8 Ways to Help Customers Close You

Years ago, Johnny Carson was interviewing a guest on The Tonight Show who was billed as one of the greatest salespeople who has ever lived.

“Well, sell me something!” Johnny said.

“Okay, well, what do you want me to sell?” replied the man.

“How about this ashtray on my desk?”

And just as Johnny expected the man to go into a sales pitch, instead the salesman asked, “What do you like about this ashtray?”

Johnny spoke about its unusual shape, its color and how it matched other things on his desk.

Then, the guest asked how much Johnny would be willing to spend on it.

Johnny replied, “Oh, maybe ten dollars?”

“Sold!!” said the salesman.

LESSON LEARNED: When you deliver enough value, your customers close you.

(Special thanks to Sean McPheat for that story.)

That’s not selling – that’s enabling people to buy.

Here’s how to make it work for you:1. Create a significant emotional event. If you bring nothing but logic, you’ll never motivate customers to buy. Emotion is the only language that produces action. Which means: In your sales presentation, you have to create a multi-sensory experience.

Here’s how: According to the book Resonate, chronic bombardment means audiences are accustomed to quick action, rapid scene changes and soundtracks that make the heart race.

As you deliver your stories, solutions and suggestions – not your sales pitch, information and instructions – leverage color, light and motion. That’s what keeps humans engaged.

After all, there is a high customer expectation for visual and visceral stimulation. The human attention span is six seconds. And if you don’t pique their aesthetic perceptions and tickle their sensibilities, they’ll wait forever for you to close them.

Because the reality is: It’s not what you say, it’s not how you say it – it’s how people feel when they hear it. Information isn’t as essential as the emotional impact of the information. Do your customers love your process as much as your product?

2. Disarm the immediate preoccupation. Ideally, by embodying humor early. Notice I said, “embody,” not “use.” You can’t use humor like you use hair gel. But what you can do is discover your innate and inevitable funniness as a human being.

All you have to do is figure out what you’re clearly too much of: Too old? Too young? Too expensive? Too slow? Answer that question, then lead with it. You’ll find that by magnifying the unhideable, you convert pigeonholes into goldmines. By acknowledging what causes the tension; it will exhale in the form of customer laughter.

And as Jeffrey Gitomer explained in The Little Teal Book of Trust, “The funnier you are, the more engaging you are, the closer the customer will listen, and the more authentic you’re perceived to be. Getting people to laugh is tacit approval, and it’s your best change to deliver important facts. At the end of laughter is the height of listening.” Are you ignoring the elephant in the room, talking about the elephant or jumping on its back and teaching it how to dance?

3. Flip the pitch. Whenever a prospective client inquires about one of my seminars or corporate training programs, I always ask them, “Why is the idea of approachability important to your people?” Then they tell me. Then I listen. And then I allow them to sell me on the value of my own product. Bam!

Another example is my friend Matt. Whenever he’s uncertain about whether or not to pursue a prospective client, he boldly makes the following request: “Thanks for your interest in my program! Please write me a letter explaining why I should come and I’d be happy to consider it.”

The point is: Don’t be afraid to let your customers do the selling for you. Because if you say it, they’ll pay attention – but if they say it, they’ll pay money. Either way, just be sure your sales approach is underscored by the question, “How do you think I can help you?” Because it’s not your job to help them afford you – it’s your job to help them justify what they can afford. How could you turn your sales pitch on its head?

4. Consider your pre-sale position. If you walk in the door as a salesperson, you’re already at a deficit position. If you want customers to close you, make yourself a composite of the following power positions.

First, be a peer of the buyer. Which means you have to build commonality. And you do so by leading with your person and following with your profession.

Second, be a trusted resource to the buyer. Which means you have to build a value-forward platform online and offline. And you do so by thinking on paper, every single day.

Third, be a problem solver with the buyer. Which means you have to figure out what you’re the answer to. And you do so by using use social media to gain insight into what drives your customers up the wall, then becoming that answer to those issues.

Ultimately, the stronger your pre-sale position, the easier it is to get to yes. How would your closing ratio change if customers saw you as their trusted advisor – not their tricky salesperson?

5. Make them ask what’s next. All customers are control freaks. And they want to feel as if they’re autonomous and in control of their environment and actions. Your challenge – whether it’s over the phone, in person, via email or on a social networking site – is to preserve that sense.

