All About Active Selling Systems

All About Active Selling Systems

By Jerry Scrivo

In an “Active” selling system, the seller is actively going out to seek new clients as opposed to a ‘Passive” system in which the seller waits for interested individuals to contact him at which time his role is to take their order.

Every business has a selling system. These are usually very informal, but most businesses could benefit by establishing a formal written selling system. Such a system is composed of two elements, first WHAT you do, and then HOW you do it! The WHAT is the predetermined element of the process and includes exactly what you will say, the materials you will use when you say it, the dress, and the procedural standards you will observe in your meetings with prospects.

The HOW is what you, the sales person, will bring to the process. This includes how you say it, how you use it when you say it and your demeanor when you say it.

These two elements merge in the selling process to produce a more extraordinary result then you could ever achieve on your own without a system.

Using a formalized active selling system involves a series of three interrelated steps coupled with information tracking. Each of the steps is detailed by a series of scripts and procedures that define the interaction between the salesperson and the prospective customer. The system’s effectiveness is monitored through information tracking.

1.  Appointment Setting Activity

2.  Top Challenges Assessment

3.  Needs Analysis Presentation

4.  Information Tracking

Appointment Setting Activity

Most sales people fail at the beginning because they don’t realize the purpose of the appointment setting activity. They believe that the purpose is to qualify the prospect and ascertain whether or not he is a viable customer.

It’s NOT!

The purpose of Appointment Setting is only to make an appointment. It moves the prospect from where he is to a place where you can do a NEEDS Analysis which involves learning about his business, establishing credibility, and most importantly learning about the prospects’ TOP CHALLENGES! It is a series of words that engage the prospect by speaking primarily about the product you have to sell in terms of what it will do for him.

For Example:

Hello, Mr. Smith, I’m ____________ with _____________. Have you seen the remarkable new things that are being done to create strong sales in our down economy?

What new things?

That’s exactly why I called. May I have a moment of your time?

The appointment presentation tells the prospect that there are things going on in the world – “REMARKABLE NEW THINGS”–that he doesn’t know about (he’s ignorant), but he can now become familiar with them (gain knowledge) by just spending a few minutes with you! His emotional commitment is made. What he needs now is to find a rational argument to support it. That’s your job as the sales person, which is why the appointment is being made.

Top Challenges Assessment

The first thing you do in assessing the prospect’s top challenges is to repeat what you said in setting the appointment in order to reestablish emotional commitment.

“Remember, Mr. Smith, when we first talked, I mentioned that some remarkable new things were going on in the world to generate strong sales in a down economy?”

The second thing is to tell the prospect how you would like to proceed to fulfill your promise to him and this begins with establishing your credibility by communicating your company’s expertise and also your personal willingness to do whatever is necessary to utilize that expertise on his behalf. Next you describe the company’s system, why it works well, and the impact it will have on the prospect and his business.

At this point you ask the prospect to help you complete a brief questionnaire which is a listing of his TOP CHALLENGES. After which, you provide information on his areas of concern, (his true Needs and Wants) and show him how relevant they are to the report that you will prepare for him. The meeting is concluded by making an appointment to return with your analysis and an action plan that will have some valuable solutions for him – at no cost – and that you will take whatever time is necessary to help him understand those solutions, whether he decides to implement them or not! Upon completion of the top challenges assessment, you will make a follow up appointment to present your Needs Analysis.

Needs Analysis Presentation

The Needs Analysis presentation is the easiest component of the active selling system because if you’ve done the job effectively up to this point, the sale is already made. Most salespeople think that selling is “closing,” but it isn’t! Selling is “opening” which is what the top challenges assessment does. It opens up the prospect to a deeper experience of his frustration and to the opportunities available to him by going through the questioning process with you.

YOU NOW HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE HIM.  By working with you, your prospective customer is going to be able to access people who are business “pros” and who will be able to help him fulfill his deepest desires! He is going to get all of this for an affordable priced! What more could he ask for?

The Needs Analysis Presentation simply provides a rational argument that supports the emotional commitment he has already made. It brings the prospect up to date by reviewing all the compelling things we covered in identifying his top challenges that he may have forgotten, but not for long. They are a part of him and we are now reminding him of that fact.

Then review in great and earnest detail the prospective customers’ Needs Analysis and our action plan for him. The action plan will contain your products and services as solutions to his challenges. You must ask questions to make certain that the prospect feels that this is his report. Get his agreement that these are truly his top challenges and have him prioritize them.

Always ask WHY as he gives you this information. Question such as, why is this important? Why does it need to happen now? Why would your situation worsen if we didn’t do this? When that’s done, ask this question: “Of the options we’ve suggested here, which do you feel would best serve you right now?” Then wait for the answer because, the next person who speaks is going to make a purchase. If that person is you, you are going to buy a “no sale.”  That’s all there is to it except for writing up the SALE! But if the system is going to work for you, you must be willing to go through it the same way every single time. By doing it the same way every time, you will not be a selling person, but a selling system! A system for predictably producing a result that was formerly unpredictable. You will be able to tell just how predictable it is through the use of Information Tracking.

Information Tracking

Information Tracking should provide you with the following information:

•How many calls were made?

•How many prospects were reached?

•How many appointments were scheduled?

•How many appointments were held?

•How many top challenge assessments were completed?

•How many Needs Analysis Presentations were scheduled?

