Secrets of Closing the Sale

Secrets of Closing the Sale - Warning

"Secrets of Closing the Sale" by Zig Ziglar is a treasure trove of sales wisdom. It's packed with practical techniques that can boost your sales skills.

I should also mention that throughout the book Zig gives 121 of different sales closing techniques!
I am not a big fan of closing techniques so I have only mentioned a few of them here.

Funnily enough I just read an email citing some research on closing techniques. Looking into the question whether a closing gambit is seen positively or negatively by the client.

In the study conducted by Jon Hawes, James Strong, and Bernard Winick, industrial buyers were questioned on this subject. Six traditional closure techniques were researched.

The customer’s trust in the salesperson was then tested by a means of 24 pairs of characteristics on a seven-step scale.

The results? The results showed that every single technique tested damaged the basis of trust. And predictably, the most manipulative techniques damaged trust the most.

Keeping that in mind let's dive into the book, chapter by chapter:

Part 1: The Psychology of Closing

Chapter 1: The "Household Executive" Saleslady:
Ziglar drives home the point that understanding your customer's needs and desires is key. He highlights the importance of building relationships based on trust and integrity. He paints a picture of a saleslady who's a master at her job because she gets her customers and their needs, and she uses this understanding to offer them products that hit the mark. 

Chapter 2: Making "King" Customer the Winner:
This chapter emphasizes the importance of win-win relationships in sales, where both the customer and the salesperson benefit from the transaction. This can be achieved by offering value and making sure the customer walks away feeling satisfied with their purchase.

Chapter 3: Credibility: The Key to a Sales Career:
Ziglar shines a light on the importance of credibility in a sales career. He argues that trust and credibility, built through knowledge, integrity, and a positive reputation are the building blocks of long-term relationships with customers. 

Chapter 4: Commonsense Selling:
Ziglar nudges salespeople to use common sense in their selling approach. This includes understanding their own products as well as the customer's needs and offering solutions that fit these needs, and communicating them effectively.

Chapter 5: Voice Training to Close Sales:
This chapter focuses on the power of voice inflection in sales. He suggests that salespeople should practice different tones and inflections to convey meaning and emotion effectively. 

Chapter 6: The Professional Sells and Delivers:
This chapter highlights the importance of professionalism, delivering on promises, and providing excellent customer service as key factors for long-term sales success.

Part 2: The Heart of Your Sales Career

Chapter 7: The Critical Step in Selling:
Ziglar pinpoints understanding the customer's needs as the most critical step in selling. He suggests that salespeople should ask probing questions to identify these needs and then offer solutions that meet them. 
There is a difference between needs and wants.
And I do not believe Zig considers this in his work.

Chapter 8: The Big "E" in Selling:
Ziglar talks about the the role of empathy in selling. Ego is helpful but without empathy it will lead to disaster. He suggests that salespeople should strive to understand their customers' feelings and perspectives.

Chapter 9: The Right Mental Attitude:
Ziglar is quoted as saying "your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude"
Not surprisingly here he stresses the importance of having a positive mental attitude in sales. Things like self-belief, optimism, and maintaining a can-do attitude can help salespeople overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

Chapter 10: Your Attitude Toward You:
This chapter focuses on self-image and self-worth, highlighting the importance of developing a positive self-perception to excel in sales. Believing in your ability to succeed is necessary for success. 

Chapter 11: Your Attitude Toward Others:
Ziglar stresses the importance of having a positive attitude towards others. He suggests that salespeople should treat their customers with respect and kindness.

Chapter 12: Your Attitude Toward the Sales Profession:
Ziglar discusses the importance of having a positive attitude towards the sales profession. He argues that salespeople should view their role as a valuable and important one.
"Nothing happens until a sale is made" Thomas Watson, Sr. IBM

Chapter 13: Building "Reserves" in Selling:
Here he goes into the importance of building reserves in selling. This includes building a reserve of finances, knowledge, skills, and relationships that can be used to overcome challenges and achieve success in sales.

Chapter 14: Building a Mental Reserve in Selling:
This chapter focuses on developing mental resilience and bouncing back from setbacks, providing strategies for building mental strength in sales.

Chapter 15: Ya Gotta Have Love:
Ziglar emphasizes the importance of genuinely caring for customers and having a passion for helping them solve their problems, building trust and relationships. And not just their customers but their products, and their profession.
I've used this quote before but ...
"They won't care how much you know until they know how much you care" often quoted by Zig but it originates from Teddy Roosevelt

Part 3: The Sales Professional

Chapter 16: Learning and Using Professional Techniques:
Ziglar highlights the importance of continuous learning and professional development in sales, discussing various techniques that can enhance sales effectiveness.

Chapter 17: Characteristics of the Professional Salesperson:
In this chapter, Ziglar explores the essential characteristics of successful sales professionals, emphasizing traits such as integrity, credibility, empathy, resilience, a positive attitude, a love for selling and a strong work ethic.

Chapter 18: Here is a Professional:
Ziglar gives an example of a professional salesperson in a scenario that showcases their qualities. He highlights their mindset and their ability to build relationships, understand their customers' needs, and offer solutions that meet these needs.

Chapter 19: Everybody is a Salesperson and Everything is Selling:
Ziglar argues that everyone is a salesperson and everything is selling. He suggests that sales skills are not only useful in a sales career but also in everyday life.

Part 4: Imagination and Word Pictures

Chapter 20: Imagination in Selling:
Ziglar discusses the power of imagination in sales. He suggests that salespeople should use their imagination to create compelling visions of how their products or services can benefit their customers.

