The Greatest Salesperson Transcript
Season 2 Episode 7
This is a written Transcription for the episode: The Secret Behind The World’s Greatest Salesperson
Of the Midwest Mindset podcast.
The Secret Behind the World’s Greatest Salesperson
Full Written Transcript of The Episode
Matt Tompkins: What is the secret behind the world’s greatest salesperson? Now, don’t worry. This isn’t one of those clickbait Facebook ads where I try and sell you my 24 set DVD program revealing the shocking secret to sales.
No, I’m talking about the literal world’s greatest salesperson. The Guinness Book of World Records lists one single person as the greatest salesperson on the planet. And it turns out there actually is one big secret to his incredible success. In this episode, this secret to sales is revealed, and we’ll see how you can apply it to your own business as we uncover the secret behind the world’s greatest salesperson.
Welcome back to Midwest Mindset, the podcast that gives you the small business owner, the big agency Secrets to Marketing. I’m Matt Tompkins of two Brothers Creative, where we believe every business deserves affordable and effective marketing that produces real results. Something happened to me as a kid that stuck with me for most of my life. I’m talking this stuck with me up until just maybe a few years ago, maybe 5 or 6 years ago. And what happened was when I was a kid, I was a Boy Scout, and every year we had to sell popcorn. And I hated I hated selling popcorn. I hated it.
And I don’t know why. At the time I hated it. I mean, I loved the camping and the horseback riding and all the merit badge badges and everything else. But I would take picking up trash on the highway any day over selling popcorn, and it always ended up like this.
Matt Tompkins: I would wait till the last minute because I put it off. I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to sell popcorn. And then I would end up calling my grandma and begging her to buy like ten, ten things of popcorn, you know, of kettle corn. They had the variety pack, which was good. I mean, it was good kettle corn. But I despised sales.
This version of sales, this inaccurate mindset, if you will, was in my head forever. It stuck with me all the way into adulthood. And it wasn’t actually until a number of years ago that a friend of mine, a mentor, somebody I looked up to, said, You know, you’re really good at sales. And I said, What? I think I literally stepped back like, physical reaction. I hate sales. I’m not no, I would never be doing sales. Sales is the worst last thing I want to do with sales.
And they said, what do you think you’re doing right now? And it was a moment. It was a, you know, an aha moment. The light bulb went off in my head, and that’s when I realized that sales is not this false stereotype of we’re tricking someone into buying something or talking them into buying something that they don’t need. And I’m not saying that doesn’t happen.
Matt Tompkins: That’s a bad version of sales that’s manipulating people. Sales, though, is actually solving a problem. It is building a relationship. You know, referral, marketing, networking, whatever you want to call it. Sales is just about building relationships.
You build relationships to build trust so that when your ideal customer has a problem and you have a real legitimate solution to that problem. You can help them. It’s really as simple as that. And when my mindset shifted, I started to realize all the things I love about marketing are really they apply equally to sales. I mean, sales is really a part of your marketing strategy. It’s all about human psychology, understanding people’s wants and needs. It is not that image I had since I was a Boy Scout in my head of being forced to do something I didn’t want to do.
Now here’s where it can catch up with us as business owners, because I think a lot of people have that that false stereotype in their head and that delays our action or our willingness to take action when it comes to sales. Now, sales and marketing are pivotal, foundational to your business.
Most most companies start off with just one or the other. They have marketing or they have sales. And eventually you you grow from just 1 to 2. You have both and you have sales, which, you know, your company can survive on just brute force sales for a long time.
Matt Tompkins: But marketing is really what gives gives this plane the lift that it needs to reach the altitude we define as success.
And it makes your sales a whole heck of a lot easier. But we delay that. And so we have this negative view of things like cold calling or prospecting new leads or talking to people. Most business owners are even afraid just to put a call to action button on their own website to say, Hey, this is a business relationship, let’s do business. I can help you.
We’re very passive about it. We’re gun shy because I think in large part to that that false image, that false stereotype of sales that we have in our head. The truth is that we can’t simply ignore sales because we don’t like it doesn’t matter if it’s based off of a false definition of what sales really is. Without sales, your business cannot succeed.
Needless to say, I was pretty surprised to find out that basically my whole life was a lie. I had based my life on this premise that sales suck because of my Boy Scout popcorn days and now that had just blown up in my face. Talk about your all time backfires. Just as I was surprised then I was equally surprised to find out what the secret is behind the world’s greatest salesman.
