Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

FE, Education & Business Marketing: Quick, Effective, Low Cost Marketing

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

Category: Customers’ Questions

Making the Most of MasterMind Groups

Mastermind groups: What are a MasterMind Groups? How Can I Start a Mastermind Group? How Can I Join a MasterMind Group?
Mastermind groups: What are a MasterMind Groups? How Can I Start a Mastermind Group? How Can I Join a MasterMind Group?

What are a MasterMind Groups? How Can I Start a Mastermind Group? How Can I Join a MasterMind Group? These Are Just Some of the MasterMind Questions I Get Asked.


For example, Ludmilla recently contacted me via LinkedIn and said she’s like to know more about mastermind groups. She wanted to know things like  How does a mastermind group work? How many people does a mastermind group need?  What prompted the mastermind group to come together? How successful has the mastermind been?


Let’s start with the basics.


What is a Mastermind Group?

There are many definitions of mastermind groups. Wikipedia talks about mastermind groups being peer to peer mentoring groups that help members to solve problems with input and advice from other members. It also says that research has shown that small groups, of up to ten people, work best. 

I disagree with much of that and will explain why later. But before I do that let me explain the origin of the term mastermind. It apparently comes from a term used by Napolean Hill in 1925. He expanded on it in his 1937 book, Think and Grow Rich. 

Hill talks about groups being of two or more people. 

So popular wisdom has it that mastermind groups should be between 2-10 people. That’s probably right for most groups but I’ve experience of groups consisting of several hundred people that work exceptionally well. 


Mastermind Group Structure

With regards size, it probably depends more on the leadership and structure of the group than actual numbers.

Some people suggest a revolving chair makes for a good group. But my experience is that a group needs strong leadership and preferably the same person in the chair throughout. That might be the leader or someone else but consistency is important to my mind.  

As for group size, most groups start with a few people and grow their membership over time. One group I know well started with just an idea by the founder who invited another to join him in sharing ideas, business opportunities etc. They then found another person to join, and another and another … and the group is now hundreds of people lead by the founder. Its an invite only group and each new person is “interviewed” by the founder to see if they are a good fit. The group has rules and the founder upholds the rules. 

Invite only groups good from the point of view of bringing in like-minded people already known to some of the group, but that could be said to be their weakness as well; new blood could be restricted. 


Mastermind Group Meetings

It might be that until now you’ve assumed that mastermind groups need to physically meet on a regular basis. Yes and no. The regular part is correct in my view but it need not be a physical meeting. Meeting online can work very well. In fact, it is the only way forward if the group is international. 

Online meetings work well if everyone joins a conference call, video link or whatever technology suits the group. For this to work well it needs an agenda and a strong chair. In many cases the agenda is set by topics being shared and agreed well in advance and there being someone to lead that part of the meeting. It might be they present on something they have achieved or that didn’t work so well. Or maybe on something they are planning or need advice on. 

In a single meeting it might be that 2-3 topics are on the agenda. Or it might be just one. It depends on the depth you want to delve and how much time the meeting lasts. Another consideration is the time of day, and day, you meet. If its an international group this is further complicated by time zones. Meeting times need to vary a bit from time to time to suit people on the other side of the world. 

Then there’s holidays, holy days and other things that inhibit attendance on any given date or time. 

That brings me to attendance. Does the group insist everyone attends or not? Large groups win here as people choose to attend when they wish and a viable group size for each meeting is easily maintained  The large group I’m in has never had problems with getting enough people on each call. Sometimes workloads mean some people don’t attend in months, but when things quieten down they can just pick up the threads again. 

One thing often talked about is that members need to contribute to each meeting. Contributing without having much to say seems wrong to me so I’m in favour of people not speaking unless they have something of value to add. It also means that there is nothing wrong in recording the event and circulating to those that couldn’t attend .. or as a reference to those that didn’t take notes!

Another consideration is other modes of communication. Ideally as well as a regular meeting, a forum of some sort is ideal. It can be as simple as an email group. Some of the discussions I’ve seen in groups can consist of hundreds of comments and replies. So a group that can be indexed in some way makes sense.  

