Sales and Canvassing Tips from the Master: Zig Ziglar
If you’re in outside sales but don’t know Zig Ziglar, you need to fix that. He’s one of the most famous and influential sales teachers and has published several bestsellers, including Secrets of Closing the Sale and Selling 101. Everybody can always benefit from a little more Ziglar in their life, so here’s a short list of some of his best and most relevant quotes.
“Remember that failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night.”
It’s too easy in outside sales to internalize your failures. We deal with perpetual rejection, and if we’re not careful, we’ll start to think that we are failures. Like Zig says, it’s crucial that we maintain a healthy attitude about our progress. We’re going to fail, we’re going to be rejected. But if we focus on the future instead of the past, our failures will just be steps towards a bigger success.
“Stop selling. Start helping.”
Zig is all about making a positive impact on the lives of people around him. Obviously he’s not saying that we should all quit our sales jobs. What he’s encouraging us to do is take a more selfless approach to the way we sell. Sometimes sales has a bad reputation and some people view salespeople as sharks just hungry for the commission. With some reps, there might be some truth to that. But as salespeople, we have an opportunity to have a positive impact by helping our customers improve their lives. When we focus on helping when we sell, it feels better and it works better. People will recognize and appreciate your goodwill and you’re going to build much stronger relationships with prospects and customers.
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
People often say that outside sales “is a numbers game.” Part of that means that if you just knock enough doors or contact enough leads, eventually you’ll get a sale. But another part of that phrase suggests a lack of control over how things are going to go during the day.
Obviously, a lot of stuff is going to be out of your control. But don’t let that stop you from doing the things that are in your control. You’ve got to have short-term and long-term goals to guide your hour, day, week, and year. Focus on the things you have control of, and aim for constant improvement. Soon you’ll find that you had more power over the numbers than you thought, and you’ll be one of the top-performers that everyone else is chasing.
“Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.”
A lot of times when sales companies recruit, they boast about their top-performing guys, who are usually bringing in very impressive checks. When a rep first starts out, they’re excited about that kind of success and expect to find it themselves. This makes it tough when they start working and figure out how tough outside sales can be.
It’s important to understand (and to communicate to your reps) that outside sales can be extremely lucrative and will reward you well for your work, but it also takes work. Instead of viewing the work and all its difficulties as obstacles, it’s best to see them as an integral part of the journey. The work changes you, makes you smarter, stronger, and more capable. It’ll teach you how to be successful in all aspects of your life.
“Ask yourself a question: Is my attitude worth catching?”
A lot of success in sales comes from your attitude. Your attitude affects your interactions with your customers, your team, and yourself. It’s tough out there, but you’ve got to be resilient enough to stay positive through the ups and downs.
When you’re selling, be stoked about the product and service. Have enthusiasm for it. If you struggle to feel that way, do your research. Find out why what you’re selling is so important in people’s lives. Discover stories of people who have really benefited from what you’re doing. If you’ve put sincere effort into loving your product but just can’t do it, don’t be scared to find a better fit somewhere else.
When you’re working with your teams, be excited about their success and optimistic during their rough periods. It’s awesome to have some kind of group text or team messaging tool to keep everyone motivated and feeding off of each other’s enthusiasm. Or, if they’re having a tough day, reps can use it to reach out to friends for advice or encouragement.
Just make sure that your attitude is a good one, and you’ll reap the benefits.