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Dayo F Osibamowo
20 min read

How To Sell Anything To Anybody

How To Sell Anything To Anybody

Joe Girard (2006)

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2. The End of a Loser, the Beginning of a Winner

Location 376: But maybe the reason nobody treated me decently was that I really believed I was no good and acted bad to prove it. I really think I was acting rotten so that my father would know he was right, and then maybe he would love me. I know that sounds crazy, but that's the way people seem to act a lot of the time. Look at the guys who try to make girls love them by beating them and even killing them. It makes no sense, but that seems to be the way people act when they are angry with the world for not treating them right.

Location 399: But what I didn't learn was whom to trust and whom not to trust.

Location 400: So when I went on my own, I didn't know that you're not supposed to believe anything unless you see it in writing.

Location 441: Look back to learn how to look forward better.

3. It All Begins with Want

Location 503: But you have to want something. And you have to know what it is. And you have to see every move you make as a way of getting whatever it is you want.

Location 508: First, you have to know what you want. Second, you have to know that you can get it if you sell the next prospect.

Location 512: Knowing what you want will power your drive.

4. The Mooch Is a Human Being

Location 519: But I try very hard not to think of a customer as The Mooch. Because words in your head can become destructive.

Location 536: But they need what you have to sell. That'really why they're there. So they stay. But they're still scared, because they've been told what kind of people we are.

Location 550: More important, the chances of making a sale aren't very good if the suspicion, the hostility, and the distrust show.

Location 558: As I have said, and as you know when you think about it, they are scared of you, and especially of what they are about to do. They are at war with you, and whether you think so or not, that means you are at war with them.

Location 582: So remember: The customer is not The Mooch when he leaves, whatever he was when he came in. Make him a friend and hell work for you.

Location 592: But your job is to get them over their desire to hide from you. That's the first thing you have to do, because you can't sell a scared person.

Location 596: You can't sell a mooch - You can only sell another human being.

5. Girard's Law of 250

Location 602: However I feel about myself or whoever I'm with, I don't let my feelings get in the way. This is a business we're in, an important profession. And those people, those prospects, those customers are the most important thing in the world to us, to each of us. They aren't interruptions or pains in the ass. They are what we live on. And if we don't realize that, as a hard business fact, then we don't know what we are doing. I'm not talking about some of them or most of them. I'm talking about all of them.

Location 615: Everyone knows 250 people in his or her life important enough to invite to the wedding and to the funeral - 250!

Location 633: I know how much of my sales and my income comes from people telling other people about me. It's a powerful force in my professional life, and it should be in yours. We are not talking about love or friendship. We are talking about business. I don't care what you really think of the people you deal with. It's the way you act toward them, the way you deal with them, that is the only important thing. Of course, if you can't control your real feelings, then you've got a problem. But this is business, and in business all of these people - the mooches, the flakes, the finks, the pipesmokers - can be money in your pocket.

Location 641: Every time you turn off just one prospect, you turn off 250 more.

6. Don't Join the Club

Location 661: You can't make money hanging out with the boys.

Location 723: If you do a lot of things to build business, you'll build business. They don't have to be done perfectly to work -  although the better you do them, the better they'll work. But the main point is that you have to do them - a lot. And you can't do what has to be done to turn the odds in your favor, unless you stay out of the club.

Location 733: Don't join the club. Instead use all your time to make opportunities.

7. What Do You Do After You Sell Your Uncle Harry?

Location 747: There are a lot of more productive ways to get leads than cold telephone calls. But if you have nothing better to do, this kind of call is worth a try.

Location 781: Selling is an espionage game. If you want to sell something to someone, you should find out all you can about that person that pertains to your business.

Location 805: So what you do after you sell your Uncle Harry is build up the flow, and get all the seats filled on the Ferris wheel. There are plenty of ways to do that. Cold calling is one. But there are other ways, and as you work at it, you will see that the other ways are even more productive, better ways to fill your time, so that you can feel the thrill of selling, and make big money getting your kicks.

Location 808: After the easy ones, there are many Kowalskis, if you keep searching.

8. Fill the Seats on the Ferris Wheel

Location 885: Put everybody you can think of on your Ferris wheel.

