How to Make a Sale: Zig Ziglar’s 5 Rules

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Secrets of Closing the Sale" by Zig Ziglar. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you want to know how to make a sale? How can you craft an effective pitch?

In Secrets of Closing the Sale, Zig Ziglar highlights five rules you must follow to make a sale. These rules include helping the customer and addressing objections, which are important to marketing plans.

To know how to make a sale, follow the five rules below.

Rule #1: Help the Customer Decide to Buy

The best way to know how to make a sale is to lead the customer to their own conclusion that they need the product, emphasizes Ziglar. When the customer convinces themselves that they need what you’re offering, they’re almost sure to buy. Help the customer come to their own conclusion by asking them targeted questions. For example, a question might be: “Wouldn’t it help you get in shape if you knew exactly how much you were exercising each day?”

(Shortform note: In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie offers a more empathetic way to get customers to convince themselves to buy: Instead of asking obvious leading questions, solicit their opinion or suggestions to improve the product. Customers who feel you value their opinion might end up appreciating the product more. Alternatively, consider taking a hands-off approach

Rule #2: Sell Over the Long Term

Keep selling the product after the deal has gone through by offering additional services and checking in on the customer’s satisfaction level, advises Ziglar. This maintains your seller-buyer relationship, making future sales to the customer possible.

(Shortform note: Not only should you maintain your relationship with your customer over the long-term, but you must also continuously adapt to their changing needs, insist Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles in Raving Fans. You can do this by making small, repeated improvements to your product that keep it up-to-date.)

Rule #3: Address Both Logic and Emotion in Your Pitch

When pitching, speak both to the customer’s logic and emotion, recommends Ziglar. This means you must make a coherent, logical argument for why they should purchase your product and also speak to their emotional desires. Doing this ensures your customer rationally understands why they should buy your product and sincerely believes it will improve their lives.

For instance, when pitching your smartwatch, you might outline the watch’s capabilities—its battery life, waterproof casing, and ability to play music—and also explain how the watch will make the customer feel free and in control of their lives. 

Rule #4: Address Objections Effectively

Your customer will likely bring up objections, writes Ziglar. This is good because it means the customer is seriously considering the purchase. Nonetheless, you must address all objections effectively to make the sale.

(Shortform note: In Sell or Be Sold, Grant Cardone proposes that perhaps you don’t need to address all objections yourself: Allow the customer to address their objections by asking them what they would do about the problem they’re raising. If they propose a viable solution, then you’ll have even greater certainty that the customer is serious about buying.)

Rule #5: Tailor Your Pitch to the Customer and Circumstances

The final rule of making a sale is to tailor it to your lead and their circumstances, writes Ziglar. This requires you to listen well to the lead so you can learn as much about them and their needs as possible. Once you understand who they are and what they want, you can determine the best way to deliver your pitch—with humor, seriousness, or a bit of both—and what facets of the product to highlight (for instance, if your customer is a runner, emphasize the running function of your smartwatch). 

How to Make a Sale: Zig Ziglar’s 5 Rules

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  • What qualities you must develop as a salesperson
  • The six common customer behaviors you must understand
  • Five rules for crafting an effective sales pitch

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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