Ask Affirming Questions

If you ever want to read a really good book someday, read, “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.  In the author teaches that the quality of your life is related to the quality of the questions you ask yourself; if you ask bad questions you get bad answers.  He writes that our bodies are designed to look for answers to the questions we ask ourselves, some may call that DNA, some may call it God but, Maltz calls it the servo-mechanism.  If you ask yourself, “Why am I always in debt?”  Your body is going to answer, “Well, you’re maxed out on your credit cards, you only pay the minimum, and every day on your way to work you stop and get a $4.00 latte.  The bad question leads us to non-affirming answers.  Affirming questions look for the solution, they typically start out like, “How can I..?”  Or, “What can I…?”  Instead of “Why am I always in debt?”  Ask, “How can I manage my money better?”  Companies that deliver poor service and they are faced with an upset customer, ask questions like, “What’s the problem?”  Or, “What’s wrong?”  These non-affirming questions don’t look for solutions.  We need to ask affirming questions, questions that demonstrate that we’re here to help, to look for solutions.  People who deliver great service to the customer don’t ask the upset customer, “What’s the problem?” they ask “How can I help?”

Hope you can attend my, "EFFORT & the Role of Leadership" Open workshop.  Learn to apply the '7 Slight Edges' manage your time and engage your staff.  January 18-19 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  $799.00 includes materials, lunches, snacks and beverages.

Write to find out more;



What does economics mean to you?  To me, economics is the skill, and it is a skill that you can learn, the skill of earning more money than you spend.  Many companies I work with are good at doing one or the other.  The very successful companies do both very well.  It’s difficult to deliver great service if you’re focus is on, not the customer but, the upcoming lease payment you’re going to have trouble making.  Ask your staff this question, “What are some costs we can cut to the benefit of the customer?”  The key words in this question are ‘to the benefit of the customer.’  Too many companies, when faced with the reality of cutting back, carelessly cut to hurt the customer.  Companies need to stop conducting business with the “earn and spend” attitude.  Remember, it’s not the money you earn that’s important, it’s the money you keep.

Hope you can attend my last webinar of the year on November 17th.  You have two time to choose from 11;00 and 3:00 central time.  This 60-minute session will give you real-world insights and applications to the ‘7 Slight Edges’ to keeping your customers.

Can’t make the date and time, no problem, for the same $97.00 you can have a recording of the session.

Please write if you need more information.



To deliver great service, title companies must make delivering great service the center of daily operations.  It’s the first thing on their mind, not the second thing.  Every action is met with the question, “How will this action benefit the customer?”  If you’re not giving your best effort it’s because you’re getting caught-up in the little things that make no difference in your level of service.  This is the time management side of delivering great customer service.  Companies that excel in delivering great service make it their top priority.

November 17th I will be conducting my “Seven Slight Edges” webinar.  $97 per connection.  If you can’t make the live session, you can have the recording for the same fee. 

January 18th -19th I will be conducting my “Effort & the Role of Leadership” Open Seminar.  This is the best time management for leaders workshop out there.  Raise your effectiveness by raising the effectiveness of your teams.

Call or write for more info on both programs.  

Mark 612-308-3065



Delivering great service means having faith.  What do I mean by faith? Faith is belief in something we have no proof of.  We may think that standing up and shaking our customers’ hand will bring the customer back but, we really don’t have proof they come back because of that greeting.  But, companies that deliver great service knows that it does, they have faith.  Companies that lack faith take a long time to may key decisions and then will change their minds quickly when they don’t see immediate results.  Companies with faith will move forward quickly with ideas and change their minds slowly.  Faith is about measurements; you have to put up units of measurements to know you are moving towards your big picture.  If your big picture is to live a healthy life style, and you have the courage to get on a diet and exercise plan to lose 10 pounds, what will you buy at the store to help you know you’re on track, probably a bathroom scale, right?  The scale helps you keep the faith.  If you paint a vivid big picture of what service should be and you have the courage to take action on it, then you need to make sure you put up sign posts, measurements that shows you’re on track. 

Please join me November 17th at 11:am or 3:pm central time for my webinar, “The Seven Slight Edges to Keeping Your Customers.”  You can choose either time slot or ask for the recording of the session.  $97.00 and you can have your entire staff particpate.



“The Seven Slight Edges to Keeping Your Customers”

According to a recent Harvard study, companies that make customer service the center of daily operations grow at twice the rate of their competition.  To do that company leaders need to create an environment of service. 

