, yet unarguable. How hard are you working on your message?

7. Pick out industries that don’t have celebrities – then become the first one. You will rise to the top quicker. You will stand out easier. And you will be perceived as the expert sooner. Big ponds are overrated. To whom are you a rockstar?

8. Stop brainstorming and start brain MONETIZING. We have enough Idea Guys. What we really need are more Execution Guys. Action guys. GTD Guys. That’s what companies are paying money for: People who DO stuff. Are you a talker or a doer?

9. Your expertise needs to be plugged into strategy needs. My friend, David Newman, used to call his company “Unconsulting.” Which is a cool name, if you ask me. Unfortunately, he realized that companies didn’t have “unconsulting” problems.

So, he changed it to “Do It! Marketing,” because companies DID have marketing execution problems. Do you think he started booking more business as a result? You bet! And all he did was plug his expertise into a different need. How bookable are YOU?

REMEMBER: The more “unnextable” you are, the more successful you will become.

Don’t give people a reason to skip you.

How are you preventing your customers from saying, “Next!”

For the list called, “26 Ways to Out-Brand Your Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
[email protected]

Who’s telling their friends about YOU?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

How to Make a Name for Yourself – Even if You Make a Fool of Yourself

1. Advance confidently in the direction of your dreams. Progressing towards anything else – graceful as you may look doing so – is a total waste of time, money and energy. Either relentlessly pursue the visions that possess you or go home. What continually deflects you from your certainty of purpose?

2. Ambition always looks good on you. Plus, it vortexes people in. It inspires and challenges people to think about their own ambition. Which fills them with the fuel of passion to guide their actions. What outer skin are you wearing?

3. Arise with firm determination. Build your life in a way that makes you hate sleeping. Not because you’re workaholic. Not because you’re an insomniac. But because the passion flows out of your body so abundantly that you couldn’t use an alarm clock if you wanted to. As U.S Anderson said in his obscure book, The Magic in your Mind, “Worlds are never conquered by men who lie abed, only by those who are out in the world and doing.” Why do you get out of bed every day?

4. Be not self-satisfied with past glory. Don’t allow the arrogance of past success prevent you from learning, growing or soaring. As my friend David Newman says, “Stop measuring all situations by your glorious past rather than looking for new opportunities and the possibilities of the future.” Remember: The past isn’t just over – it’s overrated. What have you done TODAY?

5. Be scary good. There’s a good goal for ya. To be so good at what you do that people watch with breathless interested and jaws agape, thinking to themselves, “Dude, it is SCARY how good this guy is.” So, not scary in a bad way. Scary because they’d hate to be up against you. Scary because they wonder if you’re actually an alien. And scary because they KNOW you’re going to blow everyone else out of the water. What level of good are you?

6. Become the person you most admire. Wouldn’t that rock? If you could look up to yourself? If you could inspire yourself? I think so. And I don’t mean that in a self-absorbed, egomaniacal, Steven Colbert kind of way. Just a deep love for yourself and a deep desire to become yourself. Whom do you admire?

7. Decide what security looks like to you. In the aforementioned The Magic in Your Mind, U.S. Anderson also said, “The only real security a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.” Remember: Fickleness is a fact of life. How are you restocking YOUR reserve?

8. Don’t believe the dreams they pump you full of, and you won’t get hurt. That was the advice from Atlas Shrugged. And I agree. Part of making a name for yourself is deciding whom to listen to. Refusing to become limited by the thoughts others have tried to set in motion for you. Ignoring the would-be deflectors of your one true dream. Personally amputate anyone who doesn’t believe in or support your personal vision. Whose life are you living, really?

9. Failure IS an option – not learning from that failure isn’t. After all, we learn not from our experience, but from intelligent reflection upon those experiences. So, the secret is creating a system for learning and growing from everything. The secret is accepting influence from everybody you encounter. And te secret is enabling value to be added to yourself by anything, anytime, anywhere. Failed at anything today yet?

