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What’s One Way of Marketing Yourself That Nobody Else is Doing?

By Jeff Beals

Here’s a question to ponder:  What’s one way of marketing yourself that none of your friends or colleagues are doing?

In order to succeed in today’s ultra-competitive environment, you need to stand out in a positive way.  People need to know about you.  When an opportunity arises, you want your name and face pop into the decision-maker’s head.

Regardless of your occupation, you are fighting two major battles: the aforementioned competition and “commoditization.” You may be the best at what you do, but there are so many competitors in your marketplace. In an era of commoditization, consumers have more choices than they know what to do with. Clients often assume all providers are competent, so they end up making their choices based on a professional’s personal brand.

The same thing applies when you’re looking to make a career change.  A job search is simply another type of marketing campaign.  Hiring managers often have multiple candidates from which to choose.

There’s no doubt that you need to stand out in today’s loud and crowded marketplace, but in some ways, that’s getting harder and harder to do.  In a social media-driven world, it seems like everyone is talking and nobody is listening.  If that’s the case, how can you get the right people to listen to YOU?

Tactically, the methods of carrying out a self-marketing message typically consist of networking, getting involved in your industry or community, social media, writing blog articles, recording podcasts, getting interviewed by the media, writing reviews on websites such as Amazon.com, donating time or money to causes, building a group of respected people to recommend/refer you, and making sure you have a strong presence in Google search results.

You can do all of these things or some of these things.  But doing these things simply isn’t enough.  It’s awfully difficult to find a self-marketing tactic that nobody else has discovered.

The message you convey is more important than the methods you use to market yourself.

In other words, you can differentiate yourself based on what you have to say.  If you want a way to market yourself that none of your friends or colleagues is using, find what’s unique about you and determine how you will convey it.

I call it your “area of self-marketing expertise.”  It’s something about you and your profession that is fascinating to someone who does not do what you do.

In other words, it’s something related to who you are professionally but is intriguing to someone who otherwise wouldn’t really care about your profession. Everyone is hopefully an expert in his or her profession, but an area of self-marketing expertise is quite different. It consists of the most fascinating aspects of your job, company or industry.

So what’s your area of self-marketing expertise?

If you’re not sure, sit down with a few friends and explain what you do. Ask them what they find most interesting. Take notes.

Once you have decided on your area of self-marketing expertise, think about how you will communicate it in an intriguing way. When that’s mastered, it’s time to put your area of self-marketing expertise to work for you. Use it at networking events, in newsletter articles, in public speaking, when dealing with the press and in your social media postings.

Professionals who have well defined and carefully crafted areas of self-marketing expertise will ultimately be more successful, because they never run out of interesting things to talk about. An area of self-marketing expertise becomes a magnet, attracting people to you.

When people are dazzled by what you have to say, they’ll be more than happy to hire you, recommend you and bring you opportunities.

The key to marketing yourself in a way nobody else is doing is to differentiate your message.  With a little introspection, you ought to be able to come up with something, but there only on you.

Once you figure out your unique self-marketing position, announce it to the world.  Have confidence in your message.  Don’t let other people or any haunting feelings of self doubt stand in your way. Self-marketers have to stick their necks out and take risks. Not only is it worth the risk, but establishing a well-known personal brand is essential in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace.

By the way, promoting yourself is never about ego; it’s just marketing. In our super-charged world, hard work and talent are no longer enough. You need to make sure key audiences know about your abilities and accomplishments.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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If You Want to Convince Someone, Listen Two-Thirds of the Time!

By Jeff Beals

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” wrote Stephen R. Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Too often we get that order mixed up. We focus on being understood as opposed to understanding those with whom we live and work.

Whether your role is executive, managerial, sales, customer service or anything else, it is critically important to your success that you listen.

Super executive Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrysler, once said, “I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions.”

Iacocca’s statement reminds me of the old saying, “God gave you one mouth and two ears; use them proportionately.”

In other words, we should listen twice as much as we talk. I call it the “Rule of Thirds.”

Two-thirds of the time you spend talking with a colleague, client or a prospect should be focused on the other person. One-third of the time is focused on yourself.

“No man ever listened himself out of a job,” said former U.S. president Calvin Coolidge. Simply put, listening is one of the top skills required for professional success.

