From the Peak Your Profits!® newspaper column by:
Jeff Blackman, J.D., CSP, CPAE
Business-Growth Specialist
© Blackman & Associates, LLC

Years ago, my family and I spent a week in Los Angeles. We did the traditional touristy things, plus, lots of shopping!

Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica…all offered what my wife and daughters call “retail relaxation!” That’s a euphemism, for “smokin’ credit cards!”

My son, Chad and I were seldom active participants in this shopping frenzy. Instead, we’d politely and patiently observe these “trained professionals” flawlessly execute their artistry and craft.

Each store, seemingly offered non-stop opportunities, with their endless racks and infinite shelves of clothes and shoes. One night, while shopping on Melrose Avenue, the girls were immersed in shopping bliss. Their focus was impenetrable.

Chad and I looked at each other and knowingly nodded. We knew, this was our chance for a quick, undetected escape. We bolted for the door. We made it. Freedom!

Once on the sidewalk, Chad declared, “Daddy, let’s just walk!” Excellent. A perfect game plan. A father and son united. We were “team testosterone”—committed to survival, without falling prey to the seductive allure of the next store window. Until…

And then, with the calm of a dispassionate fifteen year-old, (since enthusiasm isn’t cool at that age), Chad said, “In here.” He motioned us to enter Advantis Ride.

Advantis Ride is a GUY store. Nuthin’ frilly or fancy. It’s for guys who mean business…especially, on their bike, skateboard, snowboard or blades. Shoes, belts, buckles, pants and shirts hang from the walls, rafters and shelves. Most, in dark, masculine colors.

This isn’t some “mall store.” It’s a street store. With street credibility. A street reputation. And, it’s cool. The walls are adorned with T-shirts and pictures autographed by celebrities who are also customers. Who? If you don’t watch MTV, VH1 or the Xtreme Games, you’d exclaim, “Huh?”

In one word, the store’s merchandising, products and tattooed employees are…brilliant! Advantis Ride knows their target market, young males, and it goes after and appeals to them, with a vengeance.

Chad, was now, finally, in his own retail heaven.

He headed straight for the “shoe wall” and quickly found a pair of black leather beauties. These were eye-catchers. Cool, sleek, albeit somewhat menacing. (The logo was a white-stitched skull and cross-bones!) I calmly asked, “Chad, how do you think your Mom will react to the logo?” He replied, “Yeah, that’s a problem.” He removed them and kept looking.

Patrick, (a salesman), overheard our conversation and smiled. As he approached us, he asked Chad, “Hey dude, whatta ya looking for?” Chad answered, “Something to hang in.” Patrick knowingly shook his head and made three suggestions.

Chad reached for the first pair and said, “Cool!” As Chad stared at his feet in the floor mirror, he gave me a “thumbs-up.” I agreed. The shoes looked great and were devoid of logos that would induce his mother’s panic! Chad was happy. I was satisfied. Patrick was thrilled. He made a sale.

As Chad admired his selection, his Mom and sisters entered the store. Despite being “weighed down” by bags filled with their new acquisitions, they masterfully weaved past and through clothing displays to reach us.

Chad looked up and asked, “Well?” His sisters said, “They look good.” He smiled. And then, he patiently waited for my wife’s response. Sheryl’s reply, took Chad and I by surprise. I stood in disbelief. Chad’s smile morphed into a frown, plus anguish.

For Sheryl uttered the unthinkable. The incomprehensible. The inconceivable. She exclaimed, “They’re adorable!”

NO! That’s the last thing Chad wanted to hear! Two words, “That’s adorable!” transformed “cool” into “nerdy.” Patrick also stood in shock. He just lost a sale!

But Patrick was good. He knew how to quickly recapture his customer and decision influencers. Patrick said, “Dude, no worries. There’s lots of other cool stuff. You want a pair to hang-in, right?” Chad nodded. Patrick then turned to Sheryl and said, “When else might Chad wear these shoes?” She replied, “In marching band, he’s a drummer.”

Patrick said, “Cool Chad, I was in marching band when I was in high school. Here’s a really cool pair for hanging and marching. I wish they had these when I was in band. They’re brand new and really special.”

I turned to my wife and kiddingly urged her not to say, that these too are, “Adorable, Cute or Lovely!”

This time, Sheryl, the girls and I simply said, in unison, “Cool!” Then Patrick added, “Chad, the shoes really bring out the color in your eyes!” We all cracked up!

Patrick made the sale. Chad wore the shoes out of the store.


  • find ways to quickly relate to your target customer, with your language, attire and product presentation
  • know your market, focus on them, (don’t be all things to all people, that’s usually a losing strategy)
  • offer multiple solutions
  • appeal to one’s dominant buying motives
  • know who’s making payment, acknowledge their concerns, issues or buying motives too
  • use humor, when folks are laughing, they’re usually comfortable to make a “yes” decision
  • know that words matter, their denotations and connotations
  • offer something that’s unique, special, different
  • use testimonials, (i.e., celebrity customers) that reinforce the value of your products and the power and influence of your brand

Taurus or Ferrari: What’s Your Preference?

Byline: Jeff Blackman

Jeff is a Hall of Fame speaker, best selling author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” If you hire speakers, please contact Sheryl Kantor at: 847.998.0688 or [email protected]. And visit jeffblackman.com to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff’s FREE e-letter, The Results Report . Jeff’s books include; Stop Whining! Start Selling!, (an Amazon Bestseller), and the revised 5th edition of the bestselling Peak Your Profits. You can also stay connected with Jeff via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults


P Provocative or Playful
I Inspirational or Informational
T Thoughts or Theories

Some will make you pause and ponder. Some will make you smile. Some will make you laugh. All will make you think. Each P.I.T. Stop will help you refuel, reenergize and refresh yourself.


I once overheard the following at a wedding: “I just got divorced too. Was married 26 years. Traded in a wife for a dog. I’m a lot happier now!”


“Speak little, do much.”

Benjamin Franklin, American statesman, writer, scientist and printer


Saw the following sign at Caribou Coffee in Chicago:

Life is short. Stay awake for it.
Fully caffeinated service.
At Caribou, A.M. means attitude modification.
Careful! You could become a cheerful morning person!