For example, you know your customers are ready to close you when they ask reverse closing questions like, “What’s next?” or “What’s the next step?” If you get to that point, well done. Because the goal is spend so much time listening and delivering value that price doesn’t come up till the very end. Then, when it does – and they’re ready – they’ll ask you for the close.

After all: Customers want to be pilots – not passengers. Now, this requires you to surrender your time, your information and your own desire for control. But it’s worth it. Because customers who control their service experience with your company also control their spreading experience about your company. How do you preserve customer control?

6. Deliver an ongoing value message. Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder – absence makes people forget. That’s why anonymity is bankruptcy. The key is to deliver a continuous flow of education in a variety of media. After all, it’s not your job to tell customers how to consume you.

Whether you publish a newsletter, blog, social media news feed – or even deliver public seminars – the goal is to leave no barriers for people to become involved with you in inexpensive and accessible ways.

Personally, I use a combination of ezines, blogs, syndicated columns, video modules and social media. What’s your recipe? The cool part is, when you start to serve people as if they were already paying clients, you make it easier for them to close you at their own convenience.

Then, instead of taking a whiff of the stink of desperation, they savor the aroma of education. Are you treating customers as people who pay your salary, or attending to them as pupils who enrolled in your class?

7. Allow your customers to have their fingerprint on the solution. Then, when price comes up, as opposed to responding reflexively with a rigid, canned fee, try using language like this:

“With every engagement and every client, there are a number of variables that affect your final investment. Let’s look at what’s important to you and what’s important to me, and we can create a fee agreement that honors both of us.”

In short: Grow bigger ears. Because if salespeople would simply ask smart questions and shut the hell up, customers would sell themselves the entire time. My suggestion: Instead of being exhaustingly argumentative, be strategically inquisitive. Then, oxygenate the conversation by allowing the silence to hold you a little while longer. Give yourself a moment to let your customer’s words wash over you.

In so doing, long silence tells people that what they said is important. It communicates that their words have weight and deserve their own space before being banished by a reply. Do that, and they’ll close the sale before you even get around to it. Are you listening to the sound of your own voice or the music of your customer’s voice?

8. Help customers verbalize their hopes. It’s not about overcoming the objection – it’s uncovering why that objection is important to the customer. Because if you know people’s why – you don’t just have a hot button – you have their entire motherboard.

Not to control them, but to inspire them. Not to sell more stuff, but to make a difference. And not to deliberately fabricate fears that don’t exist, but to raise awareness of potential dangers by illustrating the cost of inaction.

In short: Beat the customer. Deliver their desire before they place it. Invest just as much time in anticipating than responding. That’s how you build a path of trust, humanize the sales experience and diffuse customers’ built in push-back mechanisms. Ultimately, if you want customers to close you, don’t sell the service – just deliver it in every breath. Are you trying to trick people into buying something, or trying to make something worth buying and spreading?

REMEMBER: Customers will always get what they want – it just might not be from you.

But if you can focus less on selling and more on enabling people to buy, the customer will close you quicker than you can say, “Sold!”

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How closeable are you?

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For the list called, “26 Ways to Out Brand Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

The Nametag Guy Live: How to Preserve Customer Control

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How do you preserve customer control?

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For the list called, “15 Ways to Out Learn Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

approachability, approachable, make a name for yourself, nametagscott, object of interest, sales epiphanies, sales trainer, scott ginsberg, ultra diamonds

The Nametag Guy Live: How to Care

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Will you dare to care?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

The Nametag Guy Live: How to Turn Rare into Remarkable

This excerpt comes from a recent presentation in Atlantic City with my client, Ultra Diamonds.

These guys are busting their butts during the holiday season to make sure their customers look and feel like a million bucks.

They’re truly heroes.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Whom are you a hero to?

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For the list called, “15 Ways to Out Learn Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking dates for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

The Nametag Guy Live: How to Infect People

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Who’s joining you?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

The Don Draper Guide to Making a Case for Yourself

My favorite episode of Mad Men is called “Lipsticks & Dipsticks.”

