Only once did I have the privilege of listening to the late, great Zig Ziglar speak in person. He was about 80 years old, and was one of the keynote speakers at a huge event that drew more than 20,000 people. Despite his age, Zig was as sharp as ever. I had a good seat, so I was fairly close the stage. Having read a couple of his books, I was a Zig Ziglar fan, and the speech lived up to my expectations. It was a blast being in that audience. Zig was one of a kind, an outstanding human being.
“Sales isn’t something you do to someone,” Ziglar once said. “It’s something you do for someone.”
Most people think of Zig as motivational speaker and inspirational author, and he indeed was both of those things, but Zig was first and foremost a sales guy.
He started teaching salespeople how succeed back in the 1960s, and even after he became a mainstream motivational speaker, he was always a resource for those of us who have to sell things for a living.
Zig nailed it when he said sales is something you do for people instead of to people.
People love to buy but they hate being sold. Buyers are less satisfied with decisions that are made under pressure.
Old-style, high-pressure sales tactics are the reason some people have a negative view of sales and why some sales professionals are actually embarrassed to be working in sales.
So how do you act like Zig Ziglar and help people happily buy something instead of shoving a product down their throats?
Focus on what prospects value!
The world’s most successful salespersons don’t sell products and services. They sell VALUE:
Delivery – Consistently deliver outstanding results. With so much competition in the world, clients have the right to assume that all providers are competent. Make sure you are more than competent in your operations.
Study – When you are reaching out to new prospects for the first time, study their backgrounds and try to determine what’s valuable to them. When you call or email them, talk about that value instead of bragging about your offering’s features and benefits.
Interpersonal Communication – You will have a hard time determining what the client values if you don’t communicate thoroughly and listen carefully.
Relationships and Trust – Do what it takes to build a strong bond with your clients. If the relationship is strong enough, you can trust your clients to tell them what they need to hear as opposed to what they want to hear. Even if the client gets mad, your relationship is so strong, that he or she won’t leave you.
Don’t Assume – Just because you are an expert in what you do for a living and the product or service your company provides, doesn’t necessarily mean you know what is best for your client. Only your client determines what is valuable. Do what it takes to find out exactly want the prospect values without any ambiguity.
Once you know what the prospect values, sell only that. Make sure your solutions meet the prospect’s value and solve his or her problems. If you do that, you will be a trusted adviser, a person who does something for a client instead of to a client
Ultimately, you are not in the product- or service-selling business. You’re in the results-selling business. The right results, along with a trusting relationship are what your clients truly value.
At the beginning of 2021, with so many potential business opportunities emerging from the pandemic recovery, it’s wise to remember good-old Zig Ziglar’s salient advice.