Zig Ziglar is a salesman just like you and I. And he gives motivational talks all throughout the country.
In Selling 101, he goes into a ton of detail about selling to your prospect. You’ll be left wondering what he didn’t cover in such a tiny book!
Most of the advice in the book is geared towards insurance, real estate, and car salesmen.
The big ticket item salesmen basically.
Selling in a retail environment like I do, I found some of the things Ziglar talked about inapplicable to be perfectly honest. All the prospects enter the store, you don’t have to call them in. Unless they find us online.
Don’t get me wrong, you’ll get at least one good idea from this book if you’re working in any type of sales job for sure.
Your head will be swarming full of sales ideas.
However, there is one important concept Zig Ziglar repeats to death.
But I’ll talk about that in the conclusion to my review. For now, here are five important things you’ll learn:
A Formula of Questions so You’ll Be Prepared
Ziglar covers this with his P.O.G.O. question formula:
- Asking the prospect about what kind of goals they have.
- Asking the prospect what’s preventing them from being where they want to be.
- Asking questions that express a sincere interest in the prospect.
- Talking about YOUR organization if the prospect brings it up.
This formula is important because if you’re selling insurance for a company like Allstate, you’ll need these questions for your sales talk. Or you’ll be completely disorganized and won’t have a logical flow.
If you’re working in a retail environment, you’ll instead have to be prepared for different questions asked by the prospect. Such as:
“Where do you get your merchandise from?” “Is this stuff authentic?” “Do you have different sizes in this one?”
Even when the customer walks in, you have to be prepared to ask THEM questions like:
“Were you looking for something particular today?” “Need help finding something?” or even statements like:
“Those are half-off the lowest price you see” “I do have extra sizes behind the counter”, etc.
Scare Your Customers into Buying!
One technique Ziglar uses is FEAR. And a mind-blowing example of how he demonstrates it is this:
If you’re a salesman and you’re asking your prospect “Are you interested in saving money?” Unless you’re an ascetic monk in Tibet or an Indian sadhu in Varanasi, your response will be “OF COURSE, CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!”
That’s not the right question to ask. You have to re-frame it like this:
“If you were ever going to start saving money, when do you feel would be the best time to start?”
If someone asked you that question, your mind would be floored. Especially if you’ve been squandering your money on useless junk. That question puts things in perspective for you.
It also lights a fire under your butt to pay close attention if it’s a salesman, or keep on reading through the copy if it’s a sales letter / advertisement.
If you don’t act quick, there’s money at stake!
You can incorporate this into your copy or sales speech.
If you were a Marines recruiter selling the idea of joining the Corps…
You could ask your prospect (If he still lives at home with his parents and is doing nothing productive with his life):
“If you were going to start living life for yourself and see yourself becoming a man of action that everyone admired, when do you feel would be the best time to start?”
Maybe it’ll work, maybe not.
It depends on your prospect and what they want. You just have to try. The recruiter could go further into talking about where the prospect sees himself in 4 years, what is he planning to do with his life, How the Corps has improved his (recruiter’s) life.
Another example is even at my job. Asking “Can you see yourself cheering on the Panthers with the roaring crowd at the stadium as they win?”
Then your customer or prospect will start visualizing himself at the Bank of America stadium in Charlotte as the Panthers score the game winning touchdown.
Even if they’re just going to the bar to watch the game, you can ask them “You gotta represent your team, right?”
Let them paint their own mental picture.
If you think about it, you’ll be able to have some good examples of your own for whatever product you’re selling.
Most important is to incorporate your own personality as Zig Ziglar states: “Use your own words and work within the framework of your own personality.”
When do you think is the best time to start implementing this technique? (Do you see what I did there?)
These Are the Questions You Need to Ask Yourself!
I talked about the P.O.G.O. formula above to ask your prospect. You can even ask them to yourself when finding out what kind of customer will buy your product.
What kind of people buy sports jerseys? Kids of all ages, 40-year old guys, girls and guys that work in bars, collectors, etc.
What kind of people buy gym memberships? Professional lifters, fat people that need to lose weight but don’t want a “gym-timidating” atmosphere, fitness moms, senior citizens with too much free time, etc.
What kind of people buy pets? Parents that buy them for their kids, people who are lonely and need a companion, professional breeders, etc.
You have to “analyze” their needs, make them aware of their needs, and finally offer them a solution (your product).