Why is focusing on the other person so important? The answer is simple: most people are rather self-absorbed. They are their favorite subjects.

If you show earnest, sincere interest in a person’s “favorite subject,” he or she can’t help but like you. They will feel a connection with you. Showing sincere interest by truly listening disarms colleagues and clients and paves the way for your success.

You might be wondering to whom you should listen. Who is worthy of your attention? Who deserves your best listening skills? That’s easy: everyone. You never know who has the right information for you or knows just the right person you need to meet.

Sam Walton, the late founder of Wal-Mart, once said, “The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say. It’s terribly important for everyone to get involved. Our best ideas come from clerks and stock boys.”

When it comes to listening, remember to do it sincerely and remember that everyone counts.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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Closing the Deal Requires a Finer Touch

By Jeff Beals

There’s an old adage in the sales profession “A.B.C. Always Be Closing.”

While it’s a cliché, it does make sense at some level. Although you should always focus on building trust and determining what the prospect values, in the back your mind, you want to look for little clues and signals that the prospect is ready to sign. To gauge this, try incorporating “test closes.” It’s like floating a weather balloon to test the atmosphere.

Test closes help you figure out just where you stand. Ask questions such as, “How are you feeling so far?” “What’s the likelihood that you will make a move this month?” “What would it take for us to do this deal?” “If I was able to get you X, would you be willing to Y?”

When you’re trying to close a highly competitive sale, it can help to bring in a designated closer. This person is usually a highly experienced sales professional with some level of power or authority and who has not worked much with the prospect up to that point. Some companies half-jokingly refer to this person at “the hammer.”

I wrote a book a couple years ago called Selling Saturdays: Blue Chip Sales Tips from College Football in which I studied how legendary college football coaches “sold” their teams to elite, highly coveted athletes.  The result was an extraordinary perspective on the sales profession.

In college football, the designated closer is almost always the head coach. The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) allows assistant coaches to have more contact with prospective players (prospective “clients”). The assistant works with the prospect building the long-term relationship and developing trust.

At the end, when it’s time to seal the deal, the famous, highly paid head coach comes in and dazzles them. The big boss comes in and says, “We want you. We know you can be a huge success here. Let’s get it done.”

I call it, “putting a finer touch on the closing process.”  It sometimes requires a little finesse to close the deal.  Other times it takes a more provocative and memorable encounter.  Knowing the difference is an art, part the canvas painted by a savvy sales pro.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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Is Someone You Love Going to College? Their Success Depends on Three Words

By Jeff Beals

It’s that time of year – college students are making their way back to campus. Soon picturesque quads across the nation will be filled with backpack-toting collegians walking under perfectly azure skies crunching fallen leaves underfoot.

Thinking about the annual return of students to campus reminded me of a note I received from a reader several months ago. He asked me to write an article about college success. He wanted me to offer advice to students about to enter college. I told him I would be happy to do that but wanted to wait until the article would be timely. Well, that time is now.

If you have a son, daughter, grandchild, niece, nephew or anyone else you care about who will be starting college this fall, please read on. If YOU are going to college, it’s especially important to read on…

By the way, I’m actually quite comfortable addressing this question and fairly well credentialed in doing so. Before entering the for-profit business sector 14 years ago, I was dean of student affairs at a private college.

The keys to college success are quite similar to those of the professional world.

Three Words

Responsibility. Authority. Accountability. Success ultimately comes down to three words. I used to harp on those three words when I would meet with new students and upperclassmen. In order to succeed, each individual must take total responsibility for his or her own life. You must graciously accept credit when it is due, and more importantly, you must be the first to stand up and take the blame when you have made a mistake.

If you get an “A+” on a term paper, it’s because you did the necessary work, not because you got lucky. If you’re late for class, it’s your fault, not because you got stuck waiting at a railroad crossing (you should have left earlier). People who adopt this belief are almost always more successful than those who make excuses.

Every individual has responsibility for himself or herself. Nobody else can or should make decisions for you. Fortunately, each of us has the authority to carry out that responsibility. Nobody has the right to take away the power you have over your own life. Finally, we areaccountable for the decisions we make – good or bad. You live with the consequences of your decision-making and actions.