•How many Needs Analysis Presentations were completed?

•How many Action Plans were sold?

•What was the average dollar value of the sales?

The information should be recorded in a database. It will tell you an astonishing number of things.  It will tell you the rate of conversion between any two steps in the selling process, and which step a particular sales person needs help. Which of your people are “on the system” – that is, using the system verbatim – and which ones are off it. Start by calculating the cost of making a call, then the cost of completing the next step in the process, and from that derive the next until you have calculated the actual cost of making a sale. In short, Information Tracking can tell you everything you need to know.

CLICK HERE to learn more.

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by Royd Buchele

Our first response, when things go wrong is to blame it on some outside circumstance beyond our control. In fact, if you listen to a majority of conversations that occur between people, in the media, on the talk shows and in our own heads, they involve blame. For example, when we don’t accomplish something, it is blamed on a “lack of time”. This author tends to blame others when things don’t go his way. Swearing at some “they” or some “thing” for circumstances when he feels pushed into a corner and “there is no way out.” In my anger, I denounce the government, the big businesses, and the monopolies that have “caused” my plight. When all else fails, we blame our parents for putting us here in the first place. Our task as leaders is to get away as much as we can from the habit of blaming first and finding the real cause later.

A huge part of humanity’s psychic energy and time is spent on placing and expressing blame. We are a society obsessed with trying to find the causes of everything, looking at things in terms of good and evil. The media, in particular, is hyperactive to find out “why?” To blame is to get away from the fact that things sometimes just happen and it is no one’s or no circumstance’s fault. It is very hard for us to accept that some things just happen – some things just are. Our challenge is to release ourselves from our natural tendency to blame others for our problems. This is coming down to earth. Becoming an adult. Becoming united with the common grief of the earth. Becoming grounded.

To blame is to be an eternal adolescent.  Some people seem to be in a constant state of blaming others and circumstances. We have tremendous energy for blame. It is much easier to do so than to look at our own faults.  Choices exist, yet blame seems to be a more seductive target to place our energy on. Billions of our tax dollars are spent yearly attempting to correct things we feel are to blame. Social Work, psychology and liberal or conservative parties tends to blame what is happening on some cause or evil person or group. Blame becomes a self-fulfilling policy. For example, I found in retrospect, that I became an activist when I lived in Ann Arbor as a teenager because it was a good excuse to blame “the system” for my unhappiness. It makes us feel better to point the mirror away from ourselves. To blame is to not go down.

Are there times when blame is appropriate? Yes. The incompetent surgery unit at a hospital that takes out your kidney instead of giving you a hernia operation. A drunk driver receiving 3 years probation for his drinking “accident” that caused the death of your daughter. Are lawsuits which place the blame on this or that person, company or organization correct and right? Sometimes, yes.

Yet is everything unhealthy or bad the responsibility of the person or company offering it? Will we soon sue our mothers for what happened to us in the 9 months before we were born? You get the feeling that we wish to be protected from the womb to the tomb from all possible dangers before and after our death (then our loved ones can sue for pain and suffering). This ignores a reality that we are in a dangerous world in which we, by choice, jump into a vast majority of the dangers.  We tend to blame our addictions on what we are addicted to. Yes, driving in a car is dangerous – but we choose to get in that car, to light up that cigarette, to use electricity created by a Nuclear Power Plant. No one is innocent though we all wish to be babes in the woods.

The blame game keeps us from the fact that, no matter how hard we try, we cannot protect ourselves from our own darkness:  Like attracts to like. Whatever we call for tends to happen. As the great Jungian philosopher Marian Woodman says, we must “Learn to love or own crooked neighbor with our own crooked heart.” The more we stop blaming outside circumstances or people for our problems, the more we take charge of our own destiny. This eliminates a large part of the blame game and frees us to live our own lives.

As leaders, our challenge is to understand this tendency to blame.

What situations trigger your tendency to blame others or circumstances?

What do you tend to blame these things that happened on?

The next challenge is to utilize this process in working with your team, group, or department. For example, as we get into group problem solving, you will witness most problems that are identified tend to be blamed on circumstances beyond the group’s control:

What are examples of areas that team members in our department will tend to blame that are outside our control?



3. Other departments or shifts?


How can we help team members to focus on areas that are more in their control?



3.  “There are things that are in our control and outside our control. What would you say are solutions that are inside our control?”


To learn more, CLICK HERE.

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A Vision For Michigan

by Jerry Scrivo, Vice President

The Michigan economy will revive to full vigor by 2015. This will occur because unemployed persons will become entrepreneurs, find jobs with companies that are growing and prospering or

leave Michigan for jobs elsewhere. This process will be driven by the start up of new smaller businesses which are centered in manufacturing and supported by many service providers.

They will leverage our strengths in natural resources, education, manufacturing technology, and available work force.

Our natural resources, water, land, minerals, wind, forest, climate and natural beauty provide opportunities for alternative energy, tourism, furniture and basic raw materials while our educational system, workforce and manufacturing expertise will fuel manufacturing and service


A new virtual business model of smaller business units, tightly focused on their core functions with non-core functions being largely out-sourced to non-payroll participants, will be developed as this recovery takes place. It will utilize various types of non-payroll participants such as independent contractors, part-time workers, temporary workers, and outside service providers. Non-traditional arrangements such as working from home, internet collaboration and other technology based virtual work arrangements will be the underpinning of this business model.

