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Remembering Zig Ziglar: Keys to Sales Success


Yesterday we learned that Zig Ziglar passed away at the age of 86. Below are a few of my favorite stories Zig shared with me over the years.

Zig’s First Sale (in His Own Words)

“It was on a hot August afternoon in 1947. It happened on Adelia Drive in Columbia, South Carolina. I'd been knocking on doors all afternoon, and nobody would let me in. I made a solemn vow that if I didn't at least get into a house by the time I got to Devine Street, I was going to quit. I'd been working 10 days and had not sold anything.

“I knocked on the door of Mrs. B. C. Dickert, and she said, ‘Well, you know, it sounds interesting, but my sister-in-law, Mrs. J. 0. Freeman, lives next door, and I know she'd be interested. Why don't you go talk to her, and if she looks at it, just call me over.’

“So I literally ran next door – that was the first word of encouragement I'd heard all day – and I talked to Mrs. Freeman. She said, ‘Well, I'd want my husband to see it.’

“So I said, ‘Well, I'll come back tonight.’ So I got back that night, and Mr. and Mrs. Freeman invited Mrs. Dickert over. I finished the presentation, and I can tell you that it was set number 541, that it cost $61.45, that the down payment was $16.45, and that when I sold the Freemans, I was so enamored and excited that I just flat forgot that Mrs. Dickert even lived. I just ignored her.

“And finally Mr. Freeman said, ‘Mr. Ziglar, I believe that if you were to talk to Mrs. Dickert, she might buy a set.’

“And so, with considerable sales technique and skill, I said, ‘What about it, Mrs. Dickert?’ She said, ‘Well, I don't have my checkbook, even.’ And again, with considerable diplomacy, I said, ‘Well, shoot, you just live next door. Go get it!’ And she went next door, so I made two sales that night.

“We lived in a little upstairs apartment, and I didn't hit more than two steps on the way up that night. [My wife] knew that something had happened. I tell you, we were just elated! We jumped up and down and laughed and celebrated by buying two quarts of ice cream.”

Zig’s Four Secrets to Closing More Sales

1. Have an absolute and total belief that what you're selling is worth more than the price you ask for it. Your belief in your product should be so great that you ought to be using it.

2. Mentally prepare yourself. Review your product knowledge and selling skills before every call. Try to write down your presentation, and you'll discover that you are using too many words, that you drift away from the point, or that you are not specific enough. Writing will remind you of something you've forgotten and help you generate better selling ideas.

3. Use emotion and logic in your presentation. Logic makes people think; emotion makes them act. For example, in selling cookware, we would take the logical approach and explain that, according to USDA, the average shrinkage of a 4-pound roast in the oven or in the ordinary pot was 1 pound, 7 ounces. Cooking it in our method, you lost 5 ounces. Logically, you could say, "If you had a cook that stole one pound of your roast every time he cooked one, you'd fire him. No hesitation! Here you've got this old, beat-up pot that's been stealing from you for 20 years. I think it's time you fired it. Fire that old pot and get a new one. And it's not going to steal from you!" That would make sense logically. Then we would say from a practical point of view, we are what we eat. If the food you put in your body is short on nutrition, then eventually you are going to pay for it. Sometimes I'd say, "Our set of cookware will help your baby grow up with a better chance at good health."

4. We combined the logic on the dollar and the emotion on the good health for better results. You need to balance these keys. If you use all logic, you end up with the best-educated prospect in town. If you use all emotion, you make the sale, but tomorrow you'll have the buyer's remorse and a canceled order.

Zig’s Five Keys to Motivation

1. We can't graduate in self-motivation. It's like eating; we can't graduate in eating. We need to continue to make choices about what level of self-motivation we want to maintain.

2. The likelihood of motivating yourself is greatly increased with positive relationships. Positive relationships create a feeling of closeness and become a source of strength.

3. To succeed in selling, use emotion and logic in your sales presentation. Logic makes people think; emotion makes them act. If you use only logic, you'll end up with the best-educated prospect in town. If you use only emotion, you'll end up with a canceled order. Balance these keys and you'll sell more.

4. If you feed your mind with positive thoughts and are selective about the things you choose to read, look at, or listen to, then you are taking effective action against negative thinking.

5. Success is measured not by what you've done compared to others but by what you're capable of doing. 

My Favorite Zig Video Clips

1. How to Train Fleas


2. The Round TUIT


My 10 Favorite Zig Ziglar Quotes   

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

There is no traffic jam on the extra mile.

Money can buy you the best mattress in the world, but it can’t buy you a good night’s sleep. 

Don’t be distracted by criticism. The only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you. 

If you go looking for a friend, you're going to find they're very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you'll find them everywhere.

The tougher you are on yourself, the easier life will be on you.

You must be before you can do, and you must do before you can have.

It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.

Failure is an event, not a person.

You can have everything in life you want if you will help enough other people get what they want.


Please share your favorite Zig Ziglar story. How has his life impacted yours? 

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David Stargel

Nicely done! Always will remember Zig.


I love both of the examples in the videos. The flea example, and the round tuit. These two scenarios are powerful messages, shared years ago, the messages still ring very true. We should all take Zigs wistful words of wisdom to heart. He had a wonderful way of making the message clear and come alive with visualization, logic, and emotion. Thank you Zig.

Ponte Vedra Homes for Sale

Nice video and post you done great job Mr. Ziglar, really very nice Five Keys to Motivation and Keys to Sales Success thanks for your good up-date!


Great article. Thank

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