zero2one – The Magic of Starting

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 request an ebook copy here with my compliments.

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.

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.

School of Thinking (SO)T Training Syllabus


17th November, 2016 will be the thirty-seventh anniversary of the independent School of Thinking.

Exporting over a half a billion thinking lessons since 1979, SOT Online Training has focused on three cognitive skillsets of measureable strategic value: thinking, leadership and selling.



Lateral Thinking

x10 Thinking

Greyscale Thinking

Thought Leadership

Darwinian Marketing

Memetic Engineering


WOMBAT Selling

Geddes of Scheyville Pipeline

Train-the Trainer


Science Thinking

English Thinking

Metacognition & Mindfulness


The Human Brain

The human brain is very poor at knowing things. On the other hand, it is very rich at believing things. What, for example, does your brain believe? I can tell you some of the things that my brain believes.

I believe (but cannot know) that I may well be the happiest man in the world. I believe that the world that I live in is la dolce vita!

Whatever may be true in physics in the Milky Way, and beyond, as far as my brain is concerned (as far as the cognitive physics of my neurosphere is concerned) my brain has created for me the good life!

We could just stop here. Or, we can go on …

As proof of my brain’s happy belief I have quite a lot of evidence to support it. But, not enough to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

What evidence do you have to support what your brain believes?

I must say that although my brain is by no means perfect (far from it!), I’m very pleased with its performance over the last 7 decades. It makes me laugh. It makes me cry. It surprises me and puzzles me. It challenges and also enables me. It plays me. It can ignore me. Trick me. Expose me. Even, hate me. But, to be fair, it has even saved my life on more than one occasion.

I don’t have a pet cat. I have a pet brain. It’s always been the favourite of all my gadgets. I will even go so far as to say, for the first time in public. I love my brain!

Yes, we’ve had many adventures together.

Flashback!! 🙂

MOONSHOT THINKING: Her Code Got Humans on the Moon—And She Invented Software Itself

Wired-logo-largeMargaret Hamilton wasn’t supposed to invent the modern concept of software and land men on the moon. It was 1960, not a time when women were encouraged to seek out high-powered technical work. Hamilton, a 24-year-old with an undergrad degree in mathematics, had gotten a job as a programmer at MIT, and the plan was for her to support her husband through his three-year stint at Harvard Law. After that, it would be her turn–she wanted a graduate degree in math.

But the Apollo space program came along. And Hamilton stayed in the lab to lead an epic feat of engineering that would help change the future of what was humanly–and digitally–possible.

Click to read the original article in WIRED …