9. Girard's Toolbox

Location 923: But so what! It's a valuable tool to me. I use it constantly, and in my tax bracket, nothing I pay out for business purposes costs me more than half price, because I'd pay that much in taxes anyway.

Location 935: The point is that wherever there are people, there are prospects, and if you let them know you are there and what you do, you are building your business.

Location 961: Fill your toolbox - and use it all the time.

10. Getting Them to Read the Mail

Location 973: Just stop to think of the first words that come out of the average person's mouth when he comes home after work. First he says something like "Hello, honey, how was your day today?" Then he says, "How are the kids (or your mother or the dog)?" And then he says, "Was there any mail?" Think about it for a minute and you will realize that this is almost exactly what is said. And this proves that people are still very interested in a lot of what comes to them through the mail. But what they care about are the things worth looking at, not the junk that the wife throws out when the mailman leaves, which she doesn't even mention to her husband.

Location 984: I send 12 pieces of mail a year to my customer list. And every one of those pieces is in a different color and shape envelope. They are interesting to get.

Location 985: Never put the name of your business on the outside of the envelope. The person doesn't know what's inside. Don't show your hand; it's like playing poker.

Location 999: Another thing I am careful about is not having the pieces go into the mail the same time that bills go out, which means not at the first or fifteenth.

Location 1062: Get your name in front of your prospects whenever you can - and get it into their homes.

11. Hunting with Birddogs

Location 1079: I have a very strict rule about paying birddogs. I pay them. I don't stall them. I don't try to do them out of the money on some technicality. I pay them.

Location 1091: But the reason I am such a soft touch is not that I especially like to give away money. It is because the risk of not paying somebody who really earned the money is just too big. When I look at the odds, I figure it is better to pay the birddog fee to 50 guys who didn't earn it than not to pay it to one guy who did earn it. Maybe even 100 to 1.

Location 1101: When I make a sale and the customer takes delivery of his car (all this will be discussed in detail in separate chapters), the last thing I do as he drives out is put a stack of my business cards along with the one that explains my birddog arrangement in the glove compartment of the car. A few days later, when he gets my thank-you card, he also gets another stack of cards. He is now a birddog. He is also on my mailing list, so at least once a year he gets a mailing that includes my birddog recruiting kit as a reminder that my offer is still good.

Location 1107: But when I find that my customer is somebody who is a leader, somebody that other people listen to, I make an extra effort to make him a good deal and to recruit him as a bird-dog.

Location 1144: One of my favorite sources of birddogs is barbers.

Location 1147: The way I usually begin with a barber is to bring him a small sign that I have prepared for me by a local commercial art studio. It is an easel card and it says: ASK ME ABOUT THE BEST CAR DEAL IN TOWN. I offer that sign to the barber, explain my $50 payment, and leave him a stack of my cards.

Location 1168: What if it costs me $50 or even $100 for lunch? It's a business expense, and besides, if I get one extra sale from that lunch, I've made good money on it.

Location 1204: When things are slow and I have some spare time, I am likely to go through my birddog file just to see who has not been sending me any business. Then I will call up and shoot the breeze and ask how come I haven't been sending them any $50 checks lately. They may just have forgotten. If they were new birddogs, they may not have got into the habit of suggesting buying a new car from me.

Location 1281: Paying $50 can make you hundreds, but you really have to pay it to get that payoff.

12. Knowing What You're Doing - and Why

Location 1289: One is that you should be in command of yourself and of what you do. This means that you are not operating by a series of accidents, such as who happens to walk through the door of your place of business when you are at the head of the line of salesmen. Two is that if you figure out the right moves to make and make them, they will bring in business for you.

Location 1315: WORK SMART, NOT HARD I am not joking. What I am saying is that the way to get the job done is to decide what it is - every day. I mean you must - I don't say should - take some time every morning and decide what you are going to do that day. And then you must do it.

Location 1350: You don't want to carry dissatisfactions of any kind into your place of business. They can be like a contagious disease.

Location 135: One sure way to get over the dissatisfactions of a bad day is to review that day and try to understand why what happened to you happened. I do that at the end of every working day. I replay the day, examining every sale I made and every one I lost. That's right. I don't sell everybody I see. Which is why I spend so much of my money and energy making sure that I will see a lot of people.

