Re-examine Girard’s Rule of 250
There is no underestimating the power of Joe Girard as a salesperson.
In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records lists him as “the world’s greatest salesman” and we all know they have a very vigorous mandate for verification of facts.
According to Tom Sant’s book The Giants of Sales, from 1963 to 1977, Girard sold six cars a day on average, selling 18 on his best day and 174 in his best month. He sold 1,425 in his best year and this one man powerhouse all by himself in his career sold more cars than 95 percent of all dealers in North America.
And he sold them just one vehicle at a time.
He devised a system that is now fittingly called Joe Girard’s Law of 250.
Through his research at church functions, he figured out that the average number of people at a funeral was 250 and at a wedding was 250 for the bride and 250 for the groom.
He came up with the principle that most people have about 250 people in their lives who would show up in an open church for their funeral or wedding. Some have more, some have less, but the average is 250.
So he reasoned if he did a good job selling a car to a customer, he could gain another 250 customers from them. If he did a bad job, he could lose 250 customers.
Then he set up his system which many sales professionals still use today. He made follow-up calls to the customers within a few weeks after the sale and if they were happy, he would ask for a referral. If they needed something fixed, he would do it and then ask for a referral.
He kept files of personal information on all his clients, containing details such as their children and what they were doing, to their birthdays, their pets, their careers, etc. People felt special when he called because he remembered so much about them.
Every single month in every single year, he would mail that customer something. It might be a music review on someone they enjoyed, a book review, a birthday wish, an idea, something in the news he thought they would like. He ultimately had to hire a person to do nothing but that for him because the list got so big. But he was always top of mind in the eyes of all his customers. They were emotionally attached to him, long before the days of social media and talk about relationship building.
If your sales staff is not progressing at the rate that you need to sell your product or service, perhaps it is time to go back and re-examine Girard’s rules.
I don’t mean taking them and adapting them to social media and pushing out a routine newsletter to your customers every month. I mean getting right back to the time-consuming, research-demanding, memory-challenging work of serious relationship-building.
Everything comes by social media today. But what happens in your home when you actually get a letter or card from someone? Most people open them quickly and at least look at them, because the amount of personal mail (excluding fliers and obvious advertisements) is very small. A card stands well out from a bill or credit card notice.
Could you find the time to send one personal card to every customer every month? If you got the kind of returns that Girard got, wouldn’t that be quite a motivation?
Either way, Girard’s ideas of going the extra mile for his customers, making sure they know all the services you can give them, and asking for referrals and being thankful when you get them is hard to beat.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion.
24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
Check out Paula’s bestselling books on Amazon: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and her newest release “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth”.
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