In his sales pitch, Don Draper says the following:

“Every woman wants choices. But in the end, none wants to be one of a hundred in a box. She’s unique. She makes the choices and she’s chosen him. She wants to tell the world he’s mine. He belongs to me, not you. She marks her man with her lips. He is her possession. You’ve given every woman who wears your lipstick the gift of total ownership.”

That’s how you make a case for yourself.

AND THE GOOD NEWS IS: You don’t have to be a corporate advertising executive to do so.

We all need to make a case for ourselves.

It’s how we get what we want.
It’s how we get where we want.
It’s how we get whom we want.

Here’s how:1. Do homework on yourself. Ask anyone who’s done online dating: A good profile is priceless. In fact, there’s an entire industry of consultants, writers and coaches – that you can pay – to craft your online profile for you. And my guess is, the demand for that service isn’t going away any time.

After all, most people don’t have a clue how to sell themselves virtually. Not because they suck at sales – but because they don’t know who they are. And it’s impossible to make a case for yourself if you haven’t memorized what the files say.

Therefore: If you want to carry your truth to market, as Dostoyevsky suggested, I urge you: Don’t defend your specialness – articulate your fabulousness. Lower the bucket into the well of your own divine gifts. Otherwise your capabilities won’t come across.

Remember: Every encounter is a situation to teach others what you are. The real question is: What’s keeping your true identity from being known to you?

2. Reframe your approach. Job interviews are marketing presentations for yourself. You’re not there to answer their questions – you’re there to make enough of a mark that people can’t leave you out. The secret is to be memorable for the right reasons.

Instead of dwelling on past experience, share how you see the current state of the industry.

Instead of giving predictable, stock answers, offer tips on how to make the company better.

Instead of passively answering people’s questions, take control of the conversation and address the unspoken need.

Instead of talking about your last job, envision what you would do if you were hired for this job.

The point is: Very few people change the world with their mouths shut. Don’t refuse to share your thoughts – that weakens them. People love to feel like they’re watching a brain working. And people want to experience the version you that you mean to mean. How are you putting your thinking on display?

3. Send a credible signal. The first time I walked down the Reno strip, I noticed an abundance of buffets. Now, I’m sure they were all delicious. But t problem was, every restaurant posted a sign that read, “Voted Best Buffet!”

And I thought, “By whom? A sample of customers? Zagat? The guy who owns the place?”

That’s when I learned: Credibility without specificity is audacity. If you want to send a credible signal, avoid unspecified attribution like the plague. Delete from your vocabulary phrases like:

Research proves. Scientists say. Psychologists report. Experts believe. They say. There’s an old story that says. I’ve heard. Most people agree. It is said that. Critics say. Statistics show. Somebody once said. The reviews say.

Keep in mind that you’re starting with a negative balance. We live in a low-trust culture, and the baseline posture of most customers is not to believe you.

As such, making a case for yourself means making morsels of your credibility expand in people’s heads. Otherwise they’ll pick someone else. What can you do – right now – to create greater trust on both sides of the sale?

4. Never underestimate the gravity of non-verbal presence. Not superficialities like wardrobe, smiling and body language. I’m talking about how you show up. What you make people feel. And how you leave people feeling. Those are the foundational components that either enhance or detract from the case you’re making.

The secret is to walk the fine line between confidence and arrogance. The former comes from the Latin confidentia, which means, “to trust.” The latter comes from the Latin arrogantia, which means, “to assume.”

That’s the distinction: Confident people trust in their abilities when they walk in the room. Arrogant people assume they’re the only people in the room who possess those abilities – then kill themselves making sure everybody else in the room knows that.

If you want to make a case for yourself, you have to keep unadulterated self-belief at the forefront of your attitude. Otherwise you’ll get rejected faster than a ginger kid at an orphanage. As Keith Richards wrote in his autobiography, Life, “Worry makes your performance so small that it’s not interesting to watch.” When you walk into a room, how does it change?

5. Stand firm against the seductiveness of slander. You see this in a lot of political elections. Candidates focus on childish, negative attacks that lack substantive data. Instead of showing the voters why they’re better, they ride the current of whatever media narrative makes the other guy look worse. And instead of making a case for themselves, they spend millions of dollars trying to pick holes in the case of the opposing candidate’s.