MasterMind Consulting Network Inc. will play a key role in this revival by encouraging and assisting start up businesses and by working with owners to develop and adopt the new virtual business model for their enterprises.

To learn more, CLICK HERE.

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Press Releases

by Jerry Scrivo, Vice President and COO.

A press release is a great way for your client to get some free advertising and publicity in the local newspapers.  As a consultant it is your job to recognize when it is appropriate for you to write a press release for your client and what you should write about.  Below are the guidelines you need to follow when writing a press release.

When do you write a press release?

When a new business opens

When a business celebrates an anniversary

When a new product is being debuted

When a new employee joins a business

When an employee needs to be recognized for outstanding work

Any other significant dates or events


How to write a press release

When writing a press release you want to speak to the potential customers that will be reading the article.  In the first paragraph you want to introduce the company, owners and employees and give a brief description of the history of the company.  The second paragraph should mention any specific dates, times, phone numbers and an address if there is a celebration that is open to the public.  Having an open house is suggested when a new businesses is opening or having an anniversary.  It is a great way to get new customers attracted that might not originally be interested in the business.  Also when having an open house a business should provide incentives to get non customers interested.  This could include having a raffle, food, games for kids, or a special speaker, which also should be mentioned in the article.  The second paragraph also needs to give specific detail of what the business has to offer and its competitive advantage over the competition.  If the article is to honor an employee or owner then the second paragraph should give specific information about the employee and some of their accomplishments they have had over their career.  In order to obtain this information you need to spend time interviewing the person you are writing the article about.  The third paragraph should be a short summary of the article and a closing.  A press release should not be any longer than two and a half paragraphs because space in newspapers is limited.


After you write a press release

After you write a press release and your client has approved it you want to determine what newspapers to put the press release in.  It is ok to choose three or four papers to send the press release to because not all papers will run the article or run them at the same time.  Smaller local papers usually do not have a problem publishing articles that are already written; although you want to make sure you let your client know that it is possible that the article you wrote might be modified by the editor before it goes into the paper.  Larger papers might take interest in the press release but will send a journalist out to write their own press release.



Taking a digital picture of the business owners or employees is a great addition to a press release.  Attaching one or two pictures along with the press release to an email that you send to the newspaper and mentioning that you included a picture in the email is a good idea.  Like the press release, a newspaper might send their own photographers out to take pictures.


Getting a press release published

Newspapers are more inclined to publish a press release for a business that advertises in their newspaper, so make sure you know if there is a paper that your client advertises in.  Also developing relationships with the editors of newspapers is very beneficial because when you send in a press release it is good to have a contact person.  This helps to get your press release noticed and increases your chances of getting it in the newspaper.  You also want to keep a log of newspaper phone numbers, names and email addresses on hand so that you quickly contact newspapers and keep your contact information organized.  First you want to call the contact person at each paper that you are sending the press release too.  Give them a brief description of what the press release is about and if there is a date the press release needs to be published by.  Second you want to send the press release and any pictures you have by email to the editor or contact person you spoke with at the newspaper.  Third you want to call the paper back in two or three days to confirm that they received your email and when they are going to publish the article.  Fourth you want to let your client know which papers have agreed to run the article and on which date.


To learn more CLICK HERE.

To contact Jerry directly, email him at

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A Great Opportunity! (Improving New Business Proposals)

A Great Opportunity!

(Improving New Business Proposals)

By Jerry Scrivo, Manufacturing Specialist, eTurboTools

 When receiving a request for quote (RFQ), you have an opportunity to gain additional sales. An RFQ is evidence that the requestor is interested in doing business with you; if your proposal is the lowest cost or highest value proposition.

An RFQ is often viewed as evidence that you are pre-qualified and on the approved supplier list.  Likely, this is the result of intensive selling efforts.  While you may be tempted to celebrate the success of being allowed to submit a proposal, remember that submitting proposals is not why you are in business.  There are three possible outcomes when a company responds to a request for quote, only one of them can rightfully be called success.

  1. The proposal is “too high” – you may lose the business and the potential profit.
  2. The proposal is “Too Low” – you will gain the business and proceed to lose money on the additional sales.
  3. The proposal is “just right”- you win the business and make reasonable profits.

Our resources aren’t unlimited.  We can only produce so many products and produce so many cost estimates.  So how do we get to the success case more often?

3 Step Approach to Growth:

  1. Respond to more RFQ’s more quickly: Improve your process so that existing resources can respond to RFQ more quickly, allowing more proposals to be presented to potential customers.
  2. Improve the Quality of Proposals: Improve your tools so that the quality of proposals improves.  Errors made while preparing cost estimates can be greatly reduced by developing and using costing templates, standardizing labor and overhead allocations, and developing a database of the cost of purchased parts and materials.
  3. Become More Cost Competitive: Improving your understanding of what is driving costs is the first step in starting to drive those costs down.  Often we focus on the wrong things because we just don’t know, really know, where the money goes.

A successful overhaul of your proposal generating process will focus on all three. Better process, better tools, and better understanding will yield higher profits.   This involves improving the process in two primary arenas.


Getting Started: Costs

The first arena is COST because in order to generate a winning proposal you must first have a good understanding of your cost of doing business.  Do you know how much it costs to run each piece of machinery in your plant, in your office?  It really isn’t as overwhelming as it may seem.


