Seek A Star
by Joe Bonura, CSP
SEEK A STAR
When I decided to sell my advertising agency and become a full-
time professional speaker in 1988, I attended the National Speakers
Association Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. My first goal was to
find out who was one of the most successful speakers presenting
at the convention. It turned out to be Joe Charbonneau, a shining
star in the speaking industry.
Joe's success advice was to make 300 dials a week, which would
result in 50 contacts and 2.5 bookings for speaking engagements.
I did not know enough about marketing in the speaking business to
question Joe's suggestion.
DUMB IS GOOD
I was dumb enough to trust what Joe said, and in my first year
in the business, I was in the top 5% in income and number of speaking
engagements. If I had been less trusting, I would not have listened
to Joe or I would have modified his suggestions to make my life
easier. I am thankful that I listened to Joe.
THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE
Why reinvent the wheel of fortune when someone else out there is
already getting the results that you want?
HE'S THE MANN
One of my major clients today is Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
In the first year that I trained their sales people, I had the privilege
of working with Bill Mann, who was the top producer at the time,
and he was making a very good living. I can remember telling my
wife that if I were a young man just starting out on a career path,
I would want to work for Anthem. I also told her that if I did work
for Anthem, I would immediately ask Bill if I could shadow him to
learn his success system in health insurance sales. I would then
whole-heatedly apply what he shared with me.
GET BIG RESULTS
The same principle holds true in any industry. There will always
be a great performer whom you can emulate; however, remember to
follow their lead if you expect to get big results.
TIME TO BE YOU
Does this mean that you will never be able to be yourself? Not
at all. The great cellist, YoYo Ma was mentoring a group of students
when one of the students asked him how she could be creative like
him on the cello. YoYo Ma replied, 'Learn to play the cello so well
that you don't have to think about it, and then, you can be creative.'
TIME TO SPIN
Learn from the master, do exactly what the master says, and when
you have totally mastered his or her technique, you can add your
own spin to the system.
PAINT YOUR OWN CANVAS
All success begins with discipline. When my wife, who is an art
history major, introduced me to the art of Jackson Pollock, I just
saw lots of paint splashed on a canvas. Once I studied his works
more closely, I discovered that I could recognize his splatters
of paint on paintings I had never seen before. Pollock first mastered
painting, and then he added his own unique spin to it, and his paintings
sell for millions of dollars.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
Several years ago at the National Speakers Association convention,
I was approached by a young man who had heard my presentation on
growing your speaking business. Jim was very excited about what
he had heard and wanted me to mentor him. I agreed to help him get
started in the business, just as Joe Charbonneau had helped me.
I explained the process and told him to apply himself and call me
if he needed any more advice.
JUST DO IT
After three months, Jim called to tell me that the system did not
work. After questioning him, I discovered that he was applying only
half of what I told him. When I confronted him, he said that he
didn't have time to do everything that I told him because he had
other obligations. I told him to never call me again.
ONE MORE TIME
He was shocked at my comment and apologized for his lack of diligence.
He agreed to follow the process exactly as I instructed him so that
I would continue to mentor him.
SPIN YOUR WAY TO THE TOP
We continued our mentor-relationship, and today Jim is one of the
top speakers in the industry. He has been speaking long enough to
put his own spin on the process, and he is having the time of his
THE EYES HAVE IT
Take a look around your organization. Who is the most successful
person working with you? Give them a call and have lunch (you buy)
with them. Ask them if they would be willing to mentor you. If they
agree, listen to what they have to say, do it exactly as they
tell you to do it, and you will experience the same success that
they are experiencing.
© 2007 Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.