Now, historically, this tactic has worked well to scare voters; but it’s not especially effective for getting elected. And whether you’re a politician, company leader, salesperson or unemployed professional, the goal is stop making war on the competition and start making love to the customer.

As I learned from the credo of my client and strategic partner, Optimists International, “Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.”

Remember: Making other people’s case look weaker doesn’t make yours look stronger. Keep your eyes on your own paper. Do you still think negatively looks good on you?

6. Proactively explain the anomalies of your past. Everyone has baggage. It comes with the territory of being human. And to deny what you’ve been through is to dishonor your truth. But don’t expect it not to come up. Making a case for yourself means owning every minute of your personal history. And you better be ready to explain the speed bumps, should you drive over one.

The trick is: How do you stay loyal to your imperfections without weakening your case? My suggestion is to be selective about what you reveal. Focus on what you learned, how you grew and what you would do differently next time. No need to hold onto your past with an angry bite. As long as you remember what my friend Dixie Dynamite says, “What you’ve gone through is not who you are – but what you’ve chosen to do with what you’ve gone through, is.” What part of your past are you afraid to own?

7. Qualify yourself to the customer first. There’s one question you have to be ready for: “Why should I buy from you?” Whether it’s asked explicitly or implicitly, your answer determines whether or not you make money. For example, if you tell people, “I sell advertising,” you’re written off as irrelevant.

But if you say, “I teach people how to convert the leads (from ads) into money,” it’s a different ballgame. The key is to be proactive, interactive and reactive. To escalate when necessary. And to remember what Don Draper says: “Eventually, there comes a point where seduction is over and force is being expected.”

Remember: Self-qualification makes people’s jobs easier – including yours. Beat customers to the punch and you’ll beat competitors into the ground. How are you lifting people out of their petty preoccupations?

8. Paper isn’t enough. The problem with your resume is that you wrote it. You may as well call it a resu-me. Besides, anybody can look good on paper. My dog could get a job with the right resume. How you show up online, offline and in person is what determines the case you make for yourself.

Interestingly, the word resume comes from the Latin resumere, which means, “to sum up.” As such, your resume is anything (or anyone) that sums up the case you’re trying to make: Your Google ranking. Your testimonials. Your media room. Your positive repute in the market place.

Remember: If someone wants to hire you – for a job, a project, an ongoing gig or a one-time engagement – you better believe she’s going to validate your credibility from multiple sources. Not just from one piece of paper. What type of person do you have to become on the inside to become the person you want to become on the outside?

9. Be more infectious. A great book doesn’t inform you – it infects you. That’s the question I ask every time I sit down to write: What am I trying infect my readers with by writing this? After all, the word “infect” comes from the Latin inficere, which means, “to put in.”

That’s what you need to figure out for yourself: What are you putting into people? What are you infecting them with?

Then all you have to do is administer the needle, sit back and watch people turn. And keep in mind, while making a case for yourself is primarily a function of specific, focused action, the most beautiful, sustainable and efficacious mode of infection is through being. Not thoughts. Not words. Not even actions. Through being.

That means thrusting your whole self into the encounter, showing people your cards and passionately and respectfully presenting them with a compelling visual icon. Do that, and you’ll make them want to ride along with you. What are you putting into people?

REMEMBER: You are not a presumed part of the wallpaper.

Your voice will be heard.

If you hope to get what you want, where you want and whom you want, you’ve got to make a case for yourself.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How’s your case looking?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “12 Ways to Out Service Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Stop Being Nice and Start Becoming Necessary

That’s nice, but… We’re not Apple.
That’s nice, but… That doesn’t help me.
That’s nice, but… How much will this cost?
That’s nice, but… How does that affect the bottom line?
That’s nice, but… That doesn’t really answer my question.

So much for the power of nice.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being nice.

BUT HERE’S THE DIFFERENCE: Nice gets commended, necessary gets compensated.

Which word describes the work you do?

Let’s explore a list of strategies to help you stop being nice and start becoming necessary:1. Hit them in the wallet quicker. One of my clients, Aaron, is a nurse practitioner. He consults with hospitals, healthcare organizations and other medical professionals on how to practice heart-centered care. During one of our email mentoring sessions, he enlightened me about the mindset of a typical hospital administrator:

“If it doesn’t directly relate to patient care – they don’t care.”

