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The Art of Story Selling with Harry Maziar

This week’s guest Harry Maziar. Harry served as President of Zep Manufacturing Company for 27 years and during his tenure, Zep became an international leader in the specialty chemical industry. As a sales representative, Harry was so successful he was named the company’s first director of sales and he led 2,000 salespeople to produce double-digit growth for 25 straight years. Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot called Harry one of the greatest salesmen of all time. Harry eventually retired as Chairman of the Chemical Division of National Service, then a publicly traded NYSE company. 

 

Where to follow Harry:

To find Harry’s book, Story Selling, go here.

 

In this episode we cover the following topics with Harry:

[3:30] minute: What was life like for you growing up and what were the beliefs around money and success that were instilled in you as a child?

  • First generation American growing up with an air of expectation and personal responsibility.
  • Self disciplined and staying on the straight and narrow was a part of life.

[4:20] minute: The idea of “I’m not going to hold your hand, you’ve got to get this done,” that helps make a great salesperson would you agree?

  • Ten two letter words: “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
  • You need teachers, coaches, a pat on the back, but it comes down to your commitment. 

[5:30] minute: How did you get into sales at the start of your career?

  • Began selling coca-cola on his front lawn (from Atlanta, home of Coca-Cola). 
  • Always was selling things. Didn’t know what he wanted to do but knew he didn’t want to wear an apron as lots of adults around him growing up did. Sales was an entry to something else.
  • No prototype to a salesperson, not born that way, just need to be committed. 

[8:00] minute: What was the transition like going from a salesperson yourself to managing a team of 2000 salespeople instead. Was that difficult going from leading yourself to leading others to the same results?

  • A lot of the principles still applied; treating people well and setting them up for success.
  • Was good enough to recognize what worked for sales and what didn’t, and while he may not have been the top ranked salesperson he was capable of creating those people.

[10:50] minute: What did you see missing from the landscape of selling that you wanted to bring to the conversation with your book?

  • Selling is passion, emotions, building friendships. 
  • Wrote a weekly newsletter that laid the groundwork and the audience for a book. Each chapter of the book has a purpose.
  • “It’s not a how-to sell a product, it’s a why to sell a product.”

[13:15] minute: For practitioners turned business owners who feel a little icky about selling, how would you recommend they get comfortable with sales?

  • No simple success pattern. 
  • If they are uncomfortable it’s likely because they don’t recognize the importance of what they are doing to the people they are calling on.
  • “People that don’t get carried away, should be.”

[16:00] minute: What tips would you have around how to differentiate yourself in the marketplace when you are selling? When they could get so many similar products, how do you show you are differentiated?

  • There is no such thing as a commodity. 
  • The interest in the customer should be paramount; prove the value to the customer.

[19:00] minute: I’ve found it valuable to hold back the urge to talk about features and benefits until I’ve asked plenty of questions, any thoughts around that?

  • 80/20 is a good measure of how much you should be listening (80) and talking (20) during a sales meeting. This way you learn the customer.

[21:00] minute: In your experience in leading such a massive salesforce, what are one or two of the most common pitfalls sales people fall into and how do you avoid that?

  • Most fail because of lack of focus. Most are just not willing to pay what is required for success; it’s not easy work.

[23:00] minute: I know giving back has been very important to you since your retirement, how have those philanthropic efforts played into your sense of fulfillment and what does that mean to you?

  • You make a life by what you give. 

 

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About the author, Dorothy

Dorothy Illson is the founder of Needle's Eye Media, a full-service Facebook advertising agency. She's also the host of Do Well & Do Good, a podcast dedicated to telling the stories of people who have created financial success and leveraged it to increase their positive impact on the world.