7 Steps to Becoming More Bookable TODAY

“I need more bookings!”

Raise your hand if you’ve ever said that before.

My hand is up. Is yours?

Of course it is. Especially in 2009. Every salesperson, entrepreneur, small business owner or entertainer expresses that frustration at some point.

Unfortunately, many of us are too quick to blame this problem on some external force beyond our sphere of control. For example:

Bookings are down because the economy sucks.
Bookings are down because the industry is changing.
Bookings are down because budgets are cut and nobody’s hiring.
Bookings are down because everyone in the world is stupid except me.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever said one of THOSE before.

My hand is up again.

Well, here’s the good news (which, simultaneously, is also the bad news):

Part of the reason you’re not booked SOLID right now is because you’re not a bookable person.

Today I’m going to share seven steps to increasing your bookability:

1. Focus – don’t spray. Small Business Marketing Specialist, David Newman, regularly publishes and speaks about bookability. In fact, attending a seminar of his in 2009 sparked this very post. So, I asked him a few questions about the topic.

“First, it’s about specificity,” Newman said. “Someone is bookable if they solve specific problems for a specific audience around a specific issue.” Newman also explained, “Articulation and distinction is the secret. Someone is bookable if they’ve distilled down their marketing message with sharpness and clarity. It’s all about how they talk about (articulation) what they do differently (distinction) to improve the lives of the people who buy from them.”

MAKE BOOK: Have you stuck a stake in the ground and told the world about it in a meaningfully, concrete and immediate way?

2. Be easier and faster. In June 2008, a press release called “Improved Bookability,” was published by the international travel website, Eurostar. Their new initiative offered interactive seat requests, which gave customers the ability to request seats in real time and receive an instant acknowledgement and seat map from the website. Cool!

Lessons learned: Simplify your interface. Streamline the booking process. Provide reliable expectations. Offer peace of mind with automated confirmation, up-to date information and firm reservations.

MAKE BOOK: Are you bookable enough to publish a press release about it?

3. Your fanbase may help OR hinder. In December 2008, The Huffington Post ran a fascinating article called, “Bush’s Memoir: Publishers say no thanks.” On the comments section, a reader suggested, “Bull-horn carrying protesters will follow Bush around as he makes the conservative lecture circuit. This makes him an un-bookable speaker.” Wow.

Bookability isn’t so much about the company you keep; but rather the company you attract. This reminds me of the scene in Happy Gilmour when PGA executive, Doug Thompson decides to keep Adam Sandler on the tour – extreme antics notwithstanding. “That Happy Gilmore is a real crack-up! He’s bringing in some big crowds and we’re attracting new, youthful sponsors. It’s great for the game of golf!”

So, becoming more bookable isn’t a function of beating people with nine irons, wrestling alligators and doing the bull dance across the tee box. Rather, it’s about considering what types of people are the natural byproducts of your presence.

MAKE BOOK: Once you get booked, whom will YOU attract?

4. Beware of the unbookable bug. When asked to riff about the dangers of being unbookable, the aforementioned David Newman shared three excellent reminders. “First, don’t make clients deal with your ego. They’ve got enough on their plates as it is.

Second, if you’re not serious about what you’re doing now – STOP – and go do something about it. Get serious, get help, or get out. As Yoda says, ‘Do or do not. There is no try.’

And finally, remember that lack of integrity travels fast. You’ll be out of friends so fast your head will spin. And no friends = No business = Game over.”

MAKE BOOK: Are you in danger of being unbookable?

5. Share your schedule online. Posting your client calendar, tour schedule or media appearances on your website WILL get you more bookings quickly. For five reasons:

First, it proves that you’re busy by offering tangible evidence of success. Social proof is a powerful force.

Second, it invites existing and potential clients/fans to come out and see you. That way they can plan their schedules around you.

Third, it demonstrates your reach. So, when someone comes to your website and sees all the different cities, organizations and media outlets you’re working with, they’ll be thinking two things: (1) This guy MUST be good, and (2) Well, if he’s good enough for THAT company, he’s good enough for MY company too!

Fourth, posting your schedule online motivates you to fill it up. When I first posted my speaking calendar in 2004, I only had ten bookings for the entire year. And because I didn’t want people to think I sucked, that became a great kick in the pants to fill the schedule up.

Fifth, when you post your schedule online, customers start to target YOU. That’s when it starts to get cool. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the phone with a prospect who said, “Well Scott, I checked the schedule on your website and it looks like you have March 19th available to work with us. Is that OK with you?”

To which I always reply, “Um … Sure! … I guess I could fit you into my schedule…” (Even though I’m actually thinking to myself, “YES! Of course I’m available! Oh please book me! Pretty please with sugar on top!”)

