How to turn pigeonholes into goldmines

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

“Stereotypes,” I replied.

“What do you mean?”

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

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

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

Pigeonhole. That’s an important word in business.

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

Which means you have a few challenges:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THAT is what instills comfort.

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

Start brainstorming your stereotypes TODAY.

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

What is the #1 pigeonhole of your industry?

Share your list of three ways to disarm it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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