Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /var/www/vhosts/jeffblackman.com/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/cb-simple-video/shortcode.php:32) in /var/www/vhosts/jeffblackman.com/httpdocs/wp-content/themes/j-blackman/feeds/feed-rss2.php on line 7 Blackman & Associates http://www.jeffblackman.com Creating Profits Through People!® Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:05:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Creating Profits Through People!® no Creating Profits Through People!® Blackman & Associates http://www.jeffblackman.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://www.jeffblackman.com RAINDROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD. http://www.jeffblackman.com/raindrops-keep-falling-on-my-head/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/raindrops-keep-falling-on-my-head/#comments Tue, 21 Mar 2017 19:37:41 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2673 ]]> I’m a big fan of random of acts of kindness. umbrella-661971_640

Now you may be asking yourself, “What the heck does this have to do with results and peaking my profits.”

Actually, everything!

I’ve always firmly believed, business and success are also about…

altruism, not just capitalism

what you give, not just what you get

and being selfless, not just selfish

Therefore…

On a chilly, rainy day in Chicago, I dropped my wife and kids off and then parked.

As I began the two-block walk to meet my family, I was protected from the steady downpour by an umbrella. However, as I waited to cross the intersection, I saw an elderly man slowly walking toward me. He made futile attempts to block the raindrops with his hands.

As he approached me, I asked, “Where are you parked?” He said, “A few blocks from here.” I said, “Great! Let’s share the umbrella. I’ll walk you there!” He gratefully nodded.

After our first step together, I stopped. Then said, “I’ve got a better idea. Please raise your right hand.” He did. I then placed the umbrella in his hand and said, “Congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a new umbrella. Stay dry!”

He had a look of confusion and satisfaction.

We both left happy!

Who will you surprise today?

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TOOT YOUR HORN! http://www.jeffblackman.com/toot-your-horn/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/toot-your-horn/#comments Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:39:02 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2666 ]]> Do you ever have prospects who ask, “Why should we pick you?” musician-1045265_640

If so, here’s how you respond without sounding pompous or boastful.

An effective way to translate value to a prospect or referred lead is with testimonial endorsements. Your clients or customers are probably willing to say lots of nice things about you. Yet perhaps, you haven’t asked them.

It’s important to stress, the only way to secure favorable comments is by first doing your job: to meet clients’ or customers’ expectations and to exceed them!

Whether folks say incredible things about you in print, via e-mail or on the phone, your real challenge, is in using these words of praise to your advantage.

The next time a prospect asks:

  • “Why should we use you?”
  • “What makes you so special?”
  • “What will you do for us, others can’t?”

Here’s my suggestion. Don’t answer. That’s right, don’t answer. At least not from your perspective.

If you begin to tell a prospect what makes you so special, from whose viewpoint are you answering? Yours! And you’re biased. Even if it’s the truth.

Shift into a third-party testimonial strategy. Say something like:

“That’s a great question and a fair one to ask. It’s also a tough one for me to answer, because I guess I’m somewhat biased. Instead, let me share with you what three other clients/customers said about our working relationship and results.”

Here, you can:

√ repeat statements told to you

√ read from thank-you notes

√ send copies of e-mails

√ fax them letters

√ play or provide links to audio or video testimonials

Testimonials offer tremendous power and credibility. They’re especially valuable if your prospect knows the testimonial endorser.

I actually had one decision-maker exclaim, “Ernie said that about you? He doesn’t like anybody, you must really be good!”

This fellow quickly went from being a suspect—to a prospect—to a client!

The third-party testimonial strategy helps you toot your own horn, with some assistance. While you hold the horn, your testimonial endorsers enthusiastically play the notes!

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YOUR WONDERFUL LIFE! http://www.jeffblackman.com/your-wonderful-life/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/your-wonderful-life/#comments Mon, 23 Jan 2017 15:36:28 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2658 ]]> Version 2

At the start of a new year, folks are always in search of a “new” happiness. It’s a topic, amongst others—I addressed years ago, with fellow author and speaker, Brian Tracy, on my TV talk-show INSIGHT.

Here are brief excerpts:

Jeff Blackman: What is foremost on the minds of people you meet?

Brian Tracy: The common denominator, is we want to be happy. Happiness is largely defined as good relationships, good health, meaningful work and financial independence. We all want all four of these. You can measure how healthy and how happy you are, by how well you’re doing in each of these areas. If you have a deficiency in one, then you feel unhappy. Therefore, happiness is when your deficient needs are satisfied.

JB: Why are people so unwilling to take a risk or to make an enhancement, that can unequivocally improve their life?

BT: Fear and doubt have been the greatest enemies of mankind throughout history and still are. If a person was absolutely guaranteed that if you use this, you will experience marked improvement, if they were absolutely assured of it, they would act on it. But people sabotage themselves with their own doubts.

JB: Success is evolutionary, but everyone is looking for that quick fix. Is there one?

BT: We have two mental illnesses. A mental illness is a way of looking at the world that is incorrect with regard to reality. It isn’t what a person knows that hurts them, it’s what they know that isn’t true.

One of the things people are taught is that it’s possible to be successful quickly. There are no quick successes. To be successful, you’ve got to be willing to put in years of hard work.

The second mental illness we have, is called something for nothing. It’s impossible to get more out then you put in, unless somebody gets less out, then what they put in. You cannot have more unless you are stealing from somebody else. Our society is based on this idea that you can get something for nothing and you can get rich quick. The fact is, you have to pay full price in advance for any success you want.

JB: Do we spend too much time focused on victory vs. the behavior required to attain that victory?

BT: My friend, Denis Waitley, says we spend too much time on activities that are tension relieving, rather than activities that are goal achieving. The question is, “How badly do you want to be successful?” If you want to be successful, study other successful people. They have certain characteristics in common:

  1. They accept complete responsibility for their lives and don’t make excuses. They don’t expect something for nothing. They don’t expect anyone else to do it for them.
  2. They have very clear goals and written plans.
  3. They are continuous learners. They recognize that whatever they know is already becoming obsolete or is being eliminated by their           competition.
  4. They are very persistent. They are tenacious. They keep at it. They just keep working and working.

Anybody who will do these four, is going to have a wonderful life.

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CLASSROOM, BOARDROOM OR “HOME” ROOM! http://www.jeffblackman.com/classroom-boardroom-or-home-room/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/classroom-boardroom-or-home-room/#comments Fri, 26 Aug 2016 13:26:17 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2653 ]]> Crayons

With many schools already “back-in-session”—I found something in our daughter Brittany’s fourth-grade “academic archives” that’s applicable to not only “students” or “kids”—but also us “adults” in life and business.

It was originally sent to me, by John Hopkins, Brittany’s fourth-grade teacher at Glen Grove School. And it’s excerpted from Dr. Haim Ginnott’s 1972 book, Teacher and Child.

(The red parenthetical comments are my additions.)

“I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom.”
(office, boardroom, field, home)

“It’s my personal approach that creates the climate.”
(the culture, the environment, the family dynamic)

“It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, (leader, owner, sales pro, customer service rep, parent, child, team member…), I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s, (employee’s, teammate’s, customer’s, family member’s, friend’s…), life miserable or joyous.”

“I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child, (teammate, client, supplier, parent, husband, wife, partner, son, daughter, family member, friend…), humanized or de-humanized.”

Thanks John! It always fascinates me, when you learn valuable lessons, in unexpected ways.

