Success in Selling: Girard’s Law of 250

Success leaves clues, and Joe Girard left many on the art of selling and building relationships. Joe Girard knew how to sell cars. He’s listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as “the world’s greatest salesman.”

He has written several books on selling, including:

  • 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

Joe Girard sold over 13,000 cars at a Chevrolet dealership between 1963 and 1978. He’s recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the seller of the most cars in a year (1,425 in 1973). One of his most valuable success clues is “Girard’s Law of 250.”

A short time after Joe entered the auto sales business, he went to a funeral home to pay his last respects to a friend of his mother’s. At Catholic funeral homes, they give out mass cards with the name and picture of the departed. On that particular day, he thought to ask the undertaker a question about the cards. “How do you know how many cards to print up?” The undertaker replied that it was a matter of experience. “When you look at the book where people who’ve attended sign their names, after a while I noticed that the average number of names always come out to about 250.”

On another occasion, Joe and his wife were attending a wedding. Again, he thought to ask the caterer the same question. He asked, “What was the average number of guests that would attend a wedding reception?” The answer was, “About 250 on the bride’s side and about 250 on the groom's.”

This is where Joe Girard’s “Law of 250” was created. The theory is that everyone knows about 250 people in their life. That’s 250 people whose opinions and experiences they can potentially influence. This means that if you were to meet 50 people in a week and if, unfortunately, only two of those turned away unhappy with the way they were treated, those two poorly influenced people per week would have reached 26,000 people over a year’s time.

This equation should act as an understanding of the fact that if we were to turn away just one customer unhappy or dissatisfied, that person could then potentially influence 250 people away from your product or service. That’s the type of marketing that none of us can afford.

Think about a business day in the past where, somewhere along the line, you reacted incorrectly to a customer. You could have been stressed or rushed at the time and, unfortunately, you simply reacted improperly to that customer. That one customer can now possibly influence 250 potential customers ready to buy who will no longer come your way.

This is an understanding that we need to drill into our minds to condition ourselves to be on our utmost A-game each and every minute of each and every day. We need to constantly remind ourselves of “Girard’s Law of 250” when it comes to marketing our business and brand. I actually have one client who posted the “Law of 250” on his phone to remind himself of the importance of treating all customers and potential customers with grace.

Think about how the “Law of 250” can work in a positive way. That’s marketing that will continue to spread far and wide to continually earn you loyal fans and continued business, not to mention all the great relationships you will gain along the way.

Joe Girard was “The World’s Greatest Salesman.” He wasn’t successful for just being great in sales. He was successful because he simply knew the value of standing out and treating his customer right. Success leaves clues. Let’s all take the lesson of Joe Girard and “Girard’s Law of 250.”

Coach Michael Dill is an award-winning, certified business coach, speaker, and trainer. He brings more than 40 years of business and entrepreneurial experience in his leadership, team training, and mentoring practice. Michael’s passion is to both encourage and challenge business owners and entrepreneurs to become their best selves, both personally and professionally, to obtain all they want in their business and life.

This article, written by Michael Dill, originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of SWFL Real Producers. Check out their Instagram and Facebook.