Remembering Zig Zigler

My friend and mentor writes:

The glass is not half-full, it is overflowing in every moment in the lives of great leaders. John Baldoni, in his Forbes article, Zig Ziglar: Encouraging Others to Believe in Themselves, writes:
“The success of Ziglar perhaps is not so much in what he said or wrote, but in how he challenged people to think differently about themselves and their lives. He also pushed the idea of taking personal responsibility and working with others rather than against them. ‘You can get everything in life you want,’ said Ziglar, ‘if you will just help other people get what they want.’ That moment of introspection, coupled with an awareness of what I might do differently, is the secret to personal renewal.”

Ziglar’s life and teachings are beautifully captured in his words:
“Desire is what takes the hot water of mediocrity and turns it into the steam of outstanding success.””
“You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.”
“We cannot start over, but we can begin now and make a new ending.”
“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”
“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”
“If you want to reach a goal, you must ‘see the reaching’ in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal.”
“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”
“Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking tartar sauce with you.”

Greatness begins from within and works itself outward in our doing. In fitting tribute to Ziglar’s life, the Washington Post chose to close his obituary with words that reflected and honored his life’s teaching – “Yesterday ended last night. Today is a brand-new day and it’s yours.” – a loving message to those who follow him that each day is ours to be lived in the joyful, beautiful magnificence that we choose to make of it. Yes, get in the rowboat, and bring the tartar sauce. It will be one heck of a day. Life is so very good.

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time
by Tony Schwartz | 8:53 AM March 14, 2012
Comments (794)

Why is it that between 25% and 50% of people report feeling overwhelmed or burned out at work?

It’s not just the number of hours we’re working, but also the fact that we spend too many continuous hours juggling too many things at the same time.

What we’ve lost, above all, are stopping points, finish lines and boundaries. Technology has blurred them beyond recognition. Wherever we go, our work follows us, on our digital devices, ever insistent and intrusive. It’s like an itch we can’t resist scratching, even though scratching invariably makes it worse.

Tell the truth: Do you answer email during conference calls (and sometimes even during calls with one other person)? Do you bring your laptop to meetings and then pretend you’re taking notes while you surf the net? Do you eat lunch at your desk? Do you make calls while you’re driving, and even send the occasional text, even though you know you shouldn’t?

The biggest cost — assuming you don’t crash — is to your productivity. In part, that’s a simple consequence of splitting your attention, so that you’re partially engaged in multiple activities but rarely fully engaged in any one. In part, it’s because when you switch away from a primary task to do something else, you’re increasing the time it takes to finish that task by an average of 25 per cent.

But most insidiously, it’s because if you’re always doing something, you’re relentlessly burning down your available reservoir of energy over the course of every day, so you have less available with every passing hour.

I know this from my own experience. I get two to three times as much writing accomplished when I focus without interruption for a designated period of time and then take a real break, away from my desk. The best way for an organization to fuel higher productivity and more innovative thinking is to strongly encourage finite periods of absorbed focus, as well as shorter periods of real renewal.

If you’re a manager, here are three policies worth promoting:

1. Maintain meeting discipline. Schedule meetings for 45 minutes, rather than an hour or longer, so participants can stay focused, take time afterward to reflect on what’s been discussed, and recover before the next obligation. Start all meetings at a precise time, end at a precise time, and insist that all digital devices be turned off throughout the meeting.

2. Stop demanding or expecting instant responsiveness at every moment of the day. It forces your people into reactive mode, fractures their attention, and makes it difficult for them to sustain attention on their priorities. Let them turn off their email at certain times. If it’s urgent, you can call them — but that won’t happen very often.

3. Encourage renewal. Create at least one time during the day when you encourage your people to stop working and take a break. Offer a midafternoon class in yoga, or meditation, organize a group walk or workout, or consider creating a renewal room where people can relax, or take a nap.

It’s also up to individuals to set their own boundaries. Consider these three behaviors for yourself:

1. Do the most important thing first in the morning, preferably without interruption, for 60 to 90 minutes, with a clear start and stop time. If possible, work in a private space during this period, or with sound-reducing earphones. Finally, resist every impulse to distraction, knowing that you have a designated stopping point. The more absorbed you can get, the more productive you’ll be. When you’re done, take at least a few minutes to renew.

2. Establish regular, scheduled times to think more long term, creatively, or strategically. If you don’t, you’ll constantly succumb to the tyranny of the urgent. Also, find a different environment in which to do this activity — preferably one that’s relaxed and conducive to open-ended thinking.

3. Take real and regular vacations. Real means that when you’re off, you’re truly disconnecting from work. Regular means several times a year if possible, even if some are only two or three days added to a weekend. The research strongly suggests that you’ll be far healthier if you take all of your vacation time, and more productive overall.

A single principle lies at the heart of all these suggestions. When you’re engaged at work, fully engage, for defined periods of time. When you’re renewing, truly renew. Make waves. Stop living your life in the gray zone.

