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Joseph Samuel Girardi, better known as Joe Girard, (November 1, 1928 - February 28, 2019) was an American salesman. Girard sold 13,001 cars at a Chevrolet dealership between 1963 and 1978, and was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the seller of the most cars in a year (1,425 in 1973).[a] Girard later became a successful motivational speaker, and gave regular presentations for corporate clients including General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, and Kmart. He resided in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan.
Girard was the son of Antonino Girardi, "an extremely poor man of Sicilian birth" and his wife, a homemaker. Girard worked from early childhood on. A high school dropout, he started working as a shoeshine boy, then worked as a newsboy for the Detroit Free Press, dishwasher, delivery boy, stove assembler, and home building contractor.
The then 35-year-old walked into a Detroit car dealership and begged a skeptical manager for a job as a salesman. He sold a car on his first day and, by the second month, was so good some of the other salesmen complained and got him fired. His next job was at Merollis Chevrolet in Eastpointe, Michigan. There, he set consecutive sales records over a 15 year period. He then became an author and public speaker, using books and in person presentations to share his sales techniques.
As described in How to Sell Anything to Anybody, Girard decided early in his sales career to adopt the name "Girard" for business purposes as a way to avoid confrontations over his ethnicity or losing customers who might be prejudiced against Sicilians and Italians.
Girard died on February 28, 2019 from medical complications after a fall.
- How To Sell Anything To Anybody
- How To Sell Yourself
- How To Close Every Sale
- Mastering Your Way To The Top
- Joe Girard's 13 Essential Rules of Selling
Awards and honors
Girard's awards include The Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement, and he has been nominated for the Horatio Alger Award by the late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and the late Lowell Thomas.
- The record was surpassed by Ali Reda of Les Stanford Chevrolet, with 1,582 cars sold in 2017.
- "Most cars sold by a salesman in a year". guinnessworldrecords.com. London, England: Guinness World Records. 2018. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
- "The History of Joe Girard". joegirard.com. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
- Girard, Joe (2006). How to Sell Anything to Anybody. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 169–170. ISBN 978-0-7432-7396-1.
- "Joe Girard, world's top car salesman, dead at 90". Automotive News. 12 March 2019. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
- "Inductees – Joe Girard (1928– )". automotivehalloffame.org. Archived from the original on 2004-05-25. Retrieved 2008-09-28.