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January 2, 2013
Zig Ziglar's Enduring Lessons
I love working with sales guys. But I’ve always been extremely skeptical of sales trainers and motivational speakers, most of whom are full of it. But the sales and marketing world lost a giant this week with the passing of Zig Ziglar, one of the best and pioneering sales motivators.
Long before others turned sales motivation into a slick, multi-channel industry, Zig, who carried a bag for 25 years before he started talking about it, was able to take real-world experience, draw common themes and lessons, and deliver them in a memorable and folksy way. I had the pleasure to work with Zig several times. He was a humble guy who had an incredible way with people and the ability to size up his audience and tell a story like no one else. 
He had kind of a southern accent and he could frame big ideas and punctuate them with humor in ways that you could easily relate to and think about. Unlike other speakers, you could remember what Zig said the next day. In a world of blowhards and phonies, Zig was the genuine article. I’ll miss him.
Here are his four key “teachings” that stick in my head.
Be Real. People buy people. We are hard wired to spot threats and BS. Be yourself. Be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t be afraid to expose your life experience. Every sale is about making a person-to-person connection.
Be Memorable. Zig’s real name was Hilary. He knew that wouldn’t fly, so the mnemonic nickname worked in his favor. His polyglot accent also set him apart, as did his countless homespun funny stories. He always had a dramatic, unexpected, or startling opening line. There are zillions of people pushing zillions of ideas, products, and services. Differentiation is everything.
Be Grateful. You may not have the sale...yet. But you have a bunch of other amazing gifts in your life. Don’t take this particular sale too seriously. Don’t underestimate the inner and material resources you have going into the sales conversation. You never have to be desperate. Leverage your strengths to endure the numbers game that is the sales process. Be as patient and as giving as you can be. Karma exists in the world. It will work in your favor, even when it's not immediately evident.
Pace Yourself. Selling is a conversation. It’s two-way and interactive. You’re not jamming something down somebody’s throat. You are creating a dialog where each subsequent interaction reveals new information and fleshes out a picture of what a prospect thinks and needs. One-call closes rarely happen. Punctuate the conversation so that key points are said and re-stated. Use examples and humor as reasons to believe or as evidence to support your pillar points. Repetition and variation drive resonance.

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Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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