Oh, Brittany passed the fourth grade in flying colors! And today—is a happy, positive, caring, compassionate, empathetic, productive and successful person and business-pro. Apparently, while in the classroom, she was paying attention! I love you Brit!

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LOST OR FOUND? http://www.jeffblackman.com/lost-or-found/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/lost-or-found/#comments Tue, 26 Jul 2016 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2618 ]]> Puzzle cube

It wasn’t the words, it was the sound in his voice that told me something was wrong.

During a recent phone conversation, a friend assured me everything was good in his life—with family and biz.

He said it. I heard it. Yet it didn’t ring true.

So when I politely nudged him, he finally admitted, “Jeff, I just lost a client. A big one. What did I do wrong?”

What if you, had asked me the same question? I’ll tell you, what I told him.

To give you a deeper insight and more on-target explanation, I need to obviously know more details. However, there’s a pretty good likelihood you blew it, in one or more ways.

So take a deep gulp. Be brutally honest. Review the following. And then you’ll know better than anyone else, where you goofed.

You may have lost a client if:

  1. You promised a lot, but under-delivered.
  2. You or you people were rude, uncaring or indifferent.
  3. You stopped listening, because you knew all the answers.
  4. You remembered the importance of customer or client acquisition, yet you forgot about the significance of satisfaction and retention.
  5. You forgot that individuals make decisions—and you began to take for granted or ignored the value in your relationships.
  6. Your product or service has declining value or quality.
  7. You stopped communicating in a timely and effective manner.
  8. Your client’s needs and expectations changed, but your strategies and solutions didn’t.
  9. You committed an ethical breach.
  10. You began to think you were selling a commodity with no differential competitive advantage, except a lower price.
  11. You missed deadlines and deliverables.
  12. Your customer found somebody else, who wasn’t doing 1 thru 11.

Are you in jeopardy of losing a customer or client?

If so, the time to take corrective action, is NOW!

By the way, a “lost” customer or client, may only be temporarily “misplaced.”

Where they are, really depends upon, where you are!

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NOTABLE QUOTABLES! http://www.jeffblackman.com/notable-quotables/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/notable-quotables/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 12:44:03 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2613 ]]> Cherish Dream Live

To help you start strong in Q3, here are some notable quotables!

*****

“The greatest gap in life is the one between knowing and doing.”

Dick Biggs

“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.”

William Blake

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

Jeff Bezos, CEO and co-founder of Amazon.com

“There’s only one way to succeed in anything, and that’s to give it everything.”

Vince Lombardi

“Enthusiasm moves the world.”

Arthur Balfour

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Helen Keller

“Life is a series of near misses. A lot of what we ascribe to luck is not luck at all. It’s seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future.”

Howard Schultz, Chairman – Starbucks

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

Theodor Seuss Geisel, from Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright and critic

“You can’t just sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream; you’ve got to get out there and make it happen for yourself.”

Diana Ross, American singer

“Don’t just stand there, make it happen.”

Lee Iacocca, former Chrysler chairman

“Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.”

Dr. Robert Schuller

“There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s yourself.”

Aldous Huxley

“To be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”

Coco Chanel

“The distance isn’t important; it’s only the first step that’s difficult.”

Marie de Vichy-Chamrond

“Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?”

Frank Scully

“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.”

Sir Winston Churchill

“The key to success: make a habit of doing the things you fear.”

Vincent Van Gogh

“If we make up our minds what we’re going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose.”

Ronald Reagan

“If you work just for the money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”

Ray Kroc

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”

Peter Drucker

“There ain’t no rules around here. We’re trying to accomplish something.”

Thomas Edison

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

Raymond Chandler

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Steve Jobs

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

Johann Goethe

*****

Get to it.

Go do it!

Do you have a favorite quote or saying? Would love to see it!

Please send it to: jeff@jeffblackman.com

Thanks. To your results!

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SEARCH. DISCOVER. ADAPT. PROFIT! http://www.jeffblackman.com/search-discover-adapt-profit/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/search-discover-adapt-profit/#comments Mon, 23 May 2016 15:10:16 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2607 ]]> iPad Google

Once, I suggested to a financial services client, that their advisors use Internet search engines to discover what others in their industry are doing and saying to promote their products, services and solutions.

For example, I recommended they consider doing searches for:

  • fee based planners
  • investment advisors
  • financial advisors
  • fee-only planners
  • financial planners, etc.

How come? Because they, like you, can quickly use the web, as a direct and indirect source of inspiration. For language. Concepts. And phraseology.

Often, when you search for stuff that’s merely related to your business, you can discover some powerful possibilities.

Here’s a similar strategy. I constantly scour magazines, (online and hardcopy), for articles and ads with captivating communication I can easily adapt for potential use.

The following three examples, may even have direct application to you and your business. They can influence how you communicate in print, as well as, during client meetings or prospect conversations.

1. From an old issue of BusinessWeek, excerpts from a Duke Energy ad:

“We didn’t become a leader by wearing blinders. We see the subtleties. The opportunities overlooked by others. It is this intimacy with detail, and the ability to step back and see beyond, which give us perspective.”

How can you adapt the preceding? Imagine a prospect asks, “So what makes you so special?”

You might answer:

“Extremely happy clients like, (name drop), tell us we’re focused on the details and the subtleties of their business. They feel this ability gives us and them a unique perspective to capitalize on opportunities that might be overlooked or missed by others.”

2. Excerpts from an ad for Novartis, (a drug therapy for eyesight deterioration):

“…an innovative force that’s bringing new optimism and hope…think what’s possible”

You might stress, “Clients like, (name drop) tell us we’re an innovative partner and creative force, helping them achieve new results and possibilities. Like the time we, (refer to case studies, metrics, goals met and exceeded, stats, testimonials, etc.)”

3. Excerpts from an ad for Lufthansa:

“Wherever you want to go, we make it easier for you to get there.”

You could emphasize, “Our clients, (name drop) especially value the easy or hassle-free way we…”

As you can tell, the possibilities are huge. So be willing to take the direct, indirect and side roads to results.

Search. Discover. Adapt. Profit!

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YOUR CRE8IV CRANIUM! http://www.jeffblackman.com/your-cre8iv-cranium/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/your-cre8iv-cranium/#comments Mon, 25 Apr 2016 13:33:08 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2602 ]]> Create bulb

A workshop participant once said to me, “Jeff, we’re living in the days of the Jetsons, but we’re serving our customers, like the days of the Flintstones.”

There’s always a better way. Your challenge, is to find it.

Here are nine creative strategies:

  • To boost your brain…
  • To crank your cranium…
  • To turn creativity into cash…
  • To convert possibilities into profit!

1. BE ON THE PROWL

Read. Then read some more. Especially, outside your area of expertise or traditional areas of interest. Head to a bookstore or newsstand and buy a book or magazine, where you might exclaim, “I can’t believe I’m buying this!” Or hop online and surf the web. Ride the wave of wonder. Give

yourself permission to bust beyond your perceived boundaries. Seek fresh content. Open your eyes to new stuff. Play with the possibilities.

Several years ago, as part of a project for a new series of books, I was stumped. My creative inspiration for an impactful logo was frozen in futility.  When my graphic designer kept asking, “What do you envision?,” I’d reply,

“Ain’t sure. Still thinking. Still looking.”

