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The Best of Client Retention – Joe Girard

Let’s talk about the best of the best of client retention. We’re going to talk about Joe Girard, the world’s greatest salesman.


Joe Girard


Let’s start off with Joe Girard. Joe Girard sold 13,001 cars at a Chevrolet dealership between 1963 and 1978. Now that may sound like a long time ago, but it doesn’t matter because he wasn’t using any kind of technology like they have today. He’s been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s greatest, number one retail salesman.


He sold more retail big ticket items one at a time than any other sales person in any retail industry including houses, boats, motor homes, insurance, automobiles… That’s an average of six cars per day all at retail. He did not have fleet sales. He did not sell multiple cars to one customer at a business. It was all individual sales.   


Joe Girard was a high school dropout. He held a lot of odd jobs until he was 35 years old when he walked into a Detroit car dealership and begged a skeptical manager for a job as a salesman. He sold a car on his very first day. And by the second month, was so good that some of the other salesmen complained about him and got him fired. He then went to another car dealership down the street and set consecutive sales records over a 15 year period.   


What was his secret? He built and maintained relationships by staying in front of all his previous and current customers. Joe sent 13 heartfelt cards to each of his prospects and clients every year. That was thousands per month. These cards let his prospects and customers know that he cared and that he was thinking of them.   


Because he was keeping in touch, when somebody needed a new car, Joe was the only person that came to the top of their mind. Joe did not limit himself to thank you cards. He sent all kinds of cards including thank you notes, cards of encouragement, cards of congratulations like a wedding or new baby or job promotion, birthday cards, holiday cards, seasons greetings, Valentines, etc. Plus, helpful news and information. And he sent small gifts to his best customers and referral partners.   


Since no automated system was available at the time, Joe hired three full‐ time employees to buy his cards and handwrite messages for him. No wonder why Joe was the number one salesman in the world. Fortunately for us, there are systems available now.   


He has a great quote. It says, “Time and money well spent will build your business tremendously. Always look for new and better ways to do it.”