Make a list of the equipment in your facility.  You already know which pieces of equipment are the major cost drivers, focus on those for now.  Find the energy consumption rates for each, the maintenance and upkeep costs, and the original purchase price.  You’re already well on your way to understanding a big piece of the cost picture.  With any luck, you will also uncover an opportunity for costs savings by upgrading to newer, more efficient equipment.



Do you own or rent your facility?  Either way, you can easily calculate the cost of occupying the space.  How much does it cost to heat the building, repair the roof, and fix the floor?  Just make a list and then add it up.  You’ll be surprised to find how much you already know.  Don’t assume your accountant knows more about the business than you do, he doesn’t.

If you’d like to get really sophisticated, you can allocate these costs by square foot and then calculate how much each area of the plant or office should “pay” for the space they use.


How much do you pay for labor?  Maybe you are unionized, or maybe you contract your labor from a third party.  Either way, you have to pay the people who work for you.

Direct labor costs go beyond the costs paid to employees in wages.  Government regulations have added many costs to being an employer, and you need to identify and understand each cost element.  It can differ from place to place, but here is a short list of many of the costs you need to consider.

  1. Wages
  2. FICA and Medicare
  3. Health Insurance
  4. Unemployment Insurance
  5. Workmen’s Compensation Insurance
  6. Vacation and Holiday Pay
  7. Overtime Pay

Raw Materials and Purchased Parts:

It may seem to go without saying, but it is important to truly understand what you it is costing you to procure the materials you need to manufacture your products.  Seldom does the price on the purchase order reflect the total costs.

Who pays for the shipping and packaging?  How much does it cost?  What about scrap or defective products?  Don’t’ forget duties, taxes, and other fees?

Make sure you have a good understanding of each of these elements of procurement costs?

Understanding Your System: Generating Proposals

Build Your Cost Templates:

Although not universally true, most organizations build only a few different type products.  There may be dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of different “stocking units”, but most of these are only minor variations on a common product.  But you wouldn’t know it by watching the proposal process.

Start by making a list of the products you make.  You may choose to categorize these by the product line, or by the process families used to make them.  But make the list, you’ll find that it isn’t overwhelming large.

From this list you can start making standardized bills of material (BOM) and bills of process (BOP) for each.  Don’t worry about perfection, the key is standardization.  These standardized lists become the foundation for your proposal templates.  Every time you use one, every time you improve one, your proposal process gets better, and the quality of your estimates will improve.

One of the key elements of a lean manufacturing system is standardized work.  In fact, “lean manufacturing” can’t really exist without standardized work.  Think of these costing templates as standardized work for the cost estimating process.

Cost Databases:

The best way to handle the major cost parameters is to put the information in tables and making sure that you always use the same, standardized information will decrease the time it takes to prepare proposals.  The key here is to always maintain current information in each data base.

Create a Labor Cost Table:

Identify the categories of labor costs for your facility.  It may be by department, or by work cell.  In a small facility, you may choose to categorize by employee.  However you choose, make sure to take the time to write it down so that we always use the same, standardized numbers.  For each category, calculate the direct labor rate, the variable overhead allocation, and the fixed overhead allocation.

To be continued…

For more information visit, CLICK HERE or email or call Jerry at 517-270-1065.

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by Royd Buchele

Implementation is where the rubber hits the road and the flag drops.  Those that can implement leave all others in the dust.  It is the only true way to gain measurable results because before anything is implemented all is theory, hopes and dreams.

Thousands of good ideas and people with pure talent and genius exist in the world and the halls of universities.  Yet until these ideas are implemented they have no real value.  Pure theory and thought has its place, but earns no real relevance unless it can be implemented finally into something that serves humanity. 

A person who is an implementer has all the breadth and depth of life open to him or her.  An implementer is able to gain exactly what she wants out of life because she resolutely moves toward that end.

Keys to Implementation

Implementation is an in-the-moment reality.   You can begin to implement right here, right now by taking action.  There will always be resistance to getting started and the best actions we can take are usually the ones we most resist.  Go with your first instinct.

For example, many future leaders are appalled by their bosses’ inability to move forward on goals to which they have committed.   These future leaders watch their superiors not move, not take action, not progress, not focus and they feel helpless and complain. “Why are they not taking action on the goals we set?” Yet what is staring them in the face is the key to their success.  The main thing managers and owners desire is for their people to take action and make things happen.  This is because it is hard to implement anything when all your people are standing passively by waiting for the leader to take the initiative.

In businesses, there are always tons of good ideas yet few people who want to take the ball and make them happen. As a leader, are you writing the ideas for implementation down?  Do you have a small pad with you in your back pocket (or something else) to capture these ideas as they come up?  It does not matter if you are the President of the company or on the factory floor, you can take leadership and be an implementer.  Approach your manager and say, “I’d like to take this goal on.”

Many companies are facing tremendous growth opportunities but need people willing to increase their skills and take on more responsibility.  Because the owners are so busy trying to keep up with demand, they have little time to focus on implementing goals.  A future leader can seize this opportunity to pick out one or two goals the owner would like to see accomplished and help make them happen. I urge you to take action on goals that can support the company. Embrace these goals and understand that they are the key to your and the company’s future success.  This is where your future as a leader can shine. 

And here again is a key point, where is the source of power?