And then, one memorable night, I received the lightning bolt of inspiration I was waiting for. Where did it come from?  One of my kid’s magazines.  With the turn of a page, boom, there it was! A publication geared to eleven and twelve-year-olds stirred my creative juices. (Okay, so maybe I think and act like their target audience, but that’s a discussion for another book or therapy session!)

2. STARE WITH YOUR EARS, LISTEN WITH YOUR EYES

While focus is crucial, be sure to still look in all directions. Pay attention to the world around you. There’s lots of cool stuff happening! Look at billboards and signs. Walk into stores you’ve never visited before. Politely eavesdrop on conversations. Take a different route from point A to B. Then wonder, “Whooa, when did they build that?! Where did that come from?”  See new things.

When you’re at an airport, a mall, a restaurant, activate all your senses.  Look. Listen. Smell. Be ready and receptive to discover and uncover the possibilities.  Because some times, they sneak up on you.

The inspiration for my Carpe A.M. Carpe P.M. – Seize Your Destiny™ book title, came from a passing bus billboard, promoting a discotheque in Florida.

3. KEEP IT

When an idea hits you, capture it. NOW! Don’t lose it. Mumble into a recorder or smartphone. Send yourself an e-mail. Leave yourself a voice mail. Write it down. (I keep paper and pencil; in my car, next to my bed, in the bathroom, near the treadmill, etc.)

Start a file, (either hardcopy or electronic), for your ideas, then categorize them, i.e., new products, new services, new clients, new strategies, etc.

4. INCUBATE

The idea hits you, cool! You wrote it down, excellent. Now, forget about it.  For an hour or a day. Get a good night’s rest. Sleep on it. Let your subconscious kick-in.

Time, is a miraculous contributor to upgrades and improvements. It brings clarity. Use time to your advantage.

5. SEEK OUTSIDE COUNSEL

Ask others for their input. Capitalize on multiple brain-power. Remember, “Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.” Or to state it another way, “When two people are always in agreement, one of them ain’t necessary.”

6. GET ABSTRACT

Let the bizarre, absurd or goofy creep into your thought process. Defy the rules of conformity. I’ve always believed, if enough people tell you you’re nuts, you’re probably headed in the right direction!

7. TRUST YOUR GUT

That strange, quirky sensation that stirs in your tummy is usually right.  Listen to it. Trust your instincts. Don’t let your intuition lose to the cynics or voices of logical debate and doubt.

8. WATER IT AND WATCH IT GROW

Crank the H2O. Something miraculous happens near water. When I’m in the shower or shaving, my subconscious creativity is in turbo-drive. Let your mind wander. Often, the journey to greatness doesn’t take a straight or linear path. Let water unleash your creative spirit.

Nolan Bushnell entrepreneur and founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese once said, “Everyone who has taken a shower has an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.”

9. BE A DOER

Take action. Turn ideas into implementation. Inspiration into execution. There’s a big difference, between thinking and doing. As Ben Franklin once stated, “Well done is better than well said.”

And the best way to predict your future, is to create it!

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FAVOR YOUR S.A.B.E.R. http://www.jeffblackman.com/favor-your-s-a-b-e-r/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/favor-your-s-a-b-e-r/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2016 12:49:46 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2593 ]]> Start road-363265_640

Have you ever heard the figurative business suggestions to “sharpen your axe” or “polish your tools?” Me too. Well now, I’m gonna suggest, you also wield your saber. Or, S.A.B.E.R.!

A saber is a slightly curved blade that’s sharp on one edge. It’s a powerful tool. And so is this S.A.B.E.R, which will help you achieve a new edge of excellence!

SABER stands for:

S skills +

A attitude +

B behavior +

E xecution with excellence =

R results

SKILLS:

Do you have the skills you need, to attain the results you desire? If your answer is “no” then whatta ya gonna do about it?

Consider:

  • What are the skills you’d like to improve? (Make a list.)
  • How will you upgrade these skills? (i.e., will you read a book, listen to a CD, watch a DVD, enroll in a seminar or online course, or hire a coach or an advisor)
  • When will you start this new road to results? (Commit to a date. Define a deliverable. Take the first step.)

ATTITUDE:

Is attitude everything? Nope. For without action, it’s merely positive fantasy.  Yet attitude matters. Lots! And here’s the good news. When it comes to attitude, you’re the ONE in control. Total control. Positive or negative, it’s your decision.

A few years ago, I heard another hotel guest in Battle Creek, Michigan mumble beneath his breath, “It’s one of those days!” Heck, it was only 10:00 a.m.! Yet he was already convinced he could place this Monday on the losing side of his “daily scorecard.”

So what might influence your attitude? Do you see:

  • Challenge or opportunity?
  • Problem or inconvenience?
  • Dilemma or lesson?
  • Breakdown or breakthrough?
  • Mistake or asset?
  • Failure or fortune?

It’s a choice. And the choice is yours!

A sign in a University of Washington oceanography class proclaims: “Man is 97% water, the rest is all attitude.”

BEHAVIOR:

Plain and simple, it’s what you do. Not what you promise. Not what you claim. Not what you boast. Not what you intend. But what you DO.

And all too often, folks ain’t doing the right things! They engage in, what our youngest daughter Amanda, (who at the age of nine), began referring to… “inappropriate behavior.” (I know, the wisdom of a sage at a tender age!)

Psychologists even have a fancy term for helping folks who engage in counterproductive conduct: “behavior modification”

With behavior mod, psychologists attempt to positively influence one’s behavior, by rewarding new and desirable activities or performance. And making the undesirable behaviors, less attractive.

Whoa. Simple stuff. Good stuff. When it works. Yet often, it doesn’t. How come? Because it only works, when you work. With many, when all is said and done, more is usually said than done.

Don’t be a “sayer.” Be a DOER!

EXECUTE WITH EXCELLENCE:

To execute with excellence, it’s about attention to detail. Doing the right thing. The passion and commitment to deliver at peak levels of performance.  Not once. Repeatedly.

It’s about turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. It’s about the spirit, the will, the desire, the act to excel. To win.

It’s realizing while speed is appreciated, execution with excellence is remembered. Yet to pursue excellence and the right actions, it takes guts. For you’ll always be testing your limits. As Paul Harvey once said, “You can outdo you, if you really want to.”

RESULTS:

That’s the name of the game. Like it or not, we keep track. In points. In goals. In grades. In ratings. In dollars. In sales. The simple question, “How’d you do?” is all about results. And results is all about outcomes. Consequences. The tally. The score.

Did you win or lose? Advance or retreat?

Yet what influences or determines the results, are your skills, attitude, behaviors and execution with excellence.

As Dr. Phil McGraw, Ph.D., a.k.a. Dr. Phil, once said, “At the end of the game, it’s about results. Life is a full-contact sport and there’s a score up on the board.”

S + A + B + E = R! A simple formula.

S.A.B.E.R., a simple tool. Yet perhaps, an even more dynamic “weapon for winning.”

Will you wield this S.A.B.E.R.?

The choice is yours!

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WATTAGE FOR YOUR COTTAGE! http://www.jeffblackman.com/wattage-for-your-cottage/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/wattage-for-your-cottage/#comments Wed, 17 Feb 2016 18:47:53 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2589 ]]> Moon

In 1999, when we celebrated our son Chad’s 10th birthday at a local I-MAX theatre, it was your basic evening of popcorn and pandemonium. We tried, with little luck, to corral a dozen hyper-energized ten-year-old boys.