While responsibility, authority and accountability come with a burden, they are also liberating. Success begins and ends with you. People who abide by these three words enjoy more success and lead richer lives.

No Passivity Allowed

Students must take the initiative to make things happen. Successful people live active rather than passive lives. To persist in college, you must deliberately make things happen. Those students who sit in their residence hall rooms waiting for something to happen tend to turn into professionals who sit in their offices wondering why other people are so much more successful.

Get Involved

It may sound counter intuitive, but one of the best ways to succeed academically is to get involved outside the classroom. I saw it all the time when I worked as a college administrator – students who dropped out of school during their freshman or sophomore years tended to be isolated and not interwoven into the campus fabric.

Getting involved in a campus club, organization, Greek organization or athletic team helps you develop relationships with fellow students. These relationships consequently bind you emotionally to the school. If you are having a good time and benefiting from meaningful experiences and relationships, you’re more likely to work hard and do what it takes to stay there.

Collegiate involvement also makes the campus seem “smaller.” This is important, because going to college can feel intimidating to freshmen especially at large universities.

Time Management

While earning good grades takes hard work, you don’t want to be studying 24-7. Your undergraduate experience should be one of the most fun and memorable times of your life. You can enjoy the best of your academic and social lives if you are a good time manager.

As in the professional world, time management habits are one of the single most significant factors that separate the successful from the not-so-successful. If a student is lacking in time management, there are several on-line resources that provide tips, advice and exercises.

Find a Mentor

Mentorship has been proven over the years to be a highly effective path to success. New students should seek out mentors on campus. They could be professors, staff members, and most likely, an upperclassman who leading a successful college career. Having a role model and a source for advice makes it easier for a freshman to live a life of responsibility, authority and accountability.

Mentor-mentee relationships tend be informal, developed over time as people get to know each other and build friendships. That said, many colleges have formal mentoring programs in which incoming students are matched with upperclassmen who have agreed to serve as mentors and follow a designed program.

Be On Campus

Finally, there’s no substitute for just being on campus. I’m a big believer of on-campus living. By being on campus around the clock, you fully immerse yourself in the experience.

However, I understand that on-campus living is not logistically or financially possible for all students. In those cases, students should spend their free time on campus. Instead of going home right after class, stick around. Do your studying in the student center, the library or the quad. Eat your meals on campus. Just being there makes it more likely that you will succeed.

Like so many things in life, college requires that you throw your whole self into the experience. Make it your passion. Be a college student with all your heart. There are some things in life that you can do half-heartedly. College is not one of them. You need to give it your all and be fully committed.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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The Will to Prepare Is More Powerful than the Will to Win

By Jeff Beals

“It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters,” said the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant, perhaps the greatest coach in football history.

Preparation is important in all walks of life, but in the game of football, it’s patently obvious when you fail to do it. Just as Coach Bryant prepared his team for on-field competition, you must prepare just as intensely for your sales consultation meetings as well as final presentations.

When you consider what’s riding on your sales presentations and how important a positive outcome would be, it makes sense to prepare diligently.

First, study your targeted prospect. Make sure you know everything you can about him or her. The better your background research, the more likely you will be to prove your ability to solve their problems and provide what they value. Go over all the notes you logged during your previous communications with the prospect to make sure you’re not omitting anything important in the presentation. Figure out what critical pieces of information you still need to learn about the prospect and have a list of questions that specifically would yield such answers.

Anticipate any objections the prospect might put forth and have responses ready to go. Determine what parts of your sales presentations are just “boilerplate” material and which parts are to be customized. Spend time getting ready for the customized part, because you want it to sound natural and not awkward.

If you’re new to sales, or you have become a little rusty since your last presentation, there’s nothing wrong with practicing before a big meeting. You could always role-play with a colleague or friend.

On-field success in football is totally dependent on practice, so it’s no surprise that successful sales pros have been known to practice too.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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So You’re Going to Be on the Radio…Now What?

By Jeff Beals

At some point in your career, there’s a good chance you’ll be interviewed on the radio or some other form of media.  When this opportunity happens, you’ll want to maximize it.