 In my twenty four years of working with title companies, real estate companies and mortgage bankers throughout the United States and I have noticed the little things companies did, and did very well, to keep their customers.  I call these little things, “Slight Edges.” 

 You’ve heard that term before, slight edges.  They are the seemingly little things you can do that make a big difference in the level of service you provide.  And, I have notice that there are seven slight edges.  Some companies I work with do three or four very well but, the very successful companies do all seven.  Practicing these seven slight edges will not only help you to grow from the inside out but, create an environment where to retain your employees.

Big Picture Thinking; Companies that deliver great service know ‘why’ they deliver great service.  They know and understand what’s in it for them, for the customer, and for their employees.  When you ask them, “Why is it so important to deliver great service?” you get answers like, “Well, the first time a customer does business with us, they spend $50 but, the second time they do business with us they spend $150.  So, we want to make sure they come back.”  Title companies know that first time home buyers will only stay in that house for 3 to 5 years.  So, they want to deliver great service so the customer will remember them and come back when they decide to sell.  Title companies want to deliver great service to their referral sources, like realtors, so they will continue to have closings with them.  This is the ‘why’ behind the drive.  Companies that see the Big Picture demonstrate a long term thinking process.  They put their clients and referral sources in a campaign to keep their business.  Companies that deliver poor look at customers as ‘work’ and not growth.  They are incapable of thinking beyond themselves; they view realtors as a demanding distraction.  Do this; ask your employees, “Why is it so important that we deliver great service to the customer?”  Listen to their responses; do they reflect small or big picture thinking?  It’s vital for your managers to be painting big picture for the staff.

“Faith; Living in Your Imagination”

The ‘Slight Edge’ of FAITH has many facets.  First; it’s about measurements; companies that deliver great service have faith and have units of measurements in place to help them keep the faith.  For instance, one client told me the first time a customer comes into their store they spend $20.00.  But, the second time the customer comes in spends over $100.00.  They track the number of times a customer returns and how much they spend.

Faith is belief in something we have no proof of.  This is another facet to faith, confidence in things we can’t control.  Companies that deliver great customer service don’t know for certain that smiling, making eye contact, standing up to greet the customer will bring them back but, they have faith that it will.

But here is the aspect of faith I would like to share with you.  Companies, or people for that matter, that lack faith, are living in their history.  Living in their history means they are always making excuses; “That’s not how we do things here.”  Or they say, “This is the way we’ve always done it.”  They are always looking in their rearview mirror.  They are continually looking at the way it’s always been, not how it could be. 

Whereas companies and people who live in their imagination are always looking to how things can be.  They see a future of positivity, a future that includes a new and different way to look at things.  They are motivated by what could be and not by what has been. 

Listen to the way you and the people around you are talking.  Are the comments you hear reflective of history, status quo?  If so, you need to set the example of living in your imagination by painting a big picture of how things can be.


It’s About Quality, Not Exceptional Customer Service

What is quality customer service?  How is it different, and better than exceptional service?  If you read my last blog, “Why I Call Exceptional Service, the Necessary Evil” you know already the downside to providing it.  For all of the reasons why exceptional is evil, quality customer service is good.

Quality service is about Big Picture thinking, looking beyond your current level of service and seeing how good it can be.  Exceptional service only looks at the issue that is in their face.

Quality service is about communication.  It’s important for the leadership to let the team know their input and feedback is vital for quality service to work.  Also, staff has to know and trust that communicating their ideas and suggests to leadership will be considered.

Quality service is companywide and it’s an attitude, not a department.  Too many companies think the customer service department is responsible for service and sales is in charge of sales and operations is in charge of operations.  Companies that deliver great service know that everyone within the company is responsible for and capable of creating a customer.

Quality service lives in a positive, productive environment.  When all employees are focused on the same big picture, encouraged to bring ideas to leadership, and receive praise for serving the customer to the best of their ability, employee absenteeism, tardiness and turnover is greatly reduced.

Quality service is affordable for all companies.  Maybe, at the most, you may need to invest in a communication training program for your leaders.  I have a great workshop called “Coaching & Leading Teams” or join my monthly webinars.

Quality service flies under the radar.  While exceptional service are the things, free giveaways, additional services, we do for the customer, quality service is in the offices and cubicals of your company, difficult for our competition to duplicate.

Any interest in my seminars, webinars, or writings on this topic or other customer service related issues, please call or write.


