Time To Throw The Rabbit
by Joe Bonura, CSP
HAPPY NEW YEAR
I could not think of a better way to start the New Year than by
writing about my first sales call. We can learn from every experience,
good or bad, if we look for the clues. From experience, I find that
I learn more from my failures than I do from my successes. When
I fail, it is like getting hit on the side of the head with a two-by-four.
The experience wakes me up to what just happened. We learned to
walk or ride a bike by falling down, and then getting up again,
having learned what not to do.
DO YOU REMEMBER?
Do you remember your first sales call? In 1964, I made my first
sales call as a media sales representative in New Orleans. My sales
training had consisted of my boss introducing me to several existing
clients. That was it! After that, he turned me loose and said, 'OK
Joe, go for it!'
THE LONGEST 10 MINUTES IN MY LIFE
I drove my black Volkswagen Beetle to a furniture store in New
Orleans, and I'll never forget it...it took me 10 minutes to get
out of the car! I sat there because I was too frightened to get
out! Finally, I gathered my nerve, walked into the store, and stuttered
to the receptionist, 'Uh, is, uh, may I, uh, is Mr....' Seeing my
inexperience, she took pity on me and responded, 'I will get him.'
FISHING FOR AN OPENING
The previous evening, I had read a sales book that advised sales
people to begin with a compliment. When I noticed a large swordfish
on the wall, I figured that would work. A large, gruff-looking man
approached me as I introduced myself and applied the prepared compliment,
'H..hi, my name is Joe Bonura. D..did you catch that big fish?'
He did not bite at the lure (my compliment), and he rudely replied,
'And what are you selling?'
I replied meekly, 'advertising.'
He bellowed, 'Well, I do not want any!'
'OK, here is my card. Thank you very much.' I turned around, ran
out of the store, and mentally quit my new sales career. There was
no way that I was going to do this for a living, and subject myself
ONE MORE TIME
It was February in New Orleans, with the Easter season approaching,
and I was lugging around a six-foot Easter rabbit in my Volkswagen
passenger seat. If the customer purchased a thirteen-week schedule,
the rabbit went with the package. I was very nervous, and I had
forgotten to use the rabbit on the first call. I knew I could not
return with the rabbit; that would concede to failure and defeat.
So I decided to try one more time. I went where any new sales person
would go - familiar territory! I went to my local Dorignac's Supermarket,
where my wife and I shopped every week.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE GARBAGE
I grabbed the six-foot Easter rabbit and entered the store, but
the store checkers, who looked so nice last week when I was the
customer, looked so intimidating this week.
When I asked for Mr. Dorignac, one of the checkers pointed to the
little deli/restaurant where Mr. Dorignac was drinking coffee and
observing the employees as they worked. When I nervously turned
in his direction, I tripped, and the giant Easter rabbit flew into
the air, crashed into a line of metal garbage cans, creating a domino
effect, knocking over can after can.
I was down on one knee, glanced up, and saw Mr. Dorignac sporting
a huge grin. As I greeted him, he laughed and said, 'Son, that is
the best attention-getting technique in selling I have ever seen.'
GIVE YOUR CAREER A SECOND CHANCE
Well, I left the store with a contract for a 13-week schedule,
and Mr. Dorignac had a successful promotion along with a huge, six-foot
Easter rabbit, and I decided to give my sales career another chance.
The lessons that I learned that day are used in my sales seminars,
and I call that process of being unique - Throwing the Rabbit.
LEAVE THE RABBIT AT HOME
It is not necessary to carry a giant Easter rabbit and trip over
yourself to get a signed contract; however, if you want to stand
out from your competition, you must be unique. There are many ways
to 'Throw the Rabbit.'
Ask yourself these questions:
When I make a sales call, what sets me apart from the competition?
Why should the prospect stop doing what they are doing
and pay attention to me?
BORN ON A MOUNTAIN TOP
I was making calls in Tennessee with a gentleman named David Crockett.
I observed how he formally introduced himself on each call as he
lead with his business card, 'Hi, my name is David Crockett with
ABC Company and I would like to visit with the person responsible
for transportation.' As that was not a very exciting door opener,
I suggested that he keep his business card in his pocket, and on
the next call, introduce himself in the following way: 'Hi, my name
is Davy Crockett, I'm here to see if we can kill some of the bears
that are eating into your profits.' The receptionist laughed, picked
up the phone and said, 'You must come out here and meet Davy Crockett.
David had a built-in rabbit that he was not using. I suggested
that he have some small coonskin cap key chains made with his company
name and contact information.
Find the rabbit in your offer, and see how you can use it
to stand out in a world of look-alikes.
LISTEN to how to throw the rabbit
© 2004 Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.