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David Squires

The Essential Lessons of the Late Zig Ziglar

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One of the great sales teachers of our time – Zig Ziglar – passed away last week at the ripe, rich age of 86.

We’ll miss him, but we’ll remember his lessons for a long, long time.

Despite his dozens of books, Zig was not the most erudite of teachers. Part of the Dale Carnegie tradition, he didn’t fill his books with charts and Zenn diagrams. Or break down the psychological underpinnings of the various customer types to help you out-maneuver customers on the way a sale.

Zig made it his business to fix you. Quite correctly. His only mission was to make your attitude the best it could possibly be.

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For me, here was the first key takeaway from Zig’s obituary in the New York Times.


He told a story about a woman in Alabama who he said was bitter about her job and angry with her co-workers. He advised her to write down whatever positives she could thing of — the solid paycheck, the benefits, the vacation time — and then stare into the mirror and say how much she loved her job. Six weeks later, he ran into her again.

“I’m doing wonderfully well,” she told him with a bright smile, adding, “You cannot believe how much those people down there have changed.”

And here was the second:

“Our whole philosophy’s built around the concept that you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want,” he said [in an interview]. “That works in your personal life, your physical life. It works in corporate America. It works in government. It works everywhere.”

One of a kind. Last of an era. Goodbye, Zig Ziglar.

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