Name: Zig Ziglar
Industry: Motivation, Sales
Title: Salesman, Motivational Speaker, & Author
Job Description: Zig Ziglar was a salesperson who used his talents to train thousands of salesmen and women around the globe the secrets of selling and motivation. Personal Note: His book, Secrets of The Close (Amazon aff link), changed my life. I took his advice to heart, and have used the ideas and strategies he discussed throughout my career.
Zig Ziglar Start Up Gap
How did you get started? Zig Ziglar started selling cookware in 1947 after he came back as a Navy serviceman in World War II. He had a young family to support, and started selling to earn a living with the only job he could find.
What was the greatest challenge you faced when you started? Zig was not a born salesman. In fact, he struggled early on to bring in sales. Part of this was due to the fact that he did not know enough about sales, or the sales process. He learned by experience. Sometimes those experiences were rough.
For example, he talks about in Secrets Of Closing The Sale about an experience he had with an old farmer about a year after getting into the industry. The farmer talked about how he finally had the money to pay for a new indoor bathroom in his house. This was his objection to purchasing the cookware, which Ziglar at the time do. The farmer had a great sales presentation that Ziglar at the time could not match.
While he left the house on good terms with the farmer, the next he ran into the farmer’s sister who referred Zig to the farmer. She told him that the farmer was mad at him, because he did not sell the cookware to him. Apparently, he was putting up a front, because he really did want it. Zig believed him without prying deeper.
Lost sales, such as these in his early years create a lot of self-doubt in himself. He even had a firm belief early in his career that he knew if it was the “right psychological moment” to sell cookware to a family without even going in a home. He would hem and haw at who he presented to, in order to make sure he did not lower his ego anymore.
What have you learned from your challenges? He was able to overcome these initial shortcomings by understanding how his attitude would determine whether he closed a sale or not.
The idea that your altitude was determined by your attitude meant that you needed to keep a positive attitude when times were tough. Then you would be able to boost that positive attitude even further when times were good.
How long did it take for you to consider yourself successful? “Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.” From everything I have read from Zig Ziglar, he started to consider himself professionally successful in the 1950’s and 60’s, when he rose through the ranks as a sales person. I know he mentioned how he had a big breakthrough in1972 when he started making more money with his training programs.
However, Zig’s goal was to always keep learning. Therefore, success is what you make of it.
How did you define that success? During that same time, he discussed how he found god through his son and a woman who stayed with him. Shortly after this time, his business started to grow.
Where were you when you said to yourself, “wow! I did it?” (The I remember when…)
How did you stay motivated in tough times? “Motivation is like bathing, you have to do it every day,” was a key line from Zig Ziglar. It also describes how you stay motivated during tough times.
Who was your inspiration? Zig Ziglar biggest inspiration came from the Redhead (his wife), his kids, and God.
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as of now?
Strongest Habit: Give a bit each day to those around you. You can have anything you want in the world as long as you help enough people achieve their goals. Each day, Zig was committed to helping millions of sales people around the world achieve their goal.
Greatest Habit: A positive attitude for every scenario, whether personal or business.
Takeaway: Zig Ziglar’s passing at the end of 2012 was a huge loss to the hundreds of thousands of fans, colleagues, and students of sales marketing. His inspiring approach to sales was one of the primary drivers in changing how sales happened. While some people might still have the Willy Loman idea of salesman, Zig Ziglar saw that a salesperson is someone who cares enough about a product or service to change the world. That is exactly what he did for thousands of sales people, including myself. For that I have to say, “Thanks Zig!”