Zig Ziglar, Master of Marketing

I wanted to be in marketing before I even knew what the word meant. I just knew that the “right” words and images could sell products and services, change opinions and even get people to vote or make donations.

I wanted to help companies find those words and images, put them together and use them. And oh yeah…get paid for helping.

But there I was — in my late 20s, no college degree, married with two kids, and working in the produce department of a grocery store. My dream could not have seemed further away if I was in a gulag in Russia.

Zig Ziglar

Early in my life I discovered that books could comfort me, inspire me and keep me going. One of the authors I counted on to do that was Zig Ziglar.

Zig was born in Alabama and grew up on a farm in Mississippi, the tenth of 12 children. He served in World War II, then went to work in sales and rose to the top. After that, he became a sales motivator — putting on seminars all over the world and authoring more than two dozen books.

Zig passed away last month at the age of 86, and he will be missed. He was working right up to the end.

Words To Live By

I loved his southern accent, his humor and his clever turn of a phrase. But most of all, I loved his little quotes. I have too many favorites to mention them all, but the one that kept me moving forward in the early days was “If you can dream it, then you can achieve it.” Another was, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

And I powered through what I felt was a dead-end job with this quote: “Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.”

Zig constantly advised his readers to do a “daily check-up from the neck up” to make sure we don’t have “stinking thinking” — his term for negative thinking and a poor attitude.

Zig’s Marketing Lessons

Zig was homey and corny…but he was right on target when it came to sales. And what a marketer! His books, CDs and tapes were best sellers and he sold out seminars. I saw him speak once and it was really special.

The key to most of my advertising and marketing directions is based on the Zig quote: “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.”

I agree with that statement wholeheartedly — even for commercial and industrial clients and of course non-profit organizations. I use it in headlines, copy, sales materials and more.

Humans are ruled by emotions. Understanding your prospect’s emotional drivers is key to getting the sale. Do they need to feel secure, feel like they’re smart, feel like they’re getting a deal, feel like they’re special? Those feelings are influenced by emotions — and the right words and images influence those emotions.

Zig Ziglar’s best piece of marketing advice is one I practice in my personal and professional life, and one I often share with my clients and friends: “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

Amen, Zig. Amen.


About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Email questions and comments to GFF@FarrisMarketing.com and connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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