10. Find a way to insert your entire self into it. Whatever “it” is. Your job. Your role. Your assignment. You phone calls. You conversations. Your presentations. Whatever. The secret is bringing more of yourself to everything. The secret is asking the question, “What would I do in this situation?” Which reminds me of what my mentor once said, “The more that it is YOU, the easier it will be to do.” How much of YOU are you putting into this moment?

Are you willing to make a name for yourself even if you make a fool of yourself?

For the list called, “19 Way to be the ONE Person Everybody Remembers at the Conference,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
[email protected]

Who’s quoting YOU?

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

What Everybody Ought to Know about Power

“Knowledge is power.”

I agree.

But that’s not all. Many other things are power too:

1. Action is power. Because most people TALK instead of DO. Which one do you do?

2. Awareness is power. Because it’s the first step toward mastery. What are you afraid to acknowledge the existence of?

3. Branding is power. Because if you don’t make a name for yourself, someone will make one for you. Who’s making a name for you?

4. Brevity is power. Because people are busy. Keeping it short enough?

5. Content is power. Because it delivers unique value and solidifies your expertise. Do your tweets leave the impression of value or vanity?

6. Creativity is power. Because every time you use it, it grows stronger. How many ideas did you have today?

7. Credibility is power. Because while it might take years to assemble; it only takes seconds to annihilate. What is your credibility strengthening process?

8. Decision is power. Because the only thing in the world you (actually) have control over are your choices. Are you living at full choice in your life right now?

9. Discipline is power. Because talent is overrated, whereas hard, long, smart work is all that really counts. What time did you get up today?

10. Expectation is power. Because it not only affects the future, it affects the past. How many affirmations did you recite today?

11. Experience is power. Because that’s where expertise truly comes from: Experience + Intelligent reflection upon those experiences + Actionable lessons extracted from those experiences. What new experience did you have today?

12. Fanship is power. Because customers are overrated, clients are useless and prospects are for amateurs – you need FANS. How many fans do you have?

13. Honesty is power. Because in out fear-based, low trust culture, honesty is so rare that it’s become remarkable. How many lies did you tell this week?

14. Humanity is power. Because in our robotic, impersonal culture, humanity is (also) so rare that it’s become remarkable. How are you fully integrating your humanity into your profession?

15. Immediacy is power. Because in our hyperspeed, A.D.D., instant gratification culture, people want it fast and they want it NOW. Do you return emails faster than your competitors?

16. Listening is power. Because contrary to popular conditioning, the listener controls the conversation. When was the last time somebody complimented your listening skills?

17. Name is power. Because Shakespeare was wrong – “what’s in a name” means EVERYTHING. What do people think when they see your name?

18. Networking is power. Because people buy people first, and it’s not who you know – it’s who knows you. How many friends did you make last week?

19. Permission is power. Because once people can come up to, feel relaxed around, open up with, comfortable walk away from and confidently return to you, everything changed. Who do you need to give permission to?

20. Platform is power. Because brands can’t exist without a diverse foundation of value-driven content, web presence, public visibility and thought leadership. How powerful is your platform?

21. Positioning is power. Because it’s not who you are, it’s what you’re known for knowing, what you’ve been recognized as being the first and best at, and ultimately what you’re perceived to be the heavyweight champion of. What makes you That Guy?

22. Vulnerability is power. Because it gives other people permission to feel the same, which creates a safe containers in which you can share your truth. How vulnerable are you willing to be?

23. Wisdom is power. Because knowledge is overrated – only wisdom (which comes from action) earns you the right to speak with authority. How much action have you taken this week?

24. Writing is power. Because writing is the basis of all wealth, AND, writing makes everything you do better and easier. What did you write today?

Knowledge isn’t enough.

How powerful are you?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
[email protected]

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

9 Voicemail Messages that Get Called Back EVERY Time

You can’t make people return your calls.

All you can do is increase the probability that your phone will ring by becoming more “call-back-able.”

So, whether you’re leaving voicemails with customers, coworkers, prospects, potential dates, employees, superiors, suppliers, students, volunteers – even complete strangers – the same principles and practices still apply.

