Learning the Art of Sales from Zig Ziglar

“You are thinking prospecting all the time, and when you do, it’s amazing how potential buyers will pop up in the most unlikely places.”

This article was inspired by Zig Ziglar's Ziglar on Selling . If you enjoy this article then consider purchasing or borrowing the book from your local library.


When Zig Ziglar made his first sales call in 1947, it didn’t go well. Though times change, trust is the essential ingredient that makes for an excellent salesperson. Ziglar’s success came as he recognized the responsibilities and hard work associated with his profession.

The most important step in the sales process is determining your potential customers. You can be the world’s most talented salesperson, but it won’t matter unless you have prospects willing to buy from you.

What is the secret to good prospecting? Successful salespeople see prospects everywhere they go and always keep an eye open for potential buyers. Enjoy selling your product so much that you can’t help but try to sell it to others. Don’t be afraid to ask satisfied customers if they could refer you to other interested prospects. Make sure to get back to those who give you referrals and let them know how your sales went.

To overcome the anxiety associated with making a sales call or knocking on a prospects door, think about your past successes. The prospect should be the center of your attention rather than yourself. Understand that the result of your sales pitch lies in the hands of your customer. You can’t control the decisions of others, but your efforts can better inform them. Use the three following question forms to make successful sales:

  1. “Can you see where this would —–?”
  2. “Are you interested in —–?”
  3. “If you were ever going to start —–, when do you think would be the best time to start?”

Timidity will hold a sales professional back. Make sure to “Always Ask For The Order” (AAFTO). Remember, most people really don’t want to tell you “no” because they don’t want to feel like they turned you away. Care about your prospects and understand that your product will improve their lives if purchased.

You may follow either the “probability close” or the “summary close” methods at the end of a sale. With the probability close method, ask your prospect how he or she would rate his or her willingness to place an order on a scale of 1 to 10. You can then ask your prospect what would change his or her mind, if they have given you a low number.

With the summary close method, bring up all the parts of your presentation your prospect seemed interested in, and summarize the situation. Then ask the prospect if he or she would like to place an order.

Even if a prospect doesn’t place an order, ask him or her for referrals. By asking a prospect who has placed an order why they are interested in this purchase, you can move into a discussion of referrals. Never argue with prospects, just give them new information to make better decisions.

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