Tag Archives: sales

What Zig Ziglar Shared…at least with me

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.

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Your “Value” and Your Compensation

It is the ultimate “Third Rail” issue in business – is compensation really an accurate reflection of ones relative value to an organization? What is my “Market Value”?  What am I worth?  How much can I get paid?  Am I being underpaid?  Fair questions, and a natural part of anyones thoughts as they evaluate their career and professional growth.  However, if the last year has taught us anything, it is not just a question of are you getting paid enough, it can become a question of if you will get paid at all.

Everyone, in every role, at every level, in every organization had better be able to directly and clearly point to how they are helping the company provide their goods or service.  The days of “nice to have” and “extra” are behind us when it comes to business – especially when it comes to headcount.  Every single person has to be a contributor.  They must add revenue, protect existing revenues, or fill a vital support role.  For some this is fairly easy to quantify (sales, business development, client service, operations,etc.) while for others (IT, HR, support, training, etc.) it can be harder to quantify.  Regardless of the “degree of difficulty”, we owe it to the company, and especially to ourselves, to really identify how we are a critical player – how we are contributing.

As we commented on in some earlier posts, specifically in “Past Performance is no Guarantee of Future Results” and “Compensation Comments…Redux“, there is a great deal that goes into compensation and “value”.  However, when it is stripped down to its most basic premise, it is all about how much you and your role impact the companies revenue – do you contribute to the bottom line?  Do you personally help the company provide their particular good or service – are you an integral part of what makes the company successful.

In summary, there is no direct answer.  In the end it is a fundamental issue – does your presence and role in the organization add to the bottom line.  Are you a source of revenue or a cost?  Sometimes it is easy to quantify and answer that question.  Other times it is not so easy.  But in the final analysis, your relative value and your role in an organiztion is directly proportional to how much you are tied to their revenue going forward.  Revenue production that is…

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