*A Book Review*
Secrets of Closing the Sale
By Zig Ziglar
by Michael C. Gray
November 1, 2002
A key skill in successful living is the ability to persuade others. Parents must persuade their children to seek a good education, avoid gangs and avoid drug abuse. Doctors and dentists must persuade their patients to have regular preventative care. Ultimately, each of us is a salesperson.
Sales skills are also critically important for those who write advertising and sales letters, because they are a sales presentation in print or other media.
One of the sales books I have found very valuable over the years is Zig Ziglar's Secrets of Closing The Sale.
Secrets of Closing The Sale is not just about the close. But since the close is "payday" in selling, Zig included it in the title. He emphasizes that you have to cover "all of the bases" in order to reach the close. You have to find a prospective customer. You have to make an appointment to meet the prospect. You have to build an initial rapport and trust. You have to tell the prospect a good story. You have to answer the prospect's objections. Then you can close the sale.
When they listen to Zig Ziglar, some people are turned off by his evangelical style. I believe that if you listen to what he has to say, you can learn some valuable lessons.
A lot of what Zig calls "closes" are actually answers to objections. Once you answer a prospect's objections (which you can also call questions), you will eventually be in position for the final close.
Zig emphasizes that the sales person is the most important part of the sales process. To be successful as a professional salesperson, you must be the right kind of person, then the right kind of salesperson. Being the right kind of person means having integrity, having an honest conviction/belief that your product or service is right for your customer. Being the right kind of salesperson includes having the sales skills to pleasantly, persistenly help your customer make a decision that is right for him or her. A professional salesperson must be fundamentally honest to earn the prospective customer's trust.
His motto to summarize this philosophy is, "You can get everything in life you want if you'll just help enough other people get what they want." (Remember Clayt Hunsicker told Frank Bettger, "The most important secret of salesmanship is to find out what the other fellow wants, then help him find the best way to get it. . . If you will always remember this one rule, selling will be easy.")
Some people are concerned about whether they are perceived as being a "high pressure" salesperson. If you focus on what the other person wants, you can actually get permission to use pressure. Zig tells the story of Chuck Adkins, who wasn't a very polished salesman but successfully became a leader in his territory. When a customer burst out about being under pressure, Chuck said ". . . I guess I just got carried away, but would you mind if I asked you a question?" "No, go ahead." "Mr. Prospect, if I saw that you were about to make a serious mistake which would cost you money and cause your wife to do a lot of extra and unnecessary work, would you appreciate it if I told you about it or would you just figure it was none of my business?" ". . . I'd want you to let me know about it." "Well, Mr. Prospect, that's exactly what I was trying to do-and you got upset with me. Now, I'm willing to try it one more time if you'll promise me you won't get upset with me."
There are plenty of humorous illustrations and stories in the book to keep the reader involved. A lot of material was contributed to Zig by salespersons in the field to help keep the material fresh and up-to-date, although this book was published in 1984.
I believe to get the most benefit from this material, you should invest in the cassette series, also called Secrets of Closing The Sale. It's reasonably priced, and available at Zig Ziglar seminars or from the Zig Ziglar corporation. You can easily find them on the Web at ziglar.com. With audio cassettes (possibly transferred to CDs), you can easily and repetitively study the material until it's part of you.
Investing in Secrets of Closing The Sale as part of your library and taking the time to learn and adapt the material to your own situation is an investment that will yield significant dividends.
Buy it on Amazon: Secrets of Closing the Sale.
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