Zig Ziglar’s Legacy to the Sales World

zig ziglarZig died today at the age of 86.  Seth Godin memorialized him here.  I wrote about our chance meeting here 6 years ago.

I want to talk about Zig’s life and his sales and selling impact.

He paved the way for people like me by almost single-handedly creating the motivational speaking industry.  Today, motivational speaking has evolved to include sales and sales management training and coaching, sales consulting, sales force development, sales enablement, sales and sales leadership training and coaching, sales infrastructure and sales architecture.  While none of those competencies actually involve motivational speaking, people still categorize any and all of them into the motivational speaking grab bag of business.

Zig’s ability to motivate and help sales professionals (as well as people from many walks of life), made him a role-model worthy of emulation.  He wasn’t the first, but he was certainly the most prominent, among early motivational speakers, to focus on goal-setting and closing.  Today, those are just two of literally dozens of topics to address with a sales force.  But without those two, it would be difficult to develop the rest.

Zig also wrote books, recorded audio tapes and CD’s and eventually video too.  He wrote articles, appeared live and was really the grandfather of the industry.  Other prominent names came before and after Zig, like Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Og Mandino, Paul Meyer, Earl Nightingale, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, W. Clement Stone, and Elmer Wheeler.  But Zig is the name that everyone associated with motivation and sales.

The funny thing is that some of what I wrote in my 2005 book, Baseline Selling – How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball, is already outdated!  Yet fifty years later, much of which Zig wrote and spoke is still relevant.

Give yourself a treat.  Order an old Zig book and enjoy!