As a guy who has hosted a radio show for nearly 11 years, I have seen professionals use radio interviews to boost their careers and advance their businesses.  I have also watched people fumble the opportunity of a radio interview, and worse yet, some guests will even fall flat on their faces.

Here’s how you can maximize your chance if you’re ever asked to be interviewed on a radio talk show (much of the same applies to television and podcasts as well):

Prepare

But don’t over-prepare!  Have your facts and figures in place and know what you hope to accomplish during the interview but don’t memorize scripted answers.

Attitude

Show up on time with a positive attitude.  Be prompt in answering the producer’s or host’s calls and emails leading up to the interview.  If you are a “low-maintenance” guest who also happens to talk about interesting things, you’ll be invited back for additional interview opportunities.

Sound Bites

Don’t ramble on with lengthy answers.  I once interviewed a CEO whose answer to my first question was four or five minutes long.  That’s forever in radio time.  I eventually had to cut her off which I really hated to do.

Language Choices

Avoid clichés, excessive industry jargon or too much politically correct language.  While you don’t want to say things that are insensitive, hurtful or harm your competitive advantage, listeners have no use for guests who spit out a bunch of lawyer-approved platitudes.

Stroke Their Egos

Most talk show hosts have elevated egos.  They love sounding witty, pithy and intelligent.  Do what you can to make the host sound good in front of his or her listeners while getting your message out.

Serve the Listeners

The worst interview guests are the ones who focus too much on themselves or go overboard in plugging their businesses.  If you want your interview to help you do more business, focus on providing valuable and interesting information to the listeners.  If they like you and appreciate your information, they will remember you and ultimately reward you.  Never sound like a paid advertisement!

Charisma

Strike a balance between being energetic-positive-enthusiastic and professional.  You don’t want to make it sound like you are giddy about being on the radio, but you never want to come across as bored or disinterested.

Be Forgiving

Remember that the host is there to attract and retain listeners, not build up you and your company.  The interview might be cut short.  There’s a high likelihood you won’t get to cover everything you would like to say.  Just let it go. Have a great attitude, build a relationship with the host and there’s a good chance you’ll be invited back.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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How to Avoid Overreacting When You Hear “No”

By Jeff Beals

Sometimes “no” means “no.”  Sometimes it means “not yet.”

Many sales professionals just take no for an answer and start wallowing about being stuck in a bad place rather than continuing to advance the selling process. You need to find out when a no really means no. If a no is actually a maybe in disguise, then you still have a chance.”

If you want to be a good closer, the first rule is to refrain from overreacting when you hear an objection. Don’t give up too quickly. You can avoid overreacting by mastering all the other steps in the process.

More important than the close is the need to build a trusting relationship. Prospects are not likely to turn down a vendor with whom they have developed a pleasant, trusting relationship. Focus early on discovering the prospect’s problem by asking probing questions and truly listening to the answers. Remember that the client determines what is valuable, not you. When you know the problem and you know what they truly value, you simply show how you can do a great job of taking care of them. Each step in the process is essentially a mini close that gets you closer to the finish line.

The purpose of a close, at least within the relationship-building paradigm, is to confirm the decision, spur the prospect to take action and finish the deal. When you take the time to do all the steps properly, you will close more than your fair share of deals.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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Finding Your Sales Accountability Partner

By Jeff Beals

The superstitious among us are not going to be happy with me.  Perhaps I should not even bring this up, but I feel it’s my duty.  So here goes…

Sales slumps.

I dislike them.  I try hard to avoid them, but they sometimes happen.

I met with a good friend this morning over coffee and a donut.  She’s a respected sales professional and has amassed an impressive record over 20-plus years selling high-value products in a handful of different industries.

She told me she had been going through a mini sales slump this summer and just shaken free of it.

“How did you beat it?” I asked.

As it turned out, she simply phoned her best friend, another long-time sales pro, and asked her for advice.  They had an in-depth conversation.  Friend-to-friend.  Salesperson-to-salesperson. Two professionals helping each other be more successful. Two people who understand the challenges that come with selling goods and services for a living.

Actually, this phone conversation was really nothing new.  These two sales pros have been helping each other for many years.  They once worked for the same company but now they sell entirely different products.  But what they sell really doesn’t matter.  To one another they are counselors, coaches and cheerleaders.