More blog posts by Tony Schwartz
More on: Managing yourself, Personal effectiveness, Productivity

Tony Schwartz is the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything. Become a fan of The Energy Project on Facebook and connect with Tony at and

The Basis of all Sales

In order to engage in the sales process we need to understand how people make buying decisions. An effective seller is one who helps people to achieve their goals. In the words of Zig Zigler, “The more you help people get what they want, the more you’ll get what you want”.

First, it would be useful to understand the difference between marketing and selling. Marketing is everything that happens before someone identifies himself or herself as a potential Prospect. This can be in the form of websites, brochures, trade shows, networking, cold calls, or anything that puts someone in front of a prospective Prospect. It is best done in the world of Suspects (a Suspect is anyone in your target market). That would include anyone whom you believe may be a possible Prospect.

What is a Prospect?

A Prospect is a Suspect who:
• has a need for your product or service
• is able to afford your product or service
• is able to make the decision to buy it.

The Buying Process.

Every buyer must go through the Buying Process, no matter how simple or complex the sale. The Buyer makes a decision on how to buy in the following manner:
1. YOU: The buyer must first decide that you are someone with whom he can see himself doing business. You look like her expectation of someone from whom she will buy.
2. YOUR COMPANY: Your company is one he has heard of and trusts. In the case where there is very little to distinguish between you and your company because you are your company, this distinction may become blurred.

The important issue here is that price is the fourth area on which you must compete, and it is not relevant if they have not “bought” you, your company, or your product or service.

The Sales Process

While your Prospect is going through a Buying Process, you, the seller, are going through the Sales Process.
1. Introduction
2. Gain favorable attention
3. Needs assessment or fact finding
4. Presentation
5. Gaining Commitment
6. Follow-Up

After you have found yourself in front of a Prospect and have introduced yourself, you begin the process of gaining favorable attention. It’s nice to comment on the elements that you and the Prospect may have in common, but more importantly, it is useful to demonstrate interest in the Prospect’s situation.

Who knows more about the product, you the, seller, or the buyer? The answer, obviously, is you, the seller. Who knows more about the buyer’s situation, you or the buyer? Again, obviously, the buyer.

You must ask the buyer enough questions until you can answer the question. “If I were the buyer, would I buy my product or service?”

When you can answer that question in the affirmative, your job is easy because the first Rule of the Universe is:

“Most people when given the same information will come very close to the same conclusions.” *

So why don’t they come to the same conclusion? The answer is that people have different backgrounds, conditioning, prejudices, and communications. The solution? Ask questions, share information.

The truth is that no two people can have the exact same information, but nevertheless the Rule holds. If we are disagreeing, we obviously have different information. Your job as a seller is to share information. How do you do this? You continue to ask questions. Either the buyer will see what you see, and buy your product or service, or you will learn more and discover why not. This is not selling. Rather, it is true information sharing. You, the seller, moves from the position of seller to that of trusted advisor or assistant buyer.

At this point it is useful to remember the structure of Goal Setting in the questioning process. You must ask the Prospect “what are your goals?” “What are you trying to achieve?” When the Prospect answers, you, the seller, ask, “if you achieved that, what would be the benefit?” When the buyer answers, you ask again, “what would be the benefit of that?” You need to ask this at least 4 times. The first time you will receive what might be called a politically correct answer. You need to get an emotional answer. After you get the answer to the benefit question, you must ask”if you don’t reach your goal, what would be the negative consequence?” Again, you must look for an emotional response. After you have asked these three series of questions, you then ask, “What is
keeping you from achieving that which you really want?” “What are your obstacles?” When the Prospect answers this question, your response is to ask,”if I had a way to help

* as quoted by Ray Overdorff

You achieve that which you said you really wanted, should we continue speaking with each other?”

All you have done is to have qualified the Prospect as to need.

Another wonderful benefit of this arises when we revisit # 2 and #3 of the Selling Process. What happens when I demonstrate interest in you? You have a ‘more favorable impression’ of me. You like me better. When you have a more favorable impression of me, isn’t it more likely that you will give me better responses in my fact finding? Of course. This continues indefinitely and builds a better and better relationship between buyer and seller.

After you have determined what the seller really wants (“need”), you must either then or before then return to the definition of a Prospect. You need to ask the question, is this person able to buy what it is you would like to help her buy? Can he afford it? If you have done a good job in the questioning process and she really is a prospect, price will never be a problem. I will go one step further and say that price is never the problem. If someone is truly a Prospect and there appears to be a price issue, it is not price, but rather perceived value. Whose responsibility is it that the Prospect sees the value? It is your responsibility as the seller.

Finally, you need to ascertain that the person with whom you are speaking is in fact a decision maker. You do this by asking something like, “if we were to agree that this product or service is for you, are you the one that will make the final decision?” If the person says no, do not attempt to complete the sale, but rather the new sale becomes how this person leads you to the real Prospect.

If all of these things are done correctly, you can then move to step #4 of the Selling Process and only present that which the Prospect said he wanted and move to gaining commitment and completing a successful sale.