Location 1362: When I first began to do this kind of customer-by-customer analysis of my day, if I couldn't think of a mistake I made, I would sometimes call up the customer I lost. I would tell him who I was and why I was calling. People usually want to help you. I'd say I was trying to learn the business and learn from my mistakes. A lot of times they would say that they were Ford or Plymouth guys from way back, but they just wanted to see if Chevrolet maybe had something they ought to know about. That might mean that I didn't sell my product well enough against the competition. Or they might tell me that they got a better price somewhere else. I'd question them very carefully about the optional equipment they got and the trade-in allowance on their car.

Location 1369: Incidentally, my replay of each day is not just my idea. Some of the greatest and most successful people in history developed this habit and attribute much of their success to it. I know that for the time it takes me I have been rewarded handsomely. Want some good advice? Try it.

Location 1375: Your success in winning the war comes with narrowing and finally eliminating the gap between you and the customer.

Location 1385: Look at it this way: You are thinking most positively when you believe that you should be able to sell everybody who comes in.

Location 1398: Attitude planning is as much a part of planning your selling day as anything else. If you feel lousy, you still usually have to go to work. So what you have to do is get hold of your negative feeling, whatever it is, and face it, even if you can't make it go away. That way, when you get somebody through the door or on the phone, you can shove your lousy feeling aside.

Location 1406: But when I hear a guy say he'll be back, I figure he is gone forever. Sometimes they do come back, because some people really do tell the truth. But if you are counting on be-backs as part of your future earnings, you are still an amateur who is fooling himself.

Location 1417: But I also recommend trying it sometime, because there is no better practice of your selling techniques than working on somebody who is about to walk out. And there is no better feeling than when you convert one into a sale.

Location 1425: And planning requires making a lot of decisions about who your best prospects are and how they can be reached most efficiently and economically. You have to make decisions about the cost of getting a prospect and his potential value once you get him. But what determines cost and value is the availability of your time.

Location 1439: I don't know anything that gets me closer to that first sale of the day than the plan I make every morning. Because when I walk out the door of my house in the morning, one thing is for sure: I know where I'm going and what I'm going to do. And whether or not the whole thing changes the minute I walk into the office doesn't matter.

Location 1445: Plan your work every day, and work your plan if you can. That may be an old-time, old-fashioned slogan. But I think I have demonstrated how much value it still has for all of us. And then finish your day with a review of everything you did to see how good your plan was and how realistic it was. If you keep falling short of all you intended to do, don't beat yourself up.

Location 1452: Plan your work. Work your plan. Do it!

13. Honesty Is the Best Policy

Location 1455: When I say that honesty is the best policy, I mean exactly that: It's a policy and the best one you can follow most of the time. But a policy, as I mean it, is not a law or a rule. It is something that you use in your work when it is in your best interests.

Location 1467: How much of a lie am I telling the customer? A very small one at most. And anyway, when he comes in, if he complains, I can blame it on a mistake in the records.

Location 1473: I am not recommending that anybody lie to anybody. I really do believe that honesty is the best policy. But honesty is a matter of degree. It is never all one way or the other.

Location 1486: What I am getting at is not just that people like to be flattered even when they know that what you're saying isn't completely true. More important, it creates a pleasant, disarming atmosphere when you toss off a few small compliments about his wife's dress, his kid's cuteness, or even the eyeglass frames he is wearing.

Location 1537: So we get back to honesty as the best policy, with a little flattery and even a small lie useful in some cases.

Location 1542: You never get caught by telling the truth - or making a prospect feel good when you stretch it.

14. Facing the Customer

Location 1606: A top salesman is a first-rate actor. He plays a part and convinces his audience - the customer - that he is what he is playing. If your customers are flashy dressers, then you ought to look like them.

Location 1612: Get them with you from the start and they'll stay with you.

15. Selling the Smell

Location 1644: No matter what you sell, look for ways in which you can demonstrate your product. The important thing is to be sure that the prospect participates in the demonstration. If you can appeal to their senses, then you are also appealing to their emotions. I'd say that more things are bought through emotions than through logic.

Location 1656: But I feel that I have a perfect right to assume that if somebody comes into my place of business to see me, he is there because he is interested in buying a car from me. It is my duty to him, as well as to myself, to help him clear up his doubts and fears and buy a car.