MAKE BOOK: Are you the arrow or the bulls-eye?

6. Be one step ahead. On www.CatererSearch.com, I read an article titled, “Information centers get ‘bookability’ to win back customers.” The piece reported that six of England’s Tourist Information Centers (TICs) were to be converted into Holiday Shops that offered a full booking service.

“Many information centers already offer comprehensive information on the availability of holidays and accommodation, so it’s the logical next step for them to provide a booking service as well,” said ETB head of marketing, Andrew Maxted. Your challenge is to think about what the obvious next step to your main product is – then decide if it’s worthwhile to start offering that as well.

Think FedEx Kinko’s. They sold printing for decades. Then, in 2004, they expanded their offering by providing their customers with the most obvious, logical follow-up service: Mailing the stuff they printed to someone across the country. Hallelujah!

MAKE BOOK: Are you one step ahead of the people booking you?

7. What would Oprah do? Susan Harrow is a media coach, writer and consultant with a unique specialty: Getting booked on Oprah. She’s produced dozens of resources, tools and manuals explaining her system for attracting media attention. Interestingly, when I googled the phrase “getting booked,” her famous article “How to Get Booked on Oprah” came up hundreds of times. So, let’s examine each of her points. And I’ve added a challenge question to each one so you to plug yourself into Susan’s equation, just in case getting booked on Oprah isn’t your main goal:

a. Tape and watch Oprah for two weeks. Are you familiar with the content, format, rhythm and pace of the person/organization booking you?

b. Get to know Oprah’s preferences. What biographical information do you need to know to press (or avoid) hot buttons of the person/organization booking you?

c. Pitch a hot topic. Does booking you solve a problem that is relevant, pervasive, serious and controversial?

d. Put together a winning press kit. How could you punch people in the face with your viability?

e. Create six dynamic sound bites. Can you spontaneously spit out the most important ideas, concepts, and points you want to make as they relate to the idea you’re pitching?

f. Be more blurbable. Will the people booking you be able to remember and repeat your ten-second pitch to the person who missed the pitch meeting?

g. Get booked on local shows first. How much time have you spent fine-tuning your sound bites so they’re delivered in a relaxed, competent way?

h. Build credentials through public speaking and teaching. How can you sharpen and quantify your expertise in a concrete way that resonates deeply with the person booking you?

i. Wow the producers with brevity. Have you rehearsed enough so that when you open your mouth and start auditioning, your selling points come off as succinct, natural and inviting?

Ultimately, whether you’re trying to get booked FOR an interview, BY a hot prospect or WITH a new organization, Susan’s nine essentials will help you become more bookable in any capacity.

MAKE BOOK: Did you pass the Oprah test?

REMEMBER: External forces notwithstanding, you can’t “make” people book you.

All you can do is increase the probability of getting booked by making yourself a more bookable person.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Oprah’s producer is on the other line and I need to go change my underwear.

How bookable are you?

For the list called, “34 Cultural Trends that (should) Change Your Business,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

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How You Can Own a Word in People’s Minds AND on Google

If you google the word “nametag,” it points to me first.

If you google the word “approachability,” it (also) points to me first.

This is not an accident.

In fact, I’ve spent every single day of the past seven years assuring that everything I do contributes to my company’s OWNERSHIP of those two words. (Check out my tag cloud gallery on Wordle!)

So, they’re mine. Forever. And YOU can’t have them. Neener-neener-neener!

Sorry to be so infantile. It’s just that Word Ownership is absolutely ESSENTIAL to your success in the marketing world. Because it’s not about marketshare – it’s about mindshare. And today I’d like to share seven strategies for making sure the net worth of your One-Word Equity skyrockets.

1. RESEARCH it. Spend some time perusing the websites of the ten most successful people in your industry. Ask yourself: What word do they own? How are they making that clear? What word could YOU own that’s better and more specific and more memorable? Another suggestion is to email twenty of your best customers and ask them, “What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of me?” Look for trends in their answers. Are you listening to the right people?

2. RECOGNIZE it. It’s not like you have to open a dictionary and just pick some random word to own. You already ARE a word. You just need to enhance and articulate your ownership of it. Ask yourself these questions:

o After meeting you, what is the one word that people will never think about the same way again?
o What is the one word you have published more thoughts about than anyone else?
o What word do you have to google to get your name to come up as the first ten hits?
o What’s the one word you are perceived as knowing more about than anyone else on the planet?
o When friends or family members introduce you to new people, what’s the one word guaranteed to be included in that conversation?
o When people see or hear your name, what is the first word that comes to mind?

