ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Running a Holiday Sale? Memorize This by Heart.

In: How to Sell Yourself

So the other day I’m Christmas shopping here in Costa Rica, which is automatically hilarious because, first of all, because they spell “Ho Ho Ho!” like “Jo Jo Jo!” which never gets less funny, and second, because Santa was dressed in a royal blue suit. (I still haven’t decided if this is posh or ridiculous, but I give him points for thinking outside the box North Pole.)

So naturally, at one point I apparently decided Christmas shopping would be much more productive if I started buying things for myself (because, buying things for myself), and made the interesting decision to pop into one of those seedy mall-hair-salon-deals, which we all know is a terrible, horrible idea, except there doesn’t seem to be anywhere else in the entire mall that sells hair goods, so…limitations. Does this still qualify as a first world problem if I’m in Costa Rica? I’LL LET YOU MULL THAT OVER.

An angry girl with the hot pink skunk hair immediately approached, which kind of scared me because I thought she might eat me. I tell angry girl I’m looking for the best hair masque they sell (given that my handsome sweetheart of a hunk recently confirmed that my hair in a ponytail did, in fact, look exactly like horse hair.)

Before I can say another word, angry girl lurches toward me and begins fingering my hair, grinding my tips between her forefinger and thumb, and making a surprising noise that sounds what I can only describe to be like a cross between a dying cow and a fake orgasm. This makes me feel uncomfortable, not because she’s faking orgasms in public, but because I am that embarrassed by my horse hair.

Next thing I know, Angry Birds plops two tubs down on the counter and quickly glosses over both (two points for hair puns?) in rapid fire Spanish before promptly handing them over to the register girl and telling me to have a nice day. And just like that, I was discarded with the flip of her skunk tail.

But before she could escape the likes of this stuttery American, I quickly pipe up.

“Thanks, but I don’t need the shampoo. Just the treatment.”

“But the shampoo goes with the treatment,” she says, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

“That’s okay, I’ll just take the treatment.”

“But you need to use them together.”

“Just the treatment, thanks.”

“Okayyyy,” she hisses, obviously annoyed.

“Thank youuuu,” I hiss back, more annoyed.

Of course, I’m less annoyed that she’s rude, and more annoyed that she’s a horrible sales person.

And yet, while most people would agree that pushy, presumptuous sales tactics are a major no-no: Surprisingly, this is the way most people (accidentally) try to sell their things online.

The pushy emails that add no value but simply yell, yell, yell. The all-or-nothing, buy-my-stuff-or-get-out mentality. The bullshit false scarcity – there are only two spots left! (Two spots left, my ass; you’re selling an eBook.) And most of all, the lazy, irresponsible sales technique that seems to be, “Here’s my stuff, now buy it,” rather than, “Here’s why this is important for you.”

Too many people focus on the what of their offer. Here’s what you get. Here’s what’s included. Here’s what it costs. Here’s what to do next. And they woefully neglect the most important part: The why.

Why do I need this?

Why do I need this right now?

And why do I need this, right now, from YOU?

These are the most important things you need to address when making any kind of offer, and especially now around the holidays.

You might be selling something great, but unless you can help me understand why it’s important for me to have, right this second? I will always justify waiting. And so will every other customer, when given the chance. It’s human nature to procrastinate. And buying is no exception.

The only way around it?

Create genuine excitement.

And create it, not by spraying a bunch of nonsense about what it is (i.e. “it’s the shampoo you need”) but why it is that I need it, and need it right now. (i.e. It’s the other killer secret ingredient that will make your hair instantly look 100% silkier, without ever having to flat iron it, right in time for the hectic holiday season, when you to strut up to that holiday party after baking pies all day, knowing that, at the very least, one accessory you’ve got on everyone else? Is gorgeous hair.)

Notice, the why isn’t just what the tangible benefit is (i.e. “it’s the other killer secret ingredient to silly hair”), but rather, the emotional, time-sensitive benefit as well.

Because that’s what really matters to people.

And as it turns out, selling isn’t about pushing.

It’s about caring.

And so the question becomes, not whether your customers know it when they see it (they do), but whether or not you?

Know it when you sell it.

Mar 6

2014

Are You Selling The Wrong Thing?

Mar 6, 2014

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been guilty of making a list of “what’s included” that looks like this: Modules! PDFs! Videos! Audios of the Videos! Transcripts of the Audios of the Videos! Commentary on the transcripts of the Audios of the Videos! A revolutionary new—drum roll— Facebook Group! AND THERE’S MORE! Buy now and […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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Feb 11

2014

STOP Giving Away Free Consults. I Beg You.

Feb 11, 2014

“Nobody ever paid top dollar for a cheap imitation. Don’t let somebody else’s business move dictate yours.” I wrote that in our TMF Facebook page yesterday. Here’s why: Keep in mind that the people you’re watching are winging their next move just as much as you. Yet, so many new business owners who are fighting tooth […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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Aug 28

2017

“Hire Me” versus “Listen To Me”

Aug 28, 2017

If you’re a freelancer, there are two different power dynamics: Hire me! Please hire me! I’m shitting my pants, over here, because I’m depending on you entirely and I’ll do anything it takes, even work for peanuts, because I need you to take mercyyyyy onnnnn meeeeee. Listen to me. I’m great at what I do, […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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Dec 9

2014

Running a Holiday Sale? Memorize This by Heart.

Dec 9, 2014

So the other day I’m Christmas shopping here in Costa Rica, which is automatically hilarious because, first of all, because they spell “Ho Ho Ho!” like “Jo Jo Jo!” which never gets less funny, and second, because Santa was dressed in a royal blue suit. (I still haven’t decided if this is posh or ridiculous, […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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Dec 15

2011

List Your Prices (THE RIGHT WAY) (Calling All Photographers.) (Hedgehogs Welcome, Too.)

Dec 15, 2011

As an entrepreneur, sometimes you fall flat on your face. Figuratively–and, apparently, literally–namely when you’re traveling in the South of Chile pretending to be in better shape than you actually are while attempting to jump over pathetically small streams that you really should be able to fucking clear, but somehow, don’t, and manage to fall flat […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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May 28

2012

Trailer Trash & Sex Appeal: The Trick to Selling MORE

May 28, 2012

To anyone and everyone selling something: Pay attention. The other day, I was having a conversation with a copywriting client who is building a business around teaching people how feel all sorts of hot and dynamite by eating raw. I said, “You mean like Crazy Sexy Diet?” And she said, “What’s that?” And I said, […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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Apr 18

2013

Don’t Beg for Business. Command It.

Apr 18, 2013

Bring me to your granny’s birthday party, and I’m sweet as a lemon square. (My favorite.) Bring me to meet the parents, and I’ll bust out the pearls. Bring me anywhere, and you’ll get sweet, demure Ashley. But bring me to a board room? And it’s shark time. If you’re like most people, the mere […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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Jun 4

2017

Are You Sorry About Charging Money?

Jun 4, 2017

I was talking to a client yesterday, who, bless her heart, is LITERALLY working for free. She feels bad charging. And my goodness, she’s one of the smartest, most qualified women in her industry! She’s out there helping people every single day, in person, face-to-face! She’s spearheading an entire movement in Canada! And now the […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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May 4

2017

How Do You Make People Care About Your Work—Even When Your Work Is Lofty, Intangible, and Abstract as F***?

May 4, 2017

I’m working with a client, right now, who wants to sell emotional intelligence. That’s the result you get when you work with her. EQ, instead of IQ. And emotional intelligence is actually really, really important. It’s one of the biggest predictors of success, believe it or not. She’s read the literature. I’ve read the literature. […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

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