Location 1674: Think of what excites you about a product, or used to when you first bought it. Then use that experience to sell the excitement, the thrill of owning your product.

16. Espionage and Intelligence

Location 1681: I want to know what the customer wants to do and what he ought to do and what he can afford to do.

Location 1685: But how do I know what to try to sell the customer? I look and I listen and I ask.

Location 1697: So you're playing a game with the customer, trying to find out what's best for him no matter what he says. Because what's best for him is best for you, if you want him to speak well of you and come back some day for another one. And don't forget that, at this point, you are dealing with a scared man.

Location 1719: While we're going on about his bowling league at the plant and how well his team is doing, I'll spring on him, very casually, this: "Let me have your keys and we'll get an appraisal for you." Notice that I don't ask, "Do you have a car to trade in?" I don't want to ask that question, because it will start him thinking in wrong directions. He'll start to figure that if he says yes, he'll be going too far into a deal.

Location 1761: If you're selling houses and a guy complains about all the lawn mowing he had to do, you aren't going to suggest a place with a huge yard. If he complains about walking up all the stairs, you won't offer him a three-floor colonial; you'll come up with a one-floor ranch house. Same thing with cars. You are going to put him into something that carries his family, hauls his boat, and fits his pocketbook.

Location 1766: Unless he asks me, I'm not going to talk about my family. This is not a social situation. This is selling, and I believe that one of the dumbest things that salesmen can do is compete with a customer.

Location 1801: The important thing about credit is that you want to know as soon as possible whether you have to sell the customer on price or on your ability to find him the money, regardless of price. There is no sense in dancing around the price if his credit rating is zero.

Location 1815: I'd rather make a little less per car and sell a lot of them than be a hog and just sell a few. That's the philosophy, that's the system that has made me the world's greatest salesman.

Location 1838: You have to assume that you are guilty of bad selling until proven innocent by your own self-examination.

Location 1839: But the commonest reason for losing a customer who seemed really interested is not listening enough, not watching the face and the body movements of the customer.

Location 1856: Let the customer reveal himself, while you watch and listen, and he'll lay himself open for the close.

17. Locking Them Up

Location 1880: "Just O.K. this," I say, pushing the pen into his hand. I don't say, "Sign here." That's too formal. "Just O.K. this." And maybe he does, and that can be the end of it.

Location 1885: They tell you in the training sessions that the lockup starts with asking for the order. But for me it is asking for money. I get up and almost turn my back on the customer, and very straight out, I half turn, put out my hand, and say, "Give me $100 and I'll have them get the car ready for you." I don't hesitate and say, "Well, I'll need a deposit." That's no good, because it just puts you on the edge. I want to put us way into the middle of the next plateau.

Location 1937: What it all comes down to is one word: trust. If a customer trusts me, he will buy from me. But I have to be sure that his trust lasts beyond the moment when he gets his car and pays for it. I have to be sure that he trusts me after he has driven the car home and to work and showed it and talked about it to everybody he knows, including how much he paid me for it.

Location 1955: It's called spot delivery, and it means what it says. I am going to find the car he wants or one almost the same and let him take it home as though it were his own. That may sound pretty risky to you, but in my experience it has proved to be an effective way to stop a customer from looking elsewhere.

Location 1967: when he takes the car out, he signs a paper that guarantees that he will return it in its original condition if the transaction, for any reason, does not go through. This is not what a lawyer would call an iron-clad contract, but it is a strong moral bond on any reasonably decent human being. At least it has always worked that way with my customers.

Location 2014: My advice to any salesman is to deliver your goods into the hands of your customer as soon as possible after he has made the decision to buy. It will make you both much happier.

Location 2102: However good you are at persuading a customer to buy more, be sure he knows what he has agreed to before it is too late. Otherwise you have made a bad sale. And not only have you hurt yourself by hurting your customer. You have also hurt me, because one bad reputation hurts us all. So don't foul up our nest with cheap tricks.

Location 2104: Remember that nobody - not even me - sells everybody. You don't have to twist anybody's arm or tell lies to make a good living in this selling business. All you have to do is use your head and plant enough seeds and fill enough seats. If you do it right, you'll be able to make a fine income and live with your conscience. I have proved that it can be done.

Location 2107: Closing: If he comes that far, he wants to buy. Never forget that and you'll win a lot.

