Selling 101 - Zig Ziglar

Selling 101 - Zig Ziglar

Learn to master all the basics of a sale, from prospecting to close a deal, understanding the 4 steps to assess customer need.

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We are daily looking for new ways to sell more and better. This is probably the biggest challenge for those who work with sales. To improve it, you must develop a set of sales skills with a well-defined strategy. That is exactly what Zig Ziglar teaches in his book "Selling 101".

Increasingly, it becomes important to know and serve customers in a personalized way. That's why it is necessary to provide qualified service and truly understand the customer's needs.

We've summarized the book into 10 main guidelines to leverage your sales results. Got interested to learn more about? Stay with us in this summary and discover how!

About the book "Selling 101"

The book "Selling 101: What Every Successful Sales Professional Needs to Know" (2003) by the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar explains everything about the sales process.

It teaches how to find potential customers, overcome "aversion" to calls, propose the right questions and ask for the purchase. Zig goes through all the basics, using examples from his vast experience to illustrate his point of view.

So if you have few sales experience and want to improve yourself, read this article to understand the author's ideas!

About the author Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar is a motivational speaker. He has written 22 books about personal development, sales, leadership, and success. His bestsellers include "See You at the Top", "Secrets of Closing the Sale" and "Success for Dummies".

To whom is this book indicated?

This book is recommended to anyone who is new in the sales industry, especially if you don't have a mentor to give you this kind of guidance. This practical manual provides a know-how that is usually obtained only by experience in the field.

Main ideas of the book "Selling 101"

  • As a salesman, you are your own boss and control your destiny;
  • Successful sellers are always prospecting;
  • Develop a "center of influence" by asking for directions from people who believe in you;
  • Overcome the aversion to bonds and undertakes to make calls at the same time every day;
  • Follow the 4 steps to the sale: "analysis, awareness, solution and satisfaction";
  • During the process, ask questions that draw the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of the person concerned;
  • Lead a conversation, not an interrogation;
  • Practice techniques of agreement until they become natural;
  • Make sure your customers are happy and satisfied with your product or service.

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[Book Summary] Selling 101 - Zig Ziglar

Overview: Guideline 1 - Why do you want to sell?

From time to time, sales professionals are treated offensively and receive a lot of rejection - not just one, but several times. They are subject to feelings of frustration, paranoia, anxiety, nervousness, discouragement and insecurity.

So why would anyone want to enter into a sales career? The reason is that for the right person, the positive part of selling, outweighs all the faced difficulties.

As a salesperson, Zig Ziglar shows that you are your own boss regardless of which company employs you or which supervisor checks your binding worksheets. It is an immense responsibility, but it presents itself as a tremendous opportunity for growth.

You control your destiny. Realizing your dreams is within reach. Sellers, or "professional persuaders", are in the problem-solving business, which is hugely rewarding. Nothing is compared to make a sale while helping someone with the product or service you offer.

Every seller must possess certain skills regardless of what they are selling. To succeed in the long run, today's professionals need honesty, integrity and ethics.

The skills required to build a successful career in sales include reliability, listening ability and communication.

Overview: Guideline 2 - Looking for Gold

The first step to conduct a sale is finding an interested party, it is someone or a group capable of deciding to buy the product or service that the seller is offering.

Successful salespeople are always prospecting, that is, it is a task that doesn't end at the end of the work day. Showing a genuine interest in people is the best way to attract real people.

Some people are reluctant to sell to acquaintances and relatives, because of fear of appearing greedy or boring. However, if you truly believe in what you sell, you will share it with the people close to you.

You don't want them to do a favor when buying, you want them doing favor by selling your product.

To ask for referrals from stakeholders, create a "hub of influence" by asking people who rely on you to introduce themselves by phone or in person to the people who can benefit from your product.

Put the names and pertinent information about your potential customers on an interested card. Then ask for help from those who have indicated them to set your priorities.

Other good sources of interest include newspapers, websites, the local chamber of commerce, events and lectures.

When getting in touch with stakeholders, learn all about your product, your industry and competitors. Become an expert by reading trade publications, studying trends, gathering information and demonstrating how to use your product.

Then, from there, you are ready to ask the right questions, find out the needs of customers and provide informational solutions.

Overview: Guideline 3 - Overcoming the "aversion to phone calls"

Making sales phone calls is difficult. In fact, 84% of all salespeople have experienced some kind of repugnance to contact. To overcome it, understand that you are an expert in your field, and no one knows more than you about your product.

To make your calls substantial, you should focus on the interested party, not on the sales. Remember:

"You can have everything you want in life if you help other people get what they want."

When making phone calls, set goals, such as making a meeting or closing a sale, before dialing. Make your calls in the early hours of work, when people are more willing to listen.

Get ready, train, stay motivated, and make calls when your energy and confidence are high.

The critical step to overcoming disgust is to maintain a regular schedule and make a commitment to yourself to get in touch with a customer at the same time, every day.

The book "Selling 101" points out that one of the main reasons that sellers fail is the lack of commitment to a regular schedule, which happens mostly with vendors who are not directly supervised.

Overview: Guideline 4 - The 4 Steps

A sale doesn't happen by accident. Successful sellers these days should develop and follow an action plan, based on the following steps:


People buy when they want the product more than the money it costs. As an example, people want new cell phones because they like new technology gadgets and want to have the cool things their friends have too. However, they also buy to have a convenient mode of communication and reliable accessibility.

The key is to discover the needs of the person asking the right questions and listening carefully to the answers. When you offer a reason or excuse to buy something that the person needs, you get a sale.


Once you have identified the customer's need, it is important that he also recognize the specifics of your request. Therefore, create awareness with questions that clarify the need of the interested party.