Joe Girardi is listed in the Guinness World Records as the world’s greatest salesman. He sold more retail big ticket items one at a time than any other salesperson in recorded history.
Matt Tompkins: You may be thinking, well, he was probably selling something really cool, like, you know, I iPads, iPods, iPhones. No, no, it wasn’t even a gizmo or a gadget. It was a very old school traditional item that he was selling. In fact, I was even more surprised, I would say shocked to find out that what he was selling his profession is usually the typical stereotype that we think of when we think sales in a negative way. I’m talking about a car salesman.
Yes. The image that comes to many people’s mind when we think sales is used, car salesmen, we think somebody who’s trying to trick us or talk us into buying something or manipulating us, selling us a lemon. Joe Girard. He was a car salesman. That’s what he sold. In total, he sold over 13,000 cars. That’s about six cars per day on average.
On his best day, he sold 18 vehicles, 18 vehicles in one day. On his best month, he sold 174. These numbers mean good for him, but I feel embarrassed. Joe Girard. He sold more cars by himself than 95% of all the dealerships in North America. And to make this even more incredible, he sold them one vehicle at a time. He did not do any bulk deals. This wasn’t like shopping at Sam’s Club or. Costco? No, he did these one by one.
Matt Tompkins: So what was his secret to success? First thing we probably think of is, well, hard work. He’s probably an incredibly hard worker. And yes, he does list that as a very important trait. But let’s be honest, most of us are working really hard and we’re not seeing these kinds of sales numbers. Joe also accredits being likable. That’s part of it, too.
But there are a lot of hard working, likable sales people out there, and they’re not selling 13,000 vehicles. Now, what Joe did that was different is he personalized his relationship with every customer. There is such a power in the little things. The little things.
For example, he would send a personalized greeting card every month to his entire list of customers. In January, it would be something like, you know, Happy New Year. Inside it, he would say, I like you. I like you. That’s it. He would handwrite these cards.
He would hand address them. They were not this mass mail, mass snail mail campaign like those flyers we get every political season. No. He did these by hand. All 13,000. What he did was he built relationships with every person and sending something that seems as little and frivolous as a card in the mail. Builds trust and builds relationships. A phone call not to try and sell something, but just to say hi. Check in, say Hey, I like you. You’re awesome. That is the secret to a success.
Matt Tompkins: Because what what ended up happening with Joe and what will end up happening with you and your business is that the vast majority of your customers will be returning customers and they will tell a friend who tells a friend and so on and so on and so on. Referral, marketing, Word of mouth. I think we get lost a little bit when it comes to marketing in trying to acquire new customers and we focus only on. Who’s next? And we don’t focus enough on who we already have.
Who is nurturing that relationship with your current clients? Are you following up with them? When was the last time you spoke with all of your customers? What is a way that you can personalize? Your relationship. I understand. We’re busy. We can’t all we can’t invite everybody, every customer out to dinner. But you could send them a card.
A handwritten card. That has incredible value and an incredible return on that value. By the end of Joe’s career, yes, he was sitting out 13,000 cards per month. He had to hire an assistant to help him. But by the time he was about ten years into his career, almost two thirds of his sales were to repeat customers. It got to the point where customers had to set appointments months in advance to come in and buy from them and they would wait. Contrast that with other car sales people who just stand around waiting, hoping for walk in traffic.
Matt Tompkins: And that is what a lot of us do as business owners. We stand and wait. We hope. Remember, hope is a dangerous drug. Hopium. We need to detox off hope. Because hope doesn’t increase sales. Hope doesn’t increase revenue.
Standing there in the parking lot or the proverbial parking lot of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, I’m putting my name out there, but nothing’s happening. It always surprises me when business owners say, it’s my slow months, we have nothing to do. And I ask, Are you following up with your current customers? Are you nurturing those relationships?
And the answer is a lot of the times, What do you mean They’re already my customer. I don’t have to work for it anymore. I think that’s the thought behind it, Understandably so. You know, but the truth is, those customers, that relationship, it needs to be nurtured just as much as new relationships because it’s those relationships that are actually well, A, they are what is keeping you.
They are what is keeping you in business right now. And they are what is going to keep your business and your doors open in the future. Referral marketing is a powerful thing. Building trust is an incredibly powerful thing. When you build trust with somebody and you build a genuine relationship, it has resounding implications. It is a ripple effect that will increase sales and grow your business.