However, little did I realize, I’d also learn a valuable lesson from a 3D picture. Yet it’s a lesson, also applicable to you and your life and business, especially now.

That I-Max system was powered by a 12,000 watt sound system that produced the equivalent sensation of a jet plane taking off. Plus, the I-MAX projector had two 15,000 watt Xenon (Zee-non) lamps which created enough energy or light to project a spot 225,000 miles away…on the surface of the moon. Now that’s focus.

And focus is absolutely crucial to your on-going success, especially in any time of change. Remember, change may initially bring shock, discomfort or even pain. Yet it’ll also bring opportunity and growth.

While the past is history and the future a mystery, there’s nothing strange or mystical about change. It’s a constant. It’s a reality. So great things are still to come. Change, simply requires your willingness to take a step beyond.

Focus. And reach for the moon!

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ASCEND MY FRIEND! http://www.jeffblackman.com/ascend-my-friend/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/ascend-my-friend/#comments Mon, 25 Jan 2016 13:25:56 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2583 ]]> Ladder

Several years ago, on a flight to Richmond, Virginia, I glanced out the airplane’s window and was inspired by the blue skies and white clouds to write the following:

ASCEND MY FRIEND!

What hurdles are high, what stands in your way,
What obstacles might, challenge you today.

The barriers, the pitfalls—they will always exist,
So pursue and destroy them, don’t you dare resist.

For you’ll soon discover and unequivocally find,
that the real power—is within your mind.

So confront your battles, there’s no time for remorse,
Let positive thoughts, help chart your new course.

Hardship and hurt may attack with surprise,
But the only tragedy, is if you choose not to rise.

Along your journey, you may hear rejection,
But your only foe, is your own reflection.

Listen to your heart, you have much to learn,
You have lives to influence and success to earn.

Be your most ardent supporter, your own best friend,
And the ladder of life, you will always ascend!

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WHY? CAUS! http://www.jeffblackman.com/why-caus/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/why-caus/#comments Tue, 15 Dec 2015 16:20:07 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2577 ]]> On a daily basis, I confronted the world’s toughest negotiators. No, not clients. My kids! Especially when they were younger. They were relentless. Aggressive. And didn’t know the meaning of “No!” To them, “no” simply set the stage for dialogue.

Therefore, I learned a powerful response to their constant queries of “Why?” So when they asked, “Why?”…I conditioned myself to exclaim, “Because.”

It was simple. Direct. And a momentary stop-gap.

However, “because” is two syllables and it took too long to repeatedly utter. Therefore, with extensive training, I developed the ability to answer the frequent “Why?” questions with only one syllable, “Caus.” (Pronounced: cuz.)

They asked, “Why?” I declared, “Caus!”

And I realized, wouldn’t this be a wonderful retort to a prospect, who wonders, “Why should we use you?” And all you need to confidently respond with, is “Caus.”

Here’s what I mean.

What if “Caus” stood for:

Constant

Awesome

Unduplicatable

Supremacy

And that’s exactly what you deliver.

CAUS meaning:

Constant: on-going, all-the-time, non-stop.

Awesome: phenomenal, incredible, extraordinary.

Unduplicatable: can’t be copied, unique, one-of-a-kind.

Supremacy: highest quality, superior, the ultimate.

When you offer the marketplace constant, awesome, unduplicatable supremacy, your customers benefit. They tell the world. And you profit. Big time!

Here’s a simple example of “CAUS” in action. As you may know, in the Chicagoland area, “the hot dog” is considered haute cuisine. And one of the best places to devour this Chicago tradition, is at the Superdawg Drive-In.

superdawg

Superdawg is literally a nostalgic throw-back to the 1950s. Car-hops attach a tray to your car window stacked high with snap when you bite ‘em Superdawgs™, hot and crispy Superfries™ and thick and rich Supershakes™.

And the Superdawg receipt boldly declares:

“Our family has been thrilling customers with superfood and friendly service  since 1948.”

Wow! How’s that for a “CAUS” declaration!?

My wife and I even stopped for a Superdawg one night, after a wedding. The parking lot was full, yet we were the only ones in a formal gown and a tuxedo. (I was in the tux!)

So how can you create, constant, awesome, unduplicatable, supremacy with:

– your products

– your services

– your promotional literature

– your website

– your correspondence

– your telephone reception/greeting

– your delivery

– your culture

– your image

– your phone contact

– your packaging

– your merchandising

– your relationships

– your strategic alliances

– your people

And most important…

– with YOU

Oh, when you’re in Chicago and would like to witness and taste “constant, awesome, unduplicatable, supremacy” at Superdawg, call me. Lunch is my treat!

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WHEN IS NEXT YEAR? http://www.jeffblackman.com/when-is-next-year/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/when-is-next-year/#comments Mon, 16 Nov 2015 14:09:57 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2573 ]]> A reader asks:
Jeff, when I turn on the radio or TV, or pick up a newspaper or magazine, sports broadcasters and even business journalists are talking about the remarkable transformation of your beloved Chicago Cubs. How’d they do it and what lessons can be learned?

Answer:
Whoa! Intriguing question!

Every April, family, friends and clients ask me “How will the Cubs do this year?” Seven months ago, I confidently exclaimed, “They’ll be better, a few games over 500. About 85 victories and 77 losses.” I was wrong. Big time! Yet never have I been happier, to drastically miss-the-mark.

The Cubs finished the 2015 season 97 – 65. That’s 32 games or wins above 500! They headed to baseball’s postseason. Shocking! Surprising! Exhilarating!

They then defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card game. And then whupped their arch rival, the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Divisional series. And then came the New York Mets and the National League Championship series. Ouch! The Cubs were swept 4 – 0.

So how do I now feel about this year’s Cubbies season? It’s interesting how overachieving creates new expectations. For years, decades, ummm, even centuries, Cub Nation has declared, “Wait ‘til next year!” It really wasn’t a confident, prophetic prediction. Instead, it was more akin to a resigned consolation. An acceptance of prolonged defeat and mediocrity. Until…

no-more-next-year

We Cub fans started to wonder, imagine, dream…could “this” year be “THE” year? Nope! Yet once you shake away the disappointment and heartbreak, you realize there are SO MANY positive things that happened this year for the Chicago Cubs and their fans, that they teach you valuable lessons about life and business. For example:

• youth is a great thing, it represents talent and potential, yet it’ll always get beat by successful execution / Lesson: It’s not what you know or can do, it’s what you do DO!

• little things really do matter; one play, one pitch, one inch / Lesson: Pay attention to the details, they’re likely to be the difference in your life, personally and professionally.

• leadership starts at the top, from the moment he was hired as the new Cubs manager, Joe Maddon set the stage for positive possibilities and a new mindset of optimistic expectations (When I shared a flight to Tampa with Maddon in January, I simply said to him, “Joe, welcome. We’re thrilled you’re here!” At the time, I and others couldn’t predict, how thrilled we’d be!) / Lesson: Choose your leaders wisely. Culture starts at the top. Whether it’s who’s heading your company, a division, a department or a committee, the right leader better be in place. While they may or maynot help you “win the prize” this year, they’ll sure increase your probability for victory. And along the way, drive lots of other successful results and outcomes.

• baseball’s regular season is a grind, 162 games over 6+ months, it’s easy to lose focus, especially with long travel, injuries and slumps which is why the Cubs relied upon Maddon’s motivational mastery…with music, magic or other motivational mayhem to keep players interested and performing / Lesson: Know what drives your team. Individually and collectively. And that only happens, when you know your people. Their hopes, dreams, desires and motivators. Build and strengthen relationships. Let others know you care.

