EMAIL   847.998.0688
December, 2015
Welcome to YOUR newly designed and re-formatted Results Report.
TAKE ACTION. For on the clock of life or watch of winners THE key word is NOW!
Strategies and ideas for life and business, to help you maximize results!
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"Always bear in mind, your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing."
- Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the U.S.
"Timing, perseverance and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success."
- Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder
"You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over."
- Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder

QUESTION: Jeff, am a CEO, and my salespeople are driving me nuts! Our numbers this month stink. And we've only got a week left in the month to make-up the losses. Am pushing them for immediate volume. Help!

ANSWER: Keep 'em focused on the behaviors and attitudes to produce the right results. Today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this quarter, the year!

Your number is your number. It's merely how you choose to measure success.

The key: What steps to take to get there. (Your team looks to you and your other leaders, for guidance, direction and counsel.) So lead them!

Keep planting seeds about immediate actions, that can generate immediate results. And immediate actions, that'll yield long-term annuitized results too, i.e., the value of a customer over time.

If you're too focused on, "We've gotta hit the number(s) this week!"...your folks are likely to become manipulative with prospects and customers. There's a big difference between helpful, persistent and pro-active versus annoying, pushy and coercive!

And it's REALLY tough to hit your numbers in any month and in any economy, if your folks aren't the best trained and best prepared. With the best belief system too.

While a "sell it now" philosophy can create quick sales volume, it can also produce "transactional" sales or business relationships. And not the lucrative, long-lasting and highly profitable relationships. (Don't merely transact relationships, transform them!)

Hey, I love for stuff to happen now! Yet I've learned, on occasion, significant results may take a wee bit longer to achieve.

The implications of how you sell are actually far deeper, than merely are your numbers being hit. It becomes a question of culture and values. How do you want you, your people and company to be perceived? By customers or clients? Prospects? Your community?  Your industry?

Don't emphasize just hitting your numbers. Stress:

  what customer or prospect problems will you solve this week, month, quarter, etc.

  how will you make a difference in the lives or businesses of others

  what impact will not using your product or service have upon your decision-makers

  what differentiates you, how does that best serve a buyer or decision-maker

  what results, benefits, advantages and outcomes do you deliver, your competitors don't

If you or your folks don't know these answers, how the heck can they be communicated to your marketplace?

Yet, when you do have these answers, and you can confidently convey them, you just made it a lot easier to not only "hit" your numbers, but blow by 'em! Ain't that fun!

By the way, when a salesperson is underachieving or overachieving, the questions you ask, remain the same:

  1. What are you doing...that has produced these outcomes/results?

  2. How are you spending your time?

  3. What aren't you doing...that has produced these outcomes/results?

Know that, winners will answer the preceding with specificity. Whiners, will answer in vague generalities.

Specificity, focus and discipline always have and always relationships, results and revenue.


If they score runs, goals or touchdowns in St. Louis, Shep Hyken loves 'em. He's a loyal fan of his hometown Cardinals, Blues and Rams.

And as you know, I love my Chicago teams; the Cubs, Blackhawks, Bears and Bulls. Yet despite our respective and rabid allegiances to our local teams, Shep and I have still found ways to "co-exist."

We've been good buddies since the 1980s. He's also a fellow Hall of Fame speaker and best selling author, (Amaze Every Customer Every Time, The Amazement Revolution and The Cult of the Customer.)

Earlier this year, when I had speaking engagements in St. Louis, Shep and I got together for dinner, my treat. Then we walked to the Scottrade Center, to see a hockey game between the St. Louis Blues and Phoenix Coyotes, Shep's treat.

During dinner, on the way to the rink and between periods, we also had the opportunity to yak about the significance of "service." The following are edited excerpts:

Jeff Blackman: What are simple, yet powerful ways, a business of any size can amaze their customers?

Shep Hyken: Amazing your customers doesn't mean you need to deliver a "Wow" experience. It's simpler than that. The best companies, that continuously amaze their customers, are consistently above average. "Consistently," that's the key. The customer has to count on that level of service. Every time, they know it's going to happen. It's the expectation.

JB: How has technology either improved or diminished the customer experience?

SH: At the basic level, technology allows companies to do a better job of keeping in touch with clients and managing information. With the rise of social media, companies have figured out how to take their social customer service to a higher level.

Instead of being reactive to complaints, companies have become proactive. They engage in conversations with their customer communities and provide valuable information in the process.

Technology is also changing buyer behavior. Companies need to take notice. At a recent IBM conference focused on commerce, it was reported that gum sales in grocery stores fell by 10 percent in 2014.

Why? Because shoppers are focusing on their smartphones in the checkout lane, instead of paying attention to gum and other impulse buys. Companies must look for new ways to engage with their customers.

JB: What are the steps to create a service culture?  

SH: Here's my six-step process to create a customer-focused culture:

1. Define your service: This should be a simple to remember (one sentence) "mantra" that defines your service promise.

2. Disseminate it: Communicate this vision and your service standards to your employees.

3. Deploy it: You can't communicate your vision without teaching your employees to deliver it. Training must be ongoing. It should reinforce your mantra and service standards.

