Selling 101
Read in 18 min.
Listen in 23 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Zig Ziglar

Selling 101

How to become a successful sales professional

Even the best sales people feel anxious before making calls or sense that they don’t know where to begin to build a good client base. American sales star and motivator Zig Ziglar has written “Selling 101: What Every Successful Sales Professional Needs to Know”. This is a complete manual, full of secrets and essential advice for anyone who wants to become a professional salesperson and climb the career ladder by building their success on a foundation of strong ethics and unflinching loyalty, and by learning to really listen.

Selling 101
Read in 18 min.
Listen in 23 min.

A successful salesman bases his career on ethics, integrity and trust

We have all heard it said at least once in our lives that some people are born salesmen. Fortunately, this is only partly true: knowing the right qualities and characteristics that a professional should have enables us to study and improve our skills in this area.

First of all, it might seem elementary, but one of the reasons why a sales career often goes wrong is a lack of dedication. It takes time for a salesman to grow, because their skills increase as they broaden their knowledge of the field, of their products and services, and of the problems that clients and prospects encounter while using them; it is a question of experience. In addition, the work that the salesman has to do on himself is of great importance; to increase self-confidence, he must learn to study the right tone of voice and be able to maintain his enthusiasm for the product he is offering. If he doesn’t devote enough time to learning his profession and perfecting it, he is unlikely to do well.

As well as hard work and dedication, to be successful, a salesman’s career should be based on a set of fundamental moral characteristics, such as integrity, ethics and trust. To develop these skills, the salesman needs to train himself to listen and communicate and to be genuinely interested in other people. In particular, a good salesman must possess the following characteristics:

  • he must be honest and credible, and ethics must underpin both his sales techniques and every aspect of his life. Even though it might seem quite the opposite at times, it is good to remember that ethics in sales always pays off in the long run, and it is key to building a career;
  • he must build a trusting relationship with both clients and prospects (potential clients) because lack of trust is the most common reason for not making a sale. A successful salesman must help others to trust him and he can do so by being ethical, fair and irreproachable. Furthermore, he must carefully curate his interpersonal relationships and always keep his word;
  • he should be a good listener and be able to show that he is interested in the person he is talking to: the ability to listen is one of a salesperson’s most important tools, because it makes clients and prospects feel important, and shines a light on their needs. Likewise, showing active interest triggers a reciprocal mechanism, which motivates people to listen more willingly and attentively to the salesperson’s pitch;
  • he needs to be able to adjust the tone of his voice and the speed with which he speaks, to match that of the person he is talking to, because we enjoy listening to people that communicate in the same way us. The exception to this rule is when the other person uses more colourful language, expresses anger, or has any kind of speech impediment.

The key ideas of "Selling 101"

A successful salesman bases his career on ethics, integrity and trust
The secret to finding prospects easily, and to having confidence in the quality of what you are selling
Focussing on just you and the client helps overcome telephone terror
You can become a successful sales person by using the Ziglar four step formula
Need analysis uses interviews to get to know the prospect and their needs better
Becoming aware of their need can show the prospect the necessity to fulfil it
Fulfilling the need and the product or service on offer
A sale is a natural consequence of listening to a prospect’s needs
Take-home message
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