Joe Girard passed away at age 90 on February 28,2019. I suspect that a lot of you reading this have no idea who Joe Girard is, and that’s OK. He held the Guinness Book of World Records for most car sales in one year (1,425). I didn’t know him personally, only through one of his books, “How To Sell Anything To Anybody”. Here are some of the things I took from the book, and how we apply it in our real estate brokerage.
- Don’t Join The Club I don’t know what it is, maybe sales oriented personalities, but I’ve worked in more than one real estate office where everyone sort of sat around together and had a routine. In the morning, when they came in to work, they would talk about what they did the night before. It rarely involved selling a house. Around 9:30, the discussion would move to who was ordering what for takeout. After lunch, the discussion centered around how great or not great lunch was. At about 4:15 or so, everyone got to work. They left the office at 5. Every day just wasted on non-revenue producing activities! This is no way to be sales professional!
- The Rule Of 250 How many people do you know? How many people do you think other people know? Joe figured that it was around 250 people. How? He was at a funeral one day and asked them how many brochures were being printed for the service. The bigger point can be looked at in two different ways. One, if everyone knows 250 people, that is an opportunity for you to get 250 real estate referrals. The second way to look at it is that if you disappoint one client, there are 250 people that are also likely to get that message. So many in sales go for the idea that you “turn and burn”; that isn’t the way to stay in business very long.
- Facing The Customer We’ve talked about success in real estate before. One of the ways success finds you is if you look successful. This is key and I see many in our business mess it up. You have to dress to the people that you are selling to. For example, wearing a custom suit to a foreclosure listing is a little silly. The buyer can’t relate to you. The same thing happens with those strange glamor shots inspired hair cuts on your business card. What are you selling? It doesn’t make any sense to buyers or sellers. Dress like a professional, but don’t over or under do it.
In real estate, we have a whole industry devoted to coaching and seminars. Some of these coaches have spent very little time actually selling something to put food on the table for their families. Joe hadn’t sold a car since 1977, but he was different in that you could at least point to some semblance of success for him. And, “How To Sell Anything To Anybody” was written in 1977, but it still holds up after all this time. Other books, those that are even specific to real estate sales have certainly not held up as well.
R.I.P. Joe Girard. When our friends see the monthly postcard, we patterned it after you and your book. You inspired millions with your work. There’s no question sales is an art and a profession. We are better as professional salespeople because of you. Thank you.