• unorthodox, unconventional and unexpected work, some think Joe Maddon is crazy, he might be, yet that also makes him a brilliant baseball strategist, i.e., batting the pitcher 8th vs. 9th, having players play multiple positions, executing back-to-back, run-producing safety squeeze bunts, etc. / Lesson: Forget about the naysayers and critics. Do what you think is right. Rely upon your knowledge, experience, metrics, statistics, eyes, ears and gut. Then decide. Confidently. Then execute or get the heck out of the way, and let your team execute. Your results will infom the world.

• control what you can control: Maddon would stress, “Forget about yesterday, don’t worry about tomorrow. Focus on today.” / Lesson: Be in charge, every day, of your attitude, choices and actions.

For you and the Cubs, may next year, be “the” year, to attain new levels of success. Live and work, like a champion!

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A HERO’S WELCOME! http://www.jeffblackman.com/a-heros-welcome/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/a-heros-welcome/#comments Wed, 21 Oct 2015 12:41:40 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2556 ]]> Blackman-1a-Navy

His journey began in 1945. He was a recent high school graduate and now an 18-year-old “Navy Man.” A Petty Officer Third Class. Yet little did he realize, he’d receive a hero’s welcome for his service as a World War II veteran, 70 years later. It was September 2nd, 3:05AM. Dad slowly entered my car. We left in darkness.

Over the decades, Dad and I have spent lots of memorable days together. Yet none like this. His Honor Flight Chicago trip as a World War II vet had officially begun. (Honor Flight Chicago’s mission is simple: “To thank and pay tribute to America’s war heroes, by bringing them to Washington, D.C. for a day of honor and remembrance at no cost to them.”)

First stop, Chicago’s Midway Airport. 3:40AM, Dad carefully exited my car. Orange-shirted volunteers gently helped him into one of his many “chariots” for the day. A smooth-movin’ wheelchair!

I parked my car and headed into Midway to join the fun. (I spend lots of time in airports. Yet never have I seen such excitement and joy…in any airport, especially at 4AM!) Hundreds of volunteers were there to “serve” veterans. For they had served America, its citizens and future generations.

Dad was one of 85 vets. 84 men. 1 woman. Average age 90. The oldest 99. And as Dad said, “Even a ‘kid,’ who was only 86!”

I donned my green Honor Flight shirt. I was now an “official guardian.” And I’d have the privilege of being Dads guardian for the day. Dad always encouraged and politely pushed me to succeed. Yet now, I’d be “pushing” him and his wheelchair, through crowded airports, around memorable D.C. memorials and up countless ramps.

Blackman-1b-Honor-Flight-Portrait-Shot

But first, an extensive, remarkably organized “check-in” process: Name tags issued. Ditty bags passed out. Portrait photos of each vet taken.

We breezed through a special security line and once at the gate for our Southwest charter to D.C., we were treated to coffee, donuts and “time travel.” A live-band, featuring “Andrews Sisters” impersonators belted out hits from the 1940s. While volunteer dancers in 40s garb danced with veterans.

Then the slow, methodical, highly efficient boarding process began. 85 vets. 8 nurses. 2 doctors. Volunteers. Guardians. Photographers and videographers. Finally, wheels-up. A glorious day to fly.

When I fly for business, clients ask, “How was your flight?” I typically reply, “Perfect! We took off, we landed. Uneventful.” By that aviation standard, this “flight” was also uneventful. But not the “greeting!”

As we entered the Dulles terminal, each vet was greeted by hundreds of volunteers, well-wishers, adults, children, high school teams and admirers, who thanked the vets for their courage and commitment with an extended handshake, a warm embrace, a high five, a huge smile or a simple kiss to the cheek.

The enthusiastic crowd showed their gratitude with signs, cheers and the always powerful, “Thanks for your service.” (It was one of many times during the day, when I wish I had a box of Kleenex with an automatic dispenser!)

Eventually, we exited the terminal, (still to thunderous applause), and headed to the next mode of transportation, our gleaming, five-strong “bus brigade” – Red, White, Blue, Green and Gold. (It’s also pretty easy to navigate Virginia and D.C. traffic, with a police escort!)

Visits during the day included; the Air Force Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center and our most memorable visit to the World War II Memorial.

Blackman-1c-WWII-Memorial

It included a special ceremony for the vets with a color guard, members of the U.S. Marine Corps band and a personal greeting from Senator Bob Dole, himself a WWII vet. (And ironically, the date of our trip, September 2nd, was the 70th anniversary of V-J Day, when Japan “formally” surrendered aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay.)

D.C. was stifling hot. Yet there was never a complaint. About the heat. The lack of sleep. The pace of the day. It was now easy for me to understand, why this group of men and women, have been called, “The Greatest Generation!” Being with them and Dad, was a day of significance.

It was late afternoon, and for the final time, almost 150 haggard yet happy vets, volunteers and guardians boarded our five buses. Off to Dulles! As we gathered at the gate for our return flight home, there was an audible buzz. Folks reflected on the day with new friends. They swapped stories about life during and after the war. And there was 1940s music, with a local dance group “cutting the rug” with women in polka dot dresses and men in zoot suits!

Finally, Southwest charter 8248 was headed back to Chicago. The overhead lights dimmed. Exhausted eyes closed. Proud, but pooped heads sunk into slumber. Until…

One hour into the flight, the plane’s lights abruptly began to shine. They were accompanied by a loud declaration over the plane’s PA system, “Mail call!” The vets were in disbelief. And awe!

Blackman-2a-Mail-Call

Each received a 9×12 envelope with their name on it. Inside; cards, letters, faxes, e-mails, crayon drawings, original artwork…from family, friends, business associates, local students and even the owners of Chicago’s professional sports teams. Each message offering sincere thanks, admiration and love to the vet for their service!

8:41PM, we landed. As we taxied toward the gate, a surprised vet exclaimed, “Is it raining?” Nope! Yet there was water raining down each side of the plane. The vets were receiving “salutes” from the Midway Airport Chicago Fire Department’s water canons! As the water streamed, so did the tears!

As vets de-planed, they were greeted by applause and cheers. And that was just in the jetway, from Southwest crew members, Midway employees, Honor Flight volunteers and members of the Chicago Fire Department.

If the reception at Dulles was remarkable, the welcome at Midway was incomprehensible. As each vet exited, he or she was greeted by saluting active members of the U.S. Navy, who then became a vet’s official escort. I relinquished Dad’s “pushing priorities” to the U.S. Navy’s Jeremy Butler. I proudly walked about five feet behind, capturing pictures and video. Hundreds of enthusiastic well-wishers whooped, hollered, clapped and repeatedly told each vet, “Thanks for your service!” (The musical accompaniment was bagpipers!)

Blackman-2b-Midway-Welcome

And when you thought the raucous welcome couldn’t get any better, it did!

As we headed to Midway’s ground floor, a band played patriotic American songs. Plus Honor Flight transformed an expansive area of baggage claim, into a dedicated, winding parade route. Lined by almost 3,000 frenzied family, friends and admirers.

