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

Who’s telling their friends about YOU?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on!

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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

How many unsolicited referrals did YOU get this week?

Tune in to The Sales Channel on!

Watch video lessons on enabling customers to buy!

How to Give the Most Engaging & Educational Teleseminar EVER

1. Acknowledge the common fears of your listeners. Help them realize they’re not the only ones who are scared. Then, share that YOU were scared, and how you overcame it.

2. Give it away. As a Thought Leader, projecting a sense of scarcity isn’t attractive. Just dump every relevant fact. Fear not that your value will be reduced.

3. Be as detailed as possible. The more details you provide, the easier it is for your callers to execute.

4. Attitude. Be confident without swagger.

5. Acid test. Before you deliver ANY content, ask this simple question: Does this give the impression of VALUE or VANITY in the eyes of my listeners?

6. Be funny early and often. Funny is relaxing. Funny makes you appear smarter. Funny makes you more listenable. Funny wins approval. Funny builds trust. Funny captivates attention. Funny lubricates the informational digestive system. Funny makes learning easier. Funny is engaging. In short: Just be funny and you’re halfway there.

7. Breath is fuel. Establish an inner foundation to fuel your phone calls with the passion and energy you need to become more listenable. Do a few breathing exercises before the call. Also, post a sticky note that reads, “BREATHE” by your phone. That will remind you to pause and breath throughout the call. This creates the space needed to punctuate your message with appropriate silences.

8. Constantly throw in unrelated facts. It proves you’re well read and makes the call more interesting.

9. Ahhh. Demonstrate that you’re relaxed immediately. Callers will do the same.

10. Structure. Deliver a flow of inspiring content in an engaging and witty way.

11. Disturb and offend people. Those who are comfortable do not act.

12. Don’t share things to show how smart you are. Offer insight with the intent to help the attendee understand something.

13. No vomit.Don’t spew a steady stream self-glorifying wisdom; instead, challenge people by leaving them with any Meaningful Concrete Immediacy, (MCI).

14. Also. Don’t give people the ability to remain mediocre.

15. Energy. Don’t just have fun, SOUND like you are having fun.

17. Contact. Enable the ability to email, tweet or connect with listeners during the program.

18. Goal. Get people thinking about THEMSELVES in a different way.

19. Know. Have a clear understanding of who your audience is and what their pain is.

20. The art is hiding the art. If you sound rehearsed, people will start checking email while they’re listening to you. So, the best way to sound like you’re not rehearsed is to spend hours and hours rehearsing.

21. Openness. Make it clear that you welcome communication: Questions, emails, messages, etc.

22. Make your content actionable. Your listeners need to think, “I believe this! I can do this! I want to try this!” after they’ve been exposed to your ideas. Otherwise, your material, ideas and presentations are nothing but motivational garbage. Inherently impressive and interesting, yet clearly irrelevant and inapplicable.

23. Just tell people how. That’s the posture of the masses. That’s the collective self-interest of our hyperspeed, A.D.D. instant gratification culture. They want to know HOW, and they want to know NOW.

24. Test actionability of your material. Ask: How does this idea directly affect the daily lives of people? How will people be able to execute your strategy in spite of their boss’s insistence on doing it the old way? If someone else were delivering this information, what would move ME to take action on it immediately? REMEMBER: Persuasion = Content + Action.

25. Preparation is persuasion. Develop a pre-call ritual.

26. Research creates confidence. Gather the resources will you need instant access to in order to make this phone call perfect.

27. Shorter wins. Ask yourself: How could you send this message so it gets through the clearest and quickest?”

28. Speak in sound bites. Keep in mind that the human attention span is six seconds.

29. Duh. Talk like a 5th grader.

30. Synergy sucks. The less jargon you use, the more engaging you become.

31. Vary your sentence structure. Short Sentence. Long Sentence. Long Sentence. Short Sentence.

32. On stories. When you tell stories, use specific times, places and names, or else it will sound made up. Specificity is both credibility AND persuasion. The more details you can provide the more likely someone is to execute.

Are people checking their email while listening to your teleseminar?

For the list called, “30 Ways to become the Most Interesting Person You Know,” 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

Who’s telling their friends about YOU?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

How to Make Your Phone Calls SO Engaging that Customers Never Want to Hang Up

“I feel like we could talk forever!”
“Wow, has it been a whole hour already?”
“This has been the most enjoyable phone call of my week!”

How many of your customers are saying that about YOU?

Answer: Not enough.

Take your pick:

Chatting with a hot prospect…
Following up with a new client…
Interviewing with a potential employer…
Interviewing with a member of the media…
Hosting a teleseminar for your membership…
Participating on a conference call with your superiors…

Whomever you define as your “customer,” the challenge in approaching people over the phone is to make your phone conversations MORE.

