The “salesman’s salesman,” Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar passed away on November 28th, a few weeks after his 86th birthday.
Ziglar authored nearly 30 books (ten of which became New York Times best sellers). When he returned from World War II, he landed a job selling pots and pans door to door. It was during those early years when he developed a method of selling and a penchant for motivating others that has come to be recognized as “The Ziglar Way.”
Much of what we blindly accept today as “best practices” in sales and management was first pioneered by Ziglar. At the core of his books, speeches, presentations and executive retreats was the idea that in order to be successful, “You have to SEE it to BE it”– the idea that if you see success in your mind, you’ll see a success in your efforts.
Ziglar not only elevated sales into a noble profession, he managed to make it glamorous. “Selling is not something you do TO someone, it is something you do FOR someone,” he once noted.
His personal success story, his homespun persona and his ability to craft memorable one-liners made him a celebrity and created today’s entire “motivational” industry. The likes of Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins and Tom Peters owe way more than their first-borns to The Zigster.
What made Ziglar successful wasn’t that he was pushier than other salesmen, or that he was “smoother’ than other salesmen or even that he was more driven than other salesmen. What made Ziglar a runaway success was his curiosity about human nature, and his ability to connect with his customers. He took the time to get to know the people he was selling to, and had the empathy required to “put himself in their shoes.”
His respect for the customer was uncompromising. His approach was characterized by what we’d call today, a “win/win approach.” One of his most-quoted lines is “All you have to do to get everything YOU want is make sure those around you have everything THEY want.” Might not sound so revolutionary today, but in the days of peddling cookware door-to-door, making whatever promises it took to make the sale, knowing you’ll probably never see that customer again, it was revolutionary indeed.
I think Zig would find himself right at home in today’s era of transparent marketing. (Interesting to note, this old-school salesman has a Facebook following of almost 90,000.) Ziglar’s “respect thy customer” approach is even more relevant today than in his heyday. Social media and the Internet have put brands on even footing with their customers, and require an anticipation of needs and a willingness to help beyond the sale itself.
Though decades old, these Ziglar quotes can serve as effective print-and-posts for today’s marketers:
“People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.”
“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”
“If you learn something from defeat, then you haven’t really lost.”
“If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re scarce indeed. If you set out to BE a friend, you’ll find they’ll come out of the woodwork”.
“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”
It’s not how much you have, it’s how efficiently you use it that makes the difference.
“You cannot tailor-make the situations in life but you can tailor-make the attitudes to fit those situations.”
“A poor economy is the best opportunity for salespeople because the naysayers and grumblers have already given up.”
“A problem, properly define, is half-solved.”
These and other noteworth Zig ZIglar quotes can be found here.
In closing I’d like to share one other Ziglar quote I hadn’t heard before, but one that should resonate with every marketer:
“You can’t make it as a wandering generality. You must become a meaningful specific.”
If you have a favorite Zig Ziglar quote, please share it with us.
Posted by Mickey
- THE POPE & THE TAILOR
- You have 1.5 seconds to live.
- Sticky yet slippery.
- Friday LinkFest For May 25, 2012.
- Telling vs. trying.