Power is gained through action.  The more positive action you take in an organization the more power you have.  Power grows exponentially in waves.  Thus by taking action and helping implement your company’s goals, you are increasing your power within the organization as well as your own personal power.  Will you face obstacles?  Yes!   Will you take some risks?  Yes!  Are you better off than you were before you started?  Yes!

The problem is that most future leaders feel they have to ask permission or worse be asked to implement goals.  They are waiting to be forced to do it or at least be pushed gently.  Ninety Percent of the time this does not happen since deep down inside, the owner or top manager is too shy to ask for help or too beat up to expect more from his people.  The reality is that there are no real obstacles to taking action, save your own lack of resolve to do so.   This country, this company and this world screams out daily for more leaders willing to jump into more action rather than continue their pattern of stagnation and excuses.

Implementation requires us to think two steps ahead.   In order for me to do this, what do I need to do to get it to happen?  What are my action steps?   To implement, we must define our plan and then add two elements: persistence and action.

Persistence and Action

A famous movie director once said, “the key to success is showing up.” 

A successful radio personality commented that his key to success is forcing himself to say what comes to mind, even if he hesitates to say it. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Accept your genius and say what you think.” 

Action is going forward and doing what needs to be done. 


Action can be a phone call, a short conversation, turning up a machine, writing down an idea.  Most needed actions take only a short period of time. Every moment is the chance to gain the respect and admiration of someone (including yourself) by the actions you take.   Action is following your instinct.  Taking action is paying attention to the ideas that flow through you.  These ideas just come to you, such as calling your spouse or parent and telling them you love them.  To act you must have full faith in the beginning.  An idea in the moment may come to you on how to deal with your present stress and problems – if you ignore it, it is gone – if you take action, it can change your life!  To be in action is to express your true self!

All actions must be earned.  Living in the moment is taking action.  The truth stares you constantly in the eye, can you see it?  As you take action you seem to be moving through a whirlwind of great chaos, a void, this huge amount of energy must be moved through because as you take action you are jumping into the great beyond taking yourself into a new reality.

Our self-image tends to hold us back from taking action.   We spend a lot of our time and energy looking for excuses to our inaction – we search for psychological causes, circumstances beyond our control and people to blame why we never acted.   Within taking action, there will always be fear, doubt, low self-confidence, feeling stupid and dumb, human, uncomfortable and uncertain.  Yet all these feelings are there because you must earn that which you get.  From obstacles, death and challenges comes life.  Actual change involves a choice to live or to die and this is hard since there is a part of us that desires death.   Persistence and action towards the implementation of our goals represents our will to live.

Persistence is facing the paramount moment of success and continuing to take action, not giving up.  Success comes in these paramount moments.  If you take 100 people, 90 of these people will face opportunities for further success in their lives or careers and give up when the first obstacle shows its ugly face.  The other 10% will not give up, but see the obstacle as an opportunity and persist until they gain the prize.  You must have high desire to stick to your dreams.  To gain persistence, keep the action steps in front of you – ideally on your to-do list. If we don’t keep our ideas (so important) in front of our face, who are we to blame?

Action is grandiosity.  There can be too much action.  There can be too much debt and risk.  Most people fear risk more than they desire results so they don’t act.  In risk, there is self-defeatism and bad things do happen but nothing is gained without risk and learning.  Generally it is advisable to do what you are most afraid of.  In taking action, do not do so foolishly, do be calculating, do plan, but understand that there will always be risk in any action you take.

Implementation, persistence and action are not only for business but also for you!  What is your soul (self) screaming for?  What do you really desire to be doing?  Generally it is right in front of you, it is no mystery, more hunting, time for self, what is it?  What things would more fulfill you?

List three things you could do that will be fulfilling for you.




Quotes on Implementation, Persistence and Action

Paul J. Meyer:  “Nothing, absolutely nothing, can ever stop me or deter me from any goal I desire.”

Disraeli:  “I have brought myself, by long meditation, to the conviction that a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and that nothing can resist a will which will stake even existence upon its fulfillment.”

Buxton: “The longer I live, the more certain I am that the great difference between men, between the feeble and the powerful, the great and the insignificant, is energy – invincible determination…a purpose once fixed, and then death or victory.  That quality will do anything that can be done in the world – and no talents, no circumstances, no opportunities will make a two legged creature a man without it.”

To learn more, CLICK HERE.

To ask the Guru a question, CLICK HERE.

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Helping Our People Trouble Shoot and Solve Their Own Problems

by Royd Buchele

As managers, our key role is to empower our people to make more and more of their own decisions.  This is one of the key factors to increasing productivity and effectiveness throughout our company.  To accomplish this we use every opportunity throughout the day and week to train this skill.

Thinking Three Steps Ahead

When our people are out in the field or on a factory floor, one of the key skills we need to emphasize is how to think three steps ahead.  For example, when getting ready to start a job, what materials are needed?   What tools?   When doing a job, what are the next couple steps after the current step is completed? This can be trained by first telling the team member that you wish him or her to learn a new skill – “how to think three steps ahead”.  At the beginning of a job, stop the employee and say “Now, what materials will you need to complete this job?”   The key skill you’re training here is the stopping to think, which is not done naturally.  It is more natural to stop while a job is going on and travel back to wherever materials are and get what you need, many times making three or four trips.  Thus you make it into a game at first, quizzing the team member.