4. Demonstrate it: Leaders should show everyone how to do it. Set the example. Treat employees how you want your customers treated, maybe even better.

5. Defend it: Step-in to help if someone is doing something contrary to the initiative and get this person, group of people, or even the company back into alignment.

6. Delight in it: Celebrate the success of your company and individuals who demonstrate amazing customer service.

JB: How can customer service be used as a brand differentiator?

SH: Customer service as a brand differentiator should provide a benefit to the customer. It's something a company's competitors can't say about themselves. For example, "We're the ONLY manufacturer that offers 24 hour turnaround on special orders."

A company can also differentiate itself by providing valuable resources and relationships to its customers that their competition cannot. This might come in the form of special services, like my financial advisor who has on-staff lawyers and CPAs to help me when I have questions about estate planning or taxes.

JB: How do you feel about the claim, "The customer is always right!"

SH: The customer is NOT always right. But they're always the customer. So if they're wrong, let them be wrong with dignity and respect.

JB: What trends are driving the future of customer service?  

SH: Within the past two years or so, companies have figured out how to take social media customer service to a higher level. No longer do they just react to comments on social channels. They also engage in conversations with their customer communities. They interact and provide valuable information in the process.

Reaction is still an important part of social service, but there's much more. Here are three important points to consider.

1. Speed counts.

Regardless of the social channel, reaction time is paramount. Social Bakers had an interesting stat that the average wait time in social media is nine hours. That's right. Nine hours!

The 2014 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer indicates that 25% of consumers who complain on social media expect a response time of less than an hour. The bottom line is: when a customer complains, they want an answer. Now!

2. Stay on the same social channel.

If somebody approaches you via Twitter, try not to move them to Facebook. (Sure, you may want to move the customer to a private area, such as Twitter's direct message forum.) And there may be times you might have to "move" the customer to a phone call or maybe another channel, but if possible, keep the same channel.

3. Finish strong.

Regardless of how upset a customer may be, start there. See what you can do to solve the problem or answer the question in such a way that the customer would want to say something nice about you via their favorite social channel. Thereby turning what may have been potentially negative PR, into something extremely positive.

For more positive possibilities, please head to

Your cup of inspiration, reflection and laughter!
While the folks at our local ice cream parlor can make a very tasty cake, am pretty sure, they won't advance very far in the holiday spelling bee!

It’s nice when a simple sign at the Happ Inn in Northfield, Illinois, offers directions to the nearest bathroom, as well as a philosophy about gender!



Thanks to family, friends and clients, who have made 2015 another incredibly memorable and successful year. And may your holiday season be filled with love and laughter. Plus...

I've chatted with the soothsayers of success and predictors of prosperity, they all agree, YOU are gonna rock 2016!


Coffee Break for the Mind is a trademark of Blackman & Associates, LLC

To make a submission when you see or hear something funny, quirky or offbeat, please send it to: [email protected]

MEET JEFF |Jeff helps you win BIG in today's competitive marketplace. His high-energy and high-content messages deliver immediate take-home value, growth and results for you and your team. Whether he works with you once in a dynamic keynote or once-a-month in an ongoing coaching and learning-system, he helps you drive relationships, revenue, profits, results and rewards. Jeff is singularly focused on helping you achieve and surpass your desired outcomes. And you're even protected by Jeff's incredible No-Risk Assurance.
RIGHT FOLKS, RIGHT RESULTS |What's driving current or prospective members of your team? Your salespeople? Service 
                                                    pros? And leaders? What causes them to produce, lead or loaf? What motivates them to attain, or not attain, new levels of success? What direction are they headed? Where do you want their journey to go? How valuable would it be, if you had the answers to these questions? Well now you can!
AUDIO EXCERPTS | Listen to powerful excerpts from Jeff's audio growth tools, CDs or interviews. | LISTEN NOW
“When we hired Jeff, I was lucky enough to have already known him for a few years. My confidence in him was already high. And when he started working with our team, I realized how he had developed masterful methodologies based on his experience and ethics. From the first day of the program and learning-system, our team was energized, eager to prepare for ongoing meetings and quickly leveraging the techniques. Knowledge builds confidence and practice builds skills. Jeff gets it.”
Tim Padgett CEO/Founder/Eye Candy Pepper Group Palatine, IL

“Jeff has had a powerful, positive impact on our company. We reference his teachings on a daily basis. And his generous and ongoing email and phone availability, plus counsel and support have kept us engaged. Most important, Jeff’s ideas and strategies have stuck!”

George Couris President
Pepper Group Palatine, IL
"My firm, a commercial insurance program management company, engaged Jeff as a sales training advisor in June, 2014. He helped us design a customized training and reinforcement system. In addition to his people skills, Jeff is consistently prepared for meetings and has excellent follow-up with our team and even 1:1 counsel. We're extremely pleased with our significant improvement and results. That's why we have an ongoing relationship with Jeff, and I enthusiastically recommend him."
Chris Randall CEO
Ultra Risk Advisors Bellevue, WA & Atlanta
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