How to Lead Like Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar inspired millions with his positive message

Zig Ziglar was an American Success story. He passed away last week.  When someone passes away, you realize you never had that chance to tell him how much he meant to you and your life.  Zig taught me how to sell in the 1980’s. I can’t think of a person who influenced professional sales men and women more than Zig Ziglar. If you’re over 40 years old, Zig taught you how to sell.  I can’t remember a single successful sales person or sales leader I interviewed during the 80’s and 90’s that didn’t know who Zig was.  Estimates are that he spoke to over eight million people during his professional speaking career.  Zig Ziglar wrote over two dozen books on selling and motivation.  He had numerous best sellers during his career.

When I think of Zig Ziglar, I think about what sales used to be like before social media, the Internet, and smart phones.  When I think of Zig, I think of a friend who helped me learn the recruiting game. He may be the best search professional I’ve ever worked with. His name is Ron Eliason, and he re-introduced me to Zig Ziglar and his success principles in the 90’s.  I first met Ron in college.  After we graduated, I ran into Ron at a training program on recruiting, featuring some of the best recruiters in Ohio.  I was surprised to see him as one of the featured presenters. When I knew Ron, he was not the most outgoing person I knew. To be honest, I wasn’t either.  We both shared one thing in common, and it was our lack of love for excelling in school.  But that night at the presentation, Ron was different.  Something had changed about Ron.  I wasn’t sure what it was, but I knew I wanted to learn more about what had influenced Ron.   I waited around until after the meeting to talk to Ron.  This is when I was reintroduced to Zig Ziglar.  I asked Ron to share his thoughts on Zig, below.

“When was I in my third year of college and not sure of what direction I wanted to take in life, my uncle sent me a book called “See You at the Top” by Zig Ziglar. Never having heard of Zig Ziglar before, I started reading the book. It is one of the best books I have ever read on motivation and how to live your life. The book inspired me and put me on a new course in life. I have since read a number of his other books and listened to his recordings/tapes. I also attended a three day seminar in Dallas at the corporate headquarters for the Zig Ziglar Corporation.  To this day, if I am ever feeling down or unmotivated, putting a Zig Ziglar compact disc in or picking up one his books is still a big pick me up. I still have the original copy I received of “See You at the Top” and have reread it at least 4 times. “

So what was Zig Ziglar’s universal appeal?  What can we learn from him today that can take our life to the top?  I want to share with you several of his secrets for building a extraordinary life. These secrets  can help transform your  business and community starting today.

The first secret is respect yourself as a sales professional.  Zig started his career as a sales professional. He felt it was the greatest profession in the world. Zig understood that nothing happens until something is sold. He trained sales professionals to respect themselves and others.   Professional selling is a tough career at any time.  During economic slowdowns, it is easy to stop trying. Zig was a master motivator. He understood that a little motivation goes a long way. He wasn’t a sales trainer who had never sold; he was a sales professional who taught you how to win business.  He believed that even on your most challenging days it was important to stay positive. Many of his bestselling books were about motivating yourself and others.

His second secret is he believed in ongoing self-development. Even when he was at the top of the field in professional speaking, he would read a book a day. He was always looking for one more great idea to share with people. He believed that by reading and listening to positive ideas you would remain positive and energized throughout the day.  He believed you should read a wide range of books including sales, motivation, psychology, great biographies, and, of course, the Bible.

After he had a debilitating accident he learned to use technology and with the help of his daughter, he continued sharing his message with new generations of sales professionals and leaders. He learned how to delegate to others to make sure his message would be heard by future generations. By doing this, he knew his mission would continue beyond his own death.

Tomorrow, we will share three strategies that Zig used to build such an enduring, successful career and life. Now in a social driven media world, can Zig’s secrets still work for you?  I will share with you three big ideas that can help you achieve what you want in life. See you tomorrow.

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