“Nope, I ain’t buyin’!”
Ziglar tells a story about how one of Henry Ford’s close friends became really upset because he didn’t buy insurance from him. When the insurance salesman asked Henry Ford why he didn’t buy from him, Henry ford simply replied with: “You didn’t ask me.”
To make things worse — that huge insurance policy deal was featured in the newspaper. You have to ask your customer if they’re ready to buy. Something so simple is usually neglected time and time again.
If you work somewhere where customers walk in like a suit store, car dealership, or wherever, when you ask a customer if they need help they will say “No” right away 90% of the time.
And in my own experience — and Ziglar says this in his book — the customer simply doesn’t know enough to make a buying purchase. Oftentimes, they won’t even tell you WHY they don’t wanna buy.
You’ll have to have him look around a little bit. Keep poking and prodding him with questions like “Are you buying for someone else / is it a gift?” “Were you looking for X?” “Did you need an X?”
REAL TALK: Rude Customers
Oh yeah. I’ve dealt with weird, rude, even violent customers before. It’s a given if you’re working in sales. If you wanna avoid having people yell at you and be mean to you — do not go into sales.
You need to have thick skin. And I’ve dealt with tons of mad and yelling customers, had them call the cops to the store, and say things to me you’ll never hear in your life.
And Zigglar says — and in my experience as well, this is sage advice: Just remain calm and talk kindly and talk slowly. It’s kind of strange, yet wondrous. You’ll see the customer come in happy as all creation, only for them to flip in an instant and start badmouthing the store or company. Always remain calm and tell them to have a great day.
Here’s a recent example that happened to me during the busy Christmas season:
Some lady walked in and looked at the mannequin of the Panthers jersey. It didn’t have a price tag. So then for no reason she starts acting irrational saying “How come your jersey on the display doesn’t have a price?”
I said nothing.
And at this time I also had to sit down on the chair for a moment because the crowd died down and I had been standing for around 6 hours.
Then she says “And you guys are just sitting down instead of standing up? THAT’S SO UNPROFESSIONAL!”
I said nothing.
Eventually she just left and started yelling outside the store about how “THAT’S BULLSHIT!”
This kind of person is not your customer and is only looking to cause trouble. That’s why you need to stay calm and not stoop to their level.
This goes for the Internet as well with the “trolling” that’s rampant.
There’s no reason to mirror their behavior.
And remember, if you’re dealing with an actual disgruntled customer — it’s nothing personal. It’s strictly business.
Feature, Function, and Benefit: Analyzing Your Product so It Sells
This is an important tool you can use right now.
And I’ll give a quick example here:
I want you to write down the feature, function, and benefit of your product.
Let’s take a look at this Dale Jr. Banner.
Feature: This is a Dale Jr. Banner featuring his car, a National Guard logo, and a U.S. Army tank.
Function: It’s a banner to display in your man cave.
Benefit: You’ll be able to show off your pride and that you’re a fan of Dale Jr. — one of the best NASCAR drivers.
You could compare Selling 101 to The Art of War by Sun Tzu in a way. There are tons of tools, tricks, and ideas you’re able to use at your sales job today.
Selling 101 is all about preparation. Preparing to sell to your prospect and handling any objections they have.
And Zig Ziglar says you’re not selling whatever product you’re selling. You’re selling the product of that product.
You don’t sell somebody a polyester shirt with stitched on letters. You’re selling him the pride of belonging and fitting into a group of like minded people who enjoy one thing: FOOTBALL! (And you’re also preventing him from looking like a fool when he shows up wearing his Old Navy shirt at the game)
You aren’t selling somebody a car. You’re selling him the prestige and showoffyness that comes with owning a Mercedes.
And you aren’t selling someone a life insurance policy. You’re selling him the safety, security, and peace of mind knowing that if something were to happen to him, that his family will be taken care of.
Finally, if you learn only one thing from Selling 101..
Always ask for the sale
This can be as simple as saying, “Mrs. Brown, would you please sign the paperwork?” or “Mr. Smith, may I wrap it up for you?” or “Private Johnson, do you wish to swear into the Marine Corps?”
P.S. – You were waiting for the one important concept Zig Ziglar repeats to death, right? Here it is, and it’s one of his famous quotes:
You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
If you’re ready to learn the tools to sell with integrity and honesty, click here to buy Selling 101 by Zig Ziglar.