What if you wore a nametag 24/7? Well, for the past 3,000 days, I have. And while I don’t suggest you do the same, here are ten elements of approachability that will help you get noticed, get remembered and get business.
1. Approachability wins. We live in a culture of sales resistance. Consumers are skeptical and require confidence before deciding to buy. They’ve been advertised to, marketed to, duped, fooled, conned and scammed too many times. Approachability establishes comfort, creates connections and builds trust. Return emails right away. Call back the same hour. Make communication a relaxing experience. Ask unexpected, penetrating questions. Cultivate your creativity and passion, and embed that into the pavement, and people will want to be near you. Remember: if they can’t approach you, how will they ever get behind what you have to offer?
2. Be that guy. We live in a hyperspeed, ADD culture. The world demands specialists and people need shortcuts. That’s exactly what personal brands are. Ask yourself, whom are you known to? What are you known as? What are you known for? What are you known for knowing? Anonymity is bankruptcy. What counts is not who you know, but who knows you. Create a monthly plan for making people more aware of you. Create a reputation that accurately describes you, often precedes you and humbly serves you when you’re not there.
3. Be the origin, not the echo. There are no cover bands in the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame. Similarly, in business, the more imitable, the less valuable you are. Don’t just be different—be unique. Being different is something you do intentionally by comparing yourself to others; being unique is something you are inherently thanks to your own gifts and creativity. Extract and magnify your uniqueness.
4. Create points of dissonance. Curiosity is a natural motivator of human engagement. There’s a certain dissonance when people observe an unexpected or unexplained behavior. This dissonance increases the probability of an encounter, because people just have to ask; they just have to know. Stimulate curiosity, break patterns and attract interest. Before someone gets to the “Aha!” about what you do and who you are, they have to be captivated by the “Huh?” Creating this sense of intrigue is valuable because people’s time and attention are being vied for by an infinite number of forces. Leverage remarkability to trigger an emotional engagement.
5. Don’t be stopped by not knowing how. Focus (first) on the what, and the how will eventually appear. Here’s why: the what can be defined right away, can lead to immediate action and can lay the groundwork for the how to then materialize. Here’s how: dare to do it badly, which might mean making an idiot of yourself (spend time paying your dues); which might mean fighting your attitude of instant gratification (seek progress, not perfection); and which might mean asking for feedback to find out where you need to improve. Ideas are free; execution is priceless.
6. Focus on fans, not customers. The more fans you have, the less selling you need to do. Fans are people who will do your marketing for you, encourage and support everything you do, and most importantly, tell all their friends to become fans of yours too. Build a following. Don’t be selfish with your knowledge. Post on your blog every day; writing is the basis of all wealth. Practice Fan Management 101 by asking for people’s email addresses so they become part of your permission asset, and then continuously delivering a value message.
7. Make the mundane memorable. If you consistently do this through all your touch points or brand moments, here’s what happens: 1) customers start talking; 2) associates have more fun; 3) the brand lives and breathes in a new way; 4) uniqueness shines through; 5) loyalty increases. Nobody notices normal. Those who get noticed get remembered, and those who get remembered get business.
8. Networking works. Here’s how to do it successfully. In one word: fun. In two words: be prepared. In three words: ask better questions. In four words: any time, any place. In five words: incorporate passion into the conversation. In six words: develop and maintain mutually valuable relationships. In seven words: articulate what you do quickly and memorably. In eight words: listen times eight! In nine words: encourage people to approach you by being the observed. In ten words: right place in right time means being in many places. Then, find out where the rock created the ripple and go throw more rocks.
9. People buy people first. Find a way to lead with your person and follow with your profession. Put values before vocation, individuality before industry, personality before position. Ultimately, every interaction you have with somebody either adds to or subtracts from the positive perception of your brand. People don’t buy from, trust or have loyalty to companies, but people.
10. Shtick must be supported by substance. The word shtick is defined as “a characteristic attribute, talent, gimmick or trait that is helpful in securing recognition or attention.” But having a shtick is not enough. Shtick needs substance. Shtick doesn’t sustain you; it only sells temporarily. Sure, shtick is catchy and cool and clever and fun and different. But in business, that will only carry you so far. It might get you in the door, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll stay in the room. Only value and substance can do this. In business, you can’t be all sugar. Customers want value; they want substance.
Ask yourself this: how much money are you losing by being unapproachable?
SCOTT GINSBERG, aka “The Nametag Guy,” is the author of
eight books, an award-winning blogger and the creator of
NametagTV.com. He’s the only person in the world who wears
a nametag 24-7 and teaches businesspeople worldwide about
approachabilitythrough keynote speeches and
in-person or online training programs.