A Broke Investor: Story #4

Zig Ziglar: “Too small, poor boy from Yazoo City, Mississippi.”

“You can be a great one, you can be a national champion.”

Find out how this broke investor went from selling peanut bags to reaching his dreams.

Mr. Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar was born prematurely and was proclaimed dead 9 days later, only to be revived by his grandmother.  Since he was born prematurely, he suffered from cyanosis, which resulted in having an incomplete lung expansion.

Being one of twelve children during the era of the Great Depression was no small feat.  When Ziglar was 4 years old, he and his family moved to Yazoo City, Mississippi. The move was due to his father’s new job. Unfortunately, his father passed away a year later after the move, along with one of his sisters, a few days later.


Work with what you have

With 3 milk cows and a garden, young Ziglar would sell milk and produce on the streets of Yazoo City. A little later, Ziglar “graduated” to selling peanuts in downtown. Zig Ziglar made a penny for every 5¢ peanut bag he sold.

Interestingly enough, the reason why Zig started selling peanuts is because he had a GOAL to buy a jacket that cost 87¢. Once he bought the jacket, instead of putting it on and showing it off, he had it wrapped up during a cold October night until he took it home and showed it to his mama. At around 9-10 years old, Ziglar was very proud that day.

Mr. Zig Ziglar ended up being the first child in his family to finish high school and decided to go to college, however, in 1947, Ziglar dropped out of college in pursuit of a sales career working in South Carolina for a cookware company.

How hard is it?

The first two and a half years Zig Ziglar struggled financially, however, that didn’t necessarily mean he didn’t sell a lot. “I sold my furniture, I sold my car.” was one of Zig Ziglar’s favorite sayings. During one sales meeting, P.C. Merrell persuaded  Zig Ziglar he could be the number one sales man in America out of the 7,000 member sales-force in the company. Mr. Merrell told Zig, “You have everything that it takes to be a great sales-man, if you just believe in yourself and work on a regular schedule.”

Up to that point, Mr. Ziglar never had anyone talk to him about being “a great one”. He was favored and liked, but was never thought of as a champion. Because Mr. Merrell was a man of integrity, was the one who set the sales records, and was responsible for the sales training manual, Zig Ziglar believed him.

During the previous year, Zig Ziglar was not even in the top 5,000 out of 7,000 sales-force. The year after Mr. Merrell sparked Ziglar’s willingness, Zig Ziglar became #2 out of the 7,000 sales-force team. He also received the best promotion that the company offered during that time.


What made the difference?

The picture for Zig Ziglar was changed. Zig Ziglar started thinking like a champion and started performing like a champion. He claims to have made a decision that during that year, at the exact time each day, no matter if it was boiling hot or below freezing outside, he was knocking on his 1st door.

After the sales reports came out at the end of the year, the company realized that Zig Ziglar did not end up on the top 20 sales list for any of the 52 weeks. Instead, he managed to get the #2 spot out of the 7,000 members. How did he do it? Zig Ziglar became consistent. Every week he had at least one sale.

As the story goes, Mr. Zig Ziglar eventually decides to leave his selling position to become one of the top motivational speakers of his time. He has published over 25 books along with audio/video programs about sales, leadership, personal development. You can find his work here.

With classics like, “See you at the top”, Zig Ziglar is still at the top when it comes to personal development. If Zig Ziglar was still here today, The Broke Investor truly believes he would say, “Attitude makes all the difference.”

As always, 
Keep growing, keep investing.

Check out other broke investor stories here.

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