How Was the Greatest Automotive Salesman of All-Time So Successful?

Automotive sales are quite relevant to our interests here at JNR as many of our programs are specifically designed to help our clients from this industry increase their revenues. Our programs focus on incentivizing automotive dealer principals, sales managers, salespeople and finance departments to sell more automobiles, aftermarket parts and financial service plans.

As a result, we thought it would be fascinating to pinpoint the reasons why the greatest automotive salesperson of all-time was so successful.

Joe Girard was a man that said he could sell anything. It would be hard to argue with him when you consider that he sold 13,001 Chevrolets in just fifteen years! That averages out to roughly 867 cars a year, 72 per month and seventeen per week! He once sold 160 cars in a single month and eighteen in a single day. Girard won the title of world’s number one car salesman according to Guinness Book of World Records twelve years in a row from 1966 to 1977.

Joe’s success story is all the more improbable when you consider the fact that he had such a tough time getting his first job as a car salesman that he agreed to generate his own leads and not take any walk-in traffic that came through the dealership!

As you can see, Joe knew a thing or two about selling cars and should be the envy of anyone involved in automotive sales, or any type of sales for that matter. This begs the question: “why was Mr. Girard so successful?” Here are a few reasons why:

1.    He understood the value of a good referral

Joe Girard’s “Law of 250” stated that most people have 250 individuals in their lives that would show up to their funeral or wedding and therefore he had a potential to gain or lose that many (250) sales depending on how well or how poorly he sold to one particular individual. He always asked for a referral because he understood that not many people will offer one voluntarily. One good referral represented a massive value to Joe and he never took that for granted.

2.    Joe was incredibly persistent

Mr. Girard knew that it was crucial to be at the forefront of a person’s mind right when they are in the market for a new car. He regularly kept in touch with his prospects by sending out thank you notes, holiday cards, relevant news tailored to their interests and even free goodies. His notes and correspondence pieces were highly personalized, not mass produced.

Joe’s work was not finished when he made the initial sale however. He was very adamant on following up with customers after he placed them in their new vehicle to make sure they were happy. This diligence helped ensure a valuable referral, and even an additional sale in the future from this client.

3.    Girard always went the extra mile for his customers

As discussed earlier, Joe kept in regular contact with his prospects and sent relevant news and resources as part of that correspondence. He would look for relevant content that he felt was particularly appropriate for that individual and send personalized mail to them with great regularity.

Joe Girard would also drop in tidbits of information about the recipient’s life that he had discovered through conversations for an extra touch of personalization. Mentions of the prospect’s children or spouses or interests were highly effective ways to demonstrate he valued their business. A high level of personalization goes a long way in making a potential customer feel more comfortable and likely to buy from you.

Since not every salesperson can be a Joe Girard, automotive sales incentive programs are commonly used to optimize automotive sales revenues and achieve a favorable outcome. Click here to request information on how JNR can implement a program for you or check out our related articles below. We have over 30 years of experience delivering travel incentive, merchandise, award and prepaid card programs for large automotive companies that drive real results and would be happy to share our experiences with you.

Related Reading:

Auto Consumers Love Rebate Cards – Rebate cards encourage test drives, strengthen customer loyalty and are the best incentive for tire shoppers

Automotive Manufacturers Can Engage Consumers with Incentives – Incentives can help close more vehicle sales, keep customers loyal and increase showroom traffic.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

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