8 Ways to Make Your Telephone Personality More Attractive

1. May I ask who’s calling?
a. Is it unique?
b. Is it unexpected?
c. Does it build pre-call excitement and curiosity?
d. Does it make the entire office laugh when they hear it over the PA system?

2. Greeting/Answer
a. Is it short?
b. Is it simple?
c. Is it engaging?
d. Is it memorable?

3. Note Taking
a. Are letting callers know you’re taking notes?
b. Are you reading back from your notes to demonstrate listening?
c. Are you emailing the other person a summary of your notes after the conversation is over?

4. Questions
a. Are they unexpected?
b. Are they open-ended?
c. Are they thought provoking?
d. Are they the same questions every other person asks?
e. Do you have a running list of your best questions for each situation?

5. Growing Bigger Ears
a. Are you listening twice as much as you talk?
b. Are you only interrupting for clarification or elaboration?
c. Are you pausing after questions and answers to make space?
d. Are you being emotional objective, non-judgmental and calm?

6. Before We Go
a. Did you cover everything?
b. Did you set the next appointment?
c. Did you ask if there were any other questions?
d. Did you give the other person a Call to Action?
e. Did you make sure you accomplished the objective of your call?

7. Exit Line
a. Is it memorable?
b. Is it brand consistent?
c. Is it boring and expected?
d. Does it reinforce your value?
e. Does it leave a lasting impression?

8. Voicemail
a. Is it fun.
b.Is it short?
c. Is it engaging?
d. Does it deliver value?
e. Does it encourage callers to share?
f. Is it just like every other voicemail you’ve ever heard?

What makes your telephone personality attractive?

For a list called “20 Ways to Make Customers Feel Comfortable,” send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll share the secrets!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Satisfaction not enough?
Customers not telling their friends about you?
Want to learn how to deliver unforgettable service?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn how to get your frontline IN line!

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

Your company environment IS your marketing

When I was a kid, my dad would occasionally take my brother and I along on his business trips.

Whenever he worked in Chicago, we’d stay at the Hyatt Regency in Rosemont.

Or, as we used to call it, “The Spicy Peanut Hotel.”

And to this day, we still call it that.

Because that’s what I remember. See, every night after my dad would finish work, my family and I would sit in the lobby, eating spicy peanuts.

So one night, I got curious.

“Hey Dad, why do they always give us free spicy peanuts?”

“Well, Scott, think about it,” Dad said, “What happens when you eat LOTS of spicy peanuts?”

“Um … your mouth breathes fire!” I said.

“Right,” he joked. “And what does that make you want really, really badly?”

“A soda!”

“Exactly,” Dad replied. “And where do they sell sodas?”

“In the bar!”

He smiled at me.

And at that exact moment, my first official marketing light bulb went on.

Ah-ha! They give away spicy peanuts for FREE so you have to BUY drinks! Genius!!

Of course, I was only seven at the time.

Had no idea I’d end up working in Marketing.

Anyway, 20+ years later, the principle still rings true:

Your company environment IS part of your marketing.

Here’s another example…

Last summer I was walking over to Starbucks for a meeting.

It was 97 degrees outside.

“Would you like a drink to go with your lemon pound cake?” asked the barista.

“Nah, it’s too hot for coffee. I’ll just grab a glass of ice water,” I replied.

So, I sat down with my snack, fired up my laptop and waited for my friend Dan.

And not ten minutes later, I stopped typing and realized something:

It was FREEZING in that store!

They must have set the thermostat at 55 degrees! I thought.

Either way, I got up from my table, approached the counter and smiled at the two baristas.

“So, do you guys make it REALLY cold in here so people buy hot drinks?”

They laughed.

“Well, our manager controls the temperature, so…” one of the girls chuckled.

“Mmm hmm…” I joked. “A likely story!”

They laughed again.

“Anyway, I’ll have a Grande Carmel Apple Cider.”

Damn it! They got me again! I thought.

Just like those spicy peanuts.

Your company environment IS part of your marketing.

