You’d think that the world’s greatest salesperson (verified by a placement in the Guinness Book of World Records) would have a complicated sales funnel and multiple systems to reach these heights of sales excellence. Perhaps even a team of people working for him and a strong online marketing campaign to build his prospect list?
Joe Girard has worked as a car salesperson his whole life. For the past 14 years Joe has worked for Chevrolet dealership and in that time he sold over 13,000 cars and averaged 6 vehicle sales per day. In his best month sold 174 cars. This secures him the title of the ‘World’s greatest salesperson’ in the book.
His number one source of business? Referrals.
Why Joe loves referral business
Joe has build his mini car sales empire on the back of referral business from previous customers. This is powerful for a number of reasons –
- It makes you virtually unsackable – customers will buy whatever YOU are selling as they want to work with you personally.
- Your prospects and leads scale exponentially over time as you work with more people.
- It makes predicting future revenue and commissions easier and so takes some of the risk out of sales.
Joes 5 steps to more referral business
Joe uses a simple 5 step system to build his referral base and increase his sales numbers over time.
1) Follow up
Within a week of closing a deal Joe will call the prospect to see how the car is doing and to make sure they’re happy with their purchase. If things are going well he’ll ask for a referral, otherwise he simply does his best to solve any problems and to make the customer happy.
2) Keep front of mind
Every single month Joe sends out greetings card to his customer list. He knows that they will want to buy another car at some point in the future and so wants to be top of mind when that time comes around.
Importantly Joe doesn’t send sales messages inside these cards, instead he gives the recipient value in the form of a local news story, a book review or birthday greeting.
Joe used this continuous communication to let his customers know about other products the dealership could offer them. He understands that it’s far easier to sell to someone who has bought before than it is to attract new customers.
4) Keeping it personal
Sending these cards doesn’t sound like too much work for the first 10 people you sell to, maybe even the first 100. After this point however it’d be tempting to just start sending out mass mailers to everyone for the sake of convenience.
Joe knows the value of personalisation and keeps a file with information about each customer including names of children, birthdays and professions so he can personalise his messages. This is key.
His customers know that they are dealing with an individual person who deeply cares for them, not a big chain car garage with a sales quota to hit that are trying to flog them more products.
5) Ask for referrals
“Only when the time is right” Joe will ask the customer if they have any friends or colleagues that he can help serve. This is the most important part of the whole system, if you don’t ask, at the right time, the rest of the steps are pointless.
Joe’s referral system is simple but time consuming. Most salespeople are looking for hacks, software and tools to do their work for them. A lot of the time it’s worth sucking it up and doing these simple tasks yourself, by hand and really emphasising that personal connection with the prospect – it can come back to you many times over.