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
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
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Never give up hope. Just when you are ready to give up, the answer
- 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.
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
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.
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 & Associates, Inc.
407 Landis Lakes Court
Louisville, KY 40245
(502) 553-1746 phone
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
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.
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