Last example…

On Main Street in Disney’s Magical Kingdom, you might recall a store called Blue Ribbon Bakery.

Did you notice the smell of fresh chocolate chip cookies as you passed by?

Of course you did. Who could miss it?

But, did you know…

…those weren’t actually cookies?

Nope. Disney’s smell specialists have crafted a “fresh-baked chocolate cookie” smell that is piped through a vent directly over the door to the bakery.

Blast! Those slick marketers again!

– – –

So, peanuts, cold air, the scent of baked goods … each of these are examples of marketing through environment.

And they work.

Because they appeal to the senses.
Because they affect customers’ emotions.
Because they make the mundane memorable.
Because they create UNFORGETTABLE impressions.

REMEMBER: Your company environment IS part of your marketing.

How are you changing your company’s environment to promote purchasing?

Share your best “marketing through environment” example here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

How are YOU making the mundane memorable?

Tune in to The Frontline Channel on NametagTV.com for video lessons on delivering UNFORGETTABLE service!

What does your email say about YOU?

Email addresses are VERY telling.

About your personality.
About your creativity and uniqueness.
About your professionalism (or lack thereof).

What’s more, email addresses elicit certain emotions when people first see them.

Let’s look at a few examples.

NOTE: None of these emails are actually real (to my knowledge). I just made them up. However, if any of them ARE real, I don’t mean to offend anybody. My apologies to Kayla.

1. info@yourwebsite.com


o “He’ll never write me back!”
o “Great. Does this email even go to a real person?”
o “Well, so much for getting my problem answered quickly!”

2. kaylasmommy@aol.com


o “Who still uses AOL?”
o “Who the heeck is Kayla?”
o “I bet SHE works from home…”

3. steveandmaryjackson@gmail.com


o “Wait, are two people going to read this email I’m about to send?”
o “Why can’t Steve and Mary get separate email addresses?”
o “Will the privacy of my letter be violated?”

4. isellcars2U@yahoo.com


o “Do I really want to do business with someone who has an email like this?”
o “Can’t this guy get a company email, or does he just sell junk cars from his back yard?”

5. Dave783@hotmail.com


o “What does 783 mean?”
o “Is Dave so lazy and uncreative that he needed Hotmail to create his email address FOR him? And is that the kind of person I want to do business with?”
o “Who still uses Hotmail?”

6. m_876#8815_gratzy8@gg.com


o “Is this spam?”
o “Is this even a real email address?”
o “Whose email is this?”

7. super_creative_artist@sbglobal.net


o “If this lady was such a ‘killer’ artist, wouldn’t she have her own website, and not have to use SBC?”
o “Kind of an uncreative email address for a ‘super creative artist,’ huh?”
o “Wait, what was her actual name again?”

– – –

Look folks.

Email addresses don’t need to be works of art.

But at the same time, they don’t need to be boring.

So, evaluate the perception of yours. Ask yourself how professional, accurate and unique your email address REALLY is, and what the first impression is when someone sees it for the first time.

What does your email say about YOU?

Post a list right here called, “Types of Email Addresses that Really Annoy Me,” along with the PSD’s (Potential Silent Dialogues) that accompany each one.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Do you have MARKET share or MIND share?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on NametagTV.com for video lessons on creating unforgettable brands that magnetize more business!

Ball in Their Court Questioning

PICTURE THIS: you’re chatting with someone you just met.

During a conversational lull, you ask the default question, “So Mike, what do YOU do?”

And all of the sudden, his posture weakens. His eyes avert. And his smile fades.

“Actually, um, I’ve been out of work for the past 8 months, so…”


Well, good thing I brought THAT up! you think.

A few minutes later on your way to the hardware store to purchase a crowbar to pry your foot out of your mouth, something occurs to you.

You made assumptions.

That Mike had a job.
That Mike was defined by his work.
That Mike had a career he enjoyed talking about.

None of which were true.

And as a result, your connection was botched.

SO, THAT’S THE CHALLENGE: avoiding assumptive language.

Being curious, not judgmental.

And your job as an approachable communicator is to ask questions that are specific, yet STILL give someone permission to direct the conversation in manner that makes him most comfortable.

Because your NUMBER ONE GOAL in every conversation is to make the other person feel comfortable as soon as possible.

An effective tool you can use is called Ball in Their Court Questioning.

For example:

Instead of saying, “What do you do?”
You could say, “What keeps you busy all week?”

Instead of saying, “What’s your job there?”
You could say, “What’s your role there?”

Instead of saying, “Did you get hired yet?”
You could say, “What kind of progress have you been making on the job hunt?”

Instead of saying, “Are you actually making a living at this?”
You could say, “How are you moving forward towards your goals?

Ball in Their Court Questioning. (BTCQ, for short.)

And BTCQ is more than just asking open-ended questions.

For someone to engage comfortably with you about topics important to them.

From you looking like an idiot, and from the other person feeling embarrassed.

Framing your conversation with a positive, goal-oriented tone.

And ultimately, when you make these minor changes in your verbiage, you create MAJOR results in your conversations.

So, next time you meet someone new; transform assumptive language into approachable language.

And you’ll never need to use that crowbar again.

How long have you been working in the People Business?

Share your additional thoughts on the nature of this “industry.”

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you a friend of The Nametag Network?

Read more blogs!
Rent Scott’s Brain!
Download articles and ebooks!
Watch training videos on NametagTV!

Make a name for yourself here…

Practice intentional discomfort

When you make yourself uncomfortable, you grow the most.

As a person.
As a professional.

When you make yourself uncomfortable, you learn the most.

About others.
About yourself.
About the world.

When you make yourself uncomfortable, you expand the most.

Because you meet new people.
Because you experience new things.

SO, THE BIG QUESTION IS: Are you practicing intentional discomfort every single day?

Me? I’m kind of a discomfort junkie.

See, I wear a nametag every day. Wherever I go.

(Been doing it non-stop for seven years now.)

And I’ve probably learned the most, grown the most and experienced the most simply by sticking myself out there.

Of course, you don’t need a nametag. Approachability comes in many forms.

So, if you’re a regular attendee to association meetings, networking events, company celebrations – even church or temple – here’s a list of eight ways to step out of your comfort zone:
1. Be someone’s first friend. If you notice a new member, congregant, student or employee, be the first to approach him. Satisfy his basic psychological need of acceptance by simply saying hello.

Do you remember your first friend?

2. Be a greeter. Even if you’re not on the welcome committee, first impressions team or hospitality squad, be a greeter anyway. And don’t just greet people within twenty feet of the door and within twenty minutes of the start of the meeting. REMEMBER: consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. Everyone is a greeter.

When was the last time you were greeted by a non-greeter?
3. Third party intros. When you meet someone new, introduce them to someone else you know. Make sure to use a “Connector Line” to spark interest and keep the conversation alive: “Hey Mike, have you met Randy yet? He was just telling me about the Stones concert from this weekend!”

Are you including new people into your conversations?

4. Park in the back; sit in the front. Literally and metaphorically. Make small sacrifices so The New Guy, first timers and solo rollers so they can enter your meeting or organization with ease and comfort.

Are you willing to make yourself uncomfortable so a new person isn’t?
5. Embrace the outsiders. Keep your eyes open for people who aren’t being included. Watch for the individuals who seem lost, have wandering eyes, sit alone or “pretend” to be busy with something. You never know, they could be pretty cool! Take the first step to get to know them.

Do you remember when you were an outsider and someone embraced you?

6. Sit with the wrong company. Next time you attend a meeting or networking event, don’t sit with five people you know and work with every day. Find a table with a few open seats and a bunch of strangers … and have a seat! Avoid the temptation to stay within your group.

How can you expand your network by sitting with everyone you know?

7. Stay late. Next time your meeting, workday or event concludes, stick around. Look for new people. Ask them, “So, what’d you think of our little group?” “Did you have fun?” or “How was your first day?” Make yourself physically available (openness of personal space) and personally available (openness of mind and heart).

If you had lots of questions on your first day, wouldn’t YOU appreciate it if someone stayed late to answer them?

8. Extend the event. If there’s a particular person you connected with, offer to keep the event alive. Invite her to join the after-party, or make yourself available for a personal “debriefing.” NOTE: this isn’t something you should to do all the time. Respect yours and other people’s time. However, if it’s appropriate, setting aside a chunk of time to answer questions, offer insider information or address concerns will be HUGELY appreciated.

Don’t YOU like being invited to the afterparty?

NOTE: there IS a flip-side to all of these examples: be mindful of yours and other people’s boundaries. Nobody should fully give his entire self or time to every person he meets. Practice discretion, not snobbery. And remember, a “yes” to something or someone is always a “no” to another.

Still, stepping out of your comfort zone (cliche as it may sound) is a valuable activity.

And it’s not just “something you do.”

It’s a way of life.
It’s a way of business.
It’s a way of thinking.

Most importantly, it’s a way of learning.

Practice intentional discomfort today.

How did you step out of your comfort zone today?

Share your best comfort zone learning experience 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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Approachable Service: The First Impression Fizzle

Are first impressions the most critical part of Approachable Service?


YES, it’s true that first impressions are usually correct.

YES, it’s true that first impressions are based on instinct and emotion.

YES, it’s true that first impressions your customers form about you are likely to stay in their minds forever.

YES, it’s true that humans put pressure on themselves to behave consistently with their own existing commitments.

YES, the information people see or learn about you is more powerful than what is learned later.


If you google “first impressions,” 1,930,000 pages come up.
If you google “ongoing impressions,” 317 pages come up.
If you google “lasting impressions,” 630,000 pages come up.

LESSON LEARNED: don’t solely focus your service efforts on MAKING first impressions, but also, on MAINTAINING those impressions.

CAUTION: if the first few seconds are all that matters, your front line may fall victim to The First Impression Fizzle.

EXAMPLE 1: have you ever walked into a store or hotel that made a GREAT first impression in the lobby … and then, sort of gave up after that?

EXAMPLE 2: have you ever attended a club, association meeting or church service whose greeters extended a warm welcome when you walked in the door … and then never talked to you again?

EXAMPLE 3: have you ever eaten dinner at a restaurant in which your server was friendly, helpful and warm … and then, once the food came, sort of forgot about your table for the rest of the night?

That’s The First Impression Fizzle.

And if you want avoid it, remember these ABC’s…

1. ATTITUDE. Don’t (just) focus on the first. Remember, “The Touchpoint Trinity” includes your FIRST, ONGOING and LASTING impressions. None are more important than the others.

2. BRAINSTORM. List all the possible Daily Touchpoints within each category of your Touchpoint Trinity. Examples might include “greeting,” “order taking” and “handling complaints.” Then, for each of the components, think of two new ways to make the mundane memorable. Remember to keep your approaches positive, friendly, fun, unexpected, and most importantly, unique.

3. CATCH. People doing it right, that is. Any time you see one of your front line employees reinforcing the customer’s first impression throughout the ENTIRE service process, reward them. Consider making Touchpoint Trinity stickers, stars or slips. Hand them out throughout the day. At the end of the week, reward whichever employee has the most.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: practice these keys with consistency.

Because consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.

When was the last time you experienced The First Impression Fizzle?

Tell us what they could have done to prevent it.

* * * *
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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Approachable Service: The Touchpoint Trinity

Your first impression is only 1/3 of the battle.

WHICH MEANS: simply greeting customers at the front door is NOT enough.

For that reason, always remember THE TOUCHPOINT TRINITY:

FIRST impressions. These lay a foundation for the service process. These frame the entire customer experience. They take between five and ten seconds, but last nearly forever.

ONGOING impressions. These either reinforce or diminish customers’ initial judgments. Throughout the entire service process, they cause customers to either (keep) checking you on, or check you off.

LASTING impressions. These create farewell feelings that stay with customers until their next visit. They cause them to: 1) tell nobody, 2) tell a few people, or 3) tell EVERYBODY … about their service experience (good OR bad.)

So, how do you achieve success all throughout the Touchpoint Trinity?

ONE WORD OF ADVICE: consistency.

“Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness,” as my company motto states.

THAT is the key to Approachable Service. And it’s the result of focusing your efforts on all three components of The Touchpoint Trinity.


If you want to create FANS, (not just customers)…

Whose experiences are UNFORGETTABLE, (not just memorable)…

So they become INSISTENT, (not just satisfied or loyal)…

Sit down with your team and conduct the following exercise:

1. Organize. Divide a sheet of blank paper into three columns. From left to right, title them “First, “Ongoing” and “Last.”

2. Brainstorm. List all the possible Daily Touchpoints within each category. Examples might include “greeting,” “order taking,” “handling complaints,” “checking out,” “paying the bill,” and “final words as customers exit.” (You’ll probably have around 10-20 touchpoints in all.)

3. Imagine. Now, multiply the total number of Daily Touchpoints by your total number of employees. Then multiply that number by 250. The final result is your Annual Touchpoint Total. (This will help you understand the volume of your accumulated actions!)

4. Accentuate. For each of the components in your Touchpoint Trinity, think of two new ways to make the mundane memorable. Brainstorm techniques, Phrases That Payses, ideas, procedures and fun ways to approach your customers in every possible situation. Remember to keep your approaches positive, friendly, fun, unexpected, and most importantly, unique.

5. Brand. The last step is to formally brand your service. For example, take Disney, Ritz Carlton and FedEx. Each of these companies’ unique approach to service is SO good that other companies steal it!

Who’s stealing YOUR service philosophy?

If the answer is “Nobody … yet,” then this is your chance!

Create Service Philosophy Cards explaining your unique approach to all areas of your Touchpoint Trinity. Print 500 of them for every employee! Staple one to every receipt! Scatter them about your office, hotel or property. Over time, your philosophy will spread.

And with these exercises, you will be able to maintain consistency in your first, ongoing AND lasting impressions.

AND REMEMBER: if you can understand, improve and consistently brand your company’s Touch Point Trinity…

Customers won’t (just) be satisfied.

Customers won’t (just) be loyal.

They’ll be insistent.

Who is stealing YOUR service philosophy?

In addition to satisfaction and loyalty, remember to focus on insistence.

* * * *
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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Grill yourself

What enables someone to be relaxed on an interview?

Here’s the way I see it:

Approachability comes from relaxation.
Relaxation comes from comfort.
Comfort comes from confidence.
Confidence comes from knowledge.
Knowledge comes from preparation.

IN SHORT: relaxation come from preparation.

So, what the best way to prepare for an interview?

By asking yourself questions.

Like, hard questions.

Questions like:

1. What are three reasons ANYBODY would want to go to my website?
2. What am I doing to earn my customers’ loyalty?
3. What did I JUST learn from this experience?
4. What do I know now that I didn’t know 12 months ago?
5. What ONE thing do I do great?
6. Who can hurt me the most?
7. Why are customers picking me?
8. Why is my business succeeding?

That’s called grilling yourself.

It challenges your thinking.
It clarifies your beliefs and values.
It prepares you to answer questions (for real) at the drop of a hat.

And if you want to ACE your next interview – for a job OR with the media – consider these three Self-Grilling Techniques:

1. THINK. Because thoughts become things. Period.

HERE’S THE WHY: your thoughts are your most valuable possessions. And when you take the time to grill yourself, your thinking clarifies. Then, those positive thoughts eventually materialize as they align with your actions.

HERE’S THE WAY: try grilling yourself while exercising. High levels of endorphins will pump dopamine to help expand your creativity. You’ll be amazed at the ideas that come about. (Just be sure not to run into somebody else on the track!)

2. WRITE. Because writing is the basis of all wealth. Period.

HERE’S THE WHY: you don’t know it until you write it. So, by regularly writing out your answers to various questions, you not only clarify your thoughts – you learn the material. Cold. And when you know the material, it flows out of your mouth smoothly, authentically and effectively.