Here’s a list of nine ways to become more call-back-able:

1. Start with yourself. Think back to the last time you returned from vacation. Ten voicemails were waiting for you. QUESTION: Whom did you call back first? What made you want to – or not want to – call that person back? And which of the ten voicemails did you delete within two seconds of hearing the message?

This baseline exercise is the perfect way to enter into the caller mindset. Plus it helps you pinpoint voicemail behaviors that turn even YOU off. What voicemails do it for you?

2. Punch people in the face with your purpose. I can’t begin to count the number of voicemails I receive every week from complete strangers who leave nothing but their name and number. Tragically, that’s their entire message.

Naturally, I delete their voicemails immediately. For one simple reason: No call to action = No call back. Period. And frankly, I feel kind of bad doing so. And I’m sure I’ve missed out on connecting with some great people. But I’m a busy guy. And if first-time callers aren’t respectful and intelligent enough to state their purpose within five seconds of leaving a message, they haven’t earned the right to be called back.

The secret for YOUR voicemails is to have a purpose (not an agenda, but a purpose) … and to punch people in the face with that purpose gently and immediately. Otherwise people are going to think, “Next…!” Are you demonstrating a valid reason for your persistence?

3. Pamper their ego. It’s not enough to make people feel “valued” and “special” and “important.” Go one step further. Make them feel essential. As if you couldn’t live or make a move without them. Try Phrases That Payses like:

o “I need your opinion on this idea…”
o “You’re the first person I had to tell this story to…”
o “I quoted you on my blog today and got lots of comments!”
o “Dude, I’ve got a story that ONLY you would appreciate…”
o “I just gave you a referral – call me back and I’ll fill you in.”
o “Your ears must be ringing – I was talking about you yesterday!”
o “I’ve been thinking a lot about out conversation from last week, and I wrote out a list of five ways to make your problem go away. Gimme a holler when you can, or email me at…”

Your phone WILL ring. How are you making people feel essential?

4. Appeal to their inherent helpful nature. “I need your help.” Those four words are a simple, yet powerful motivator of human engagement and motivation. I use them every day right before I’m about to make ANY request, i.e., returning a shirt to Nordstrom, getting my iPhone fixed or calling tech support.

In my experience, you’re almost ALWAYS guaranteed better service if you frame your request in this way. In addition to appealing to a human being’s helpful side, these four words also work because they’re: (1) positive, (2) honor the person you’ve reached out to, and (3) demonstrate your humility and vulnerability.

Kind of hard to reject someone like that! Besides, what’s the other person gonna say? “You need MY help? Sorry pal. Ask someone who gives a crap!” Unless you live in Philly, doubtful. So, I’m challenging you to use this phrase on the phone as often as possible. It works. Whom are you asking for help?

5. Help people maintain a sense of control. In the psychology manual, The Handbook of Competence and Motivation, the authors’ research proved on several occasions that human beings operate out of a model to feel autonomous and in control of their environment and actions.

Thus: The feeling of being in control is a basic human need. It’s right up there with “Feeling Accepted,” “Feeling Secure” and “Watching American Idol.” So, your challenge is to leave a voicemail message that speaks to that need. For example, you could offer a few choices of good times to call you back. Or give additional options for contacting you besides the phone, i.e., fax, email or text.

Another approach is to say, ”I need your approval on something…” or “I’ve got an awesome idea, and I wanted to get your permission before I made my move.” This not only makes them feel in control, but also makes them feel essential. How can you appeal to this person’s need to feel in control of her own life?

6. Deliver (and dangle) value. Write a list of fifty practical strategies your customer can use TODAY to grow his business. Next, every time you call, leave two of those strategies as your voicemail message. Then, here’s the best part: You tell the customer to call you back if she wants the third one.

Not only will she call you back, she’ll play your message over the PA system for everyone in her office. Because you didn’t leave a voicemail – you delivered a twenty-second mini teleseminar. Wow.

