Joe Girard was great at selling cars.  He’s listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “World’s Greatest Salesman.”  For 14 years he worked at a Chevrolet dealership just outside of Detroit, Michigan.

Just take a look at his stellar record:

  • During his 14 year career, he sold 13,001 cars.
  • On his best day, he sold 18 vehicles.
  • During his best month, he sold 174 vehicles.
  • In his best year, he sold 1,425 cars.
  • By himself, Joe Girard sold more cars than 95% of all dealers in North America.

What was the secret to his success? Gratitude.  Joe Girard was genuinely grateful for each and every customer he had.  And most importantly, he worked really hard to never lose touch with any of them.

Within a few weeks of selling a car to someone, Joe would call them to thank them for the sale. During that call he would ask how the car was running. If things were going well, he’d ask for a referral. If there was a problem, he would get it fixed.  Then ask for a referral.

Every month, year after year, Joe sent all his customers a hand-written greeting card. Inside he wrote a simple message. He was careful to never include anything that could be seen as salesy. Instead, he would share an anecdote, news story, or birthday greeting.  Joe knew his customers would need a new car one day and he wanted to keep himself top of mind.

Recently I came across a book called, A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik. The book is about a guy whose life was a complete disaster. He was miserable, broke, and overweight. While he was out hiking in the hills of Los Angeles on New Year’s Day, John had an epiphany. He decided he needed to find a reason to be grateful every single day. So he set a goal to write one thank you note a day for the next year.

As a result of writing handwritten thank you notes, over the course of one year, taught John some excellent lessons.  He learned to value all the good in his life and became a more positive person.

When you adopt an “attitude of gratitude”, you attract like-minded people into both your personal and professional life.  I believe gratitude is such an effective tool because it helps develop trust and loyalty. As the Launch4Life team loves to say, “People do business with those they know, like, and trust.”

There’s an old saying that if you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness. With that in mind, perhaps we need to see each day and each new client as a gift. Every day is a new day to be grateful for all that we’ve learned or all we have yet to learn.

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant