Are You Using the Most Dangerous Word in Marketing?

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

“Next!”

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!”

Yikes.

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.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you preventing your customers from saying, “Next!”

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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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.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you increase the probability of getting called back?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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