Being a great salesperson is not easy. However, there are many notable people that have influenced sales. They were masters of innovation and creativity, and visionaries of their time. Here are the Top 8 most influential salespeople of all time:
1. Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs is known as the former CEO of Apple. Apple is known for mass producing computers and other technology. However, after a fallout with the previous Apple CEO John Scully, Jobs resigned and tried to begin a new project called NeXT. Jobs also funded Pixar, which produced at least 10 box office hits while Jobs was an executive producer. Jobs ended up owning 7% of Disney’s stock, and when Apple fell into bankruptcy, they bought NeXT and made Jobs the new CEO.
2. P.T. Barnum
Perhaps best known from the movie The Greatest Showman, P.T. Barnum set up his own museum, which later became the largest three-ring circus in the world. Additionally, Barnum also was the first to transport a circus by train. He also became a politician and worked to abolish slavery.
3. Mary Kay Ash
After quitting her job because she was being paid less than a man she trained, Mary Kay Ash initially set out to write a book. Instead, her notes ended up becoming a business plan for a beauty and cosmetics company geared towards direct sales by women. She would eventually make her company a sign of women’s self-sufficiency.
4. Dale Carnegie
After ending up in New York City, Dale Carnegie began offering prospective salespeople public speaking classes. Carnegie educated his followers on the importance of a perfect work-life balance and wrote the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, which instructs readers on healthy communication and teamwork techniques.
5. John H. Patterson
As the father of modern sales training, James H. Patterson was one of the first to organize sales training programs and retreats. He also looked at the sales cycle as a four-step process. These steps are: The initial approach, the proposition, the product demonstration, and the close.
6. David Ogilvy
This legendary advertising executive began his career selling stoves door to door. He was so successful as a salesperson that the company commissioned him to write an instruction manual for the rest of the company’s sales team. This became a cult classic filled with advice that is still applicable to sales teams everywhere.
7. Zig Ziglar
Ziglar helped shape modern sales terminology as one of the world’s leading motivational speakers. He encouraged people to commit to their education, set goals for themselves, and maintain the highest level of motivation by visualizing success.
8. Larry Ellison
Known as the king of aggressive corporate technology sales tactics, Ellison thrived on being feared rather than loved. He is often credited with winning new business any way he can, no matter what the cost. This has included using excessive discounts to win over new customers, followed by large fees to cover the costs.