In the Drywall and Manufacturing industry, one of the key areas of importance is checking the quality of work.  Part of thinking three steps ahead is that it is ok to step back and check the quality of your drywall job throughout the day.  The same thing is true for manufacturing where it is important for a machine operator to check the quality of the first part being produced as well as a number of times throughout each hour of production.   Here you teach the employee the value of thinking three steps ahead in terms of checking the problem now so as not to continue the problem in the future.


By turning troubleshooting over to our people, we empower them to really take charge of their job.  To do this we must first help our employee define the problem they are having and then identify causes and solutions.  For example, in the world of selling, it is important for a salesperson to be able to identify why they are having low sales.  Troubleshooting in this area requires that you teach the employee the key factors that tend to cause low sales:

  1. Not seeing enough prospects.
  2. Not setting appointments on the phone or in person.
  3. Not closing the sale or
  4. Not having enough prospects.  The task here is to have the associate independently identify the reason for low sales and then decide an action plan to increase their selling performance.

The same would be true for fixing a machine.  What are the key reasons why this machine might be having a problem?  This, at first, must be trained (in some cases on a machine by machine basis).  As you do this, the employee will get a good basic education on machine repair.  This is true also for looking at a problem you are having with the consistency of the mud used in drywall.  The employee will need to be trained in what types of mud tend to work best – and what happens when the wrong mud mix is used.  Train the employee to identify the possible causes and then define a solution based on the information they have or the adjustments they have made.  It would be a good idea to put much of this process on paper since it can be systematically used again. This encourages the employee to become a specialist in the industry you are in. Teaching troubleshooting helps the employee realize that they are much more in control of their environment than they realize.

On a smaller scale you can teach an employee troubleshooting by simply refusing to answer a majority of questions and problems they bring you.  Learn to ask: “What do you think we should do about that? “ or “What do you think the answer is?”  This again allows the employee to learn to think and solve their problems.   In the end, this can save you and the employee hours of time a day and week.

Helping Our People Learn From Their Mistakes

When a mistake occurs and managers solve the problem without turning the mistake into a learning opportunity, they ignore a giant training opportunity.  The goal here is to not shame or blame the employee but work with the employee about what happened and what can be learned from it.  Mistakes are really the main way we learn and grow.  Teach the employee to take the opportunity to learn from each error.

Helping Our People Set goals and Inspect what They Expect

Have the employee set per job goals on what they wish to accomplish.  On a machine, they might say “I wish to produce 300 parts in the next 4 hours.”  In Drywall, they may say “I will get this room sanded and checked with a light by 3 p.m. this afternoon.  In sales, the salesperson may set a goal to see 10 prospects per day.  Goal setting on a daily basis helps the employee to not only be self-motivated but to inspect whether they accomplished the goal and why or why not.

A good thing to do here is ask the employee how their goals went for the day.  If they reached their goal, ask, “What made that happen?”  If they did not reach their goal, ask “What might you do differently next time to reach it?”  The key here is to celebrate our victories and then learn from them as well as to make adjustments if we are not reaching the goals we wish to reach.

List Three People and the Problems You wish them to Solve or Troubleshoot




What are the Benefits to Doing This?





To learn more, CLICK HERE.

To ask a question to the Guru, CLICK HERE.

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Discovering the Prime Buying Motive

Discovering the Prime Buying Motive by Royd Buchele

The prime buying motive is the real reason the client is buying from us.  Many times as salespeople we fail to find the prime buying motive and therefore fail to make the sale. The prime buying motive is the logical and emotional gut level reason the client is willing to buy from you.  In working with clients “our workplace is the clients mind” connected to their heart.  In order for clients to make a decision to buy they must feel that the value of the product far outweigh the costs. There are two areas that determine this value.

  1. The dollar value of making a decision to buy.  This could be in the dollar savings and / or of a higher value benefit your products provide the customer. In some cases you can provide a lower price than your competition. In other cases you can provide more service.  For an example in the insurance industry, the lowest price competitor may be less likely to pay a claim in a timely manner since service is not their strategy.  Your company on the other hand, may be higher priced but provide the extra value of faster and more reliable service when problems do occur. This also can be associated to a dollar value.
  2. The second value is perhaps more important than dollars – it is emotional value.  Emotional value is where the sales rubber truly hits the road.  For example a person may buy home or auto insurance because their state or their local bank requires them to.  Using this approach they may buy from you because you have the best price or can provide some extra service.  However, if you can help a client identify the emotional reasons why they would buy from you, you will have a lot better chance of making the sale.  The emotional value is best gained by asking the question “Why?

Too often we feel we know this reason – we assume the client is buying from us for the same reason we feel they should buy.  This is problematic because we are projecting our own values onto the client.  Their reason for buying is many times completely different than ours.  The best way to find out the client’s real reason (s) is by asking questions.

“Bob, looking at all the benefits we have talked about, what would you say is most important to you?”

To check a prime buying motive and its value we then need to use a very important follow up question that few salespeople have the guts to use:

“Why would you say that is important?”


“How is that valuable to you?”

Then you want to strip the onion by asking this question in one form or another again and again.

Here you build emotion and value.

To learn more, CLICK HERE.


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Accomplishing High Pay-Off Goals and Action Steps in the Face of Overwhelming Work and Activity

Accomplishing High Pay-Off Goals and Action Steps in the Face of Overwhelming Work and Activity

by Royd Buchele


          Success is our greatest adversity!  This statement holds true for the company that is goal directed and moving forward towards the future.

