"Million Dollar Cup Of Water"

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by Joe Bonura, CSP


Free = Freedom

In 1929, with a $3,000 inheritance, Ted Hustead and wife Dorothy moved to Wall, South Dakota, and opened a small drugstore. The business showed no growth by 1936, and add a depression, and the Husteads were on the verge of going out of business.

The End Is Near

Wall, a small town on the Southern outskirts of the Badlands of South Dakota, was off the beaten path, getting few drive-through tourists. As they neared the end of their finances, Dorothy suggested that Ted put a sign on the main highway offering "Free Ice Water" at Wall Drug.

They Felt the Heat

Instead of putting one sign, Ted put up several signs several miles apart on route 16A. As tourists left the heat of the Badlands (this was before air-conditioned cars), they saw the signs, made the small detour and took advantage of the free ice water offered at Wall Drug. This simple idea led to a multi-million dollar operation and worldwide fame for the little drugstore in Wall, South Dakota.

Become a Legend

I grew up in the advertising and marketing business, and Wall Drug was a legend when it came to great marketing. I had a goal of visiting the store, and this year that goal became a reality. I was shocked to see that Wall Drug was not the little corner drugstore that I had imagined, but a large conglomerate of stores covering several city blocks.

Set a Good Example

Their success is an excellent example of two things:

One small implemented idea can create massive change.

Free gave them freedom.

The Parking Lot Is Full

Ted certainly could have told Dorothy that he was too tired to put up signs offering free ice water. Who would have thought that so many would go out of their way for a free cup of ice water? Tell that to the drivers of the huge tour buses and to the hundreds of tourists daily who stop to see what all the commotion is about at Wall Drug.

From Free Ice Water to 5-Cent Coffee

Wall Drug offers a cup of coffee for 5-cents, and veterans of the military can have a free doughnut with a free cup of coffee. Think about your business: What could you give customers to introduce them to your business? I send a free E-Zine every thirty days to remind the recipients that I am still breathing and ready to serve them. You too can give your clients a sample of what you do; it is called added value.

Bad Example

I met a friend at a locally owned coffee shop. I suggested the location because I liked the coffee and the atmosphere. In fact, I frequented the location at least twice every week. When my friend arrived, all he wanted was a cup of water, and the server charged him 20 cents. It left a bad taste in his mouth and a bad taste in mine. But for the price of a cup of water, they could have made us both very happy customers. Some people just do not get it. Obviously, as a result of this incident, I have moved on to another coffee shop close by.

A Regular

We love eating at Buca di Beppo because they offer us a $10.00 coupon every thirty days. The value added offer has resulted in my visiting with them at least once a month where we spend a lot more than the $10 offer.

Make Someone Happy

McDonald's has been giving kids "Happy Meals" for over 40 years. The "Little Extra" makes a "Big Difference." (Lagniappe means a little extra - go to my website at www.bonura.com, click the articles button on the left, and download my free article on Lagniappe)

Add Value and Grow Your Business

I like to call it "Value Added." What can you do in your business to give your customer something that will give them a feeling of value added? It does not have to be much or does not have to be very expensive; it may be something as simple as a smile. What can you do to make your customers say, "WOW?" WOWING a customer is like allowing sunshine to radiate on a plant--it absorbs the warmth and grows.

Water anyone?

© 2012 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.




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