Chapter 21: Imagination Sells and Closes:
This chapter focuses on how imagination can be used to close sales. He suggests that salespeople should use their imagination to paint vivid mental pictures that engage customers and convince them to make a purchase.

Chapter 22: Using Word Pictures to Sell:
Ziglar explains how effective storytelling and the use of word pictures can evoke emotions and help customers envision the benefits of a product or service. He provides guidance on creating and delivering impactful word pictures in sales presentations.

Chapter 23: Picture Selling for Bigger, Permanent Sales:
In this chapter, Ziglar explores advanced techniques for using visuals and imagery in sales. He explains how sales professionals can leverage pictures, graphs, and charts to communicate complex concepts, build credibility, and close bigger sales.

Part 5: The Nuts and Bolts of Selling

Chapter 24: Objections - The Key to Closing the Sale:
Ziglar highlights the importance of addressing objections in the sales process. He suggests that salespeople should view objections as opportunities to provide more information and reassure their customers and he provides strategies for identifying and overcoming objections effectively to close sales successfully.

Chapter 25: Objections are Consistent - Objectors Aren't:
This chapter explores the psychology behind objections, emphasizing the need for sales professionals to understand the underlying motivations and concerns of customers because while the objections may be consistent, the people raising them are not. So salespeople should tailor their responses to each individual. Ziglar provides insights into handling objections in a way that builds trust and encourages sales closure.

Chapter 26: The Salesman's Friend:
Ziglar states that asking questions is the salesman's best friend when replying to objections. [link to one of my questions posts]

Chapter 27: Using Objections to Close the Sale:
Here he goes into reframing objections as opportunities for closing sales. Ziglar provides a number of closing techniques for responding to objections effectively and turning them into reasons to buy.

Chapter 28: Reasons and Excuses for Buying:
Ziglar explains the difference between reasons and excuses for making a purchase. He suggests that understanding these reasons and excuses can help salespeople to get customers to recognize their genuine reasons for buying and overcome the excuses that may hinder their buying.

Chapter 29: Using Questions to Close the Sale:
Ziglar discusses the importance of using questions to close sales. He suggests that asking the right questions can help salespeople understand their customers' needs and offer solutions that meet these needs. He discusses various types of questions and how they can be used to understand customer needs, address objections, and guide the sales process towards closure.
SPIN Selling has some effective guidelines for asking questions in bigger sales.

Chapter 30: For Direct Sales People:
Ziglar provides specific advice for direct salespeople. He suggests that direct salespeople should focus on building relationships, understanding their customers' needs, and offering solutions that meet these needs.

Part 6: The Keys in Closing

Chapter 31: Four Ideas and a Key to Sales Success:
Ziglar shares four key ideas and a fundamental principle for achieving sales success. The 4 ideas are:

  1. Really successful salespeople are a little bit warped in their belief about what they are selling
  2. It's important to understand the difference between refusal and rejection.
  3. You don't have to be a natural born salesman to succeed.
  4. "When you fully understand and believe the prospect is the big winner, you can close more enthusiastically and forcefully"

Chapter 32: Selling and Courting Run Parallel Paths:
This chapter draws parallels between selling and courting. Zig suggests that both involve building relationships, understanding the other person's needs, and offering solutions that meet these needs.

Chapter 33: The "Look and Listen" Close:
Ziglar introduces the "Look and Listen" close. He suggests that salespeople should pay close attention to their customers' verbal and non-verbal cues to understand their needs and close the sale effectively. He explains how keen observation and active listening can provide valuable insights and help sales professionals close deals successfully. 

Chapter 34: Listen--Really Listen:
Here Zig delves deeper into the art of active listening.  Ziglar provides guidance on how to truly understand and empathize with customers, which in turn helps in building rapport and closing sales effectively.
"Chances are excellent if you really hear what he says AND what he is saying, he will give you the key to make the sale."

Chapter 35: The Keys in Closing – Conclusion:
Ziglar concludes the book by summarizing the keys to closing a sale. These include understanding your customers' needs, offering solutions that meet these needs, building relationships, and closing the sale effectively.

Chapter 36: The "Narrative" Close:
In the final chapter Zig introduces the "Narrative" close, a technique that involves telling stories to engage customers emotionally and drive sales. He suggests that salespeople should tell a compelling story that highlights the benefits of their products or services and convinces their customers to make a purchase.


In a nutshell, "Secrets of Closing the Sale" is a must-read for anyone in sales. Whether you're a seasoned sales professional or just starting out, this book offers valuable insights that can help you succeed in your sales career.

Articles for Further Reading

Zenflow on Ziglar on Ziglar

BookOutlines on Ziglar

Books for Further Reading

  1. "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini. This book delves into the principles of persuasion and the psychology behind influencing others, providing insights that complement the strategies presented in "Secrets of Closing the Sale."
  2. "To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others" by Daniel H. PinkPink examines the evolving nature of selling and highlights the importance of empathy, understanding, and connecting with others in a sales context.
  3. "Flip the Script" by Oren KlaffKlaff offers a fresh approach to pitching and presenting ideas, providing practical techniques to captivate and persuade audiences effectively.
  4. "SPIN Selling" by Neil RackhamRackham's book focuses on the SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff) methodology for consultative selling, providing a framework for understanding customer needs and closing complex sales.
  5. "The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation" by Matthew Dixon and Brent AdamsonThis book challenges traditional sales approaches, emphasizing the importance of challenging customers' thinking and adding value in the sales process.

These book recommendations explore various aspects of sales, persuasion, and customer engagement, providing valuable insights and strategies to enhance your sales skills and achieve greater success.