To them, that’s what matters. It’s a bottom-line focus. It’s a self-interest that pivots on the principle of profitability. Not just for hospitals – for all organizations. For all customers.

Not that it’s always about money, but let’s not kid ourselves: People think with their wallets. And to move from nice to necessary, you have to hit them there quicker.

One suggestion for doing so comes from a recent issue of FastCompany. Made to Stick authors Dan & Chip Heath suggest that you sell aspirin, not vitamins.

“If you want to succeed, you’d better be selling aspirin rather than vitamins. Vitamins are nice; they’re healthy. But aspirin cures your pain; it’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.”

That’s how you hit them in the wallet quicker. That’s how nice becomes necessary: When what you do unearths your customer’s deeply felt needs. Is your organization selling a better mousetrap or a dead mouse?

2. Be gloriously explicit. What do all coaches and consultants have in common? Nobody knows what the hell they really do. Because of low barriers to entry, minimal training requirements and mass-market saturation, coaching and consulting are poorly defined service offerings. Which makes most coaches and consultants nice – but not necessary.

For that reason, five years ago I introduced a first-of-its-kind service called, Rent Scott’s Brain. People bonded with it instantly. More importantly, people bought it instantly. That moved the service from nice to necessary, because it offered people (who valued my thinking) access to a one of a kind product.

That’s your mission: To show people exactly what you do so they can decide whether or not they need it. I’m not just talking about honesty – this is radical transparency. Making no qualms about what you do, what you don’t do and what happens when you do it. How explicitly are your service offerings defined?

3. Embrace your outsiderness. People need fresh air. A new perspective. Someone from the outside to point out the glaring inconsistencies they’re too close to themselves to see. That’s the three-fold advantage to being an outsider.

First: Outsiders bring objectivity. This moves you from nice to necessary for several reasons: You have little or no bias. Your can recognize patterns immediately. You have no stake. You don’t bring vested interests to an existing problem. You can explore structure with fresh eyes. And you’re not viewed as a threat.

Second: Outsiders invite freedom. As an outsider, you don’t face traditional barriers. You’re unaware of common creative blocks. You’re not subject certain internal politics. And you can challenge assumptions that were never considered, or taken for granted.

Third: Outsiders expand thinking. Because you’re detached from outcomes. Because you’re not so close to the situation and, therefore have limited agendas. And because your body of experience applies cross-industrially.

The point is: It’s a lot easier to break the limit when you don’t know the limit exists. And the less you know, the more likely you are to come up with an original idea. That’s what I tell my clients: “I don’t know anything. And that’s exactly why I’m here.”

Remember: Sometimes it takes a person who knows nothing to change everything. How are you positioned as an equitable outsider?

4. Baseline remarkability isn’t enough. Crystal Pepsi was remarkable, but irrelevant. It was nice, but not necessary. That’s the trap many organizations to fall victim to: Being remarkable for the sake of being remarkable.

Most of the time, this is the result of falling in love with your own marketing. And the problem is: If there’s no sustainability and substance beyond baseline remarkability, you never transcend nice. The goal is to seek enduring remarkability.

My suggestion: Listen to people tell you what’s not working for them. Hell, you can even ask them: “What urgent, expensive, important problem do you have – that nobody else is attending to?” When you become known as someone who acknowledges what’s been tragically neglected, someone who overcomes the poisonous accumulation of unsatisfied customer wishes, necessary will be an understatement.

Remember: People can tell their friends all they want about you. But if there’s no substance to anchor your shtick, if there’s no pervasive problem-solving to support your product, you won’t last. Any number multiplied by zero is still zero. Do you truly offer meaningful uniqueness?

5. Dare to be dumm. You can’t avoid the appearance of ignorance forever. But it takes tremendous courage and humility to stand up in the middle of a meeting and say, “Does anyone else smell that?” or “Am I the only one, or is this confusing to you guys too?” That’s what the necessary do: They speak truth to people’s hearts. And if you want to do so, keep your eye out for three patterns:

First, ideas that are simply too convenient to be killed. Grab a pistol and be the one to speak up. Otherwise nothing will ever change.

Second, problems that are so simple and familiar that they become hidden. Pull them out from behind the curtain and expose them to world.

Third, people who are too comfortable to feel the weight of their own stupidity. Your job is to find evidence of burden wherever you can.