CAUTION: Make sure that the strategies on your list have nothing to do with you, your product or your company. You can’t just write, “#27: Hire me!” or “#41: Buy fifteen of my copiers!” as items on your list, smart guy. Does your message leave the impression of value or vanity in the mind of the customer?

7. Mix the medium. Not everyone prefers communicating over the phone. Especially people born after 1978. And since that Gen X/Y/Millennial population is slowly starting to saturate the workforce (and take over the world, I might add) it’s essential to be cognizant of the varying communication preferences of your customers.

So, at the end of your voicemail, remind people that they can always reach you by email for a quicker response. This approach increases your accessibility and appeals to a wider audience – even older generations.

What’s more, emailing is a low-pressure, non-threatening medium of communication that gives people more time to carefully craft their words. Try this approach and you’ll be amazed how many people will email back instead of calling back. How reachable are you?

8. Three words: “You were right.” Of course, don’t actually tell people WHAT they were right about. Just tell them they were right, and when they call you back, you’ll explain why. This works because:

o “You were right” enters you into someone else’s reality. Which demonstrates empathy. Which shows you’ve listened.
o “You were right” increases someone’s pride. Which speaks to their self-esteem. Which makes them more confident about themselves.
o “You were right” shows an open mindedness to different opinions. Which sets a precedent for a non-judgmental atmosphere. Which lowers emotional reactivity. Which allows you to discover solutions together.
o “You were right” acknowledges someone’s unique point of view. Which makes them feel valued. “You were right” builds common ground on. a point of mutual agreement. Which reduces emotional distance and increases trust.

How could anyone resist? Who doesn’t love being right? And who wouldn’t want to learn about a recent situation in which they were right? Nobody. How are you making people feel right?

9. Ask Google. While writing this article, I spent a few minutes googling phrases like, “I didn’t call her back because…” and “I refuse to return his call because…” VERY powerful exercise.

Now, most of the comments came from blogs and message boards. And from the looks of it; people were venting, complaining or expressing anger about their friends, coworkers, vendors and the like – along with WHY they chose not to return those peoples’ calls.

So, for our last example, let me share a selection of statements from that list. And I’m challenging you to match these dialogues with the eleven attributes of being “call-back-able” you’ve already learned so far:

“I didn’t return the call because…”

“…All the negative things I’ve read about their company.”
“…He is obviously quite busy with work.”
“…He only wants to cause drama between us.”
“…He stood us up last time we worked together.”
“…He’ll be too “good” on the phone, and in his manipulative way, I’ll slip.”
“…He was known to be a incorrigible gambler.”
“…I can do it by myself.”
“…I can’t say her name out loud without laughing.”
“…I didn’t know him and he didn’t specify what he wanted.”
“…I didn’t want anything else to do with him at that point.”
“…I knew that I wouldn’t be able to have an intelligent conversation with her.”
“…I obviously no longer needed his services.”
“…If he really liked me, then he would have called sooner.”
“…It seemed like he had nothing to say other than fishing for info.”
“…Our initial connection was lost because a first impression only lasts so long.”
“…She never says who she is.”
“…She probably won’t answer anyway.”
“…She was so hateful and acted like it was my fault.”

And of course, my all-time favorite:

“I didn’t return the call because…”

“…That bitch is totally wack and completely insane, like an H-Bomb detonated inside her brain.”

– – –

OK! Think you’re ready for your phone to start ringing off the hook?

Not so fast, Alexander Graham Bell.

While you DO need to appeal to self-interest and people’s need to feel in control…

While you DO need to state your purpose, pamper their ego and make people feel essential…

And while you DO need to deliver value, mix the medium and speak with meaningful concrete immediacy…

There’s still one FINAL secret to leaving voicemails that get called back EVERY time.

And you’re probably not going to like it.

Because it’s not a technique, a strategy or a unique sales approach.

It’s something you DO and something you ARE long before you even pick up the phone.

I’m talking about reputation, positioning and branding.
I’m talking about credibility, consistency and commitment.

IN SHORT: Character.

