First, listen to the audio …

Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. – Fyodor Dostoevsky

It can be very difficult to start things. It can be quite a feat to go from zero to one.
Once you get started there is momentum and feedback but getting started can be difficult. Most races are lost not at the finishing line but at the starting blocks. 
Why? Because most people never even enter the race! They just never get started. Wasn’t it Lao-Tzu who pointed out that all epic journeys begin with a single step.

The Start of the Sale

What is the start of the sale? The start of the sale is Customer Attention. Before a customer can say YES or NO their attention must be on your offer. Fred Herman, author of KISS: Keep It Simple Salesman used to say, First, you’ve got to get the customer’s attention!

Yet, most of the time the vast majority of customers’ attention is not focused on your offer at all. Whenever, at any particular moment, the customer’s attention is not on your offer then there can be no hope of a sale.

The Check Move

To manage customer attention I designed a new unit of measurement. In my book NewSell, which became a best-seller in Australia, I designed a new unit of measurement which I called: Check.


A Check move (taken from the game of chess) is simply a customer contact of any kind. It keeps the focus on the escape from uncheck. Uncheck is when we are not in contact with a customer. Check is when we are in contact with a customer. From uncheck to check.

This has all been revised and updated in my book WOMBAT Selling: How To Sell By Word of Mouth and you can get an ebook copy here.

For years it’s been a common belief in selling that most sales were lost at the close. In other words, salespeople were missing sales because they were not ‘closing’ them.

Our research showed that this is a grand illusion. The whole issue of ‘closing the sale’ is a nonsense and I have offered a reward of $100,000 to the first person who can prove, with the balance of evidence, that it’s the salesperson who closes the sale. It’s actually the customer who closes the sale.

  • FACT: The decision to buy is an electro-chemical event in the brain of the customer and the salesperson does NOT control that event.

  • FACT: It’s the customer who closes the sale.

  • FACT: 99% of sales are not missed at the close at all but at the start.

  • FACT: It’s the failure to start the sale — to contact a customer by phone, by snail mail, by email or in person — that is the source of most lost business.

  • FACT: 99% of check moves have never yet been made.

Noting their check moves (customer contacts) helps salespeople keep a measurement of how much energy they are putting out into the marketplace.

Focusing on their check moves helps them: 1. to raise their energy level and avoid wasting time, and 2. to stop their obsession with ‘the close’ and all the archaic manipulation tactics that customers hate and which have given the selling profession such a bad image and poor ethical reputation.

Just get in touch with the customer and they will teach you how to sell them.

Focusing on the start (check) rather than the ‘close’, reduces the rejection and disappointment salespeople feel which so effects their energy levels. Check allows them to initiate many more customer contacts.

Morry Morgan’s book Selling Big to China tells about how he used “check strategy” to build a very successful HR consulting business in Shanghai and Beijing.

This, of course, always leads to better sales results because the only move that can turn a prospective customer into a client is CHECK which is enough to make it the most important move in business. As Woody Allen said, “80% of success is showing up.”


uncheck2check is a practical example of zero2one. The most difficult feat of selling is to escape from uncheck.

To start, to go from zero to one, is the fundamental creative act. The most difficult feat of creativity is to escape from zero.

To change a switch from the OFF position to the ON position is to start something and means something has now been created. It has been said that the most important skill in writing a book is sitting down at the keyboard — getting started.

When it comes to the power of STARTING no-one said it better than the German thinker, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, said:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.

Your DFQ #016:

What have you been putting off? What do you need to get started on?

Make a startlist and post your results.













20 thoughts on “#016 START

  1. Start Good , along with Smart Thought, acquire knowledge , keeping up good health , Planning your day work , Eating Food on time .. , Smart Investment. Reading newspaper in morning and book before sleeping. have 8 hrs sleep and more things

  2. Clever use of the DFQ to act on your own ‘Getting Started’ with the DFQs. Self-referential. Nice one Steve. We all have the same problems with starting new habits. It defeats most of us most of the time.

