His name is Joe Girard. That name may not ring any bells – but dig out a copy of The Guinness Book of Records, and you’ll find he gets a mention.
According to “the Book”, he is the best salesman in the world. And, if what they say is true, it’s a label he well deserves. The statistics tell the story:
In the cut throat world of retail sales of new automobiles, he averaged 6 sales per day! On his best day he sold 18 cars.
In his best month, he sold 174 vehicles. In his best year, he sold a staggering 1,425 vehicles. All at retail. All to “non fleet” buyers.
His secret? It’s almost laughable. His success was based solely on the fact that he “stayed in touch”.
Instead of dealing with a prospect or customer then leaving them to go their own way, Joe would send them a follow up “thankyou” letter.
Then a birthday card. Then a Christmas card. Then a St Patrick’s day card (or any other card he could think of). Plus a variety of other letters and notes to ensure that his name was always at the top of the prospect’s mind.
You see, Joe recognised that people prefer to deal with people they know, rather than total strangers. And they like to feel appreciated.
So he implemented a simple strategy. He made sure all his prospects and clients felt completely familiar and comfortable with him. He made it clear he appreciated them.
And he made a fortune in the process.
We all know we’d respond positively if we were followed up after a sale. Yet most sales people … and most businesses … fail to do ANY follow up to their clients or prospects.
Instead of staying “close”, they send the client off, then complain about the lack of customer loyalty when that person buys from a competitor the next time they purchase.
Fact is, if your customers aren’t loyal to you it’s because you haven’t done enough to deserve their loyalty!
Ask yourself, honestly, whether you’re really building a close relationship with your clients. Are you really making them feel appreciated? Chances are you’ll find that there’s plenty of room for improvement.
If YOU don’t harvest the lifetime value of your customer, your competitors will.
One of Joe’s “success secrets” was to actively look for information about his customers. As well as basic information like their full name and their family’s names, he’d also take note of the cigarettes they smoked, the football team they barracked for, the school their kids went to, the ‘tipple’ they preferred … and much more.
Most of this information could be collected during the course of a friendly conversation, then noted on the client’s file or card after they’d gone.
Just the process of noting the information would help you remember it – and if your memory failed, a quick check of the client’s card would bring you back up to speed.
As you can imagine, that information made it much easier for Joe to talk with his customers about issues they found fascinating – and the gifts he occasionally gave them were always things they’d appreciate.
He also went to great lengths to demonstrate his commitment to his customers … and their commitment to him. One simple technique he employed was to take a photo of each customer standing proudly beside their new vehicle. These photos were displayed on the wall of his office.
If you paid enough attention you’d see that the photos were displayed in sequence. At the left of each row of photos, you’d find the customer with the first car they purchased from Joe. The next photo in the row would show the same customer standing next to the second car they’d bought from him. The third photo in the row was even more recent … and so forth.
In some cases the rows of photos held as many as a dozen snap shots, covering the growth of the customer from flower-powered hippy through to high-powered business executive.
But he didn’t stop there. Under each row of photos were other smaller rows. If you looked closely, you’d find that the people in these snaps often had an uncanny resemblance to the people in the top row.
They were the original customer’s children!
The point is that Joe actively set out to earn his customer’s lifetime value. Instead of focussing on making ‘this’ sale, he was focused on making the next sale … and the one after that.
It makes sense. Your customer will almost certainly need your sort of goods and services again in future – so why wouldn’t you try to establish yourself in their minds as the person to come to the next time they’re ready to buy.
After all, if you lose a customer you’ve actually done yourself a double disservice. First, you’ve missed out on the profit which was there to be earned. And secondly, you’ve helped a competitor grow stronger.
Let’s learn a lesson from Joe. Next time you acquire or greet a client, focus on doing whatever it takes to earn the next sale from them.
Just that little shift in thinking can be enough to transform the way you think and act … and the way your clients feel about you.
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