If I have seen further then others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants. – Isaac Newton
The project was presented to me this past week to reach out and interview an individual with experience in the field of Sales. The purpose of this assignment was to advance my knowledge in this role. With this fact in mind, I determined to only learn from the best, which required a bit of creativity on my part.
Zip Ziglar, American author, motivational speaker, and world-renowned Salesmen.
… died 2012.
This minor detail removes a one on one interview form my options… or so it would seem.
The purpose of an interview is to acquire answers form an individual of interest, and thanks to today’s vast store of knowledge a date via the internet, I was able to do just that, regardless of my subject being deceased.
The Coffee Shop (in my mind)
“Hello, Mr. Zinglar. Thank you so much for meeting me today. It’s a pleasure to meet you and have the opportunity to ask you a few questions.”
“Please, call me Zip. And the pleasure is mine. I do love a good conversation, especially concerting sells.”
This is how I envision my interview starting, coffee and tea before the both of us, as a true giant of the sales world opens up his vast knowledge to a young and hungry mind.
Question 1: What made you choose to pursue this role?
Zinglar believed that a person could achieve anything they desired if only they would help others.
This thought process was the foundation for Zinglar’s Sales tactics. If you wish to make a sale, then your job is to help that customer get what they want. It’s not about you closing a deal, it’s about you filling a need in the lives of others.
It is for this reason that Zinglar chose the sales path, and it’s also why he did so well at it. Every customer was an opportunity to impact his little part of the world. Every sales was a solution to a dilemma in the life of another. And ever dollar earned was the rewards of honest work that he found pride and joy in.
Question 2: What skills and training are required to fill this role?
In Zingar’s opinion, the most essential skill in Sales is one’s self-image. Outlined throughout his courses and presentations on the topic, Zingar’s formula for an effective self-image consisted of 8 simple steps. 1) recognize your value. 2) Dress for success. 3) listen to influential and inspiring people. 4) Realize that you must walk before you can run. 5) spend time with people who improve your positive character traits. 6) make a list of and know your accomplishments, caring them with pride. 7) Envision yourself being the kind of person you want to be so that you can have a visual goal to strive for. And 8) Remember that you achieve your desires by helping others with their own.
Once one has gained a strong self-image, they are then prepared for the challenges that will inevitably face them in the world of sales.
Going into this battle, one must equip themselves with the 4 main weapons by which a salesman brings his riches to the people in need. These are 1) Prospects. 2) Planning. 3) Closing. And 4) Follow up.
I lean in to hear the old man’s explanation for these four keys, only to see a smile cross his face as he says.
“But more on that in later answers.” Then he takes a sip of his coffee.
Question 3: What is the greatest challenge in this role?
To Zinglar’s way of thinking, closing a sale, when pitched to the right kind of prospect, with a well-strategized and executed plan, is not in the slightest bit challenging or difficult. Therefore, the greatest challenge when it comes to being a salesman is oneself.
If one lacks the proper self-image to face this brutal combat, then they are destined to fail.
If they face their challenge without the foreknowledge of what they are facing, what they are to accomplish, and why they are doing so, then they will simply waste their time, effort, and drive. The tool of Prospects.
If they enter this battlefield without a strategy and well planned out route to their destination, then they will become lost and never make it through alive. The tool of Planning one’s presentation and delivery.
If they do not have the strength to bring their challenge to an end, then they will have fought for no gain. The toll of Closing.
And if they, by some miracle, do make it through, yet neglect to care for those they have delivered their riches too, then they will have lost any hope of victory for the future. The tool of Follow Up.
The puzzled look on my face gave me away, causing the old man to smile.
“ You,” he says pointing his finger at me, “you are your greatest challenge. You will determine whether you close a thousand sales or not a one. It’s not a matter of the customer, it’s all up to you.”
Question 4: What is the greatest gain from being in Sales?
There are 3 according to Zinglar.
First and foremost, the opportunity to provide the solutions, wishes, and needs of others.
Second, is the lifestyle one can gain by living out this role. Sales is a way of life and a mindset that affects your entire existence. By creating a self-image that allows you to succeed in this role, you ultimately create a you that allows you to succeed in life.
And third, there most definitely is an opportunity to make a significant amount of moola.
Question 5: What does your day to day tasks look like?
One word. Opportunity.
A laugh comes from Zinglar as he thinks back to a memory from the past, and I can tell that I am in for a story.
On the way to a sales opportunity, the younger version of the man before me found himself pulled to the side of the road by a highway patrol officer for speeding. After attempting to talk his way out of the ticket, to no avail, he once again finds himself back on the road. Entering the courthouse to pay his enormously high ticket of $35, which was a significant amount back in the day, the lady at the counter catches his attention and an opportunity presents itself. After a few minutes, Zinglar walks out having closed a sale with not only the lady at the desk but also her fellow employee.
On the way back home, Zingar just happens to drive past the same patrolman, and for the first time in his life, he actually pulled over an officer, to thank him for a ticket.
Every situation is an opportunity if only one is aware and prepared. This is what a salesman day to day life looks like. Constant opportunity.
Question 6: What is the significants of Sales as a whole?
Sales get the product of a company into the hands of those who want and need it. Without this vital role, there would be nothing more than companies full of products with customers who have the ability and desire to buy, but yet the two never cross paths.
Salesman aren’t the crafty foxes that trick their prey into investing in a faulty product. Salesmen are the valiant heroes who go above and beyond to bring the solutions to those who need them. Sales is an honest trade and one that should be upheld with high esteem.
Sales is a truly significant role in every company no matter their size, yet it is one that can only be valued if the members of its body go about their roles as men and women of honor, instead of Wolves on Wall Street.
Question 7: What hard skills are necessary for this role?
Understanding how people work (psychology), is necessary for planning out how to present one’s product to a wide audience.
When asked to pick a color, most people will think of red. When asked to think of a flower, most people will think of a rose. Though these are not always the case, knowing how to target the common tendencies of people will help you create the perfect approach that will ensure that both you and the customers leave with satisfaction on both sides.
Question 8: What does it take to succeed in this role?
Personality, determination, wit, and a desire to help your customers. This is what it takes to become a successful salesman. Apply these aspects to your prospect searching, your presentation planning, closing, and follow up, and you’ll find that giving the right people exactly what they are looking for is fairly simple.
“Now write this down”, Zinglar says pointing to my pad of paper. “I said it was simple, not that it was easy. There is a difference.”
Question 9: If you could give one piece of advice to a young person considering this role, what would it be?
Recognize that you are, or turn yourself into, a person who’s self-image is one that excells in the field of sales. Then just be yourself.
Planning technics, closing tactics, and follow up procedures can all be gained through time and experience. Self-image though and how you go about facing a challenge as an individual is something that only you can determine and produce. So don’t be your greatest challenge. Be your greatest asset.
The coffee shop fades out of sight as I return to reality. In my mind, I had spoken to the living Zip Zinglar, yet in all actuality, I had simply read, watched and listened to hours of content created by him years ago. With this fact stated, indeed, I did not interview Zinglar myself, but I did find my answers and I have been inspired.
Through an imaginary interview, my eyes have been opened to what sales can truly be. It is not simply a job title or a means of paying the bills. It is that act of changing the world one need, wish, and solution at a time.