As leaders, our task is to continue to accomplish goals even when daily work is overwhelming.  To accomplish this, we must prioritize our day and week so that we are always accomplishing our high pay-off activity while continuing to please the customer and meet our employees needs and challenges.  This skill is one of the absolute keys to continued growth and success.  Obviously, it is easier said than done.

If we look at the full spectrum of what we do, we see that much of it is keeping the business going on a daily basis.  For example, an office manager in an insurance firm might have the responsibility of entering information for all commercial policies sold and all changes to these policies.  As the company’s sales force reaches their goals, the commercial work explodes and the office manager finds that more and more of her time must be spent just to keep up.  This reduces time for coaching people, working on projects and monitoring work.  Within the manager’s job are constantly dual pressure points:

Deadline Work vs. High Pay-Off Action Steps

Deadline work is work that can be measured since it needs to be done in a particular time frame due to customer or legal expectations.  The commercial changes must be entered so that the client is covered.  If it is not entered, the company can face liability as well as a potential lost customer relationship. Other examples of deadline work would be a consultant that needs to type up a goal planning sheet due at a meeting, or a manufacturing supervisor who must file a Quality report with a customer.  This work is hard to say “no” to since it has a clearly defined deadline.

On the other hand, you have High Pay-Off Action Steps which come with a much more sublime pressure – while being infinitely valuable to the business, the business as it currently stands will not fall apart short-term if these steps are not accomplished.  High Pay-Off Action Steps have no legal or customer deadlines and their value in many cases cannot be measured.  Examples of High Pay-Off Action Steps are:

  1. Having a meeting one-on-one with each team member on a monthly basis.
  2. Calling up a support person on a problem that might happen in the future
  3. Putting together policies and procedures and
  4. Studying your computer needs for the next couple years.

All these items are very important and might well be the top goals of the organization but do not have to happen in an immediate sense for the business to operate now or in the near future.

You can see there is no real have to here. Thus we see the beginnings of a problem that keeps small businesses small and large business like K-Mart, Highland Appliance and Apple Computer faltering or going out of business.  That is – it is extremely hard to take time for High Pay-off Action steps when you are overwhelmed with work that has deadlines. And yet, every day, in Jackson, Lenawee and Monroe counties a small or large business goes out of business because they are not focusing on what they need to do to improve and change. 

You see, these High Pay-Off Action steps are absolutely imperative, must happen and cannot be ignored since they are the keys to helping any business continually improve and in fact are the main reason managers exist in a business.  High Pay-Off Action Steps help the business to proactively avoid bad things happening to the company.  For example, every day small businesses across the country lose 100’s of thousands of dollars in computer data because of failure to back up and update their computer systems.  This is due to the managers deciding they “didn’t have the time” to do these procedures.  Another manger may get a hot sales recruit lead referred to him and fail to call this person (because they were too “busy”) and lose 1 million dollars in sales revenue over a period of the next 4 years.  People in an organization might quit and go to another company because they were not challenged enough or a miscommunication took place.  This all because we did not sit down with them and ask them how things were going on a regular basis.

When we are doing daily tasks with a deadline, we are working in the business.  When we are doing High Pay-Off Action Steps, we are working on the business.  When you work in the business too much, you lose perspective on the big picture and you become blind sighted.  Our role as managers is to not let this happen by making time for High Pay-Off Activities.

How to do this…

The Systems Approach

As a manger you control your entire system of time.  The full spectrum of your time is yours to control.  If your time system is to go after the piles of work on and around your desk first before all else – that is how you will focus your time.  If your goal is to always be caught up first (before you do anything else) this is how you will manage your time.

To spend more time on High Pay-Off Action Steps, simply adjust your time system.  Your best time system is your time management calendar.

Say for example you wish to meet with each team member monthly.  The best thing to do is to block out time for this in your calendar (Franklin Planner) setting up the time as early as possible in the day.  Make it a system by making it the same time with each person every month.  This gets you and the team member in the habit of meeting at this time. For example, if Abbey knows that she meets with Tina on the 2nd Tuesday at 3 p.m. every month she and Tina will make it a habit and both expect it to happen.

You are also using a principle here:  The best way to spend time on High Pay-Off Action Steps is to involve other people.   People have a hard time making commitments to themselves, yet a much easier time making commitments to other people.  Whenever you can, involve other people in your commitment.  It could be as simple as “Cindy, at the end of the day, could you ask me how I did on my call to Fred about this problem?  That will help me make the call.”  Cindy will most likely be willing to do this and the fact that you’ve made a commitment to someone else will help you remember to do this better (even if they forget to ask you).

Let us decide what time we wish to block out and how we can involve other people in this commitment.

List Out High Pay-Off Action Steps You Wish to Accomplish






Block out the time in your time management calendar.  Who can you involve in this commitment?

Doing High Pay-Off Action Steps is a Choice that You Make in the Moment

When it comes time for you to meet with someone or start research or a goal, we must understand that there will always be a voice inside us that forces us to choose whether or not to do this action step.  The voice says “Yes, in five minutes it will be time to meet with Abbey, but you must right now get these two items done for Mike and Joe and then call back this one customer and Sally went home sick and Chuck…..”  This voice will appear guaranteed.  The moment that Jenny is ready to get started on a new goal, 3 customers will come in the door with emergencies.  There is a part of us (and some might say outside forces) that do not want us to do these High Pay-Off Actions.  In 95% of the cases, we can simply acknowledge what this part of us is saying.  “Yes I do need to get these done for Mike and Joe, but I can get them done after I meet with Abbey”  Go ahead and get the High Pay-Off Action Steps done anyway.  Expect that these kind of things will happen, that you will be challenged in your attempt to start and accomplish these High Pay-Off Actions.  This is the moment when most people fail where they say, “Oh, Gosh, I just can’t do it.”  They give up.  Your role is to be smarter than that negative voice inside you and take charge of your situation.

