Managing Expectations: What It Takes to Be Successful

Zig Ziglar was an American author, salesman, trainer, and motivational speaker. Through his motivational speeches, books, and appearances, he helped hundreds of millions of people achieve success and fuller lives.

One of Zig’s stories follows below. It shows the power of positive thinking and the expectation of success.

The story

Jack was a brand new salesman starting his career and was meeting with his new boss one Monday morning. The boss was acutely aware that what he said to this new salesman was very important to give him the confidence he needed to start strong. But, he also wanted Jack to know there would be challenges in his selling career, so the conversation went something like this:

“Jack to get you started, I want you to visit the XYZ company right across the street. We offer the best hardware in the industry and the owner of XYZ Company – his name is Bob Davis – is a gem of a guy – a real cupcake who I know will want to buy some hardware from us. So I want you to relax and go across the street and talk with Bob. It should be a good experience for you.”

So, Jack walked across the street and was gone for the entire morning. The boss and the other staff really had not thought about Jack and all of a sudden, it was nearing lunch time, when Jack burst into the office, his face flushed and his briefcase bulging with papers.

Everyone stopped as Jack swung his briefcase up on his boss’s desk, and sprung the latches open so that the paper spilled out on the desk and to the floor.

Jack exclaimed: “Boss, you were so right! Bob was the coolest, easiest guy in the world to talk to too. He and I hit it off and I just sold a little more than 13 thousand dollars of our hardware. It was a great morning!”

The boss slowly stood up and gaped at the paperwork on this desk. He picked up a few of the orders and shook his head in disbelief.

Meanwhile, the other sales staff had gathered around the desk, some smiling and slapping Jack on his back.

Jack plopped down in the visitor chair in front of his boss’s desk. His boss slowly sat down and looked at Jack.

“How much did you say you sold?”

Jack replied: “The exact amount was $13,279.15.” Is that OK?

The other sales staff burst out laughing and Jack looked around at them, a little confused.

Quietly, his boss replied “Jack, we’ve been trying to sell that old coot-tightwad Bob for twenty years. He has NEVER bought a thing from us and in one morning, you’ve completed the single largest walk-in sale in the history of this company!”

That story is a classic example of belief in one’s self and of expectations built into the process. Had Jack’s boss told him that Bob was a lousy, good for nothing tightwad, would Jack have made any sale? Probably not.

Instead, Jack’s boss painted a picture of someone who would more than likely buy from him, and armed with that assurance from an authority figure, Jack had a totally clear and free belief that he would make sales.

positive thinking

Zig Ziglar’s defining quote is, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

What do you want?

I love comments! Please leave comments or questions below.

2 Comments


  1. Great story! I believe the important takeaway for us is to have a positive thinking and can-do attitude ( since we don’t have a boss to tell us that lol). I’m currently doing a sid onlinee business and I can’t say how much this has helped increase my motivation. I know plenty of people made loads of money in this, so it’s definitely not impossible. Thanks for the great story =)

    Reply

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment, Isaac. I thought it was a great story about expectations.

      Reply

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