Zig Ziglar and the chasm

In the 1960s, legendary salesman and coach Zig Ziglar used to sell pots and pans. The standard approach for a salesperson at the time was to hit a new town, sell as many pots and pans over the course of a day, and drive out to the next one.

However, Zig did it differently.

When he picked a town, he moved in for a few weeks. He made sure he got the early adopters his colleagues got on day one. But, then, he stayed long enough to make friends, organize dinners, and get to know the community. As his behavior was so unusual, he began winning the trust of the folks on the other side of the chasm until he’d successfully sold his wares to anyone in the town who had a need for them.

You’ve probably guessed the ending – Zig’s approach ended up far more effective as crossing the chasm is both materially harder and more rewarding.

Now, while there are many great lessons to take away from Zig’s story, the one that I’ve been reflecting on is the power of playing the long game. The magic of Zig’s approach was to intentionally commit to being patient to make the change he sought to make.

It turns out that the road to the long game is valuable, beautiful, and never crowded.

(HT: Thank you to Seth for sharing the story on “This is Marketing“)