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July/August, 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!
You're receiving this complimentary e-letter, either because you requested a free subscription or because of our relationship with you, your company or your association.

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"The value of an idea, lies in the using of it."
- Thomas Edison, inventor

"The only thing worse than starting something and failing, is not starting something."
- Seth Godin, author

"Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical."
- Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO

QUESTION: Jeff, what are some of the things I must know, to grow my business?

ANSWER: If you’re a CEO, President, business-owner, key executive or sales pro, you hate surprises. So to eliminate guesswork, you and/or your team need answers to the following questions. Your responses will help reveal the key things you gotta know and be thinking about, to drive your results and profits.

1. How are you and/or your folks solving customers' problems, improving their condition or helping them attain a more favorable future vs. merely taking orders?

2. How are you creating relationships, based on engagement and dialogue vs. data dumps?

3. What's your team's "dynamic dozen" of at least twelve power probes? (If you don’t have a "dynamic dozen" or numerous questions applicable to your multiple markets, products, services, solutions, or types of decision-makers, you're operating at a disadvantage. And reducing your profits.) To help you probe and prosper, please click this YouTube channel, Jeff Blackman's ResultsTV link:

4. How are you challenging your decision-makers' current mindset, with compelling and thought-provoking ideas, insights and possibilities?

5. How is "class" always in session? Every day is an opportunity to learn. For the truly successful, school never ends. It's called "continuing education" for a reason. If you or your team thinks the cost of knowledge is high, what's the cost of ignorance?

6. What role do referrals play: In your culture? Your pipeline? Your sales? Your profits? (Leads with NO acquisition cost, drive both transactional sales and most important, annuitized relationships and revenue. And again, they do it at NO acquisition cost.)

7. What role do YOU want to play in your sales growth? (Every leader's answer is different. A CEO client in California loves to be in-the-mix, driving the sales process. A CEO client in Wisconsin wants that to be the purview and focus of his other team members. Know your strengths. Capitalize on them. Also know your weaknesses. So you can then surround yourself with others smarter than you in defined areas of discipline.

8. How do you look and listen for not only what you want to see and hear, yet for what you need to see and hear? You never know what "package" profit-enhancers will arrive in. I've had ah-ha moments with people and in places when I least expected it.

I encourage leaders and business people to create a continuum of possibilities when exposed to a new idea, strategy or possibility. Either use it, as is. Adapt it. Or ignore it. Yet DON'T dismiss it too early.

We all process life with our filters. How could we not? Yet early rejection may eliminate future opportunities. Being decisive is wonderful. Yet often, the best course of action for your growth is purposeful delay. Meaning, incubate. Think. Ponder. Reflect. It lets you play with the "what ifs" and prompts the thankful arrival of, "That's how we make it happen!" that hits you in the middle of the night, during a hot shower, while exercising or...

9. How will you/others keep your team accountable? Others like and want to be led. Lead!

10. Repetition drives reinforcement. Reinforcement drives internalization. Internalization drives execution. Execution drives action. Action drives results and profits. How are you reinforcing and continually building your/your team's skills, attitudes and behaviors? And if you're not doing it, who at your company is? And how often?

11. How have you or (other leaders) created a calendar of results? If you ain't keeping score, who is?

12. How many of your people, (inside or outside sales, or service folks) are at or above forecast? If they're not "there" will you/others get them there? When will you start? (Remember, "What's the cost of ignorance?")

13. How are you and your team, "telling stories" about how you've helped others improve their condition and/or attain a more favorable future? When you implement this strategy, based upon your "experience," it's not called boasting, braggadocio or self-promotion. It's called fact. Truth is a powerful influencer and persuader.

14. What trade, consumer or professional publications do your prospects read? What shows, podcasts, blogs do they pay attention to? (How can you position yourself, or other team members as experts, i.e., as contributing writers, resources for interviews, etc.?) Find ways to capture eyes and ears. When people "see" and "hear" you, it enhances credibility. Then you can capture mindshare and wallet share.

15. What are the top ten reasons a decision-maker should buy from you and your company, rather than a competitor? If you don't know, who does?

And perhaps the most important question:

16. What will YOU now DO?


If you're ever lucky enough to have a fun and focused dialogue with David Avrin, there's a pretty good likelihood, he might ask you, "What are you doing to be noticed and remembered?"

If you have a tough time answering this query, then David's the right guy to help you respond eloquently and strategically, the next time this question is tossed in your direction! He knows all about getting positive attention or creating the "right kind" of visibility. When you meet him, he's immediately "visible."

David stands well over six feet, with a big smile, friendly welcome and a firm handshake. Plus, he's always armed with an entertaining story!

For years, as a speaker, author and coach, David has been helping individuals and organizations raise their profile to stand alone in a competitive marketplace.

His clients enthusiastically and gratefully refer to him as the "Visibility Coach." He waxes rhapsodic about his passion for helping folks do the right things to produce the right results in his bestselling book, It's Not Who You Know, It's Who Knows You!

Here are edited excerpts from a conversation with my friend, David Avrin.

Jeff Blackman: Everybody wants to build their brand. First, let's define what "brand" means. And how do you build it?

David Avrin: Too many think of their brand as simply their company logo and tagline. But the reality is, your brand is what people think of at the mention of your name or the name of your business.

It's everything you do and don't do well in your business. It's the last experience a customer had, the cleanliness of the bathroom, the taste of the appetizer, the speed of delivery and the attitude of the customer service rep.

