Ode to Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar passed away at age 86 yesterday.

Zig may have influenced more people in the sales profession than any other person. When I started my sales career with Ralston Purina in the 1970s I listened to his audiocassettes while humming down the road in the High Plains. Zig was the ultimate sales professional who became the world’s ultimate sales trainer.

Zig eventually became best known as a motivational speaker. I’ll never forget an evaluation I received from an audience member at a speaker showcase years ago who called me a “Zig Ziglar retread.” That was the nicest backhanded compliment I could have received.

After that I would periodically slip into a brief Zig impersonation during my presentations saying, “I’ve listened to Zig Ziglar so much that I can do Zig Ziglar as good as Zig Ziglar!” That puts a smile on the faces of everyone in the audience who has ever listened to Zig.  And a that’s lot of people.

I included one of my favorite Zig Ziglar quotes in my first book, Road Signs for Success: “Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther.” I think that is a fitting eulogy. He went as far as he could see in this life and now he can see farther. I discovered later that quote was originally attributed to J.P. Morgan. But there’s nothing wrong with retreading an original when the original is still good. And Zig Ziglar was an original. No one will ever do Zig as well as Zig but his words will be “retreaded” and continue to be a positive influence in people’s lives long after his death.

I’ll be tweeting Zig quotes the next several days if you want to follow @JimWhitt on Twitter.

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