  3. The delay in providing initial comments highlights a few things for you/me.

    1. Just start- Don’t overthink
    2. Avoid recycling the current view I have created for myself. Avoid protectionist model and prepare to be exposed. This is the fear based part of me.
    3. Historically I have put off things that sit slightly outside my well defined priority list.
    4. I have the protection of health related issues that allow me to pivot too easily as times
    5. I want the start, journey and destination to be instantaneous
    6. My distorted view of time and urgency for outcomes dictates my willingness to engage
    7. Have more sight/interest in personal financial matters. This comes from a long held view that money does not create happiness and therefore can be easily pushed down the priority list. Lack of insight here.
    8. Developing a plan with my sister in regards to elderly parents and a transition to new housing arrangements. I have a well defined issue when it comes to working with her on these matters (psychologist required I think Michael)
    9. Find a way to read more (philosophy of science) and get away from CNN late at night
    10. Engage genuinely with individuals who appear to be closed. I suppose this also makes me closed?

  4. 1.write a chalice (bucket) list for the rest of this year
    2.illustrate and format my BigGirl Magic pdf and send it (digital) to 100 people
    3.start a jajabird competition – what does a jajabird look like
    4.Awari – map the basic timeframe for this project and 10x ways to convert their gold holdings into access to 21stCentury technologies and apps.. (including SOT of course) –
    5.create a cryptocurrency for Imagination, the greatest nation in the cognos cosmos
    6.write a list of daily ‘activities’ leading up to October 11th – my 60th birthday and start them everyday
    7.announce a Joyance flow festival and send out invitations
    8 start the inaugural.transmutation game
    9.explore virtuosity expressed thru fitness a series of full size ‘works of collaborative art’ using the precious and semi-precious metals of PNG mixed with paints and life models dressed in wearable art- based on tarot framework..

  5. Answering this question, rather than being paralysed by the fear that I might say something “stupid” (and be judged for it). Fear of failure often holds people back from their true potential. Happy to be starting my SDNT journey.

  6. 1. Start planning out how I am going to tackle my long to do list
    2. Start carving out specific times free of distraction to complete the above mentioned tasks
    3. Plan a new structure going forward on how I engage with my time – to serve two goals: 1) maximise their productivity and 2) maximise time available to me to focus on my tasks
    4. Start focussing on my physical and mental health
    5. Start a routine of exercise to keep point 4 in check
    6. Start work on an exciting new project
    7. Been putting off working on landscaping our backyard, start planning on the next steps
    8. Start reading a book on my way to work every morning
    9. Plan to spend more time with family
    10. Start thinking outside the box

  7. 1. Continue with SOT
    2. Continue with at least 1ltr h2o daily.
    3. Continue exercise regime gym/walks daily.
    4. Download paperwork for house transfer.
    5. Speak to father regarding the above.
    6. Contact Equinity re address
    7. Attend (file) all paperwork in my office by 20th August.
    8. Mark up cc and bank statements for tax returns by end of September and lodge.
    9. Present for Sally and concierge.
    10. Boat trip to Capri. Show GRD Villa SM

  8. To start doing things
    I need to :
    1- define clearly the things i want to do;
    2- understand the situation that I am going to work in;
    3- get enough knowledge;
    4- get suitable organizing tools;
    5- understand my abilities that needed to go ahead;
    6- plan to allocate needed resources;
    7- get right information;
    8- put a check list and schedule things;
    9- put a plan for actions;
    10 – determine the first step.
    ” gaining enough Knowledge + getting suitable organizing tools + having clear understanding + applying effective management , all of these lead to a good starting ‘”

  9. 1. start my online business
    2. Start my Aikido training
    3. Start putting myself first
    4. Start investing in my future financial freedom
    5. Start building better relationship with my family
    6. Start planning for my trip to see my mother
    7. Start planning for my obesity boards
    8. Start eating more all natural foods
    9. Start learning about how money works
    10. Start looking for real estate investment properties

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