Was Columbus History’s Greatest Salesman?

Was Columbus History’s Greatest Salesman?

October 15, 2015  |  Posted by in Sales Excellence, Seasonal
 

The incredible successes and failures of Christopher Columbus have earned him a unique role in world history. In honor of Columbus Day, we share this classic Zig Ziglar piece reflecting on the truly exceptional selling skills of Columbus (originally appeared on 8/22/13 at salestrainingadvice.com):

“Lessons in Selling – The Land Of The Salesman”

By: Zig Ziglar

America was discovered by a salesman. Columbus was looking for India, missed it by 12,000 miles and still went home reporting he had “found it,” so he obviously wasn’t a navigator. But was he really a salesman? Consider this: He had only one prospect to call on, and if he had missed the sale, he would have had to swim home. That’s selling!

History records that unusual methods of financing were involved in raising the money for the trip. Not only that, but when Isabella protested that she did not have any money, he persuaded her to hock her jewelry to finance the trip. Another thing many people don’t realize is that Columbus left Spain with five ships and two of them did go over the side (yes, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek)!

Columbus had to “sell” all the way across the Atlantic. His sailors wanted to throw him overboard, but he was able to persuade them to sail “just one more day.” Their “one more day” extended until one morning when the call came forth, “Land, ho!” and the most profitable sales call in history was completed.

Columbus did something else that was significant. Previous westward journeys involved heading north out of the Mediterranean Sea before turning west to cross the Atlantic, putting ships directly in the teeth of the wind and hampering progress enormously. Columbus charted his course to go south once he got out of the Mediterranean and then turn toward the west. This way he had prevailing winds. He had to do a little “selling” in order to take that particular route.

Everything revolves around selling in some respect…

Actually, everything involves selling. The teacher sells the student on learning, the parent sells the child on being a good person, and the employer sells the employee on doing a better job. It’s true: The better job you do of “selling” or persuading, the more your benefits in life will be. Yes, America really is the land of the salesperson, so learn to sell and I’ll SEE YOU AT THE TOP!

See the original blog by Zig Ziglar at salestrainingadvice.com

 
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