World’s Greatest Car Salesman Not Ready to Give Up Crown
Every salesperson, whether in the automotive industry or otherwise, would, or rather should, have heard the name Joe Girard. The Guinness World Record verifies the 89-year-old former Chevrolet legend’s sales record of 1,425 cars sold in 1973. That’s almost four cars a day! He once sold…*drum roll*…18 cars in a day!
Many dealerships have a hard time getting close to those numbers. Girard’s record didn’t just start and stop that year. In fact, from 1966 to 1977, he was the world’s No.1 car salesman, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
With his lofty achievements, one would definitely question newcomers who claim to have outsold Girard. And there have been a few, but those claims were refuted.
However, just recently, a salesman by the name of Ali Reda has reportedly outsold Girard in 2017, by selling an astounding 1,530 units (1,269 Chevrolets and 261 Cadillacs).
Both men amassed sales by using multiple assistants. Both believe deeply in the value of word-of-mouth marketing and in going the extra mile for their customers. Reda even read Girard’s book on the art of selling and absorbed the lessons to achieve his stratospheric sales numbers.
However, after hearing the news, Girard was not amused and said, “This guy claims he beat my record of 1,425 new cars that I sold in 1973. What I did immediately, I called my attorney.”
The dealership, owned by Gary Stanford, offered to bring the previous record holder and his wife in for a luncheon as a public relations stunt, but Girard refused and continued to fight the news.
“If somebody beat my record, honestly, I would be proud of that person,” Girard said. “My attorney is going to get a court order to go into that dealership and have him audited. That’s where I’m going on Monday. We hear that he and his team didn’t show up.
“We want to know if the company’s giving numbers they shouldn’t. If they did, they will be sued beyond their wildest dreams. The dealership knows the numbers. They better be careful, according to my attorneys. We’ll make sure no games are played. Or we’re going to get that dealer big time.”
Instead of acknowledging Reda’s effort and saluting a new king, one might think Girard’s behaviour is akin to that of a sore loser. He could have said, ‘I salute Ali Reda on his tremendous achievements. To have broken my record after 44 years means a lot. Now all it needs is the team from the Guinness Book of World Records to acknowledge it. I wish him continued success’. That’s what Girard should have said instead of creating this drama.
“It’s very official, trust me,” said Stanford, whose father founded the dealership. “Ali is the hardest worker I’ve ever seen. And if someone doesn’t believe the data, well, they’re more than welcome to consult with GM. It’s all there in black and white.”
He praised Girard’s sales accomplishments and didn’t sound concerned about a lawsuit. “If he wants to waste time and money, well, God bless him,” Stanford said. “This is no different from the sporting world. One team doesn’t win every single year.”
Jim Cain, a GM spokesman had this to say “Retail sales reporting is a straightforward process. When a sale is completed at the dealership, it is reported to the factory and counted as a delivery. Deliveries are aggregated for the month, and reported on sales day.”
Reda says he does the A-Z of closing the deal by himself: “I have a specific process in place that allows us to be efficient. I handle the deal from beginning to end. I do everything. A lot of dealers are not going to agree with that. You have to earn that later in your career.”
“You’re affecting lives, and first-time buyers. We as car salespeople sometimes forget how exciting it is to purchase a vehicle because we do it all the time.” he added.
His success comes from building relationships, getting out of the dealership and spending time in community centres and at social events, which makes all the difference.
In the meantime, let’s wait for the update from the peeps at Guinness World Records. Whatever the outcome, we can all learn a thing or two about sales from these guys. After all, every single person sells something—a product, a skill or yourself.