Learn from the World’s Greatest Salesperson (According to the Guinness Book of World Records)

According to the Guinness Book of World records, as audited by Deloitte & Touché… that person is Joe Girard.

Joe sold 13,001 cars in 15 years—and I’m talking 13,001 cars, belly-to-belly…face-to-face…NO fleet sales.  When adjusted for inflation, Joe was making over $1,000,000 a year selling cars to one person at a time.  That is simply incredible.

Do you get how much money YOU would make if you had the same success?  What’s the average commission on a car vs. what you sell?  And be patient here, I’m going to show you exactly how advisors have turned Joe’s ideas into lots and lots of money.

How did he do the Impossible?

This guy was a motivated machine.  When he was at work, if he wasn’t selling a car to someone, he was busy FINDING someone to sell a car to… 

He wasn’t:

  • Reading the paper
  • Surfing the internet
  • Checking email
  • Dropping the kids off at dance lessons
  • Sleeping late
  • Leaving early
  • Talking to friends
  • Taking long lunches
  • Working out
  • Running errands

This guy worked 40 to 50 hours a week, and when he was there, he worked… period.  Can you say that about the way you approach your business?

He did it by hand

Joe was able to do what he did without any of the tools that we now take for granted…he grunted out the activity that we can automate.  And the sad thing is, many advisors are even too distracted to take advantage of automation.  I mean, come on!

I’ll walk you through what he did in a second, but I want you to understand that if this guy could do it without the tools we have… we should be able to do it without breaking a sweat.

  • He didn’t have lists of possible prospects like we have available—he made his own lists from phone books!!!
  • He didn’t have automated mailing like we do—he had to write, by hand, all his letters or notes one-at-a-time
  • He didn’t have email—he had to write, stuff, stamp and mail each communication
  • He didn’t have the ability to create his own marketing material right on his own computer
  • He didn’t have smart phones with all the information they give you at your fingertips
  • He didn’t have access to dozens and dozens of marketing systems that are available to financial advisors today…

Joe did it the old-fashioned way, by talking to people… always, always talking to people.

The Rule of 250

One day when Joe was attending the funeral for a friend’s mother, he asked the funeral director how he knew how many memorial cards to print.  The funeral director said that over time he found that the average number of attendees was 250.  Joe asked another funeral director that he knew, how many people normally go to a funeral.  That funeral director also, said 250.

While attending a wedding, Joe asked the caterer about how many people he normally served at a wedding.  The caterer told him about 250.  And thus was born, Girard’s Rule of 250.

Everybody knows 250 people well enough that they would attend a wedding or a funeral.  Why is this important?  Because you now have access to 250 times each person you meet.  You meet:

1 person X 250 = Access to 250

10 people x 250 = Access to 2,500

100 people x 250 = Access to 25,000

“Wait a minute!” you say. “How am I supposed to GET access to those other people?”

Easy.  Always have your elevator speech (Unique Selling Proposition) visible… even when you aren’t working.  For example:

  • Have brochures with your elevator speech always lying about in your car.  If you give someone a ride…there it is!
  • Always have a brochure “accidentally” sitting by your front door… somebody comes into your house…there it is!
  • In your boat…there it is!
  • On reusable grocery totes…there it is!
  • Get note pads made up with your business contact info and your elevator speech prominently displayed.  Anytime you write a note or write down a phone number to give somebody…there it is!
  • A lawn sign easily visible in your garage, (like you’re storing it) …there it is!

You get the point.

When somebody asks you, “How’s business?”

Reply with a mini-case study that revolves around your elevator speech.  Tell them how you just solved a problem for somebody just like them.  For example:

“It’s great!  Earlier this week I worked with a couple that just retired and was able to get the tax they pay on their investment income down to 1.5% tax rate.  You should have seen their faces when I walked through how to cut their tax by 90%… it was priceless!  Boy are they happy campers.  It’s just a shame that there are so many people walking around that don’t know how to use Internal Revenue Code 72 to chop their taxes by 90%.  Luckily, every time I do it for someone, they give me a referral.  Like these people I was telling you about, they immediately referred me to a friend that had just retired from the same company and I’m going to see him next week to do the same thing!”

How Joe “met” enough people to make it into Guinness

Joe said it simply, “Do Something.”

Never be sitting around wishing you had somebody to see…do something.

Here are the things Joe did:

  1. Called people
  2. Wrote people notes
  3. Handed out business cards…everywhere!

Call People –It’s free

  • Call your clients to check in and share an idea or ask if they know anyone that needs your “elevator speech”.
  • Call your prospects with an idea or how they can protect or capitalize on something in the news.
  • Call your clients’ CPA with an idea and make sure they have everything they need from you for tax season.
  • Call your clients’ attorney to ask if they think any of your mutual client’s affairs should be updated.
  • Call local business owners with an idea to help them with their business
  • Get a list of people not on the do-not-call list and call them… just do something!

Email –It’s free… and Joe didn’t have the advantage of being able to do this!

  • All of the above, plus
  • Email journalists with comments and compliment them about a story they did.
  • Email your buddies in the industry for ideas to help their clients.

Write notes –All containing your elevator speech on the back of the card.

  • Every client’s anniversary with my firm
  • Every birthday I could find… prospect and client
  • Thank you for attending
  • Thank you for a referral
  • Thinking about you
  • Saw this idea and thought about you
  • Saw you in the paper, here’s a clipping
  • Happy Thanksgiving, 4th of July and Easter
  • Have a safe Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekend
  • Merry Christmas
  • Happy Hanukkah
  • Funny riddle or joke I heard—I usually tie these to a holiday like Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day
  • Handwritten note on top of a copy of an article
  • Handwritten note on account summaries

Congratulations on an achievement or milestone

  • Happy Retirement
  • And, all sorts of fun and crazy cards

Business Cards

Here’s a quote out of Joe’s book, “How to Sell Anything to Anybody.” 

“If I had to pick just one thing to get business, I would probably pick my business card. Just about every salesman has business cards.  But I know a lot of them who don’t go through a box of 500 in a year.  I go through that many in a good week.”

He handed them out everywhere he went:

  • Every meal out…along with the tip went his business card
  • Every bill he paid… a biz card went in
  • Every time he had to write some info down for something, he wrote it on his biz card
  • Every time his football team scored a touchdown… he threw up a handful of biz cards.  Crazy? Maybe, but it worked.
  • Every time he bought something… he handed the salesperson a biz card.
  • Every time he walked by a bulletin board (hardware store, school, health club, Panera’s, etc.) a business card went on it.
  • Talk to someone on the plane… handed them a business card
  • Help someone on the street… a business card
  • Every business that has a business card “contest bowl”… in goes his business card
  • See somebody in the paper…cut out the article and send it to them with, you guessed it, a business card.

What if you only got one sale for every thousand cards you handed out?  Really nice business cards are about $20 per thousand.  What do you make on a new client? 

You’ve got tools Joe never had

  • Email
  • Handwritten font so realistic that it would fool your own mother—you can now send out thousands of handwritten notes in the time it took Joe to send out 50.
  • Marketing systems designed to get you in front of more than one person at a time

To name just a few…

Activity is the key.

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