HERE’S THE WAY: every morning before work, spend 15 minutes grilling yourself. Pick three interview questions a day. Write your answers in the form of bullet point lists. Then on Friday, re-read everything. Odds are, you’ll go back and say, “Wow, that was actually pretty good!”

3. SPEAK. Because practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent. Period.

HERE’S THE WHY: speaking is an extension of writing and writing is an extension of thinking. So, by working up to speaking (the most difficult form of grilling yourself), you bring together all three elements.

HERE’S THE WAY: put 20 interview questions on 20 note cards. Everyday after lunch, pick a new one out of a hat. Read it to yourself. Then spend the next three minutes answering it aloud. Be sure to use specific examples that support your arguments. Do it every day until you’re out of questions. Then write 20 more.

Ultimately, grilling yourself is about preparation.

In your mind.
On your paper.
Out your mouth.


Approachability comes from relaxation.
Relaxation comes from comfort.
Comfort comes from confidence.
Confidence comes from knowledge.
Knowledge comes from preparation.

Grill yourself today.

When was the last time you grilled yourself?

Regularly practice these three techniques. Consider partnering up with a “grilling buddy” to keep each other accountable. In time you won’t just conduct interviews; you’ll control interviews.

* * * *
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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Approachable Service: Stop, Drop and Roll

PICTURE THIS: you’re one unhappy customer.

You just discovered that something is wrong with your checking account. So, on your lunch break you leave work and head over to the bank to get some answers.


When you walk into the lobby and approach the front desk, nobody seems to be available to assist you!

Now, it’s not like nobody works there. Several employees DO mull about behind the counter.

But they’re all busy!

And not with other customers — busy with themselves.

Surfing the Net.
Reading books or magazines.
Jerking around with fellow employees.
Talking to their friends on the cell phone.
Gossiping with coworkers about the hot new office romance.

In other words, tuning you out.

BIG mistake.

* * *

This is an act of unapproachable service – and it’s a CRIME.

Sadly, it persists daily.

In offices, lobbies, front desks, call centers and waiting rooms around the world, customers are getting tuned out!

And they’re not happy about it.

What’s more, they’re telling their friends about it. And it’s doubtful those friends are rushing to do business with a company whose front line staff isn’t available to its customers.


Remember when you were a kid and you learned fire safety?

“Stop, drop and…?”

Roll, right? Stop, drop and roll. Everybody remembers that.

Well, when it comes to delivering approachable service, especially in those crucial moments of greeting the customer, that same three-step process applies:

STOP. Stop doing whatever you’re doing. Hang up the phone. Pause your conversations. Put down the mouse. Cease any secondary activities the MOMENT you spot a customer who needs assistance.

DROP. Not to the floor. (You probably WILL get fired if you do that!) Instead, drop your attention. Focus your body and mind on to the customer at hand. Unless you’re dealing with another customer or an existing emergency, nothing is more important at that moment than the guy who just walked in the door.

ROLL. Again, please don’t literally roll on the ground! But roll with the problem. Project understanding, patience and friendliness, and most importantly availability.

That’s what approachable service is all about. Showing the customer that you, as a front line employee, are personally AND physically available to them.

And if you remember to STOP, DROP and ROLL, even you will be able to put out the hottest of fires!

What’s your biggest front line pet peeve?

Share your Approachable Service Solutions 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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The longer they take, the less they buy

PICTURE THIS: you walk into Borders on a Sunday afternoon. You head over to the business section to pick up the latest book on leadership.

Flipping through, you see nothing remarkable … yet.

So you keep flipping. And flipping. And flipping. Frustratingly hoping to come across a poignant sentence, a cool graph or an astonishing picture to use in tomorrow’s staff meeting.

But to no avail.

About seven minutes go by. You reach the appendix of the book, having found nothing that stood out.

Well, back to the shelf this goes! You think.

And then.

Then something else catches your eye.

“Hmm. What’s this…?” you say.

You grab a different book. You lean up against the shelf and randomly open it to page 147.