Many feverishly waved American flags and held up signs, banners and posters, with a vet’s picture from the 1940s and simple messages of love and appreciation. Folks continually reached over the security fence or barrier to thank each vet for their service. And then…

Tears swelled in Dad’s eyes. To my knowledge, yet his surprise…

He looked up, to his right, lining the parade route…were my Mom, my family and our friends, cheering, applauding, hugging, kissing and yelling, “Welcome home Irv!” / “You’re a hero Dad!” / “Way to go Papa!” (Dad said he now expects this reception, every time he flies!)

Blackman-2c-Mom-&-Dad

If you’re a World War II vet or know a vet who’s interested in this powerful and unforgettable day of remembrance, (or you’d like to volunteer), hop online to see what honor flights are available in your region of the United States. And if you’re in the Chicagoland area, simply head to honorflightchicago.org or call 773.227.VETS (8387)

Mom, we brought your Navy Man home safely. Dad, thanks for serving. You’re a hero. I love you!

 
 
 

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FOCUS TIME! http://www.jeffblackman.com/focus-time/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/focus-time/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2546 ]]> hourglass

A subscriber asks:

Jeff, as much as I try to stay focused, I’m often easily distracted. What do you suggest?

Answer:

Great question. One we could easily spend hours on. Yet in the interest of brevity, simplicity and ease of execution, here’s a dynamite idea from Rob Baskin, a client and friend, who continually shows me, he’s a very focused guy.

Here’s Rob, in his own words:

“My hourglass, is about 16” tall with white sand. When I run it, I commit myself to working on one and only one task for the duration. When in the office, I generally use it one or two times per day, to focus on and knock-off my highest priorities.

If I finish early, I either move on to my next highest priority or use the newly discovered time to return calls, check e-mails, or do a walk-around of our departments.

The hourglass has also become symbolic of “focus time.” If someone enters my office for an impromptu visit, my assistant knows the glass is running and tells him or her, I’m in “focus mode.” Generally, visitors are very agreeable, and we visit when “focus time” is over.

This is a very simplistic idea, yet what I find absolutely amazing, is what can be accomplished in such a short time. I guess that’s the power of focus.”

Thanks Rob!

What will you accomplish, in your “focus time?”

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT! http://www.jeffblackman.com/food-for-thought/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/food-for-thought/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 13:59:45 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2541 ]]> vegetables

While standing in the checkout line at Whole Foods Market, I glanced up. Emblazoned on the wall, is a series of simple, yet powerful signs.

The first one, is about six feet long and brown, with ten inch white letters proclaiming: Our Core Values

Beneath it, were five smaller signs. Each, about three feet by two feet. Their beige letters, state the five distinct core values of Whole Foods:

  1. We sell the highest quality foods available.
  2. We care about team member happiness and excellence.
  3. We satisfy and delight our customers.
  4. We create wealth through profits and growth.
  5. We care about our environment.

All, good stuff. Truly, food for thought! So it got me thinking…

What are your core values?

How are they communicated? Internally? Externally?

Are they tucked-away or highly visible?

And most important, how are you living and executing them?

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MY INTERVIEW WITH BRUCE JENNER. http://www.jeffblackman.com/my-interview-with-bruce-jenner/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/my-interview-with-bruce-jenner/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 13:06:24 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2530 ]]> bruce-jenner-jeff-blackman

Bruce Jenner walked into our radio station early. He had a big smile, a warm handshake and a friendly, relaxed demeanor. Bruce was gracious, charming and funny. On-the-air and off. Some guests would only be “on” when the red light was on. Not Jenner. He conveyed the message, “I’m happy to be here!” And following our interview, he even hung around to pose for pictures with me and other members of the WFYR radio team.

It was the 1980s, long before the relentlessly-hyped, headline-grabbing April 24th conversation between Jenner and ABC’s Diane Sawyer, seen by 17 million viewers. While frequently promoted as, “The Interview,” there was a far more valuable and impactful Bruce Jenner dialogue to me. My interview with him, when Jenner was a guest on my radio talk-show in Chicago, The Connection.

When Jenner and I visited, he wasn’t a “reality TV star.” In reality though, he was a star. A big one. A celebrity. An Olympic gold medalist. An American hero!

Our focus here, won’t be on Jenner’s transgender announcement. Instead, it’ll be on our conversation thirty years ago. What I learned from him then and have applied for three decades. And what you too can learn from him and apply with remarkable results. If you choose.

Yet there’s one thing Jenner said during the ABC commercials to promote his interview with Sawyer I found especially interesting. Because when I heard it, it immediately took me back to our interview.

Jenner said in the ABC TV spots, “My whole life has been getting me ready for this.” And I realized, that’s quintessential Jenner. Really no different “today” versus three decades ago, with his approach or preparation.

For what I learned then about Bruce Jenner is…

He’s a focused, disciplined winner. Jenner knew how to prepare mentally and physically for victory. How to become a world-record-holder and a gold medalist in the grueling Olympic decathlon competition.

As a radio and TV broadcaster, I interviewed many professional athletes who performed at peak or championship levels. And all of them had one thing in common. They visualized their success. Visualization helped them create a mental rehearsal for the real thing.

Yet the most striking example of the power of visualization, is Jenner’s. I asked Bruce to tell me about his gold medal and record-setting decathlon victory in Montreal in 1976.

Bruce interrupted me and said, “Jeff, I didn’t win the gold in ’76, I won it in ’72!” I said, “Excuse me?!” And he said, “Let me explain. Jeff you’re right, technically I won the gold in 1976 in Montreal, but I really won it in 1972, when I lost in Munich.”

He said the victory in Montreal was for the world to witness, but what he called the “victory in ’72,” was even harder to secure, because it was a victory only within his mind. He told me from the moment he lost in Munich in 1972, he began to rededicate and recommit himself to his goal, the gold medal in the decathlon.

He saw himself victorious every day for the next four years. He saw himself standing on the victor’s platform with the gold medal draped around his neck. He saw himself circling Olympic Stadium waving the American flag. Bruce Jenner visualized victory and it became reality.

To see Jenner’s story as told by me in an excerpt or “classic cut” from our Vintage Video Vault and my How to Set and Really Achieve Your Goals video, please click this YouTube channel, Jeff Blackman’s ResultsTV link:

http://tinyurl.com/BlackmanJennerInterview

Bruce Jenner’s success is a dramatic testament to the impact of visualization. And visualization is also linked to another step in positively programming your belief system. And that’s graphic reinforcement or using pictures to help you focus on your dream(s), desired outcome(s) or goal(s).

Bruce Jenner also used this winning strategy. Jenner told me he took a picture of the gold, silver and bronze medalists from the 1972 Olympic games and then altered the picture in a unique way.

He cut out from the picture, the head of the gold medalist. And in its place, he pasted his own face. For the next four years, he stared at a picture showing him, Bruce Jenner, to be the gold medalist. He once again stressed, “Jeff I won the gold in my mind and in that picture, after I lost in Munich in 1972.” He added, “I merely went to Montreal in 1976, to pick up a medal I already won!” How’s that for a powerful example?

What might your pictures or words of graphic reinforcement be? For your life? Career? Business? If you’d like, here’s a fun project.

When I’m conducting goal setting results-sessions, I have participants create goal setting achievement posters or vision boards. They’re surrounded by personal photos and lots of magazines. The magazines are a source of inspiration, with articles, words and pictures about successful people or ads promoting products people might like to own.

These images and words can be pasted on to the goals posters. One side or both sides. One poster or more. Within the poster’s borders or beyond. No rules! No boundaries! For I stress to folks, “When you’re busting beyond your own mental boundaries, it’s not called trespassing!”

