Bananas! Part Two

 So what do bananas have to do with changing behavior?  Here’s today’s Fable Friday story.

Several years ago I was peeling a banana, and my nephew Jason Roosma, a pretty smart guy, said to me, “You know there’s a better way of doing that.”  Of course I had to ask or he would have told me anyway.  He said, “Most people peel a banana by snapping off the stem end, but if it’s not ripe enough or too ripe it doesn’t snap easily.  But if you look at the other end of the banana you’ll see it has four sides, and if you pinch together any two of the opposing corners, the end pops right open and it’s real easy to peel.” 

Well, I wasn’t about to take his word for it, but the next time I ate a banana I tried it and it works!  Try it yourself.

Now fast forward and here I am with 500 customers in Miami and I told them I have this superior way to peel a banana, and after explaining it I asked them, “How many of you will now peel a banana this new way?”  Only a few raised their hands, so I said, “Then let me model it for you. I have a banana right here,” and I peeled it for them using the new method.  “Now,” I asked, “how many of you believe me and will start doing it this way?”  A few more hands went up. 

Feigning exasperation, I asked, “What do I have to do to convince you this is the better way?” and not surprisingly several yelled out, “I’d have to try it for myself!” and with that as the cue, my colleagues reached under the tables for the pre-concealed bags of bananas and began tossing them all over the ballroom, to the tune of Harry Belafonte singing the “Banana Boat” song, until everybody had one to peel.  It was a riot, but in two minutes I had 500 converts.

You know that this is the way it always works in real life don’t you?  People have to try it for themselves and in so doing, they learn, which is your goal.

So I’m suggesting that to transition from presentation and blah-blah-blah meetings, you move to more interactive, engaging meetings, where you give your team opportunities to practice very short but important skills:  how to ask a high-gain question, how to summarize three key points, how to outline next steps, and so on.  That’s how you run a sales meeting and your team will love you for it, believe me.  Try starting them out with the banana game as a way to transition.

Oh, and back to my story? There was one little glitch I should mention.  The hotel presented me with a bill for $1,250 for the bananas.  Well, you win some and you lose some, but you should always…

Think Like Your Customer!

By the way, if you do want to try the banana game, go to my website using the link to the right and contact me. I’ll be happy to send you the facilitator’s instructions at no charge of course.

Also remember that I send an e-newsletter first week of every month.  My June issue deals with one of the practices of effective coaches, how a good coach deals with excuses.  If you’re not signed up, just go to my website using the link to the right, click on the fancy “N”(for newsletter) in the top right and enter your name and email address.  Thank you.  Gregory

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at

3 Responses to Bananas! Part Two

  1. Jennifer O'Connor says:

    Loved these articles. I think you told us about this when you led our STEP certification training in Jeff City for Central Bancompany. I now open my bananas this way (and so does my husband) and plan to use the exercise at my next sales meeting (along with the piano question:)


    • Thank you Jennifer. I sent you the facilitator’s instructions today. I noticed that someone put the demo up on YouTube and I sent you a link to it. Best regards, Gregory

  2. Paresh Thakker says:


    A classic one! and I know being ex Xchange/Action Systems employee. Gregory demonstrated the same in one of our meetings.

    Love your blog. Always strikes the right chord, quite an enriching reading.

    -Paresh Thakker

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