Posted tagged ‘sales’

Sales, Integrity, and Transparency

June 10, 2009

One of my favorite quotes from Zig Ziglar (Dad) is “With Integrity you have nothing to fear because you have nothing to hide.”  In fact Dad has a sales CD program that has this quote on the cover with the picture taken of him from behind with the audience in the background.  There he is on stage, upright, in front of thousands of people in a huge arena, absolutely FEARLESS.

Are you fearless in your sales career and in your life?  Dad’s fearlessness comes from several things, but primarily because of his preparation, his integrity, and his faith.  These are three things that he was not born with!  He has had to develop each one of them – by choice.  The good news for all of us is that just like Dad we have this same choice.

This combination of preparation, integrity, and faith has given Dad a huge advantage in today’s world, something that really sets him apart, and that is Transparency.  Do you know anyone who is completely transparent?  Somebody who wears no “masks” and is just themselves all of the time?  Somebody who speaks fearlessly about every subject because they have nothing to hide?  Why not make that somebody you?  It’s amazing how much more energy you will have to do the things that matter.  Who knows, perhaps you could end up writing 28 books after the age of 40 and still be speaking all over the world at 82!

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If You Were Me

November 1, 2008

 

If you were the CEO of Ziglar, what would you do?  Pick between these two choices:

 

1)     Would you offer a two-day live seminar on “How to Sell with Certainty in an Uncertain Economy?” for $1000 per person with a goal of getting 10 people?

 

Or

 

2)     Would you offer a 90 minute webinar on “How to Sell with Certainty in an Uncertain Economy?” for $10 per person with a goal of getting 1000 people?

 

Please, just click on comments and let me know which one and why. 

Great Answer!

September 5, 2008

 

A couple of weeks ago we were doing a video with a customer, The Simpson Group.  The video was an interview with Julie and Dad, along with the three leaders of the company- Ralph Simpson, Robert and Michelle Wallace.   At the end of the video we did a short promotion for some great Ziglar products with the hope that members of The Simpson Group would purchase them.

 

The Set-Up

 

Included in the product package are a couple of Dad’s books, See You At The Top (25th Anniversary Edition) and Secrets Of Closing The Sale.  Robert, wanting to make the product promo seamless, asked Dad the perfect set-up question: “Zig, what book do you recommend for a sales person to read?”  Of course, we all expected Dad would take this slow pitch down the middle and recommend one of his two sales books.

 

We were wrong!

 

Instead, Dad looked into the camera and said, “I recommend a sales person read the book that their sales manager just finished.”

 

Wow.  How strong is that?!  I am blessed.  Dad reads his Bible every day, along with a couple of other great non-fiction books.  He passes many of them on to me to read, which I love, because they are always highlighted and underlined.  Dad knows how to pick out the good stuff!  What are you reading?  Is it something recommended by someone you respect?  Are you passing it on to your kids? 

My Best Christmas Gift Ever – The Rest of the Story

August 22, 2008

 

 

When I was 12 years old Dad gave me the best Christmas gift a boy could ever get – a brand new top of the line BMX bike.  Please read Dad’s recollection of the event from the book Secrets Of Closing The Sale found on pages 390 -391.  Then, I will tell you the rest of the story.

 

Just Like the Little Boy Across the Street

I’ve never seen sincerity and integrity more on display than they were in a personal experience my son and I had several years ago. A few days before Christmas, Tom and I went down to get a new bicycle for him. Many years ago I could speak bicycle but today “bicycle” is an entirely different language. If you don’t believe me just listen to a teenager or go down to a bicycle shop and listen to the chit-chat which takes place.

On this occasion Tom and I went to a Schwinn Bicycle Shop in North Dallas. The owner was busy with a grandmother and her little grandson, who were looking at a bicycle. The grandmother didn’t speak bicycle either, so she had a precise list of exactly what she wanted on a specific bicycle, including the size. The owner of the shop looked at the list and said, “Yes, we have this bicycle and it comes in two sizes. Is the bicycle for this little fellow here?” The grandmother said, “Yes, it is. The little boy across the street has one like it and I want one exactly like his for my grandson.”

Owner: “Ma’am, your grandson is too small for this big bicycle and it will not be safe for him to ride. You should get him the other bicycle, which is identical in every way. It is the same price and quality but it is smaller, and your grandson can handle it much more easily. It will be at least three years before it will be safe for him to ride the larger bicycle.”

Grandmother: “No way. I want exactly the same bicycle the little boy across the street has. I want the very best for my grandson.” Again the owner tried to explain that it was the best, it was just smaller, and if her grandson were riding the larger bicycle he’d have to move so far from side to side he would be unable to control it. The owner patiently pointed out that her grandson could lose control and might fall and if he happened to be in the street, it could result in a very serious accident. The grandmother was adamant. “No sir, I want that bicycle, right there, exactly like the one the little boy across the street has. If I can’t have the one I want, I don’t want any.”

Then the owner did one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen a professional salesman do. It set the standard for what I consider the “professional” in the world of selling. He looked at that grandmother and said, “Ma’am, you’re probably going to think I’m crazy, but I cannot sell you the bicycle you want. It would not be safe for your grandson to ride, and if anything should ever happen to him because I sold you a bicycle he could not control, it would be on my conscience.” Incredibly enough, the grandmother left in a huff.

The “Integrity” Close

I hope you don’t think the owner carried his integrity too far, and deep down I don’t think anyone who is interested in building a sales career will feel that way.

Here’s a man who can be trusted. I would be willing to send my son into his shop with a check made out to him with the amount left blank. This man has integrity and he really does care about his customers. It’s true that the owner missed that sale, but as a direct result of “missing” that one, he has probably made countless others.