Character trumps technique.
Character is the great catchall.
Character is what makes people want call you back.

Because when you have that, when you ARE that, and when the person listening to your voicemail message KNOWS that, you instantly become more call-back-able.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some voicemails to leave.

How will you increase the probability of getting called back?

For the list called, “12 Ways to Get Customers to Open Your Email First,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
[email protected]

How many unsolicited referrals did YOU get this week?

Tune in to The Sales Channel on!

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How would you treat people if you weren’t working so hard to sell them?

For a list called, “13 Roles of the Listener,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
[email protected]

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Do You Recognize These Five Early Warning Signs of an Unapproachable Leader?

FACT #1: The only judgment your people can (honestly) make about you is how interacting with you makes them FEEL.

FACT #2: If you’re not perceived and remembered as being approachable by the people you serve – I guarantee your organization WILL suffer.

As such, there’s a myriad of impending dangers of inapproachability. We’ll be exploring each of them in this three-part series, along with a collection of practical strategies to circumvent those dangers.

Each post will address one of the following categories:

PART 1: How people feel about approaching you.
PART 2: How people feel while interacting with you.
PART 3: How people feel walking away from you.

Today, let’s talk about how people feel about approaching the unapproachable

1. People will plan ways to avoid you. Which, ironically, takes more time and energy than to actually talk to you. But that’s how we’re wired: Anthropologically, the more conflict that might occur = the more we avoid that encounter.

Even if it requires more work. Anything to avoid conflict. How many people went out of their way to avoid you yesterday?

STRATEGY: For one week, say hello to every single person that crosses your path. It’s harder than you think.

2. People will shrink from opportunities to be open. If you’re the kind of person who takes offense to everything, here’s what happens: People will start tiptoeing around you, trying their hardest not to get caught in your vortex of hypersensitivity.

Then, they purposely leave out key points just to avoid pushing your hot buttons. And all that does is leave you in the dark on where they stand. How many employee problems are you currently unaware of because your emotional reactivity silences people?

STRATEGY: Grow thicker skin. Instead of reacting; trying breathing. That’s
response. A choice. And it’s much more effective. If there’s one thing I learned from practicing yoga, it’s that you can breathe through pretty much anything.

3. People will be surprised by each your arguments and concerns. Because you weren’t proactive enough to share your expectations clearly and early. Or because you didn’t speak with Meaningful Concrete Immediacy.

Or because you shaded the truth. The problem is, when people become accustomed to living in the dark, it surprises the hell out of them when the lights suddenly flicker on. Because then they have no idea what to do about key issues. Are your expectations camouflaged?

STRATEGY: Make your instructions, expectations, emails, phone calls, meetings and conversations more actionable.

4. People will stop volunteering information. Because they won’t feel like it’s is a safe container in which they can share. Which means they’ll either bury their problems deep down inside their bodies (which causes physical stress).

Or take their problems to someone else (who probably has no idea what the hell she’s talking about). How are you creating a Question Friendly Environment?

STRATEGY: Burn your Suggestion Box. Hang up a Question Box. Keep it
anonymous. Then, for every question that’s submitted, donate one dollar to the Office Party Budget. That way, more questions = more snacks.

5. People will become apprehensive due to your unpredictability. If people never know what’s on your mind, the silent dialogue will become, “For all I know, could be a ticking time bomb this morning! Better not say anything deep or lengthy.”

Again, this leads to disengaged, low-involvement conversations with minimal self-disclosure. And because nobody knows what you’re thinking, they (might) end up doing the exact opposite of what you wanted.

And it will be YOUR fault because, contrary to your hopes and dreams, they were unable to read your mind. What are you doing that prevents people from learning from you?

STRATEGY: Learn how to become (somewhat) predictable.

– – –

REMEMBER: The only judgment your people can (honestly) make about you is how interacting with you makes them FEEL.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if YOU think you’re approachable – it only matters if you’re perceived and remembered as being approachable by the people you serve.

If not, I guarantee your organization WILL suffer.

How is being unapproachable hurting your organization?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
[email protected]

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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