18. Winning After the Close

Location 2116: I have a rule that I send out the thank-you on the very same day as the sale, so I never forget.

Location 2130: The value of taking the customer's side is obvious.

Location 2136: I look at every customer as if he is going to be like an annuity to me for the rest of my life. So they have to be happy. They have to believe in me.

Location 2154: Everybody gets the same quality of service from me.

Location 2186: I hope that by this time you understand that I do a lot of things that other salesmen don't do. And I also hope you understand that what I do works for everybody. I am good to my customers. They know I really care about them and they believe in me.

Location 2193: And you make a lot more money by making your customers believers.

Location 2253: Keep setting after the close - the money gets even bigger.

19. All the Help You Can Get

Location 2306: The only way I can keep beating my own record is to spend some of my money to hire people to help me increase my output. Otherwise I would reach a limit where I would never be able to grow any more. And that would kill me.

Location 2309: But what is most important from a business standpoint is that you get the greatest possible leverage by hiring people to help free you to do your most productive work.

Location 2390: A surgeon doesn't clean his own instruments. He hires lower-priced people for that so that he can concentrate on where the big money is - the surgery. And that's what we are, surgeons, and we too should concentrate all our time on the surgery. Let somebody else prepare the patient, do the tests, get the history, so we can do the cutting through of the customer's fears and get to the inside, where we can find and cut away the sales resistance.

Location 2393: Get all the help you can - it builds gross and net.

20. Spending and Getting

Location 2397: You have to buy business if you want to eliminate the risks and be assured of a steady and growing income.

Location 2399: But since we know what is the most important and most valuable thing we do, all we have to worry about is being smart in how we buy business.

Location 2402: So it makes sense to spend time and money to get more birddogs. There is no problem in understanding that direct mail that gets read is worth the cost, and direct mail that doesn't get read isn't worth sending even if it is free.

Location 2406: I was able to start them on a small scale and build. And that is how you can do it too.

Location 2414: And that's the game - whatever you do should be worth more than what it costs you. That doesn't mean it has to be cheap. Instead, think of how much good it can do for your business-building. Think of how much it will do to get people to think of you as a nice guy and talk about you to their friends and relatives. That is the kind of business judgment you need to make sure that you are putting your time and your money to work most efficiently.

Location 2419: Gifts, terrariums, you're thinking, that's for the high rollers. Not true. They are for everybody. Just stop and think of what happens when you hear that a customer is sick and you send a get-well card.

Location 2426: The more money you spend wisely, the more people you can put to work, talking you up, helping you sell, buying.

Location 2428: There is no perfect way to do business. You can always find some way to do things better if you spend enough time thinking about it. But you have to think in ways that will help you get new ideas. You have to look at the most tried-and-true methods as if you could rearrange them and make them work better for you.

Location 2448: But whatever you come up with, the important thing is not to be put off by the guys who tell you that you cant do it because it has never been done before.

Location 2452: Who says something won't work because it hasn't been done before? Just the people who don't want competition.

Location 2456: The biggest advantage you can get is to come up with a better way of reaching and selling your customers.

Location 2460: The trick is always to look for new ways to do old things.

Location 2473: So I make sure that I give a good performance by wearing the right clothes, giving them a comfortable environment to be in with me, and carrying a name they will remember only because they like to buy from me. If they have prejudices, that's their problem. I don't want to know about it. In the world where I am selling them, I want nothing to interfere with their trust in Joe Girard.

Location 2486: But patience alone, just standing by the door, will not tilt the odds your way. You have to make your own odds by spending time and money to develop your own methods to bring in the customers and the money.

Location 2488: Time and money well invested will build your business tremendously. Always look for new and better ways to do it.

21. There Is No Last Chapter

Location 2534: Look at everybody you meet as if he can give you what you want if you can get him to buy from you. And look into yourself to see why you like some people and don't like others, which is why you buy from some and not from others.

Location 2543: He starts to believe that maybe you do care about him. You let him talk and you listen. Before long, he trusts you enough to do what you say, which is to sign the order and buy from you.

Location 2565: Everybody who makes himself into something better has to fight the forces in him that want to be something worse.

Location 2576: You have to study yourself and your work so that you know what makes you effective.

Location 2595: That guarantee still holds. If I did it, you can do it. I guarantee it.