Joe Girard, an author and speaker famous for his long-standing Guinness Book of World Records title as the world’s best car salesman, died Feb. 28 at age 90 from injuries incurred from a fall in his home.
Girard won the annual title as the world’s No. 1 car salesman from 1966 through 1977, and he sold 13,001 vehicles in 15 years at Merollis Chevrolet in suburban Detroit. In 1973, Girard set the record for most cars sold by a salesman in one year: 1,425. In 2001, he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.
Throughout his career, Girard was an eccentric, speaking often of himself in the third person. He refused to talk to co-workers outside of a “Good morning,” and always ate lunch at his desk so he could dedicate every minute to selling. He paid for customer referrals, wined and dined supervisors at big local companies who knew many people and could send them his way.
Girard was fiercely protective of the Guinness title. Last year, a salesman in Dearborn, Mich., claimed to have shattered Girard’s record. Ali Reda, of Les Stanford Chevrolet and Les Stanford Cadillac, said he sold 1,582 vehicles in 2017, a claim supported by General Motors. Reda said he obtained the skills to break the record through reading Girard’s book, How to Sell Anything to Anybody.