Now, keep in mind: You’re not here to be a downer – but you don’t want to put lipstick and makeup on the truth. Ultimately, to be necessary is to become a delightful disturbance. To snap open people’s eyes, strike at the very root and translate floating abstractions into concrete realities.

And if you can make but a few people pause, you win. And so do they. Are you ignoring the elephant in the room, talking about the elephant in the room, or jumping on its back and teaching it how to dance?

6. Positioning wins ballgames. It’s not about marketshare – it’s about mindshare. Your goal is to walk into a room as a peer of the people, a trusted resource to the people and a problem solver with the people. Like Jack Trout’s wrote in Positioning, “Don’t create the product – build the position behind the product in the prospect’s mind.”

Let’s break down each of the three roles.

First: A peer. A friend. Not someone who surreptitiously memorized the names of your family members to make it look like he cares. And not one of those lame-ass, social media pseudo friends that don’t actually know anything about who you really are. I’m talking about a real friend. Someone who knows what you ache for. Someone who’s well versed in your why. And someone who knows is how you think, how you live and whom you love. Do your clients, coworkers and superiors think of you that way?

Second: A trusted resource. Which means even if you don’t know the answer, you know the questions that will point people to the answer. And through the depth of what you deliver, you don’t make people ask, “Should we hire this guy?” but rather, “How should we use this guy?”

Third: A problem solver. Which means you’re the answer to something that matters. You’re don’t just learn about your customers’ businesses – you learn about their brain. You try their heads on. And when the time comes, you practice restraint when it comes to deliver answers. No need to deploy every weapon you have. No need to teach people how to build a watch – just tell them what time it is.

Remember: The stronger your pre-sale position, the easier it is to get to yes. How are you positioned prior to making the sale?

7. Serve people as if they were already paying clients. You don’t need to give away the farm – but by helping at a high level now, you help people find a way to pay you later. It’s all in the mindset you maintain. For example, if you walk in the door thinking:

“It’s just a free gig. I can half ass it. I’ll bring my b-game and save the good stuff for people who actually pay,” your performance will suffer as a result. Not to the extent that the client will really notice the difference – but to the extent that the client will assume that’s all you’ve got.

On the other hand, if you walk in the door thinking, “I know they’re not paying me, but I’m still going to rock their faces off. I’m going to make them laugh, make them understand and make them marvel. And I’m going to engage them emotionally with an unbroken series of value-driven actions, an extraordinarily pure heart and an indispensible presence,” people will be so blown away that they’ll have no choice but to start paying you.

That’s what happens when you throw your full attention to the world of the client: They throw their full budget to the world of your bank account. Or they call security. How are you making it clear that your focus is on helping and not charging?

8. Be a vital component, not just a helpful addition. A few years ago, my friend John Janstch told me the secret of his blog commenting strategy: Don’t just comment – contribute. Now, although we’re not talking about blogging today, the same general principal applies. You have to transform yourself into a value-adding machine.

That’s how you move from nice to necessary: By not being selfish with your knowledge. By positioning yourself as the only path to fulfillment. By positioning your expertise in such a way that people wouldn’t dare go into the marketplace without your opinion first. And by sharing your expertise generously so people recognize it, embrace it and eventually depend on you for it.

Soon, people in your office, people in your network and people in your marketplace will start coming to your for your time. Because they won’t want to make a move without consulting you first.

Remember: If your absence doesn’t make a noticeable difference, why would people bother inviting you back? You want to become so imminently significant, that your client’s world crumbles when you’re not around. When you walk out of a room, how does it change?

In conclusion, I’d like to talk about something that never fails to amaze me:

The stark difference between the value you think you deliver, and the value your customers actually remember.

One of the groups I work with provides seminars, coaching and resources to unemployed professionals. And after a recent workshop, my client expressed something that blew my hair back:

“Don’t get me wrong, Scott. The material was great. The slides were stimulating. And the delivery was engaging. But these people need to laugh. Some of them have been unemployed for over a year now, and their spirits are sagging. So, the fact that they just spent the last three hours of their lives with smiles on their faces and chuckles in their bellies is exactly what they didn’t realize they needed. That’s the value you bring – and it’s priceless. Thanks.”