Graphic reinforcement can be a single picture, or with the goals posters, it can be several pictures. The vision boards tell a story of accomplishment and success at both personal and professional levels.

Clients’ posters have included pictures of their dream home, a vacation getaway, a new car, the corporate logo of a prospect they’re pursuing, an ideal weight, or words reinforcing their lifestyle or approach to business, i.e., family first, teamwork, persistence, healthy, innovation, imagine what’s possible or We can!

Whatever your hopes, dreams and goals are…

See them. Believe them. Pursue them. Realize them. Yet always remember, goals are only realized with a process in place to seek and attain them. And we, as individuals and as a world progress, because we “see” and choose to have a better life.

Here’s to your better life, your better business, your better you, as you stand upon your victory stand!

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FANTASTIC FOUR! http://www.jeffblackman.com/fantastic-four/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/fantastic-four/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:43:20 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2496 ]]> Ideas lightbulb

A client asked, “Jeff, what strategies, attitudes or behaviors, will help me drive results daily and for the long-term?”

Super question! For days or years…of significance and success, be sure to implement these “fantastic four!”

  1. To destroy an enemy, make him your friend
  2. Deliver image impact
  3. Vote for value
  4. Know who pays your salary

1. TO DESTROY AN ENEMY, MAKE HIM YOUR FRIEND

In Mario Puzo’s best-selling book, The Godfather, Don Corleone calmly states, “Never get angry. Never make a threat. Reason with people.” While you may not agree with the Don’s method of negotiation, it’s hard to find fault with his philosophy!

Like the Don, Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, must have been a superb negotiator.

Abe once said, “The best way to destroy an enemy, is to make him your friend.”

The key to a successful negotiation is a sincere attempt to understand the other person’s perspective. A negotiation never means lace-up your boxing gloves and prepare for battle!

Don’t be argumentative, confrontational or abrasive. Don’t try to “destroy your enemy.” For if you do, the other side leaves annoyed, frustrated or angered. You both lose. And you have one less trip to make to the bank!

When you negotiate, it should truly be from a win-win position. It’s your opportunity to solve problems, reach agreement and move forward for the benefit of all. Avoid the quick and fleeting hit. Play the game and the relationship for the long-term.

2. DELIVER IMAGE IMPACT

It ain’t fair, yet it’s fact, first impressions influence buying decisions. And especially when buyers can’t physically hold or see your product, they try to find reassurance. That reassurance or peace of mind is often provided by your presence and professionalism.

Daily, decision-makers are bombarded by countless external stimuli: from travel, work, advertising, the media and your competitors.

Many times, these external factors and buying influencers are analyzed quickly. Buyers make snap judgments and then are off and running, ready to attack the next crisis. Therefore, you want to make sure every judgment made about your products, your services, your company, your communication and especially you, is positive and favorable.

According to my friend, communications specialist Lynn Pearl, “You only have five seconds when you enter a room to make a positive impression. A confident manner characterized by a strong stride, a friendly smile, good posture and a genuine sense of energy commands respect.”

Studies have even shown a firm handshake, good eye contact, or simply remembering names are critical sales and business-growth skills.

So how’s your image impact?

3. VOTE FOR VALUE

Don’t be driven by only commissions, quotas or contests. These are your motivators, not your decision-maker’s.

Today’s buyers don’t simply want a product or a service, they want you. And they expect you to be a consultant. A strategic adviser. A partner. Partners are invaluable. Vendors are expendable.

Don’t peddle products and services. Instead, deliver results and value. And know two crucial things about value:

– First, always deliver more in perceived value than you take in actual cash value.

– And second, realize, in the absence of a value barometer, your relationship is

reduced to a price eliminator.

For years, I’ve had a card called Values written by John Ruskin. It says:

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do. The law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it’s well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.”

4. KNOW WHO PAYS YOUR SALARY

Why is it, we some times ignore those who pay our salary? How come we often neglect the lifeblood of our business? Why is it, we forget about the people who help us buy our home, car, clothes and raise our family?

Are we selfish? Rude? Arrogant? Uncaring? No!

Maybe, it’s just we often get too excited about the chase, the opportunity to clinch the new deal, reel in the big one or land that tough-to-get prospect! We forget about the significance of the customer!

Today’s customers and clients are more sophisticated and more demanding. They have higher expectations. And they can afford to be that way. Because they know if you don’t serve them, your competitors will.

Years ago, the deity was greed. Now and throughout the 21st century, it’s service!

With your commitment to service, you boost retention and profitability. Without it, you jeopardize your future.

Selling without serving is a dangerous game. The penalties are severe. And the penalties aren’t measured in yardage, points or minutes. The penalties are measured in lost dollars. Your lost dollars.

When you serve, you soar!

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A MEMORABLE MAVERICK. http://www.jeffblackman.com/a-memorable-maverick/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/a-memorable-maverick/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:33:00 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2482 ]]> Ambition

Daily, I’m never quite sure, where I’ll discover that valuable nugget or significant keeper. That’s why I always keep my eyes and ears open for “moments of significance.”

Here’s an example.

I was in Dallas, conducting results-sessions for some of the top financial advisors in the world. The night before I spoke, I attended a reception and dinner, where the featured guest speaker was Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban.

Cuban is a self-made billionaire. Before he bought the Mavericks in 2000 and became an NBA (National Basketball Association) team owner, he made a boatload of money by founding two companies, Micro Solutions and broadcast.com, which he sold to yahoo.

Now I’ve seen Cuban interviewed lots. He’s a frequent guest on sports broadcasts and has been featured/profiled in numerous newscasts. Plus, he’s a celebrity investor on ABC’s hit TV-show, Shark Tank.

As one of my radio producers used to say, Cuban “gives good air!” Meaning, he fills the airwaves with entertaining anecdotes, quotes and opinions.

Cuban’s detractors would say he’s brash, arrogant and cocky.

Well, okay, he may be all of those things, yet after hearing him speak (really answer questions for seventy-five minutes) and chatting with him briefly, I also found Cuban to be extremely likable.

Dressed in blue jeans and a baggy white shirt, Cuban sat comfortably in a director’s chair on a stage, answering questions and sharing stories about his humble beginnings, work ethic, customer commitment, charitable donations, player negotiations and new business ventures.

He was direct. Smart. Funny. Honest. Entertaining. And memorable.

Being memorable, is something Cuban especially values.

Here’s why.

When he was asked, “What’s your goal for your team/franchise?”—he replied with what I’ll label as an un-rehearsed burst of brilliance:

“My business really isn’t about basketball or for that matter, winning games. My purpose is to create memories, so fans will forever remember their experience at a Mavs game. The next day, I want their throats to still be raw from screaming. Their hands, still red from clapping. And their feet, still sore  from stomping.”

That’s brilliant!

Cuban is singularly focused on the outcomes, results, benefits, advantages, value and memories his “product” produces.

Of course, he knows the importance of winning, yet it must be in a unique and memorable environment. One that’s unforgettable. One that generates positive word-of-mouth. One that helps sell over 17,000 seats per game.

Cuban knows memories drive revenue. To best create those indelible mind impressions, Cuban is an active participant. He can be seen cheering his players and screaming at refs from the sidelines. Or cueing the audio engineer at a Mavs game to pump up the volume. He knows music that’s loud, thumping and stirring revs-up the crowd.

