"Only Fools Rush In"

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Only Fools Rush In
by Joe Bonura, CSP



My son Nick and I completed a two-week camera safari in Kenya, and we were walking in downtown Nairobi, saying our goodbyes to a dream adventure, when a neatly dressed Kikuyu gentleman approached and immediately got in step with us.

His first question, delivered through a warm smile and a crisp British accent, was, 'Enjoying my country?' How else could I respond to his courteous question but, 'Of course, it's beautiful.' My son added, 'It's great, we hate to leave.'

His next question moved us further along his pre-ordained purpose, 'And what have you seen so far?'

My response, 'Mount Kenya, the Rift Valley, and lots of animals.' He then said to my son, 'Sounds like you had a good safari?' Nick jumped in with, 'Yes, and I took some really great pictures.'

Our new best friend asked, 'Pictures of what?' Nick replied, 'The animals.'

As he continued to stroll along with us, he asked, 'And what animal impressed you the most?' We both answered simultaneously, 'The elephant, of course!' To which he pulled up his sleeve and said, 'Would you like to take home an elephant hair bracelet to commemorate your wonderful African experience?'

We now own two bracelets.


How far do you think he would have gotten with us if he had stepped in front of us and asked, 'Would you like to buy an elephant hair bracelet?' We would have said no, and we would have gone on our way.

First he got in step with us, learned what our interests were, and then showed us how we could take that 'interest' home with us.

I have been exposed to many sales people in my lifetime, and I have lost count of the times that sales people came into my office and immediately began the sales pitch. They automatically made the assumption that I needed what they had to offer. In some cases, it took me five minutes into the presentation to determine what they were selling.

Get in step before you attempt to make the shoe fit.


After a young woman attended one of my sales training sessions, she sent me an e-mail describing what happened when she applied the information that I shared with her about getting in step.

Here is what she said:

Recently, I visited with a local business person who had always rejected my advertising medium. I decided to get in step with him by asking him questions about his business based on the information that you had shared in your training program.

I asked many questions, listened well, and based on his answers, made a few on-target suggestions that helped solve his toughest strategic problems.

As a final question, I asked, 'If I put together a message that effectively communicates these ideas that we discussed, would you be willing to seriously consider giving us the opportunity to work with you?'

He replied, 'See it! I'll buy an annual schedule with you for the first time in a decade.'

I was so startled, I said, 'How's that?' To which he added, 'You're not like a normal media rep trying to sell me advertising - You are concerned about my problems, and you are helping me run my business better. You can come see me anytime.'

The media rep had a choice after attending my program. She could discard the information on getting in step, or she could apply it. She chose to apply it to her sales technique, and as a result, she obtained the sale.


Recently, I made sales calls with a sales person who selected to pitch a very difficult client. As we walked into the hard-sell's office, I noticed a framed Jeppesen pilot map on his wall. I asked him how long he had been a pilot?

When he wondered how I knew that he was a pilot, I told him that I was a pilot and that not many people would have a pilot map on the wall if they didn't have an interest in flying.

He agreed, and we had a great fifteen-minute conversation about our common interest. I then asked him questions about his business, and needless to say, after getting in step with my pilot buddy, we walked away with the business.

Look for the unique to comment on -- not the picture on the back of his credenza. Observe what is parked in the president's parking space; what does the cover letter in the annual report say; what current news have you read about the company; and what can you find out from the receptionist?

Look for the unique, and you will be unique.


Some sales trainers will tell you to get right to the point - skip the small talk.

I have been in selling in the real world for over forty years, and the most important lesson I have learned is to get in step with the prospect before you try to sell him/her 'the bracelet.' Maybe one in a hundred will respond to the direct approach, but I do business with the other ninety-nine who want to know how much you care before they want to know how much you know.

Next time that you make a call, get in step first, and walk away with powerful results.


© 2004 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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