You know, it’s amazing: When you deliver a dose of positivity, you achieve a stroke of superiority.

And I agree that hope isn’t a strategy. I also agree that the people who inspire an atmosphere of hope are the last to be shown the door.

My suggestion:

Engage the muscle of yes.
Remain radiant amidst the filth of the world.
There will be no escaping the echoes of your enthusiasm.

And your radiance will propel you lightyears beyond nice and into the galaxy of necessary.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How much money is nice making you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “20 Ways to Make Customers Feel Comfortable” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Scott Ginsberg Teaches Optimists International How to be More Joinable

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who’s joining you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “15 Ways to Out Learn Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

9 Ways to Make Your Customers Smarter

Contrary to popular practice, it’s not smart to have dumb customers.

The more your customers learn, the more profit you earn. The more your customers know, the more your business grows. The more your customers understand, the more powerful your brand.

LESSON LEARNED: Companies that teach, win.

Here’s a list of ways to make your customers smarter:1. Curators aren’t just for museums. In an increasingly commoditized marketplace, service is the key differentiator. Competing on price, performance, and features – aka, pure economic value – isn’t enough anymore.

Polly Labarre, columnist for The Huffington Post, wrote a classic piece on this very topic:

“Sure, customers love a good deal, but what they love even more is feeling like they’ve discovered something new. Increasingly, the best brands are waking up to the fact that the way to establish an enduring connection with customers is not to push their own stuff, but to act as a curator; a host to a whole universe of stuff they think will click with people based on shared values.”

Introduce your customers to new things. Help them feel more connected to the front edge of culture. They’ll forget all about the fact that you sell a commodity. What value do you provide beyond low price and high quality?

2. Teaching diffuses sales resistance. Brian Clark, award-wining writer of CopyBlogger and the creator of Teaching Sells explains:

“When you come rushing out of the gate selling, it’s easy for people to resist. But when you establish yourself as a teacher who people have bonded with, it gets much harder to say no by the time the transaction is proposed.”

That’s the reality of the current marketplace: Any idiot can lead their customers down a path, but only smart companies can help their customers discover the path on their own.

The goal is to stop giving sales pitches and start delivering lesson plans. If you do that, even if it’s a simple attitudinal adjustment from sales-oriented to education-oriented, the entire buying experience will shift.

Remember: Customers aren’t people who pay your salary – they’re pupils who attend your class. How’s your enrollment this semester?

3. Become a wealth of inform. Because my specialty is approachability, I’ve hosted a lot of workshops for retailers. Namely, jewelry stores. And during a recent round of presentations (video here), I made three suggestions to help the store owners turn rare into remarkable by introducing education.

First: What if, in the corner of your store, you had an entire shelf filled with bestselling books on relationships, romance and interpersonal communication? That way, while stupid husbands buy jewelry to make up for forgetting their wedding anniversary – again! – they could learn a few tips on how to better communicate with their spouses and avoid the doghouse.

Second: What if, once a week, you invited a local fashion consultant to come in the store? She could advise customers on wardrobe, accessories and current style trends to help them present themselves smarter, and not get fired for dressing like a streetwalker.

Third: What if, on the last Friday of each month, you brought in a local relationship therapist to provide tune-ups for newly engaged couples? He could offer suggestions, exercises and advice to help people make their fourth marriages work.

Ultimately, these suggestions work not only because they’re education-based, but also because they’re rare. And rare becomes remarkable. And remarkable becomes repeatable. And repeatable becomes profitable. What are you willing to lose on the first sale in order to guarantee a relationship?

4. Education means fascination. I understand your hesitancy. You think that if you make your customers smarter, they won’t need you. Not true. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. If you expand their thinking, grow their knowledge base and stretch their brains, they’ll actually need and love and respect and want you more.

And the best part is: Companies that educate, fascinate. And fascination, according to author and consultant Sally Hogshead, plays a major role in every type of decision-making – from the brands you choose, the songs you remember, the person you marry, and the employees you hire.

The hard part is to trust yourself, trust your resources and trust the process. And to believe that the people you add value too won’t outgrow their need for your help. How fascinating do customers think your organization is?