Cuban is also easily accessible. Daily, he answers hundreds of e-mails from fans. He knows this type of “personal relationship” with customers also creates the right memories.

What memories are you creating for your customers?

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NO, NO! YEAH, YEAH! http://www.jeffblackman.com/no-no-yeah-yeah/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/no-no-yeah-yeah/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 13:38:17 +0000 http://www.jeffblackman.com/?p=2461 ]]> Yes No Maybe

A frustrated friend once said to me, “When a prospect or client tells me ‘No,’ I take it personally. And it becomes really tough for me to recover and bounce back quickly. What do I do?”

It’s a great question. And I applaud my friend for having the courage to ask it. Because I know a lot of folks are confronting the same dilemma, yet they might be unwilling to admit it.

After working with lots of businesspeople, (and listening to their feelings, emotions and explanations), I’ve discovered too many folks suffer from…

PTNS – Post Traumatic No Syndrome! It attacks in four stages.

Stage 1: What you say to the decision-maker.

“No problem.”

“I understand.”

“Keep us in mind for the future.”

Stage 2: What you say to yourself.

“Why me?”

“What’s wrong with me? How’d I screw-up?”

“Why don’t they love me?”

Stage 3: How you really feel.

“I’m angry!”

“I’m hurt. Disappointed. Bummed out!”

“I’m frustrated!”

Stage 4: What you really think.

“Those idiots!”

“What a bunch of jerks!”

“I’m glad they said ‘No!’…didn’t want to work with them anyway!”

So how do you combat PTNS? Here’s how.

Success step 1.

Go:

Sulk. Pout. Whine. Complain. Scream. Yell. Stomp. Pound.

After this thirty-second catharsis, move on to…

Success step 2.

Analyze:

What went right?

What went wrong?

What could you have done different?

Turn despair into desire. Loss into learning. The “No” into knowledge.

Success step 3.

Review:

How you positioned or inquired about future opportunities?

How you earned the right to still ask for referrals and how many you received?

Success step 4:

Tell yourself:

This is a learning experience.

It’s unfortunate they won’t benefit from my expertise and talent.

This “No” gets me closer to a “Yes” with another decision-maker.

I’m now prepared to G.O.I.M.O. (Get Over It and Move On)

To best move on and be well-prepared for you next opportunity, realize most objections or obstacles are ones of:

  • Delay: “I’d like to think it over.”
  • Denial: “Nobody would use it.”
  • Distrust: “You don’t offer anything different or unique.”

Before you decide how you’ll combat an objection, determine how you’ll first combat yourself.

Huh?

For example, if you’re repeatedly getting pre-mature price objections, discover why. Perhaps you’re too quick to give an information and feature-dump before effectively probing. Or you mistakenly keep stressing you’re less than your competitors, which draws attention to price, not value.

Here, an objection is likely to be the “result” of your wrong behavior. Sorry, but it’s likely you’re the “reason” for the objection, not your buyer.

Therefore, let’s focus on the right behavior, when an objection pops up.

You can always try to combat objections or obstacles with facts, logic, data, surveys and stats. These help. They’re a great place to start. However, you better also appeal to the decision-maker’s “perceived reality.” Meaning, what their gut tells them is the perceived issue or concern.

And you accomplish this, with “persuasive emotion.”

Aristotle once said:

“One who attempts to move people to thought or action must concern himself with their emotions. If he touches only their minds, he is unlikely to move them to action or to change of mind…the motivations of which lie deep in the realm of the passions.”

Hey, I’ll never downplay the significance of facts and logic. They’re invaluable. Yet they don’t always lead to a sale. With “persuasive emotion” you creatively focus on the buyer’s inner feelings, concerns, needs and motivators.

When you do this, you capture and tap into what movie character Austin Powers calls, “Mo Jo.”

Mo Jo is a special blend of power, energy, force and momentum. It does more than merely adeptly deflect an objection or obstacle. It also conveys with clarity and conviction, your unequivocal desire to help your decision maker make the right choice and do the right thing.

  • It’s about the pursuit of your customer’s goals, before the pursuit of your profit.
  • It’s about gaining the customer’s commitment, not just their cash.
  • It’s about long-term results, not short-term conquests.

You must create an environment with your responses, so your decision-makers know they can rely upon and trust you.

The mind of the buyer can be a complex combination of fear, concern and hesitation. Your job is to bust through this complexity, with articulate, risk-reducing replies. You provide the types of answers that demonstrate both good business sense and intuitive emotional understanding.

Then, you turn obstacles into opportunities.

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The Ritz Rocks! http://www.jeffblackman.com/the-ritz-rocks/ http://www.jeffblackman.com/the-ritz-rocks/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:00:38 +0000 http://64.65.29.5/?p=921 ]]> Ritz-Carlton-Logo

Who consistently delivers great service?

That’s an easy one. The Ritz Carlton.

I’ve never had a bad experience at a Ritz. And if something unexpectedly goes awry, they fix it. Fast!

In March, 2004, I was speaking/staying at The Ritz in Orlando, Florida. The Ritz does little things right. Like at check-in, they offer you a glass of fresh lemonade. (I’ve noticed other hotels are implementing a similar service strategy, by offering at check-in, glasses of i.e., champagne, juice or bottled water.)

And when I asked where the elevator was, Dena at the front desk didn’t merely point toward the elevator, she personally escorted me there.

Later, at 6:00 p.m., I called room service. The phone was cheerfully answered by Gloria. She took my order and then said, “Mr. Blackman, please let me recap, to make sure I’ve got it right.” (Confirmation now, often eliminates problems later.) I then asked, “Gloria, would it be possible to have dinner arrive at 7:00 p.m., since I’m leaving now to run in the fitness center?” She replied, “Absolutely! We’ll see you at 7. Enjoy your run!”

At exactly 7:00 p.m. I returned. I was there, dinner wasn’t. At 7:11, I called Gloria and said, “I’m lonely!”

She immediately apologized and said a rush would be placed on my order. At 7:22 there was a knock at the door. It was Rupert from room service. He said, “Mr. Blackman, Gloria and I once again apologize that your dinner has arrived late. Tonight, your meal is compliments of the Ritz.”

Whoa! Cool! (Especially since the bill would have been over $350. Chicken nuggets ain’t a bargain at the Ritz. Just kidding!)

I thanked Rupert for his gracious hospitality with a generous tip. I also gave him a tip for Gloria. He was surprised, yet grateful.

Then, I called Gloria to express my thanks. I said, “Gloria, that was very thoughtful of you to comp my dinner.” To which she said something remarkable. It was only a one-word response, but it was unforgettable.

She replied, “Ownership.” (Meaning, even if it wasn’t her fault, she still owned the problem. And the solution! She didn’t assign blame. She delivered satisfaction.)

I asked, “Gloria, is that your word or are you trained to say that?” Her response, “Mr. Blackman, it’s simply part of our Ritz ethics and commitment to our customers.” Yikes! I wanted to know where I could buy her books!

Lessons to learn and things to consider:

– What little things are you doing that’ll yield BIG results?

– How can you improve your customer’s experience?

– How many moments of magic or touch-points do you have with a customer?

– What subtleties will elevate their value?

– How do you get others to talk about you and your business with phrases beginning with:

“You’re not gonna believe…”

“Wait to you hear what happened to me…”

“Have I told you about the time…”

Who “owns” the solution at your business? Is it only one? A few? Or many, who can deliver satisfaction and create loyal customers for a lifetime?

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