Rethink Sales Performance in 2021 (with Zig Ziglar)

Zig-ZiglarZig Ziglar was a man ahead of his time.

Although he passed away in 2012, many of his greatest pieces of advice not only still hold true for salespeople, but still leave a lot for modern sales leaders to learn.

Here are some of Zig’s best quotes, and what sales leaders can take away from them when considering what sales performance means in 2021.

7 Zig Ziglar Quotes to Help You Rethink Sales Performance:

1. “Stop selling. Start helping.”

The old-school salesperson was seen as someone who persuaded, spun and did just about anything to get a sale. But the modern-day sales rep is seen as an educator and advisor, who challenges, teaches and helps customers.

2. “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

Your reps can put this into play by spending more time uncovering prospect’s goals, challenges and pain points — and right from the first discovery call. They should be skilled in communicating how your product or service assists in achieving those goals and relieving those pain points.

When reps take the time to listen to the prospect’s needs, those prospects will be much more willing to hear about a potential solution.

3. “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24-hour days.”

You know that salesperson who’s always busy, but doesn’t seem to get anything done? That’s lack of direction.

As a sales leader, you need to make sure you effectively manage their sales process. This means getting reps to spend the right amount of time on the activities you know lead to sales. If you have clearly defined your sales process, then set goals around the activities that move prospects from one step of the process to the next. For example, a goal for a sales development rep might be to make 150 dials per week or 30 live conversations.

4. “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

When you define goals for your sales team and set key performance indicators for your reps, you’ve already put yourself and your team on the path for success.

While the goal for the sales team as a whole can be a revenue number, those KPIs for individual reps should be around specific activities like the number of discovery calls or proposals sent (note that these will be unique for every sales team and organization). This helps them understand the activities that will lead to hitting the team’s goal.

Studies show that simply the act of setting goals influences performance. It keeps people focused on those goals, motivates them to invest more effort to achieve them and increases people’s persistence in reaching those goals.

5. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

Even if you feel like you’re not entirely ready to define and track KPIs, just get started. There’s plenty of information out there on what exactly a sales KPI is, how to choose the right KPIs and how to motivate KPI-related activities.

Your KPIs may not be defined and measured perfectly at first, but at least you’ve taken a step in the right direction toward building your modern sales team.

6. “Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.”

We all know it’s important to listen to our customers, especially since research from Gartner Group reveals that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from 20% of your existing customers.

Modern sales leaders must over-invest in customer success, and ensure there’s alignment between sales and customer success teams. When you take care of your customer success managers, they will take care of your customers.

7. “People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Motivating your sales reps is, of course, essential. You know this. We know this. So let’s get to the important part: Motivation comes in all different shapes and sizes.

For some reps, recognition is the most powerful form of motivation. For others, it can be competition. Naturally, rewards are a great form of motivation, but there are different types of sales incentives — just make sure to tailor them according to the person you’re motivating. (We’ve got a whole list of inexpensive sales incentive ideas for your team.)

So here’s to you, Zig Ziglar, for helping us continue to discover and understand sales performance in this modern age of sales.

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