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From Cars to Carats: Sales Lessons from a Master Automobile Salesman

At first glance, selling cars and selling diamond jewelry sounds so very different.

And, indeed, they do differ.  But, then again, there’s valuable overlap with lucrative lessons to learn.

Joe Girard, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s greatest salesman” sold more than 13,000 cars in his career.

And he sold them all at retail.  One customer at a time. 

Over a 14-year sales career, his average was six cars a day.

In his bestselling book, How to Sell Anything to Anybody, Girard shares his most essential secret:

“Learn what the customer wants to do and what he ought to do and what he can afford to do.”

When a Car is not Just a Car

And how do you learn these vital things?  By listening.  By building a relationship.

According to Girard, in a nutshell, this demands: 

Getting the customer’s name and using it. 

Showing sincere, careful, conscious interest in the customer’s product concerns. 

And building a bond of trust with the customer -- by drawing out and demonstrating common ground beyond the sales process.

As he put it: “A car sold by Joe Girard is not just a car.”

“It’s a whole relationship,” he emphasized, “between me and that customer and his family and his friends and the people he works with.” 

You see, when it comes to relationship building in sales, Joe Girard definitely was not kidding around.

Are you?