"Get Your Selling Career Shipshape"
Part Three (of Three)

Bonura.com Home

When I visited with a friend, I noticed a picture on his wall entitled Salesmanship. It was a drawing of an old sailing ship with each sail labeled with the traits of a great salesperson. I was so impressed that I noted each of the traits, and I review them frequently to see if I am still on course. This is the last article in the series of three where I share the traits with you.

This entire article will be devoted to the main sail - Persistence


Set Sail For A Great Future - Part Three
by Joe Bonura, CSP


The Last Sail: Persistence

The last sail of the Salesmanship illustration was labeled Persistence.
I am always amazed at how life often mimics selling, and the same skills that I apply every day of my life in selling, I applied to save the lives of my Mother and Dad. In each step of the story below, I will share the Selling Principles that helped us sail to safety.
The Storms Of Life
On vacation in Boston, Massachusetts, my wife Carol and I were focused on kicking back and having a relaxing and historically educational experience. The TV networks reported that a hurricane was headed for the Gulf Coast.

SELLING PRINCIPLE: Pay attention to what is going on in the world and in your community.

The Past Does Not Always Equal The Future
We were not concerned because we had heard that report many times over the years; however, our concern changed when the weather channel predicted that Katrina was headed directly for New Orleans. Suddenly, the entire focus of our vacation changed. When I called my sister Linda in New Orleans to check on the family, she informed me that Mom and Dad had to be evacuated from the senior living community where they were living. My mother is 83, and my dad is 87 years old. Mom was receiving hospice care, and she was bedridden, so she could not be moved without a special ambulance. With all the chaos throughout the city, the ambulance service was not responding to my brother-in-law Walter's calls. Walter and Linda had to consider their evacuation plans, as well.

SELLING PRINCIPLE: Expect the unexpected.

Alligators Can Bite
I took over the task of evacuating Mom and Dad, and I called the ambulance service. After many attempts, I spoke with a very busy dispatcher who understandably acted as if she did not have time to speak with me. My first question was framed to recognize her dilemma and to show genuine empathy, "It sounds like you are up to your ears in alligators. I don't think that I would like to be in your position, and I appreciate your taking my call." She commented, "Thanks for noticing." I quickly explained the situation with my Mom and Dad.

SELLING PRINCIPLE: It usually takes more than one dial to make a contact.

The Right Approach
She responded, "I'm sure that you can understand, Mr. Bonura, that we are doing everything we can to get to everyone in need, and I can assure you that we will make every effort to pick up your Mom and Dad as soon as possible." Understanding her situation, I said, "I can hear by the tone of your voice that you will do just that. I want to thank you in advance for your help in treating my Mom as if she were your own mother." Within two hours, they picked up Mom and Dad and evacuated them to East Jefferson Hospital.

SELLING PRINCIPLE: How you approach the receptionist will determine the receptionist's approach to you.

Where Is The Power?
The usual routine after hurricane evacuation was to sit out the storm, wait a few days until things settle down, and then head home - not this time. Three days later, my parents were still on the sixth floor of the East Jefferson Hospital. The hospital was on auxiliary power, and there were total blackouts every few hours in order to conserve power. The first floor of the hospital was flooded, communications were down, and food was rationed because supplies were not being delivered. We did not know all of this at the time, but after hearing the news reports, I knew that we had to do something to get them out of the hospital to safer ground.

SELLING PRINCIPLE: Nothing in sales is ever routine.

Mind-Map Your Way To Success
At 4:00 a.m. the next morning, in the lobby of the Boston Marriott Hotel, I was mind mapping to come up with a plan of action. One thing was certain: my parents could not evacuate in a land vehicle; they needed a helicopter. I could not reach them personally, and they could not get out on their own. So I prayed for a helicopter. At 7:00 a.m., I received a phone call from my oldest son Joe, and he told me that he was in contact with a family friend Tom Eifler who had flown down from Louisville to New Orleans to help in the rescue operations. Tom wanted to help us in any way. My son told him the situation, and Tom promised to do everything in his power to rescue my parents from their dilemma.

SELLING PRINCIPLE: Fail to plan, and you plan to fail.

Make Calls, Make More Calls, Make Many more Calls
So that I could coordinate the rescue attempt, I called Tom, and after many busy signals and failed attempts, I was able to speak with him. Tom required the GPS coordinates of the hospital, so I obtained them for him, but when he flew the helicopter over the hospital, he was waved off. They would not clear him to land because they thought he was possibly bringing someone in to an already stretched system. We had to contact the hospital in some way to let them know we were returning on Saturday because it was the last window of opportunity for Tom to make the rescue.

SELLING PRINCIPLE: If you do not succeed at first, try again, and again, and again.

Cell Phone To The Rescue
I prayed that we could at least get in touch with my Dad so that he could let the hospital know what was going on. The next day, just hours before the last rescue attempt, I received a phone call from my youngest son Nick, who informed me that my Dad had called out on a cell phone borrowed from a nurse who was visiting the hospital. She had a different area code, and her cell phone was working. I immediately called my Dad and told him to be on the roof in two hours with my Mother.

SELLING PRINCIPLE: Never give up hope. Just when you are ready to give up, the answer will come.

Just In Time
Two hours later, the helicopter rescued them from the roof of East Jefferson Hospital. As the nurse put my Mother in the helicopter, she told Tom that my Mother would not have lasted another day.

SELLING PRINCIPLE: The life of your career may depend on your persistence.

All Is Well That Ends Well
My parents were evacuated to Gonzales, Louisiana, where Hospice of Baton Rouge gave them a place to stay until we arranged for them to come to Louisville in an air ambulance. They now live in Louisville, Kentucky at beautiful Eden Terrace. My Mother has stabilized, and my Dad is so grateful that he thinks he has gone to heaven.

SELLING PRINCIPLE: Every storm cloud has a silver lining.

Ride Out The Storm
When hurricanes come, the captain must be prepared to ride out the storm. In selling, it is the same way. When times are bad, just keep on keeping on, and eventually, the situation will turn to your benefit. You will drown only when you stop sailing.

SELLING PRINCIPLE: In selling, as in sailing, there will always be storms. To weather the storms, remember to just keep trying. When you hit a dead end, turn around and find another route. Success belongs to those who are persistent.


© 1997 Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.

To see Joe and hear one of his favorite selling tips, follow this link to a video he created to share with folks who are interested in making more sales, or finding a job:



Joe Bonura would be pleased for you to reprint the article text free of charge (non-exclusively), but asks that you include his name and contact information:

Joe Bonura
Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.
Website: www.bonura.com
407 Landis Lakes Court
Louisville, KY  40245

(502) 553-1746 phone

E-mail: joe@bonura.com

About Joe Bonura

His background is unique. Joe owned and operated a highly successful advertising agency for 18 years. During that time, he found his advertising campaigns were more effective when he educated his clients in the areas of sales and service. He conducted training seminars for his clients as added value. Word spread that Joe was a quality speaker and more and more people asked him to speak. The demand became so high that he sold the agency to three of his associates to start his own speaking and consulting company, Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.

Joe is past President of the Kentucky Speakers Association and a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), a prestigious designation earned by only 8% of the 3,600 member National Speakers Association. Joe presently serves on the board of directors of NSA.

He is author of the audio learning systems "Three-Dimensional Selling®" and "Turning Customer Satisfaction Into Customer Excitement®." He is author of the book Throw the Rabbit—The Ultimate Approach to Three-Dimensional Selling.




Seminars | Audio Samples | Articles | Products | Clients |Throw The Rabbit | About Joe | Order | Contact Info | Home