Mary Ellroy, owner of Gamebird, is a game and toy inventor as well as a consultant to those wishing to bring their products to market. She’s also a member of my nearly 20-year old mastermind group and a dear friend. I take what she says seriously.

Slight digression: I remember my father trekking into NYC with me in the late 60’s carrying a perpetual calendar I had designed as a college project, which he thought was worthy of manufacture. My point here is that pretty much everyone I know at some point thinks they’re an inventor. Since you know some things about me already, one is that I didn’t get rich (or even sell anything) from that product.

Consulting to this audience proves tricky for Mary as most would-be inventions are as well-intentioned but un-salesworthy as mine. How do you kindly educate your audience, save them years of frustration and disappointment and take a small chunk of change in the process? Our mastermind group is an ideal place for her to share this challenge and develop strategies for making each appointment a win-win.

One not-so-easily rejected client of hers, after Mary thoroughly assessed her game idea, shot my friend an email the day after her disappointing evaluation. She wanted an explanation of what Mary meant when she said, “It’s all about the WOW factor.”

Mary is one of the most kind-hearted people I know. She doesn’t enjoy rejecting ideas, but also needs to respect and teach the wisdom of her industry and honor her own expertise in marketability. “That question had me go to to look up WOW Factor. They nail it down,” Mary told our group.

I’ll let you look it up yourself, but the more important take-away from our session was a retort Mary learned from Hasbro to whom she’s been selling for years. “The WOW factor–we know it when we see it. If we knew how to achieve it every time, we wouldn’t need you.”

It can be a tough world out there. The truth hurts. But it’s a time saver and may move you to the track you belong on rather than the one you may wish for.

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