From a Shoeshiner to the Greatest Sales Man in the World

A 35 year old dressed in an old tarnished blazer and over used shoes walked in the Chevrolet car showroom in Detroit, as the branch manager saw him he immediately knew the gentleman is not a potential customer, the 35 year old did not directly approach the manager as he wore a skeptical expression.

The man interestingly started looking around the cars and started to talk to the salesman he tactically waited until the manager could not hold up his curiosity and approached the man, the manager keeping his demeanor started asking questions as to aid the man in his car selection, one thing led to another and the man started insisting that the manager should consider keeping him as a salesman.

Given to his unique way of approaching the opportunity, the manager offered him an internship, the man managed to sell two Chevrolet top model cars on the first day itself. Later in the month he got fired because the fellow salesman got too jealous and plotted against him.

This certainly did not stop the middle aged man with a fiery salesman spirit, in his life time he went on to sell a 13,000 cars that makes an average of 6 cars a day. The man was Joe Girard the greatest salesman according to the Guineas Book of World record.

So what was his technique? What made this unorthodox salesman the greatest of his era? Let us walk you through Joe’s rule of 250, according to him there are 250 important people in someone’s life the people who would turn up at your funeral, so if he did a bad job he could lose those potential people.

Here are his three main techniques

First, within a few weeks of selling a car to someone, he would call them up and ask how the car was running. If things were going well, he’d ask for a referral. If they weren’t, he’d fix the problem – then ask for a referral.

He kept a file listing personal information about each customer – such as the names of their children, what they did for a living, their birthdays, their kids’ birthdays, etc. He’d use that information to personalize his conversations with them. He sincerely cared about people, and made them feel so special they couldn’t wait to recommend him to a friend or relative.

Every month, year after year, Girard would send a greeting card to every customer on his list. Inside would be a simple message. He knew they’d need a new car one day, and he wanted to keep himself top of mind. He was careful not to include anything that might sound like a sales pitch. Just an anecdote, a new idea, a news story, a book review, a birthday greeting, or a tip he knew they’d be interested in. (Eventually this task became so big, he had to hire someone to do it for him.)

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