Joe Girard, the world’s top car salesman who holds the Guinness World Record to this day, has died at the age of 90.
According to Automotive News (subscription required), Girard died following injuries he sustained in his home in Michigan. The record-setting salesman reportedly fell backward down his stairs and suffered severe head trauma.
Girard was an active salesman at Merollis Chevrolet in suburban Detroit between 1966 and 1977. There, he sold 13,001 vehicles. The record-setting figure came in 1973 when he sold 1,425 vehicles in one year. Decades later, in 2001, he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. Although he retired from sales, Girard went on to write books about his sales tactics.
He ensured his customers received the best experience when buying a car and often picked up tabs for minor repairs, and even paid for customer referrals. Girard also held a barbeque every year for his customers to further show his appreciation. Eventually, Girard had plenty of customers sending their friends and family his way.
Some may recall Girard’s record was contested last year after another salesman in Michigan said he’d outdone the 1,425-vehicle figure in a year. Ali Reda said he sold 1,582 vehicles in a year and General Motors supported the claim. However, Guinness said it would not honor the figure due to GM’s stake in the claim. No objective third-party could confirm the new record and the organization decided to keep Girard’s official record in place.
Reda claimed he learned his selling techniques from one place: Girard’s own books about how to sell.