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Like Ziglar, create the conditions for selling before the sale

Robert Ciccone - Marketing Expert Columnist

Early in my sales career I encountered a saying that became a mantra for me as I moved up through the selling ranks – a mantra that still holds in most of my sales and marketing dealings to this day. “No need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust – no sale.” Sales and motivation guru Zig Ziglar said that, and like much of what he advises, it’s simple, profound and full of wisdom.

Let’s examine each of those barriers to sales more closely:

No need, no sale

If a prospect has no need for what you’re selling, almost nothing can persuade them to buy. But people aren’t always clear about what they need. Establishing need is about asking carefully designed questions meant to give you and the prospect greater clarity about their situation – where they are at, and where they need to be. It’s your job to make it absolutely obvious that the need is great enough, and that they will be substantially better off with a purchase decision than without.

No money, no sale

If your prospects can’t afford your products or services, you’re not going to get many sales. We call going after those kinds of customers “fishing in the wrong pond.” And believe me, it is one of the most common problems companies have. It usually happens when you lack a clearly-defined, demographically-appropriate target market, or when you fail to understand your target market’s revenues, budget cycles, decision-making processes, political influences, and more.

If you consistently lose sales because of price, ask yourself if your marketing is aimed at the right people and if so, how well you understand their habits and attitudes, and how they use products like yours.

No hurry, no sale

People are procrastinators. They put off Christmas shopping until the last week. They wait until April 30 to file tax returns. They wait for snow to change their tires. And they can find countless ways to put off buying from you.

What can you do? Give your prospect valid, believable and overwhelming reasons to act now. Give them a sense of urgency. Make your offering scarce: “Hurry! There are only 25 widgets available at this wholesale price.” Put a time limit on your offer: “Schedule your free analysis by June 30 and you’ll also get a free XYZ report.”

No desire, no sale

Prospects must also want something. I need a car but I want a Mercedes. There must be an emotionally charged desire to do something about their situation. Establishing desire is about motivation. It’s about moving from “I need this” to “I gotta have it!” Customers are moved to action by what they want. You have to tap into the twin hearts of motivation: the desire to gain pleasure, and the need to avoid loss or pain. Your presentations must demonstrate all the things they will gain (pleasure) with the purchase of your product or service and all they will lose (pain) if they don’t buy. “If I buy this gym membership I will enjoy the benefits of being fit and healthy and all the good things that it brings. If I don’t buy it, I will become overweight and unhealthy.”

No trust, no sale

Everything you present and the way you present it must support the idea that you are reliable and safe to deal with. Trust and credibility go hand-in-hand with professionalism. This touches on every part of your business: from your website and packaging, to proposals, brochures and business cards. It includes how you answer the phone, how quickly and completely you deal with problems, and even how you write your e-mails. It also involves social proof – testimonials, letters and endorsements from happy customers. Trust and credibility are also established by your confidence and willingness to stand behind your product or service – guarantees, performance promises and any other assurances you can offer.

There you have it. A simple five-point idea that can make all the difference to the success of your next offering or presentation. No need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust. Miss just one of those and you may also miss the sale.

Robert Ciccone is the president and founder of Success Unlimited Sales and Marketing Group ( He is also the creator of the Marketing for Profit Program, a three-part results program that provides the marketing systems, tools and ongoing support to help participants effectively build, manage and operate a profitable business ( Robert can be reached at 604-535-2111 or

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