5. Reframe exit questions. Over the years I’ve consulted with dozens of hotels, hospitality associations and other customer service organizations. And in my experience, the best question to ask a customer at the end of a transaction is not, “How else may I be of service to you?” but rather, “What else can I help you learn?”

The reality is, customers don’t need more service – they need more answers. And this particular question works for three reasons: First, it’s unexpected. And the best way to attract someone’s attention is to break her patterns.

Second, it’s thought provoking. And anytime your customers are thinking more and complying less, you win. Finally, it’s open ended. This decreases the likelihood of hearing the most useless, unleverageable customer answer of all time: “Fine.” Does your organization deliver customer service or customer answers?

6. Mum is overrated. Here’s a lesson I learned the hard way: The only thing worse than saying something untrue is saying nothing. Turns out the opposite of honesty isn’t lying – it’s omitting.

Sadly, too many organizations – who are (clearly) terrified of having smart, healthy, proactive customers – are keeping their mouths shut at the expense of the people they serve. Believe it or not, the United States government actually did something cool for a change. They were smart enough to stop shutting up.

In 2009, www.recovery.gov was launched as is the government’s official website that provides easy access to data related to Recovery Act spending.

It allows for the reporting of potential fraud, waste and abuse. And it has pictures, graphs, numbers, interviews, videos – you name it. All in the name of not staying mum.

I wonder what your organization is choosing not to reveal to your customers that’s actually causing more stress, pain and profit than if you had just told the truth in the first place. I wonder. Are you willing to be honest and direct at the risk of jeopardizing the relationship?

7. Send a continuous flow of education. That way, your buyers always know how to more creatively, efficiently and effectively use what you sell them to grow their business and make their lives better.

That’s why I tweet all morning. That’s why I blog everyday. That’s why I send out an ezine every other week. That’s why publish videos every month. And that’s why I put out three books a year.

Not just because it expands my platform. Not just because it earns my enterprise money. And not just because it markets my business. But because it consistently teaches the people who matter most how to matter more.

The way I see it: The smarter I make my audience, the better their world will become. And if they realize that my work played a small part in the betterment of their life, they’ll come back, hungry for more. And next time they’ll bring their friends. What did you write today?

8. Smarter means surrendering. In Michael Moore’s documentary, Sicko, he travels to France and interviews several doctors and professors. He discovers that the French government provides social services health care, public education, vacation, day care for one dollar an hour and neonatal support that includes cooking, cleaning, and laundry services for new mothers.

But here’s the part that rocked me to my core: One professor explained, “When you have a population of people that are healthy, educated and unafraid, it’s impossible to control them.”

Huh. No wonder corporations and organizations are afraid of educating their people: They don’t want to lose control. Interestingly, I recently watched a vintage interview with global innovator, Buckminster Fuller, who echoed the same sentiment. He helped me realize why it’s so hard for some businesses to risk making their customers smarter:

“Governments, religions and businesses would find it devastating to their activity to have humanity a success. They are predicated on you being an inherent failure.”

Surrendering control doesn’t mean losing it. You’ll be fine. How are you leveraging your vulnerability to make your customers smarter?

9. Refuse to leave people where they are. Customers don’t want to be handled. Or managed. Or dealt with. They want to be better. And the only way that’s going to happen is if you add value to them.

My suggestion: Stop handling and start educating. Make a list of the fifty most common questions asked by your customers. Write a paragraph-long answer for each one. Hire a professional designer to convert the text into a downloadable ebook.

Then, give it away for free on your website. Print out hard copies. Hell, save it on jump drives with your logos on it and physically hand it to every customer that walks in the door along with a note that read, “Fifty answers to the fifty questions running through your head right now. You’re welcome.” That’s what I would do.

The point is, when you deliver education to your customers, move forward with your customers and stay relevant in the eyes of your customers. If you were arrested and charged with adding value to people, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

REMEMBER: Companies that teach, win.

Don’t be dumb.

Make your customers smarter.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you selling or educating?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “26 Ways to Out Brand Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Scott Ginsberg Teaches Retail Store Owners How to be a Hero to Their Customers

This excerpt comes from a recent presentation in Atlantic City with my client, Ultra Diamonds.

These guys are busting their butts during the holiday season to make sure their customers look and feel like a million bucks.

They’re truly heroes.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Whom are you a hero to?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “15 Ways to Out Learn Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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