And within three seconds, you’re smiling. Nodding and affirming and pointing out a piece of leadership advice that’s SO relevant (and SO SIMPLE), you say to yourself, “Wow. That’s goooood! I’m buying this book for my boss!”

So you do.

And it only took … what? A few seconds?

LESSON LEARNED: the longer they take, the less they buy.

In Doug Hall’s (amazing) Jumpstart Your Brain, he shares several brilliant observations on this very topic.

Based on his extensive research with Proctor & Gamble’s retail division, Doug learned three things:

1. Complexity generates contemplation. You lose when your customer has to contemplate your idea. In the process of contemplating, customers start looking at other options.

2. Get them early. If it takes more than ten seconds to explain or grasp, it’s probably not a wicked good idea.

3. Simple ideas are self-evident. And self-evident products make you want to pick them up when you see the name and the front of the package. No additional communication required.

It’s kind of like the end of Jerry Maguire.

Tom Cruise barges into Rene Zelwegger’s house to profess his love for her. He rambles on and on about how she “completes” him. Everyone in the audience is sobbing.

Eventually, she interrupts his monologue and says, “You had me at hello.”

You had me at hello.

That’s exactly what you need to do.

You need to have them at hello.

Because if you don’t, every second that passes decreases the probability of a sale.

The sale of…

Your idea.
Your self.
Your service.
Your product.

LESSON LEARNED: if you don’t have them at hello, it’s already too late.

Because the longer they take, the less they buy.

HERE’S HOW I KNOW THIS: I’ve been wearing a nametag 24-7 for the past 2,431 days.

I do it to make people friendlier. That’s it!

And I’ve probably explained this idea to well over 100,000 people.

Now, according to seven years of non-scientific, empirical data, approximately 10% of the people I encounter will think I’m out of my damn mind.

(Which is true.)

But these people just don’t (and won’t) get it.

They require me to cite scientific data.
They ask me to explain my philosophy over and over.
They argue relentlessly about the validitiy of wearing a nametag.

(And all the while I’m thinking: dude, it’s not that complicated. Nametags = friendlier people)

Which makes me realize something: these people will NEVER, at any point, accept, like or embrace my idea.

Because I never had them at hello.

See, first impressions are based on instinct and emotion. And because they tend to be correct, the first impressions people form about you will probably stay in their minds forever.

After all, people put pressure on themselves to behave consistently with their own existing commitments.

This is known as the primacy effect. Meaning, the information people see or learn about you is more powerful than what is learned later.

IN SHORT: if it takes too long for someone to “get” you (or your idea or your product), they’re probably not going to buy into it. Ever.

The longer they take, the less they buy.

Also, here’s something else I’ve noticed after 2,430 days:

90% of the people I encounter, only SECONDS after hearing that I choose to wear a nametag all the time, will say to me, “That’s the coolest idea I’ve ever heard!”

And they not only embrace the idea, but usually tell at least 10 people about it.

Because I had them at hello.

And it took … what? Three seconds?

Right. Because if the longer they take, the less they buy; then the SHORTER they take, they MORE they buy!

OK. So, here’s what this means for you:

1. KEEP it simple. Say ONE thing. Assure that your ideas; products, services and marketing materials are self-evident. That they need no further communication. That people “get” your stuff right away.

2. MAKE it easy. Ever read a business book without boldface, underlines, italics, font changes or pictures? It’s a pain in the butt! See, few authors understand the value of architecture in writing. So, even if you don’t write books, remember: make it easy. Punch people in the face with what they need to see, hear and know about your business right away.

3. TOUCH it up. If you find that it’s taking too long to convince people, don’t worry! This is your opportunity to tweak your idea, sales pitch or product. Brainstorm several approaches and practice them on friends. If you “get them at hello,” you’re on the right track. Super easy litmus test.

Ultimately, what we’re talking about is a first impression.

Of you.
Of your ideas.
Of your business.

SO REMEMBER: complexity generates contemplation; and contemplation kills sales.

Get them at hello.

Because they longer they take, the less they buy.

Do you have people at hello?

Share an example of someone who had YOU at hello with THEIR business idea.

* * * *
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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