"Get Your Selling Career Shipshape"
Part One

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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. This is the first article in the series of three where I share the traits with you. Click the link at the end of this article to read the next in the series. This article is devoted to the first four sails.


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


Sail Number One: Work

What a surprise! It takes hard work to be successful in selling; however, hard work alone will not help you to reach your sales goals. If all it took was hard work to be successful, the mill ox would be the most successful creature on earth.

Add a little creativity to your work efforts, and you will shorten the road to sales nirvana.

You Can Bank On It
Harlan Beagley, publisher of the Columbia Basin Herald in Moses Lake, Washington, said that after reading the piggy bank story in my book, Throw the Rabbit... he decided to use it to get the attention of a customer who was not responding to his phone calls. He went to the customer's store and purchased a piggy bank and a hammer with the store's logo. Harlan placed his presentation inside the piggy bank and sent it along with the hammer to the client. The following day, the client called to ask him what was in the pig. Harlan responded that in order to discover the bank's contents, he would have to break it open. The client loved the creativity of the approach, and Harlan now has an open relationship with the client.
Go Out On A Limb
Harlan is successful because of two reasons:
  1. He uses the information that he learns from outside sources, and
  2. He is not afraid to take a risk.


If you approach your potential clients like everyone else, you will get the same results as everyone else. Be different; think three-dimensionally.

Some sales people work harder at not working, than they do at getting the job done. Those sales people are always looking for the magic wand, and if they find the magic wand, they are too lazy to wave it. It takes effort to follow through with ideas.

Sail Number Two: Self-Discipline

Successful sales people have all mastered the art of self-discipline. Self-discipline must become a habit, and a habit is developed by taking action, again and again, one day at a time, until your effort becomes automatic.

Talk To Yourself
Exercise increases stamina and muscle strength. It takes self-discipline to wake up every day to do what you must do to achieve the desired results. I have enjoyed and benefited from using Billy Blanks' Tae Bo program, but it is difficult to get up every day to exercise. First, I have to talk myself into getting out of bed; next, I have to go to the exercise room; then, I must turn on the video tape; and finally, I begin. I have a choice to quit at each step in the process. My subconscious says that I can skip a day, but I know from experience that one day will soon equal a week, and then I will have to start over again. Once I begin, I become familiar with the routine, and it is harder to quit.
The same principle holds true in selling. It is hard to pick up the phone and make cold calls. The secret is to begin. Once you start dialing, you will be in the mood. Mood follows action.

Sail Number Three: Product Knowledge

If you don't know the product, you cannot sell it. Product knowledge does not mean only your product; it also means the competition. Do you know both well enough? Product knowledge is learned one day at a time. Looking out of my office window, I watched a home being built across the street. The bricklayers built the house one brick at a time. You learn about your product one fact at a time, until you know all the necessary facts.

An Hour Well Spent
Earl Nightingale (1921-1989, one of the world’s foremost experts on success and what makes people successful) commented that if you were to spend just one hour a day studying any subject, you would be a national expert in five years. Why not begin today with a goal of becoming the best at what you do by becoming an expert in your field.

Sail Number Four: Selling Skills

I spend at least one hundred hours a year in the field making sales calls with sales people. It keeps me sharp, and it also gives me a great perspective on how sales people approach their responsibilities.

The Missing Link
Many sales people have little or no sales training. Many companies invest considerable time and money in product training, and then exert little or no effort to teach the skills required to put that product knowledge to work.
What's On Your Bookshelf?
It is also your responsibility to look for opportunities to become a better sales person.

  • Have you read any books on selling in the past year?
  • Have you listened lately to sales tapes or CD's?
  • Do you subscribe to any sales magazines?
  • Have you personally invested in a sales training course?


If you answered no, or none, to all of the above, maybe it is time you became serious about your profession.

  • Would you want to go to a doctor or a dentist who is not current in his medical field?
  • Would you want to fly with a pilot who is not current?
  • Would you want to trust your investments to an investment counselor who does not keep up with his profession?


Then, why should a customer entrust his business to you if you are not serious about your career? Every day, make a commitment to learn something new about your business.

Stop waiting for the wind to blow in the right direction. Is your career becalmed? Fill your sails with sales power to reach your destination.

More Sails in future articles


Click here for PART TWO of this article


© 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.




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