Zig Ziglar. Sales. Success. Positive Attitude. All synonyms really, and that is one great legacy. For almost anyone that has spent time in sales, client service, or just in business, Zig Ziglar is sort of legend, or at least a myth. The books, the seminars, the podcasts, the videos, motivational series, or just the stories of having heard or seen him at a conference are part of the fabric of business. Even if you never read one of his books or saw him in person, the name itself is just memorable.
15+ years ago I saw Zig Ziglar at a seminar, and I think I saw him at least a few other times at various training, leadership or motivational rah-rah corporate conferences. Maybe they were videos – I just don’t remember the specifics. I have read or skimmed several of the books. Though I was no great fan, I knew enough to recognize a good thing. He was folksy, grandfathery, sort of like the colorful and fun uncle, or the small town guys out front of the barbershop spinning tales and sharing wisdom. He was neither threatening nor flashy, yet he was animated and engaging. He had that disarming quality of seemingly sharing homespun wisdom in a manner that just draws people in and appeals to almost every audience.
Over the years I realized Zig Ziglar was not terribly innovative, original, or even profound. However what he was, and in my opinion why he resonated, is that he told you what you already knew but were afraid or unwilling to acknowledge. He spoke of a truth that resides in everyone, yet it is a truth that is very difficult to recognize and even harder to accept. Zig Ziglar was the mirror that we were forced to look into; he challenged his audience to do what needed to be done. He forced his audience to acknowledge what they knew deep down had to be done. And he did it in the nicest way possible.
What Zig Ziglar spoke and wrote of was simple really: work hard, do the right thing, focus on what is really important and go the extra mile. In sales he would tell you to fill the funnel, to deliver what you promised and to ask for the order. He was all about being positive, recognizing the good and getting rid of the bad. He put the ownness on you; it was up to you to be positive, to take responsibility and to do what needed to be done. What needed to be done in life, in business, and in relationships. Again, not terribly innovative or original, yet something everyone to one degree or another needs to hear occasionally.
Impressive really, the ability to tell people what they do not want to hear and have them like you for doing it. The real genius of Zig Ziglar: he was able to do the above AND have you pay for it! Yep, that guy could sell, no question. Literally tens of millions of books in print, countless hours of seminars and presentations on video, an entire company built around the man and his theories. All told an impressive legacy. Not bad for a small town salesman.