Mark Isaac


“EFFORT & the Role of Leadership”

I’m excited to announce on October 6, at 2:30 pm central time, I will be conducting a live, 90 minute webinar on time management for leaders.  It’s called “EFFORT & the Role of Leadership, Insights and Applications” and my goal is for you to find out where your time goes, how you can determine what the tasks are only you can do and how to increase the effectiveness of your staff.. 

 The fee is $97.00 and I don’t care how many people you have sitting in on the training.  This is a great value.

 To register, just send me an email, my contact info is below.

 No matter what our demand of time is, the supply will never go up.  There’s no price you can pay for it, it’s completely perishable and it cannot be stored.  Yesterday’s time is gone forever and will never be back.  Time is always is short supply.

 Who is it for?

Any current and future manager and supervisor faced with the challenge of managing their time and the time of their staff. 

 Effort and the Role of Leadership is a…

Time Management workshop:

  • Determine how to spend time on the activities that bring the best service to the customer.
  • Determine the tasks that only you can do.

Communications workshop:

  • Learn the MBA, a tool for communication success.
  • How to help the frontline worker take ownership of their responsibilities.

 Why is it so successful? 

 “EFFORT & the Role of Leadership” is the best time-management program designed specifically for leaders.  Dealing with interruptions, managing meetings, raising the effectiveness of your staff and identifying the “Big Stones that only you can do are just a few of the strategies discussed.  Some other key topics are the Maturity Ladder, Tyranny of the Urgent, and the Mutual Benefits Agreement, plus much more. 

 High praise indeed! 

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed your presentation.  I considered it a “throw away” item for the day, but it ended up being the highlight.  I learned quite a bit and I have already used some of the insights you provided.  I would definitely recommend your presentation to anyone!  -Law Office of Robert O. Kazary

  “Excellent material that makes us think.  The workshop made me aware of how to approach my team members.” – State Bank (Texas)



 Mark Isaac has been a training professional for twenty three years. He specializes in time management, customer service, management and leadership communication. He travels extensively working companies to increase customer retention and to create a strategy to engage your staff. He has a B.A. from the University of Minnesota.  He is the owner of Gorman Business Consultants. Mark has completed over 30 marathons.

 Mark Isaac Owner/Facilitator/Author Gorman Business Consultants 612-308-3065 www.




Using the Mutual Benefits Agreement

A manager needs a method of effective communication, a process they can use in any situation.  Salespeople use a logical, repeatable process to try and gain a sale.  Managers and supervisors need their staff to ‘buy’ into the vision of the company leadership, so why not have a logical, repeatable process to ensure success? 

This is what I like to call, “Mutual Benefits Agreement” or MBA.    It’s an agreement between you and the members of your team.  Done properly, you will fully engage your staff because it will cover all of the benefits of an engaged employee listed above. 

Mutual Benefits Agreement (MBA)

  • State the desired outcome; what gets done and when, keep it simple and to the point. 
  • Give guidelines; paint a big picture of what the outcome will look like.
  • Give them the tools; give them the ‘things’ they will need to reach the desired results.  List yourself as a resource and ask them what they think they will need.
  • Timetable; hold them accountable by checking in with them.
  • Consequences; what will be the good or bad reaction to either achieving or missing the desired outcome.

A few rules to keep in mind about the MBA are; use it in any situation, follow the steps in order, always list you as a resource, and remember to ask them what they need to get the job done.

The ‘7 Slight Edges’ at Work

I am struck by the commitment by companies to provide the best possible service for their customers and also, to provide a working environment to engage employees.

A local airline is putting FAITH in their Training Specialists to learn and then conduct my coaching program for managers.  A telecom company puts EFFORT into giving their managers and supervisors the soft skills as well as the technical skills.  A fast food chain practices ECONOMICS by testing my training process with few leaders, now are ready to commit dozens more.  A health care provider sees the BIG PICTURE and develops relationships with other local businesses.  A small hospital has the COURAGE to bring me in to facilitate workshops for their entire staff.  The director of the IT department for a large bank saw how his departments can BE OF SERVICE to their internal customer.  And all the participants were asking, “How can I separate my company from our competition with quality customer service?” and other AFFIRMING QUESTIONS. 

Don’t forget about my upcoming “Effective Communication for Leaders” webinar Tuesday, September 13th @ 2:30 central time.  It’s only $97 for your entire leadership team.  Can’t make the scheduled time?  For the same fee, purchase the recording. For any questions,