“Zig” Ziglar was born Alabama, and was the 10th of 12 children.
When Ziglar was five years old, his father took a position at a Mississippi farm, and his family moved to Yazoo City, Mississippi, where he spent most of his early childhood. The next year, his dad had a stroke and passed away. Then his younger sister tragically died two days later.
He spent most of his early career in sales, selling cookware and other consumer products.
With Richard “Dick” Gardner and Hal Krause, Ziglar was a charter member in the establishment of American Salesmasters in 1963. The company’s objective was to raise the image of salespeople in America by providing seminars.
They began with cities across the South and Midwest (Memphis, Atlanta, Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Denver, etc.), featuring speakers such as Ziglar, Norman Vincent Peale, Ken McFarland, Cavett Robert, Bill Gove, Maxwell Maltz, and Red Motley. They booked auditoriums, put together a slate of speakers and contacted local businesses to sell tickets. Audiences included insurance agents, car salesmen, financial advisors, entrepreneurs, small business owners and curiosity seekers.
Ziglar went on to speak extensively for audiences of the National Association of Sales Education (NASE), founded by Dick Gardner in 1965, and also became a major sales trainer for Mary Kay Cosmetics. In 1968, he became a vice president and training director for the Automotive Performance company and moved to Dallas, Texas. The company went bankrupt two years later. Subsequently, Ziglar spoke extensively at seminars for Peter Lowe, of Get Motivated, and eventually signed an exclusive agreement to support Peter Lowe events. He was the number
one drawing card in seminars held around the world. Many people attended Peter Lowe events, just to hear the great Zig Ziglar.
In addition to speaking, Ziglar wrote over 30 books. His first book, See You At The Top, was rejected 39 times before it was published in 1975. It is still in print today and part of most entrepreneur’s library.
In Addison Texas, Ziglar employed and trained several speakers, including Will Harris.
In 2007, a fall down a flight of stairs left him with short term memory challenges. Nonetheless, Ziglar continued taking part in motivational seminars until he retired in 2010. Most would agree that Zig Ziglar is one of the Top three or four motivational speakers in history.