ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Schmooze or Lose: Because It’s Important for Business, AND It Rhymes

In: How to Sell Yourself

People.

They're a curious breed.

But they're a (really) necessary part of your business. And your success. And your 80th birthday party, because who wants to go to an 80th birthday party with no attendees? Not me.

As it turns out, learning how to talk to them (all people, not just the 80 year old crowd) is one of the most important skills anyone–you, me, Superman and anyone public speaking alongside Obama–could ever learn. (If you're speaking next to Obama, first, congratulations, but second? Good luck not coming off as a sub par ant of a human.)

This past week, one of my business partners, Jenny, flew down to meet me here in Costa Rica for an intense week-long strategy session. There were mojitos. And massages. And spiders the size of your hand. And also, synergy.

You know, that whole thing where, when the right two people get together, you're more capable of big, bold, fireworks in this world than you are as individuals.

And one of the things that Jenny is strikingly good at?

Good old-fashioned SCHMOOZING.

Oh, is she a schmoozer. She schmoozed everybody in town, including pineapple man. And all these years, I thought I was good with people. If I'm good with people, Jenny is the wonderbra of social interactions. (Sorry, J-Fo – didn't mean to reduce you to an undergarment, but hey, you *ARE* an excellent support structure.)

Jenny's the kind of person that can walk into any social setting, and within 3 minutes, will have befriended at least 5 people, a waiter, the waiter's wife, and the grumpy asshat seated at Table 5.

She's got an incredible knack for endearing people to her almost instantly. (Except our photographer. We did a team photo shoot while she was here, alongside our right-hand woman, Meredith, and he was a tough cookie to crack. So, he can be the exception. FINE.)

When I asked her what her trick was, she slugged her mojito and proceeded to tell me this:

1. Touch people, already. Appropriately. They aren't a rare specimen in a museum–they're another human being, hoping to connect with you, too. Because isn't that what we all want? Have the confidence that they'll want to talk to you as much as you'll want to talk to them. And then, reach out and touch 'em. A touch on the arm goes a long way to communicate your sincere interest in them, and it'll force them to give you their attention. Every time. (Note: Men have gotta be careful with this one. Fine line between, “Wow, you're a fascinating person and I'm interested in knowing you” and “Hey, how 'bout me and you take a little walk…” Aim for sincere, not creepy. And for the love, ixnay on the “friendly shoulder rub.” (You'd be surprised the shit we women encounter.)

2. Speaking of sincere interest in THEM, actually have one. Ask them questions about themselves. Drop everything in your brain, and actually give a damn about their answers. When you can make other people feel important to you, you'll be important to them.

3. Take off your girdle and relax. Nobody cares if your smile is crooked. Have fun. Laugh with them. Be genuine. And be genuinely happy to be having that interaction right there and then. Whether it's the CEO of Nike, or the bus boy at your local watering hole, serve up the same twinkle in your eye, and love the act of being human together.

Okay, so she didn't really say that last part about being human together, and I totally edited it in, but I think that J-Fo's onto something, here.

Because that whole connect with humans thing? It's not going anywhere.

And if you want to thrive in this world? In your business? In your relationships? In your life?

You've gotta get better at this.

I'm convinced Jenny could walk into the Donald's office tomorrow and walk out with a billion bucks, a box of cigars and his cell phone number. Why do you think I've recruited her to work with me?

The question that remains is:

Could you?

Work on this, and you can have the world.

Work on other stuff, and you can have a piece of the world your future boss is presently negotiating.

Dec 30

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It’s two days before the new year, and I’m doing exactly what you are: Dicking around on the internet and calling it “downtime.” It’s absolutely PHENOMENAL. But, as we all prepare to become supermodel [extra title=”Isn’t that your plan?” info=”tooltip” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]trazillionaire cigar-smoking business moguls in 2015, [/extra] there is one thing I want to encourage […]

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2013

Lots of Inquiries But No Sales? Help Is Here.

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I get two questions all of the time: 1. How do I convert more email inquiries into actual customers & clients? (Who ideally have zero credit card limit and maybe even a mullet because wouldn’t that be fun?) 2. How do you manage to stay looking so young? Obviously no one really ever asks me […]

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2017

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

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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. […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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Sep 4

2017

Should You Offer a Payment Plan?

Sep 4, 2017

Yes—but only as a last resort. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes: that $2,000 course you’re thinking about taking is COSTS APPROXIMATELY THE SAME AS A SMALL HORSE, however—that’s not to say you wouldn’t purchase a small horse (neiiiighhh!) if you could, say, put $97 a month toward the beast in all its glory. Which […]

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Sep 14

2014

If you’re both killer & poet, YOU GET RICH.

Sep 14, 2014

“Most good copywriters fall into two categories: Poets and Killers. Poets see an ad as an end. Killers, as a means to an end. If you are both killer & poet? You get rich.” Ogilvy once said that about copywriters, but that’s just because he wasn’t around long enough to see the internet blow up. […]

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Jun 26

2014

Is It Annoying to Buy From You?

Jun 26, 2014

Everybody loves shopping, right? (Except maybe Ben Stein—imagine that guy in Kohl’s, or worse, going down a water slide. Two words: man thong.) You know who else loves shopping? The people who are looking for your services and products. There’s nothing like the high of thinking that you found it—the perfect photographer // vintage purse […]

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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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