Do the Difficult Things First

Most High Pay-Off Actions begin with a phone call or some type of communication with someone.  It is best to schedule High Pay-Off Action Steps at the beginning of the day since you can get them out of the way, handle them and move on.  For example, you may have an important phone call to make that makes you feel uncomfortable like Randy having to call an employee to ask them to go to the doctor since they have been sick for a week and you need them to get a doctor’s excuse.  This person might be a long time friend of the family.  Since you know the call will be uncomfortable, put it first on your list.  This helps avoid procrastination.  Do the same thing with counseling or discipline meetings.  Take care of them now instead of later.  Doing these action steps first are also important since it is less likely you will forget about them if they are at the top of your list and in front of your face.

List High Pay-Off Actions You Will Do Tomorrow At the Beginning of the Day:




The point of all this is to do the items you are not in the habit of doing first with a focus on getting them done.

Dealing with Time Pressure

Accomplish your High Pay-Off Action Steps first with faith that the work with deadlines will naturally get accomplished.  Have faith in this principle:

The things that must get done will get done even if we take time for items that don’t have to get done.

For example let us say that Jenny has 3 hours left in the day and as she looks at her Commercial work pile she has 3 ½ hours of work to do, all of which must be done at the end of the day.  At the same time, she needs 45 minutes to 1 hour to prepare for a class she will be giving the CSR’s tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.  Her goal is to not take the work home since that night is her child’s birthday party.  Here we have an example I’m sure you have all faced.

What can she do?

The whole point here is that as leaders we have an in the moment choice to give up or have faith, restructure, re-plan and move forward. The things you are in the habit of doing will naturally get done.

Get Out Of Fear and Get In Control 

When we commit to someone to do something and then do not do it, we are breaking the closest bonds of faith and destroying our reputation as leaders.  For a company to grow it must have their managers able to do what they say they are going to do.   To accomplish this we must take very seriously our commitments to others and get out of the fear that causes us not to accomplish what we promise.

Keep your commitments to others in front of your face at all times.  Put them at the top of your priority list.  Focus on them first before all else.

3 Commitments to Others I Will Put First On My List 




At the same time we must realize that in order for us to succeed as managers we must get out of fear.

  1. The fear that something bad will happen if I don’t get all the deadline work done now.
  2. The fear that the work will not all get accomplished.
  3. The fear that I am the only one who can accomplish this work.

Look at the fear and then sit back and decide what to do with it.  In all cases, do not let fear control you.


The best way to accomplish High Pay-Off Action Steps is to multiply yourself through your people.  Could you cross train someone in commercial work?

List of 4 Items to Delegate, Simplify or Eliminate.





Other Suggestions

1.  Set A Deadline for the High Pay-Off Action Steps

2.  Control Your Own Time with Other People

3.  Understand that all People Have Time Management problems and in many cases you will have to be their Time Manager for them.

4.  Create a High Pay-Off Checklist


To learn more, CLICK HERE.

Happy New Year!

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Dare to Aim High

We Challenge You to “Dare to Aim High”  by Jerry Scrivo.

At Mastermind Consulting Network, we serve very special clients – those who know they can be the best and are motivated to invest their time and resources in order to achieve extraordinary results that once achieved are maintain year in and year out.  They are obsessed with their drive for SUCCESS!  We understand these exceptional people because we share their high standards and work with such clients on a daily basis.


The Impossible Dream

As the song says, to dream the impossible dream is to engage an unbeatable challenge, to bear unbearable defeat and to go where the brave dare not go!   Your quest must be to reach the unreachable.  A quest that is followed without question or pause no matter how hopeless and in the end the world will be better for your having had the courage to reach for the unreachable!

The Truth about Dreams

In short, if you can’t dream it, you can’t achieve it!   The truth is that if you can not envision a fantastic outcome from your efforts, then it will never happen.  However, the ultimate outcome of aiming high, of being fully committed to the pursuit of the impossible dream is a result that will far exceed what could have otherwise been achieved.

The Power of Two

At MasterMind Consulting Network, we love working with clients on their “Impossible Dream.”  We love the challenge, the excitement and the intellectual stimulation because we have the tools and the POWER OF TWO on our side.  In computing, we see the power of multiple processors operating in parallel.  Similarly at MasterMind Consulting Network, we apply the power of many minds, knowledge bases, and experiences to problems in order to create synergistic outcomes that are greater than the sum of the inputs.  Large businesses have cross functional teams, brainstorming, and similar arrangements to enhance their quality, speed, and effectiveness on key projects.  Now the benefits of these techniques are available to businesses of all sizes and types thru MasterMind Consulting Network.  Our network of world class consultants creates synergistic results for clients daily.   By applying many minds to our client’s challenges we create an exponential outcome for them that could never have been achieved using only their in house resources.  These outputs are the SQUARE of the effort of a network of experts, not simply the SUM of their work!

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