If you've done a good job consistently communicating your messages and delivering on your promise, then the brand in their mind is the one you want. However, if you've fallen short, then you’ve got a brand in need of repair.

JB: You say, "We have no control over our brand, but we have great influence?" Why? And how do you maximize that influence?

DA: Your brand resides in the minds of your customers, or prospective customers and they only know what they know. If you have low marketplace visibility, then they know little of you. If they have had a bad experience with you, then they own that memory.

We can influence their perspective of our brand by doing good work, fixing problems quickly and clearly highlighting what separates us from our competitors.

If we're passive and let our work speak for itself, or allow competitors to out-market us, then we lose control of the message and the brand.

JB: What are sure-fire ways to become "top of mind" with prospects and customers, in any business?

DA: Some take the shortcut to "fame" by merely opting for outrageous ads or stunts to draw attention to their business. Unfortunately, the quick fix does nothing to build a brand based on credibility and quality.

The truth is, to become top-of-mind, you have to creatively highlight what makes you different, better, cheaper, wiser, smarter, cleaner, bigger, smaller, faster, more attractive, stylish, cost-effective, convenient and more desirable than others who profess to offer what you offer. Then you have to promote the heck out of your differentiators.

JB: Since all things are "never equal," how does one tip the scales in their favor?

DA: The four most dangerous words in business are, "All things being equal." When everything is equal in the mind of the under-educated consumer, then they will make their buying decisions on two criteria: price and proximity.

Who really wants to be the "low-cost leader?" There has to be a reason to tip the scales in your favor.

Prospects have to be made very aware of at least one aspect of your business, they can't get elsewhere. But the claim has to be credible and visible. They have to hear it, before they know it. And they have to believe it, before they act on it.

JB: How can one accurately assess their business to discover, then communicate what makes them unique?

DA: A dedicated effort of inspection, introspection and marketplace evaluation should be a regular exercise for all businesses. Meaning:

  • Research your competitors.

  • Research your customers and revisit both their needs, and your capabilities.

  • Peruse your marketing materials alongside those of others in your space. 

  • Where are the similarities?

  • What can you offer that others could not legitimately claim?

  • Most importantly, ask your customers why they buy from you and what keeps them coming back.

JB: What are some classic marketing blunders? What can we learn from them?

DA: The most common mistake is using the same words, claims, or boring, generic descriptors others use to describe their products or business. For example, in every market, there's a company that claims: "Our people make the difference!" Really?!

Of course your people may be smart, talented and valuable, yet...

Were they whisked-away from their parents at age five to a super-secret, customer service training facility on a remote island? Or are they just like the people your competition hires?

Sure, you may have different training methods, policies and procedures, but people are people. Stop pretending your people are your distinct competitive advantage. They aren't! Stop making meaningless claims. Or the same ones made by others.

JB: Who's really good at getting noticed? What we can learn and apply from them?

DA: The best marketers are the names you already know. If you don't know their names, then they've done a poor job of promoting themselves. The best are the ones that'll come to mind by merely mentioning the tagline or the category. Think of:

  - guaranteed overnight delivery

  - chocolate and peanut butter – together

  - military-style SUV

  - party-girl heiress

  - America’s past time

Getting the picture?

It's about owning a category in the minds of your prospects and customers. What can you do or say that could be attributed to you, and only you.

To learn more effective strategies to help you do or say, what you do or say, visit

Your cup of inspiration, reflection and laughter!

There's a strange phenomenon taking place in Chicago. Especially on the North side. It's uncharacteristic. It's unfamiliar. It's baffling and bewildering.
The Chicago Cubs are winning. Often! In early August, they rattled off nine consecutive victories. The Blackmans were there for the first one on August 6th.
And over the past month, the Cubs have the best record in major league baseball. The team is being described with words and phrases like: Resilient. Refuse to lose. Winning ways. Expect success.
As a lifelong, loyal, rabid, nutty, often frustrated Cubs fan, this praise is far better than: Hopeless. Hapless. Lovable losers. Or CUBS = Cubs Useless By September!

The Cubs appear to be headed for the playoffs. Yet over the decades or even centuries, they've found multiple methods to rip out the hearts of us Cub diehards. The Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908. Yep, that's 107 years of suffering. Will the futility finally end? Or should our local cardiologists be on speed dial?



In July, we celebrated the 25th birthday of our eldest daughter Brittany at a new hip, happenin' restaurant in Chicago, Barcocina. Where a brightly lit sign encouraged us to:

Then one week later, I was in Las Vegas working with a client at the Luxor hotel. There, the lobby lounge Aurora urges you to:

I was exhausted trying to decide if I should eat, drink and socialize or drink, play and discover. So I took a nap!



Once, on the way to O'Hare airport, I met another passenger. A woman. She was dressed in a striking orange outfit. Complemented by bright, sparkling jewelry. She greeted me with a big smile and asked, "Where you going?" I said, "Houston. How 'bout you?"
With a glint in her eye, she enthusiastically answered, "Vegas. Me and my girlfriends have planned a wild week!" I jokingly asked, "I'm not going to read about you in the papers, am I?" She calmly said, "Nope. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." She was 75!


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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© 2015 Blackman & Associates, LLC
2130 Warwick Lane • Glenview, Illinois 60026
[email protected]
phone: 847.998.0688 fax: 847.998.0675
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