Traits of the Greatest Sales Person

Who out there believes themselves to be the greatest sales person?

We’ve met many people whom claim to take the title, if you believe that to be you then what is it that you do which makes you the greatest?

Let me tell you about a certain salesperson, whom is widely recognised as one of the greatest sales people of all time. He’s considered as the greatest car sales person the world has ever seen.

Much of his success is as a consequence of using certain sales techniques astutely which we’ll delve into in this article.



Joe Girard – The World Greatest Car Salesman

Joe had no intellectual, social or environmental privilege. He was born into a poor household, and even failed in his education as he dropped out of high school. He was a late comer to sales, excelling after the age of 35 as a car salesman for Chevrolet.

To demonstrate how prolific Joe was at sales, we should mention that he holds the world record as the seller of the most cars in a year, what an accolade to have! He’s now the author of many books and inspires thousands of sales people throughout the world.

Just to put into context how great Joe was at selling cars, let’s just do some comparison. The average car salesman sells around 120 cars a year. Whereas Joe, between the years of 1963 and 1978 sold 13,001 cars. That’s around 760+ cars each year. In 1973, the year where he set the world record, he sold an astonishing 1,425 cars!

So what technique does such a salesman use to outperform his peers by on average 600%?

Sales Technique

Most probably unknowingly, Joe used a technique that we call familiarity principle in a powerful way. He used this in conjunction with ensuring each and every customer received a fantastic first experience.

For those of you whom are unsure of what the familiarity principle is, please do give our previous article a read as it’s essential in order to understand the rest of this article.

Here’s the article on the familiarity principle below:

Car Sales

Let me set the scene. Most people reading this article will have purchased their own car at some point or another. You’re aware of the sales process of car sales people, they approach you in the car show room, do their upmost to question what you’re looking for and then attempt to intrigue you about what they can provide.

The biggest trouble a car sales person has is that their role is often completely new business. They are continually on the lookout for new customers, as repeat business can rarely be attained. Let’s face it, how many people need more than one car, plus how often does the average person renew their car? It’s at least every couple of years or so.

That’s why most car sales people to be successful need to excel at new business sales, often that’s their focus.

Though Joe, the world’s greatest car salesman, took a very different approach.

New Business Development

Joe alike many was exceptional at new business sales. What separated him from the rest was that he realised it’s unsustainable to continually hunt for new business. There were only so many hours in the day, even if he put in his upmost he’d reach a plateau in how many new business sales he could make.

Primarily Joe focused on making his customers feel special. When he sold a car he did everything in his power to make sure they had a fantastic customer experience. Have a read of our article below on how you can follow suit and ensure your customers too have a fantastic first experience:

What he did next was where his success manifested.

Familiarity Principle

Like we mentioned earlier, much of Joes success stemmed from effective use of the familiarity principle. He realised that the route to being the greatest car sales person in the world had a twofold strategy

  • Be the best at new business sales
  • Ensure customers came back to you

So here’s how Joe used the principle. He’s reported to have sent out over 13,000 holiday greeting cards to current and past customers with a personal message directed just to them. Irrespective of whether their car was coming up for renewal soon or not, he sent them a card.

Throughout the months and years that passed, he would remain familiar to his customers. You can guess what happened next, when they wanted a new car, more often than not they’d go straight back to him.

Why wouldn’t his customers go back to him? He gave them an amazing experience, then he kept in touch and remained in that back of their minds. How many other car sales people did this?

It’s so simple, yet so profound. Such a small gesture, consistently executed, resulted in Joe attaining repeat sales throughout his career. His actions made him a sales icon, and propelled his career further than even he could have comprehended.

So why don’t you take Joes lead? I’m not saying you need to replicate it exactly but it wouldn’t be hard to. Every single sales person out there could do this, send a personal letter or card to current or past customers. Do that in combination with developing the rest of your sales acumen and soon too you’ll become a sales icon.

Take Action

If you’ve read this article or any of our other articles then you too aspire to become a sales icon, the best sales person in your business or industry.

Why not try the familiarity principle in your own way. Brainstorm now some ways in which you can use this to work most effectively for you, then take action. As Thomas Edison famously said

“Having a vision for what you want is not enough. Vision without execution is hallucination”

So make sure to take action and apply what you’ve learnt here. Sales activity, even if futile, is better than inaction. Though we’re confident, if you apply yourself fully, sales results will flourish from applying that which we’ve discussed above.

Do yourself one more favour too. Invest in developing your sales acumen, follow our blog and you’ll be notified of future articles which will help you become the best sales person that you can be!

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