3. EXPLORE it.. Imagine for a second that you’re starting a non-profit organization that builds community events for retired engineers. And maybe the ONE word that symbolizes what you’re all about is PARABOLA. Cool. So, here’s what you do next:

o Look it up in the dictionary.
o Do some serious wordsmithing.
o Google the word.
o Find out if there are books written ABOUT the word.
o Spend some timing writing your immediate reactions when you see that word.

Remember: “Owning” the word, means knowing everything ABOUT that word. And here’s the best part: If a potential customer says, “Parabola? Where’d you come up with THAT company name?” And YOU say, “Well, parabola comes from the Greek word “parabolicus” which means “application,” which is exactly the type of value we deliver to our customers….” Whoa. Unique, unexpected AND unforgettable! How much do you know about YOUR word?

4. RATE It. A lot of my clients tell me that they DO own a word, which is awesome. The only problem is when they say something like, “Well, my word is Passion” or “I own the word Integrity.” Ehhh. OK. Maybe you DO own that word. My question is: Do your customers think your word relevant, marketable, unexpected and cool?

Odds are, if your word some vague platitude, some trite term or some overused cliché, it’s NOT. Your word needs to move people’s eyebrows. This involuntary indicator of interest, intrigue and curiosity is the best instant barometer of your marketing. It means that your word possesses stopping power. Because the effectiveness of a message isn’t necessarily dependent on its longevity, but rather its ability to evoke emotion in the moment. Is your word making people stop in their tracks?

5. REGISTER it. The odds of registering www.yourword.com are highly unlikely, unless you want to fork over ten grand. So, the first thing you should do is mess around with a few different permutations of the domain. For example, if www.parabola.com was taken, what about www.parabolaexpert.com or www.parabolaworld.com or www.theparabolaguy.com?

Remember: When you own the domain, you own the idea. I suggest surrounding your domain by purchasing as many variations, permutations, misspellings, and connected domain names as possible. They’re only like ten bucks each, right? Isn’t your brand worth investing $1000 in domain names if that secures your position in the marketplace AND people’s minds?

6. RECORD It. That mean write articles … that means post blogs and tweets … that means do interviews … that means post tweets … that means publish your philosophy … that means put that word EVERYWHERE on your website.

Basically, you need to punch people in the face. You can’t count on your customers to connect the dots for you. In order to win the battle against the Attention Economy, it’s almost like you need to grab hold of people by their shirt collars and say, “Listen to me! Right here! OK, yes, you. This is exactly what I want you to do…”

Remember: Complexity generates contemplation. And contemplation kills sales because a confused mind never buys. Have you recorded your word EVERYWHERE, so there’s no question in people’s minds that it’s yours?

7. RE-LEARN It. If you want to new customers, new opportunities and, even the MEDIA to come to YOU – because you’re the Thought Leader, because you OWN that word – you have to be a student of it. You can’t just up and decide that you own the word parabola, register a few domain names, smear it all over your site, write a few articles about and then quit.

Here’s the secret: You HAVE to commit yourself to a life-long learning plan based around that word. Get Google Alerts on that word. Check Amazon for new books written about that word weekly. Continually explore and write about the various dimensions OF that word.

Word ownership is a continuous process. If you don’t dedicate yourself to enhancing your mastery and practicing that word everyday, someone else will steal it from you. What new thing did you learn about your word this week?

REMEMBER: One-Word Equity is the secret to becoming That Guy.

Own yours today.

What word would people have to search on Google to get your name first?

For the list called, “101 Ways to Create a Powerful Web Presence,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

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Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

Nametag Guy LIVE: Word Ownership

What word do you own?

For a list called, “24 Questions to Discover Which Word You Own,” send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll hook you up!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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If your clients are not actively telling their friends about you…

Oscar Wilde once remarked, “The only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about.”

So, if your customers are not ACTIVELY telling their friends about your business…

1. That means you’re probably selling a dead brand.

2. That means you’re probably different, not unique.

3. That means you’re probably doing something wrong.

4. That means you’re probably perceived as a commodity.

5. That means you’re probably not word of mouth worthy.

6. That means you’re probably creating customers, not FANS.

7. That means you’re probably not getting much new business.

8. That means you’re probably not doing something important.

9. That means you’re probably not as great as you think you are.

10. That means you’re probably boring, unremarkable and normal.

11. That means you’re probably not making the mundane memorable.

12. That means you’re probably spending too much money on marketing.

13. That means you’re probably not expanding your overall customer base.

14. That means you’re probably poorly positioned in their minds, not in the market.

15. That means you’re probably creating customer SATISFACTION, not customer loyalty or insistence.

Look. Word of mouth is everything. And anonymity is your greatest barrier to business success.

SO REMEMBER: businesses that get talked about get more business.

Who’s telling their friends about YOU?

If you’re clients are not actively telling their friends about you, what (else) does that mean?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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