Learn from the World’s Greatest Salesman

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Did you know that Joe Girard is the “World’s Greatest Salesmanâ€, according to the Guinness Book of World Records? He wrote How to Sell Anything to Anybody – providing us with solid sales lessons.

Joe was a salesman at Merolis Chevrolet, in Eastpointe, Michigan for 15 years. He sold more retail big-ticket items, one at a time, than any other salesperson in any retail industry, including houses, boats, more or homes, insurance, automobiles, etc.  He sold consumers autos; no auto fleets, wholesale, or used cars or trucks. He was the number one retail vehicle sales person for 12 consecutive years.

Here are some numbers (audited by Deloitte & Touche):

  • Most average number of retail vehicles sold in one day – 6
  • Most new retail sales in one day – 18;  one month – 174; one year – 1425
  • Most new retail vehicles ever sold in a 15 year career – 13,001

There are many keys to his success; I will focus on four core strategies. Read the book for more on strategies and tactics used.

  1. He provided top-quality sales/service so that each customer would want to refer customers.
  2. He recognized that every person has on average 250 people in his/her network. Which means every time he reminds one of them about his ability to provide A+ sales/service, they can tell 250 other people. He “primed the pump†as often and effectively as was wise staring in front of the network with regular   For instance, he distributed business cards to everyone he knew (and his network was larger than the average person’s) and wrote on the back that if they referred business to him, he would reward them with $50. Helping them bird-dog new customers generated the constant flow of customers.
  3. He simultaneously used several marketing methods, including direct mail, distribution of business cards, involvement with local leadership groups, etc. (This was all before today’s social media, which he clearly would have used had it been available!)
  4. As soon as he realized he couldn’t handle the volume, he built a well-incentivized team around him to make sure that he focused his time on what he did best – face-to-face selling.

How could you improve your sales effectiveness? How well does your network really know what you do and how well you do it? Are you really top of mind when it comes to your service/product? How do you encourage them to help their contacts take advantage of your excellent service or products? Share with us any examples!