The Joe Girard Method: What the World’s Greatest Salesman Can Teach You about Sales and Marketing


background image

This is a guest post by Aman Basanti. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Joe Girard is a car salesman. But he is not your average car salesman, he is the world’s best. It is not a self-professed title either, it has been awarded to him by the Guinness Book of Records, who have recognised Girard for his amazing record of 13,001 cars sold in just 12 years.

Not that Girard needs a formal certificate to prove his salesmanship. Anyone who has ever met him can tell you that Girard’s a cut above the rest. When he pays his bill at a restaurant, for example, he attaches his business card to the bill (along with a healthy tip) and tells the waiter to call him when he needs a new car.

And that is Girard holding back.

Often he does not even need to meet someone to give them his business card. Like the time Girard went to a football game and took with him a bunch of cards. When someone scored a touchdown, Girard surprised the crowd around him with a confetti shower of his business cards by throwing them into the air.

Beyond Girard’s Eccentric Techniques

Yet you would be mistaken if you thought the secret to his success was using bizarre and socially risky marketing techniques like his football game shenanigans. Sure they have worked wonders for Girard but that is only because at the heart of these strange and colourful tactics is a principle that is neither strange nor colourful. In fact it is so banal and commonsensical that it is frequently overlooked and ignored, often to the detriment of otherwise smart and talented salespeople, bloggers and marketers.

How Girard First Learnt of the Secret

Girard was 12 when he first learnt of the principle. He was working as a newspaper delivery boy for a local paper. One day the paper announced a contest to see who could solicit the most number of new readers. The prize was a brand new bicycle. For a 12 year old boy from a poor family, a new bike was the stuff of dreams.

Girard jumped at the opportunity and started spending all his spare time pounding the pavement and prospecting for leads. The competition was stiff. There were many talented newsboys competing for the bike. In the end, however, Girard won.

As he stood there with the new bike in hand looking out at the other newsboys, Girard realised something that stayed with him for all his selling career – any one of the other newsboys could have matched his salesmanship and won the competition. Yet they did not. Why? Because they did not want the bike bad enough.

And that is the great secret of the greatest salesman in the world – you can gain an instant advantage over your competitors if you just work a little harder than everyone else.

Why This Matters to Your Blogging and Marketing Efforts

This is an important point because as salespeople, marketers, bloggers and businesspeople we are obsessed with working smarter. We are constantly bombarded with products and advice by gurus who tell us to work smarter. Yet what separates the winners from the losers is not always knowledge and being smart but the effort of putting that knowledge into practice.

So while it is important to find ways to work smarter, it is also important to remember the importance of working harder.

How hard?

For Girard it meant handing out a whopping 16,000 business cards a month. Compare that to your average car salesperson who hands out a measly 500 cards a year and you quickly realise that it is not his strange and quirky tactics but his strong work ethic that is largely responsible for his stunning success.

Take a lesson out of Girard’s book and start working harder. Write more articles. Submit more guest posts. Read more books. Test your ads more thoroughly. The list is endless and there is no lack of things you can do to become more successful.

If there is a lack, it is a lack of will to go out and do it.

About the Author: Aman Basanti writes about the psychology of buying and teaches you how you can use the principles of consumer psychology to boost your sales. Visit to get his new e-book — Marketing to the Pre-Historic Mind: How the Hot New Science of Behavioural Economics Can Help You Boost Your Sales — for free.

Browse all articles on the Promotion category

14 Responses to “The Joe Girard Method: What the World’s Greatest Salesman Can Teach You about Sales and Marketing”

  • Aman Singh

    When you write a post, you are often tempted to add a lot of qualifications to what you are writing. The problem is that adding too many qualifications makes the post long and cumbersome.

    But the beauty of having a comments section is that your readers often add those qualifications for you.

    So thanks for adding all the extra bits that I left out.
    – You should not spam
    – You still need to emphasise quality over quantity
    – You still need to learn to work smart

    Thanks everyone for adding to the conversation.

  • Jon

    I believe that working smarter is the most important thing we can do. Why is that? Well, a person could spend 18 hours a day working on their blog or online business, but if they’re doing all the wrong stuff, it does no good. So it’s imperative to be smart and do the right things. Once you’re working smart, then the working hard part comes into play. Obviously a person that’s truly working smart for 8 hours each day is going to accomplish much more than the person working smart for 1 hour each day.

    All that said, there’s nothing wrong with working 1 hour each day, as long as you are achieving your business and personal goals. (Some people might choose to earn less in order to spend more time with their kids, for example.)

  • Harrison Li

    This is what makes a person successful.

  • Douglas Prater

    The key here is action. Girard had a strong desire and managed to translate it into a plan of action. Were some of his tactics over the top? Sure, but it beats playing it safe and accomplishing nothing. And while learning to work smarter can be helpful, the benefit is that it frees up more time to work, so you can write that extra article or guest post. Thought provoking post. Thanks.

  • doug_eike

    Here’s to hoping that hard work truly pays off!! Thanks for an interesting read!

  • Destination Infinity

    One thing that I learned the hard way on the Internet is – Quality is more important than Quantity. Sure, quantity is important, but without quality, its nothing. Brute force methods of increasing the number of prospects might work on the short run, but on the long run, the value that is delivered (in each sales, each read) is more important.

    Destination Infinity

  • Ranjith (SR) | A light hearted talk

    Glad to see an inspirational article on Daily Blog Tips. There are many people around us from whom we can draw inspiration. All that we need to have is the courage to accept someone as great.

    Someone above seems to speak of it as spam and it seems to be in that way. The real challenge tries in gaining popularity without being called a spammer.

    So, the next time you are on anyone’s blog, this is what you need to check out for inspiration

    1. The about me page: It gives a lot of information about the blogger

    2. The comments that praise him. They would not have praised him if he wasn’t so good.

    And you need to remember that great personality.


  • Dave

    So he’s going through 192,000 business cards a year. And making just over 1,000 sales a year from it. Isn’t it a bit like the self designated ‘players’ who say that 50 no’s and a yes is still a yes?

    Is this hard work or is it just spam? Because the first example you gave is a great way of turning a social interaction into a business opportunity. The second is out and out spam. Is that what’s being encouraged here?

  • O. Bachmann

    Thanks for the story. It was a great reminder of the power of determination, and going the extra mile. This applies to more than just marketing and business. If you do more than the competition or the average person, you are going to stick out more and be more memorable.

  • A Basanti

    Hey Jon,

    I’m glad the post was able to get you nostaglic about the good days in the car yard 🙂


  • A Basanti

    Hey Tikyd,

    You are right. Working smarter does come after working hard because it requires judgement on what is the most important activity. The thing about judgement is that you cannot have a good one until you’ve clocked up the hours.

    Thanks for reaching out.

  • pharmacy_tech

    I believe Girard’s perseverance and techniques give him the winning edge. If that same mentality and techniques are applied to your business then you will surely benefit as he has.

  • Jon Clayton

    I sold cars for several years. Your post jogged my memory. Thank you for that!

  • tikyd

    I did not know Girard story. It is quite inspiring. I am wondering if working smarter does not come after working harder. If anyone has some experience with this question, please tell me.

Comments are closed.