How to become the Sales Superman
The following essay is a reflection on a book “Secrets of Closing the Sale” by Zig Ziglar cocreated by Yulia Podolskaya and Valeryia Markunas. The reason for choosing the book was that in our opinion successful completion of Proakatemia studies requires a skill of advertising and selling one’s abilities and expertise, therefore it seemed vital to dive into the world of selling and understand the psychology of it. The key feature of this book and one of the greatest advantages is the dialogue format in which the author engages the reader and provokes thinking by constantly asking open-ended questions. Also, it was highly appreciated that the writer was able to incorporate humor and light irony into the stories of examples on certain cases from his own experience; that created an illusion of talking to an old friend and facilitated the sense of trust. Zig Ziglar uses a relatively plain language to explain the concepts therefore it makes the academic part of the book almost invisible. The book is divided into seven chapters and now we are going to do a thorough breakdown of those and try to analyze every aspect.
Part1: The psychology of closing
The first chapter of the book gives a full concept of what selling is: it is not only about cold calls and the process of selling, but also about being a professional and the skills one should possess to be able to listen to the prospect and use the given information in order to close a deal, together with ability to continue speaking no matter how awkward it may sound, because it is the feature that many salespeople lack nowadays. Moreover, a salesperson needs to be a psychologist at the same time: this book has plenty of secrets of closing the sale and almost all of them are based on psychology. That was something that really engaged us in reading because psychology is important in our everyday life and it was interesting to see connection and parallels between it and the process of selling.
The fact that after giving examples the author stepped back asking questions and giving time to think of them and providing actual working phrases for different cases was unique. Zig Ziglar presented a selling skill as a talent, but the talent which anyone could just develop by practicing; anyone who provides any kind of service or expertise is a seller. It was not emphasized in the book, but after reading it is true to say that everyone is a seller nowadays in their own manner. Because we are selling not only goods and services, we are selling ourselves when we meet a new person or go to the interview, we sell a movie when we recommend it to a friend; we might not notice but the selling process is a routine for us and in our opinion, the basics of selling would be useful to know for anyone.
Part2: The heart of your sales career
While reading the book one can get the impression that most of the «secrets» are already known because they sound like common sense, but on practice when you really have to close the deal you just forget all of the techniques. There are a few points that caught our attention in this chapter. First, the statement saying «Selling is essentially transfer of feeling». You won’t be able to sell the product if you don’t believe in it and we as people can feel insincerity on the level of our intuition or third sense. This statement leads to and connects the second very true point from our perspective: «Closers» own what they sell. This is the real truth, sometimes when an individual is not sure about something they want to purchase they would ask the salesperson if they have the product already or would they get it and it is clear from the first reaction and body language what the salesperson really think of this product. Everyone would agree that a person selling BMWs would look awkward driving a Mercedes, same with anything. If you’re going to be convincing, you’ve got to be convinced! (Willa Dorsey)
Also, a great point was made about what is the difference between empathy and sympathy and if having the first one would just multiply your sales, second will only make you and your prospect loose. It is surprising how much of a big difference it makes between these two similar words and how they can affect a business. While sympathy makes you feel like another person feels, empathy makes you understand how the other person feels, not necessarily feeling this way yourself. With empathy, you can take a step back and look at the situation from a different perspective and come up with the solution your prospect waits from you!
The author approaches to pay attention to the customer through your own experience strategy. In the book, Zig Ziglar gave the most unusual and the best explanation what business is: in the word B-U-S-I-N-E-S-S we find that U and I are both in it. In fact, if U and I weren’t in business, it wouldn’t be business. Furthermore, we discover that U comes before I in business and the I is silent — it is to be seen not heard. Also, the U in business has a sound of I, which indicates it’s an amalgamation of the interests of U and I. When they are properly amalgamated, business becomes harmonious, profitable and pleasant.
Also, in this chapter Zig Ziglar talks about the self-image. We only have one chance for the first impression, and everything affects how your future customers will perceive you: the way you look, talk, your body language and of course how you feel about yourself. Nobody will take you seriously or like you, while you won’t do it yourself. It might sound like stupid advice from some «Find the way to yourself» training but that’s true: we make our own path and our success starts in our head, while we won’t accept and love ourselves nobody will.