More engaging. More listenable. More interesting. More fun. More relaxing. More unforgettable.

REMEMBER: Because they can’t see you, (unless you’re Skyping), they need to FEEL you.

After all, the only judgment people can make – the only impression their unconscious mind can form – is a function of how interacting with you made them FEEL.

Here are three practices to make your phone calls SO engaging that customers never want to hang up.

1. Poll your past. Think back to the five most engaging phone calls you had this month. The ones where you felt like you could talk forever and never wanted to hang up. The ones where you sprung out of your chair and started pacing around the room.

What made those calls so interesting and listenable? Was it the passion? The energy? The topics discussed? The attitude you had before picking up the phone?

Now think back to the five most BORING phone calls you had this month. The ones where you caught yourself bobble heading and/or drooling. The ones where you tuned out the speaker and started playing solitaire.

What made those calls so boring and unlistenable? Was it the irrelevance? The lack of energy? The topics discussed? The fact that your boss was about as exciting as a WNBA pre-season game?

THEN, TRY THIS: Make a list of the attributes of those five engaging/boring calls. Look for commonalities and patterns. Then, step back ask yourself how well you embody/avoid those same attributes in your daily telepresence.

If the answer is “Not enough,” here’s what you do. Extract a few reminders from that list, i.e., “Get out your chair!” “SMILE” or “Talk about your passion!” Then, write them on sticky notices and post the reminders next to your phone.

This measure of accountability will punch youself in the face and immediately double the engagement and listenability of your phone calls. What structure could you put in place to remind yourself to do this consistently?

2. Writing metabolizes ideas. You know my mantra: “Writing is the basis of all wealth.” Now, one of the cool attributes of this philosophy is that writing makes everything you do easier, which, in turn, makes everything you do BETTER. Speaking. Thinking. Selling. Marketing. Talking. Everything.

Think about it. Imagine you have a phone interview with The Wall Street Journal THIS afternoon. At the reporter’s request, let’s say you’re going to share your expertise about how entrepreneurs can recession-proof their business. Cool!

TRY THIS: Spend an hour the morning of the interview journaling; brainstorming or free writing as many ideas as you possibly can on this topic. Forget about grammar, punctuation, spelling or sentence structure. Just think. Just write. Just puke onto the page whatever comes to mind. Let what wants to be written be written.

This process accomplishes four things:

FIRST: It clears away the crap. Gets the mental shanks out, if you will. This frees up a space where your best insights can comfortably arise.

SECOND: It brings clarity to your ideas. After all, you don’t know how you truly feel about anything until you’ve written about it.

THIRD: It normalizes, naturalizes and internalizes your material. See, any time you write something; it becomes etched upon your consciousness. “It goes into to The Matrix,” as the late George Carlin used to say – who, by the way, wrote twenty pages of new material EVERY DAY. Think it’s a coincidence he won dozens of Emmys, Grammies and The Mark Twain Award? Nope.

FOURTH: It builds your confidence. Writing isn’t exactly rehearsal, but it IS a form of preparation. And although most of the benefits will be subconscious, come interview time, the reporter on the other end of the phone will think, Wow! This girl really knows her stuff!

REMEMBER: The art is hiding the art. And writing makes everything you do easier and better. Especially making phone calls. Find a way to merge your writing practice with your telepresence. What did you write today?

3. Meaningful concrete immediacy. Those three words changed my life. (Read them again, please.) Timely. Relevant. Practical. The “How.” Stuff people can use TODAY. All keepers, no fluff. That’s what your clients want. That’s what the media wants. That’s what your audiences want. When they’re listening to your words, they need to be thinking to themselves, “I believe it, I can do it and I’d like to try it.”

TRY THIS: Grab a few more sticky notes. Post any of the following Phrases That Payses on your computer, bulletin board or, if you’re ambitious, directly on your phone.

o “How can my customers apply this TODAY?”
o “Does this leave an impression of value or vanity in people’s minds?”
o “I tell you that because I’m curious how YOU…”
o “This is important for you because…”
o “The secret is…”
o “Here’s the best part…”
o “Yes, and here’s why…”
o “Here’s the good news…”
o “The question you’ve got to ask is…”
o “The three questions you need to ask yourself are…”

REMEMBER: Give people the meat. Tell them how. Make your information applicable and actionable. What can people do TODAY?

More engaging. More listenable. More interesting. More fun. More relaxing. More unforgettable.

That’s what will happen to your telepresence if you execute these three practices.

Your customers – whether they’re clients, superiors, audience members or the media – will never want to hang up.

How engaging is your telepresence?

For the list called, “27 Ways to OUT Your Competitors,” 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

How many unsolicited referrals did YOU get this week?

Tune in to The Sales Channel on!

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