You could call them “sales accountability partners.”

Any professional working in any industry can benefit for having an accountability partner.  In sales, a profession that requires you to work independently under heavy competitive pressure, these trusted confidants are particularly valuable.

Sales accountability partners lift you up when you need it and call you on the carpet when you haven’t accomplished what you said you would.  An effective sales accountability partner sometimes plays the role of the supportive friend and other times acts like a results-oriented boss.

Do you have a sales accountability partner?

If not, it would be worth your while to find someone who understands what you do for a living. Often the best sales accountability partners come from a different company or an entirely different industry segment.  The key is to find a high-quality person who can help you while simultaneously profiting from your advice.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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So What Do You Do for a Living? Crafting a No-Gobbledygook Answer

By Jeff Beals

In the 1980s, millions of professionals heard about a new concept: the “elevator speech” or sometimes referred to as the “elevator pitch.”

As you move in and out of office buildings, you sometimes bump into someone who could possibly become a client or hire you for a new job.  You need to be prepared to say what you do quickly, in the time it takes the elevator to go from the lobby to the office upstairs.  During this time, you want to sound impressive while conveying something that the listener would find intriguing.

Back in the 80s, people would spend a lot of time developing and rehearsing these 20-to-30-second speeches.  Many people do the same thing today.

Over the years, the elevator speech unfortunately has become bastardized as people try to cram too much into it.  Elevator speeches have also been ruined by people trying to sound artificially impressive by littering their pitches with junk language, meaningless-but-fancy words.

The increasing reliance on junk language keeps popping up all over the place.

Upon arriving at the office one morning, I opened my email account and read this message:

Hello Jeff. I am writing to find out who at your company would be responsible for evaluating suite-of-services solutions that expand your competitive advantage across the enterprise.

“Suite-of-services solutions?” “Competitive advantage across the enterprise?”

Those are English words but certainly not plain English.

If this salesperson’s goal was to promptly get his email deleted, he succeeded. I can’t think of any reason on Earth why a prospect would bother responding to such a message. Not only is it a red warning flag that a salesman is stalking you, the message is full of annoying junk language.  It’s not providing the reader anything he or she would value.

Sadly, junk language is not limited to email sales pitches. It’s extremely common in networking settings.

I’m amazed at the drivel that comes from the mouths of professionals at networking events. Go to any cocktail party mixer, ask someone what they do, and you might get an answer that sounds something like this:

“I engage progressive, forward-thinking Fortune 500 companies that are seeking to shift their paradigm and adopt more of a global platform. I work with them to facilitate the development of strategic, integrated, highly actionable management solutions, which will boost their bottom line.”

That’s actually an elevator speech, but it’s not a very good one.

When people talk like this, they’re trying to sound impressive. Unfortunately, when we use twenty-five-dollar words, industry jargon and the latest, in-style buzzwords, we end up sounding anything but impressive. Convoluted double-speak is often used to cover up the fact that the speaker really doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.

Plain English, carefully crafted and skillfully delivered, is far more impressive and makes for better elevator speeches than the gobbledygook that too many people believe sounds “intellectual.”

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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Sign the Deal after Passing the Moment of Truth

By Jeff Beals

A few key beliefs and behaviors contribute to the creation and maintenance of a trusting business relationship:

  • Mirror the other person’s actions, voice and mannerisms.
  • Put aside your own interests to focus on what the other person cares about.
  • Tell the truth
  • Treat people as you would like to be treated.
  • Be empathetic and consequently respectful to the other person’s feelings and beliefs.
  • Establish a long track record that shows you always do the right thing.
  • Be a rock, the type of person upon whom others can always rely.
  • Pass the moment of truth

At some point in a relationship with any given prospect, you will encounter a moment of truth, a time in which you will be faced with an important decision. This is the moment of truth.  How you decide to act, the decision you make, determines if you “pass” the moment of truth.  If you do pass it, you build trust.  Fail it and you may lose the client forever.

Keep in mind that moments of truth are true sales opportunities.  Embrace them as a chance to prove your trustworthiness and advance the relationship thus locking up a loyal career-long client.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!  http://bit.ly/1gZqcoA