Part3: The sales professional
This chapter started with a couple of example stories which were shown that a good salesperson can turn out even very bad situation to the positive one. Mostly it describes what the sales professional is, who would be the perfect person for this job. And in brief in the author’s opinion, the ideal salesperson is an extrovert who is serious about his profession and who is developing some introvert characteristics. Also, it’s a high-performing team player with integrity and good sense of humor who is also a professional in what he is doing and being able to see the problem of prospect and find a solution for it. It is an «always student» who is learning something new every day and «lives» selling. The ideal seller is an optimistic and adaptable thinker who is career-oriented. Moreover, this person should look and behave in professional way. It is hard to imagine all these qualities in one person at least if they are not at a top manager of a huge corporation for example. The general and outdated perception that comes to most people’s heads when they hear the word salesman is an annoying shop assistant or that unwanted voice on the second side of the phone persuading you that you can’t live without that vacuum cleaner for 1000 euro. And only through this book, it was possible to realize that selling is not always about money relations; selling is something what we often do when we first time meet a person as we «sell» ourselves trying to show only good sides, applying for new job is also a process of selling in a way.
Part4: Imagination and word pictures
This chapter gives a look into Zig Ziglar’s secrets. Here are the objectives of chapter 4:
- To open your mind to the importance of developing your imagination for a substantial increase in your sales
- To teach you twenty-four specific closes, some of which you can adapt and use in your daily sales life
- To sell you on the value of learning how to use the verbal paintbrush to paint pictures of future customer enjoyment to help you sell more today.
- And 24 techniques of closing only in this chapter.
There are some observations we noted from this part of the book. Firstly, this is obvious, but important to remember: «People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons». How many times did you catch yourself on buying something without being able to explain even to yourself why do you need this?
Also, in many secrets the author uses notepad where he draws everything he sales, so the prospect could get information not only by listening, but by seeing and it was surprising that it really works! Because it is hard to notice that when we only listen to a story and don’t have that many emotions, but when we see it — it is a totally different feeling.
And the final things from this paragraph that were worthy to note are two lists of words: twenty-four words which sell and twenty-four words which «unsell». And it is crucial to remember that the first and the most important word in the «sell list» is the prospect’s name. This is so interesting how people like to hear their name and how it affects sales! And words from the second list are basically about money and a contract, what is the last thing we want to know of course.
Part5 The nuts and Bolts of Selling
Objectives of this part were:
- To Sell The Reader Benefits Of Objections And Teach How To Cash In On Them In The Marketplace
- To teach how to identify different kinds of prospects and how to deal with them as individuals
- To demonstrate the question-asking technique and give specific questions to use under sales circumstances
- To encourage the Reader to be a little bold – or even audacious – in the sales process under some circumstances.
To our surprise, the first sentence of Chapter 5 was: «Objections – the key to closing the sale». How is it possible? I t is common that objection means that people aren’t interested. But the author explains it by ordering that only the person who is interested in what you are selling will come with the objections, so if they raise some objections the sales person should be excited about it. And the best way to deal with objection is to deal with them before they occur: restate objections and soften them and finish them off with the right question to make the prospect buy it. These questions: Do you like it? Do you want it? Can you afford it? When do you want to enjoy its benefits ? – they all provoke positive thinking and need for a product or service. A nd this is the moment when the deal is closed when the prospects start a dialogue with themselves.
Later in this chapter Zig Ziglar shows different types of perspectives and instruction on how to deal with each of them.
Part 6 The Keys in Closing and Part 7 Technology and the Sales Professional
Reading the book and writing reflection on it turned to be more challenging than it was expected . B y the end of the book we have to admit that it was revolutionary to see the author of this book in action, it was important to see how he uses his own techniques.
T they advertise Objectives of the 6th chapter are:
- To sell a Reader a Philosophy as it specifically addresses the world of selling and giving the keys in closing or persuading
- To share additional ideas, methods, techniques and procedures that will increase your sales effectiveness on a daily basis and enhance your career for a lifetime .
Part 7 is an additional chapter in an updated version of the book
I t Mostly describe the different types of technology that can be used in sales , but some things like a pager, for example, are not relevant anymore in today’s world .
It’s important to remember that there is no «born» salesman! The skill of selling is very possible to grow and train as well as any other skill. Also, zig Zi g lar listed keys 11 Which would be useful to note for everyone who considers Themselves as a sales person in the future :
- 1 Positive projection
- The assumptive attitude
- Physical action
- The subordinate questions
- The impending event
- The narrative event.
I n our opinion, the first key – the key of positive projection is the most notice one, Because if you Already made a deal in your mind, it will be Easier to make it in real life. Just before going into the sale, you know you will make it! Further in the book, the author opens up the rest of these keys, which looks like a bit of repeating because it’s been told about previous chapters Somehow.
Ziglar Z. (2004). Secrets of Closing the Sale.
Written by: Valeryia Markunas and Yulia Podolskaya