The late and great Zig Zigler was known as one of the greatest sales and motivational speakers of our time. I recently finished reading one of his books, The Secrets of Closing the Sale: Included Bonus: Selling with Emotional Logic, written by both Zig and his son Tom. Actually, I listened to it, mostly on airplanes and in airports on a recent trip to New Orleans for business. I felt it was important for me to learn how to sell.
Not that I am considering a new career in sales, but sales skills can really come in handy no matter what you do for a living. How often do you have to sell your boss on an idea? How about your coworkers? What about the selling you do at home, such as to a spouse on what movie you want to go see? You’ve probably heard it said before, and it was brought up many times in the book—everyone is in sales, regardless of what they do for a living.
The point is that our ability to persuade (i.e. to make a sale) occurs every day in every aspect of life. Since that is the case, it seems to me that learning how better to persuade or influence can’t hurt—even if you don’t intend to change careers and take up a job in sales.
But this isn’t the real point I want to make in this post. I am off track a bit (big surprise to those who know me) so I will get back to the thought I want to bring up about Zig Zigler. He did not start out as a great sales person. No, not at all. As he explains, the first two-and-a-half years of his first sales job, he did very poorly. He was struggling and wasn’t at the top of anything. But then he learned a secret, and within a year, he was the number two sales person out of seven thousand people in his company. Something significant changed—his attitude.
Zig’s change in attitude came when a mentor pulled Zig aside and convinced him that Zig really did have the ability and worth to become a national sales champion. Oh, he still had much to learn (and his mentor taught him) but as soon as his attitude about selling—more importantly about himself changed—everything fell into place very quickly and the results came fast. Stephen Covey might have called it a change in his mental paradigm resulting in an exponential manifestation in results obtained—or something like that. If you were a redneck you might just say he got his crap together—or something like that. No matter how you say it, a change in attitude for Zig resulted in big things happening in career and life.
I know I have been prattling on about attitudes these last few posts—but for good reason. Your attitude really does make a difference in what you do and how you do it. It changes how you think and see the world (your paradigm). Changed thinking results in changed actions and behavior. You do things differently as a result of your attitude. When you do things differently, you get different results in life—hopefully, better ones. It all starts though with your attitude.
I have come to believe that your attitude is one of the most important things you can work on. You might say I have sold myself on this idea. I guess learning a few sales skills has been helpful after all.
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