Highlight the imbalance your customer is trying to fix with issues based on your product, industry, price, application, and competition.


Now it is the time to talk about your product or service. You have identified a need and can offer a solution: your product.

When presenting your product, remember that people don't buy products, they buy benefits. Always tell potential customers what your product can do for them.


You have discovered your customer's needs and have a solution in product form. When offering your solution, it is important that you always highlight the need.

Sellers have a habit of talking about features, functions, and benefits, but what does these terms mean to the customer?

A feature is one aspect of your product. Function is the purpose of the feature and the benefit is the advantage that this feature offers the customer.

Overview: Guideline 5 - Asking Questions

Conducting a needs analysis requires you to ask questions. Propose questions that will elucidate the client's feelings, thoughts and emotions. Understand that people make purchases based on emotion and only then rationalize the purchase with logic.

For example, after making a cost-effective presentation, ask: "Are you interested in saving money?" Or "Can you see how our product can save you money?"

To get the information you need during the analysis, ask open, closed and "yes or no" questions.

Open-ended questions allow the person to respond in whatever way they want, for example: "What is the best aspect of your job?" And "How do you see your responsibilities changing over the next five years?"

Closed questions require the respondent to respond within a certain structure, for example: "How does your department compare in size to other departments in the company?"

A "yes or no" question demands a direct response and is often useful for closing a deal. After making a presentation, you may ask, "What am I proposing would fit your goals?"

Overview: Guideline 6 - Conversation vs Interrogation

Calling to an interested party is easier if you do it through a relaxed, natural conversation. To conduct a conversation rather than an interview, Zig Ziglar presents the "POOO formula":

P: Person

Learn about the person's thoughts, feelings, goals, and emotions by encouraging them to talk about them. Never spend more than 25% of the time talking about you.

Some "Person" questions include: "How did you start your business?" And "Do you like living in Dallas?".

O: Organization

Now, understand more about the company of the interested party. In the same way, avoid monopolizing the conversation.

Use phrases like "Could you tell me more about your organization?"

O: Objectives

Find out what are the personal and professional ambitions of the person. Ask something like "How are you tracking the progress of your current goals?"

O: Obstacles

Everyone faces obstacles before reaching their goals. If you can find the challenges that your stakeholder faces, you can offer a solution.

A good example is: "What's keeping you from getting where you want to go?"

Overview: Guideline 7 - How to Close a Deal

When you are confident about the value of your product or service, you have already completed the first three steps of the sales process and you are really committed to making the sale, so your chances are good.

"Selling 101" explains that if you are competent, professional, authentic and friendly, your interested person will be reluctant to say "no" to your proposal. But before that, you need to ask for the sale.

Find closure techniques that work for you and practice them until they become natural. One technique that can be used is to take back the strengths of your presentation and ask for the request.

Overview: Guideline 8 - Go beyond "no"

What if the consumer says no? Some sales experts say that 60% of sales only happen once the customer had said no five times! Suppose your client is rejecting you just because don't know enough yet about you or your product.

The author Zig Ziglar states that this gives you the opportunity to provide new information about features, functions and benefits that the customer can use as a basis for making the decision to buy.

Ask questions that identify the objection of the interested party. Then, test the objection to examine whether it is real.

The "Assumption" test asks the potential consumer to answer a hypothetical question such as "Assuming you feel good about the issue under discussion, would you close the deal?"

Another way to test an objection is to "isolate and validate". In the process, ask, "Is there any other reason that will stop you from taking advantage of my offer today?" After you make two objections, continue and ask for the sale again.

Overview: Guideline 9 - Customer Service

Sales doesn't end when you receive the order. You should continue working with your clients to ensure they are satisfied.

If any client shows dissatisfaction, you should react professionally and calmly. Help you find a new solution. When someone realizes that you are really trying to help, this will greatly lessen a possible hassle.

When dealing with an unhappy consumer, always keep in mind:

  • Listen to what they have to say - let the stress leave;
  • Be patient and gentle;
  • Have empathy;
  • Acknowledge its importance;
  • Articulate your answer slowly and carefully;
  • Never grant permission for them to control you.

Overview: Guideline 10 - Make the most of your time

Zig Ziglar explains that most sellers spend 80% of their time on non-sales activities. To improve this, learn how to structure your workday so you can invest as much time as possible in talking to your stakeholders.

Work harder and perform better than your competitors by investing an extra hour a day in productive tasks such as making important leads.

Delegate non-sales related tasks when possible. Many sellers find it helpful to use a time-tracking system.

What do other authors say about it?

In "SPIN Selling", the author Neil Rackham points out that the quality of the questions asked is crucial to the success of the negotiation.

For the author of "The Psychology of Selling", Brian Tracy, successful people improve their inner dialogue with optimistic and confident phrases. For example, if you repeat the phrase "I like myself" throughout the day, your self-esteem will certainly increase.

In the book "The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople", Stephan Schiffman points out that you should not use tricks such as stating that the person has just won a lottery. Successful salespeople inspire confidence, the brand of a good leader has vision, deserves respect, is responsible, has a clear sense of direction and confidence.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

As told by Zig Ziglar, many salespeople spend a lot of time working and often can not get enough time to perfect their sales skills.

So, try to set aside some time for reading and also to train closures until they become natural.

Apply the 4 steps correctly to realize the sales and, finally, always guarantee the satisfaction of your client with each closing.

Did you like this summary of the book "Selling 101"?

Are you ready to become a master in sales through these teachings? Did you find this content useful for your purpose? Leave you feedback in the comments!

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Book 'Selling 101'