 

The Rest of the Story

 

I have thought about this Christmas gift many times over the last 30 years.  But last year everything changed for me. I was listening to a series by John Eldredge, one of my favorite all time authors (John’s Blog), about how our Father (God) knows our heart and He wants the best for His children.  That is when I realized that my Christmas gift was so much more than “just a bike.”

 

You see, Dad more than anything wanted to give me the perfect gift.  Dad’s problem, as he explains it, was “I don’t speak bicycle.”   So, in the natural sense, there was no way Dad could give me the perfect gift, unless of course, God knew his heart.

 

Dad says that “coincidence is just God’s way of staying anonymous.”  And for most of my life I thought I was just a lucky boy who got an awesome bike because we just happened to wander into the bike store at just the right time. 

 

Now I know different.  God set the stage for that day.  Not so I would get just the right bike, but so that Dad’s heart would know his son had the best bike.  And so that 30 years later I would realize that God’s providence is in everything, even a bike.

 

P.S.  The name of the bicycle shop was the Richardson Bike Mart, and it’s still there ( www.bikemart.com ).  There is a pretty famous bike rider that came out of that store that you may have heard of by the name of Lance Armstrong.  Coincidence?  I think not.

 

If you want to listen to Dad tell this story, click here:

http://www.ziglar.com/zig_update.php?article=update_82608

 

“How do I sell ___________ in this economy?”

July 16, 2008

 

We sent a survey out to our Zig Ziglar Newsletter list asking our readers what challenges they are facing right now in the current economy.  A large number of people have asked the same basic question:

 

“How do I sell ___________ in this economy?” 

 

I polled our team of experts on some ideas.  I am hopeful a few of these nuggets will help you!

 

1.  Copy the Banking Model:

 

Within the banking industry, the key driver to limit customer attrition is 3.5 services per customer.  Therefore, if you can have a checking account, savings account, IRA and home equity line of credit, the desire of the customer to quickly change banks through a “loss leader” or high CD yield is dramatically reduced due to the overwhelming existing relationship with the bank.

 

For those of us not in the banking industry, we can still have this same approach.  Do not lead with product but be a proactive problem solver looking to really impact the customer in a number of areas.  By constantly striving to provide multiple value chains, you will prevent customer attrition.

 

2.  Look at the Big Picture:

 

The biggest pitfall during a down economy is to focus solely on keeping the current customer base intact.  Keep in mind that each of your competitors feels the same issue and this is the most important time to aggressively look for new clients.  During these times, identify and run three concurrent marketing/sales strategies to look for unhappy customers.

 

Email advertising, dinner speaker programs, and cold calling are three touches to potential prospects that can offer some assistance.  However, these are not the only options you have.  As competitive landscapes increase, consider getting out of the box and putting together a unique, low-cost event.

 

A local art dealer in a major city will feel the same slowing and will be willing to work with you as would a local catering company.  Network with both and put on an upscale social networking event, using the catering company for heavy hors d’ouvres and the art gallery for ambiance.  This will be something that your customers will remember and set you apart from the competition.  The more creative the concept, the better the customer memory.

 

3.  The Benefit of a Community:

 

During a slow economic time, look to your faithful for growth strategies.  For your most satisfied customers, simply ask for referrals.

 

“Tom, it has been a pleasure to work with you over the years.  One of my business strategies for this year is to focus on referrals from my top customers.  Would you be willing to facilitate an introduction to some of your colleagues that could benefit from the level of service that I have provided you over the last four years?”

 

This is a simple strategy to quickly grow from your existing list.  If you don’t ask for the referral, it is unlikely you will receive it.

 

Additionally, dig into your database and ask them for areas of unmet needs in their lives.  By providing your clients with the level of service they desire, you will cement them as lifelong customers and loyal referral sources.

 

4. Encourage Through Constant Contact:

 

Send little postcards, recipes, “I Like …” notes, a joke, a golf tip or other appropriate content, an email, etc.  Nothing obnoxious, just little reminders weekly that you are there for them.

 

5. Offer to Help in Areas That Are Not Tied to Your Business:

 

Ask about all the challenges they have and then see if there is someone in your network that can help.  Basically, help connect the dots.

 

6. Be Available:

 

Half the battle is showing up every day.  Make sure  the customers know how to reach you and that they can reach you when they need to.  Then make sure your cell phone is on, and check your email often.  Move to a Blackberry or other smart phone if you haven’t already done so.  Be available!

 

7. Announce and/or Promote a “Growing Into Business Sale”:

 

“This week our agency is announcing that we are not participating in the rumors that our economy is a problem.  We are focusing on sales, service and support of our clients and meeting their needs in the days ahead.”

 

8. “We Believe Campaign”:

 

This is what our company believes:

a.      The economy is neither good nor bad.  We believe our services are great, our clients are better, and our solutions are exceptional.

b.      Our clients still need protection.  We believe that our protection, premiums, and products are still the best on the market.

c.      We deliver.  We believe that no matter what the economists are saying, our policyholders still need attention and we believe we are the best at providing that attention.

 

9. “We’re Serious About Your Campaign”:

 

In the past few months, the newscasters have told us in very grave ways about these serious financial times we are experiencing here in California.  We can top that.  We’ve been taking our clients seriously for the past eight years!  We don’t wait for a serious economic situation to cause us to take you, our policyholder, seriously.  We’ll give you the same attention we have for the past 96 months (8 years x 12 months).

 

10. Sell Your Support Team:

 

Come to the realization that you really are not only selling, but you must sell those that sell for you and you must motivate them to be loyal to you, which is not easy today.  This is why it is so imperative you give more service than people expect, especially to your support team.

 

11. Creative Marketing:

 

Send a tea bag in the mail and ask for a half hour to have a cup of tea and talk about their offering.  Make the time you spend with your customer about them!