Then there’s face to face meetings on top of the rest. The large group I’m involved in has country meetings from time to time. Organised by someone in that country, or who is travelling to that country, people are invited to an informal coffee or to a formal meeting with an agenda. Meeting people face to face is great and I’ve formed many long-term business relationships this way. Plus I’ve made some good friends this way as well. 


How Can I Start a Mastermind Group?

Unless you have personal experience of a group I would be wary of starting one from scratch. Learn about groups by being a member of a group first. Then start small and build from there. 


How Can I Join a MasterMind Group?

So if you need to join a mastermind group, where do you start? 

Try Googling “mastermind group in [your town]”. I did and thousands of pages came back. Some were for businesses generally, some for specific business types.  Some were free, some required a (hefty) membership fee. 

And if you want to join an “invite only” group there are ways to get invited. 

If you know someone in a group ask them to recommend you. Or if you know the leader/owner of a group you could try the same thing, or impress them with your abilities by ensuring you publish articles, questions or replies to questions in the media they use. If you stand out as being someone their group would benefit from they could well invite you. 


Vetting Prospective MasterMind Group Members 

It might be that you let people self-select to join your group and accept everyone. 

Or you might be very selective and screen applicants .. or even only invite those you know or your members have recommended. 

If you are going to be selective you need to think about your criteria. And that probably means you need to have some sort of group rules as well. Here are some possible questions you might use as templates for selecting members.


Why do you want to join?

What would you like to get out of membership?

What can you contribute? 

How will you contribute?

What are your values?

What drives you?

Who are your typical clients?

What are your client’s top five problems?

What are your strengths?

What are your goals?

What is holding you back?

Who in the group could help you with this? 

Who do you most admire in your market? 

What’s your greatest achievement? 

Will you be committed to the group? 


Of course, the questions you ask will depend a lot on the nature and structure of your mastermind group.


Questions to ask yourself about mastermind group applicants

Do I like, trust and respect this person? 

Would I do business with them?

Would I recommend them to others?

If you can’t give a categorical YES to each of the above questions you probably need to examine why, and if this is a person you want in the group. 



How To Make Effective Cold Calls

Is Cold Calling a Prospect a Good Idea?Is Cold Calling a Prospect a Good Idea?  If So, How Do You Cold Call Without Upsetting People? 


This is something I frequently get asked and an email from Mrs AH had me promising I’d post something on this blog. 

The answer is actually really simple.  

Cold Calling Isn’t Very Effective.  At least not on it’s own. 

But you can do a few simple things to make it far more effective. 

This is how it is done; in one sentence. 

You send the recipients an email a couple of days before you phone and you ask for “permission” to phone them.


This is a form of Advanced Thinking. 

Let me explain.  Most people regard cold calls as intrusive.  But if you give them some good advice in advance, and say you’d like to phone them in a few days if it is OK with them, then they are expecting your call.

Better still, if you get intercepted by a gatekeeper you can honestly say you arranged the call by email and that it is expected.   In a large number of cases this gets you pass the gatekeeper.  

So what about the advice you send them? The advice needs to address an issue they have.  For example, there are generic issues we all have at a certain level,  how to spend less on advertising, how to increase revenues, how to decrease costs.  Or there are problems specific to them and I’ll explain how to discover those another day.   But whatever it is your email mustn’t appear spammy.  The Law of Reciprocity then cuts in and they feel at least obliged to listen to you as you gave them something.

However think about it like this.  Do you take cold calls when someone only wants to sell to you?   If not, why not?  So turn this on its head. What if someone shows interest in your business and offers free help and advice, builds a relationship with you and becomes a trusted advisor or friend, are then you more likely to take the time to listen to them.  Most people are. 


Does This Really Work?

Here is how it worked for me.  I had a well respected colleague write to several CEOs and introduce me.  I then sent them a copy of my last book via the post, with a note that suggested we meet which was what my colleague had also suggested to them. 

Then a couple of days later I phoned and asked if the book had arrived.  The answer was always Yes.  So we chatted for a while. Only once we had a rapport, and they felt positive towards me, did I ask if it might be an idea to set a date to meet.

This method may sound long winded but it increased my conversion rate by a significant amount.

You needn’t send a book of your own.  It could be a two page list of tips or a copy of someone’s book.  It could be from a friend or something you have written yourself.

The thing is, I think you need to build a relationship and NOT make a totally cold call.