In my last post I mentioned that my daughter took a bold step and has taken a job in the much-maligned field of Automotive Sales. While it may not be great for everyone, it can be a good job both financially and in job satisfaction. And as previously stated, if nothing else it will teach her about what she doesn’t want to do and that is always a good start.
She is not guaranteed to succeed. She will have to be able to maintain punctuality, positive attitude and a strong work ethic to survive in such an industry. Those are entirely up to her. She also must be able to learn; the product, the competition, the rules of the particular franchise, and very high on the list, people. In particular, a knowledge of how to manage the process through understanding the customer. In that area, she has an advantage: Me. I sold automobiles for a long time and everywhere I worked, you would find my name at the top of the Leader Board. I would love to show her what I know.
When I was a younger man, I worked as a Sales Manager for an Auto Auction. I had a untenable situation with an employee that drove me to leave. I had other offers on the table but I also had a non-compete agreement that stated I could not work at another auction for 3 months post-employment. I made a deal with another, larger company and told them that I would start in 3 months. I decided that I would try selling cars for a while. I always wanted to see how good I would be at it. I reached out to one of my Lexus dealers and started the following Monday.
I was an immediate success. My first month I sold 22 cars and finished 3rd in the dealership. I outsold 9 seasoned associates. My commissions were 3700.00. I was asked if I had a secret. I laughed. There wasn’t a secret. The less I sold the easier it was to sell. I knew from previous sales positions that what the customer is buying is you, the product is just that. There is no need to be slick, smooth, aggressive and talkative. There is a need for genuine, knowledgeable, helpful and to be a good listener. It’s the very opposite of what people think. Now I understand that these things don’t come easily to everyone. But they’re obtainable through hard work. You can’t learn to be slick, but you can be yourself.
Unless of course you are an asshole.
But I digress.
I entered the business knowing a lot about cars. I worked in the auction industry, and I was also raised by an absolute car nut. That worked well for me. But the customer of today is knowledgeable and there is a lot of competition. I learned everything I could about every vehicle that compared in price point and vehicle type and features. I could speak with actual knowledge about any vehicle my customer may have looked at already. That combined with connecting with the customer (getting them comfortable), understanding their buying motivation (necessity, future purchase, impulse), and just plain getting them to like me I knew that with all being equal (the cars) they will buy from the person they like.
It’s no secret. And I can teach my daughter all of these things. She’s a lot like me so she may already have it inside her.
I have always wanted to write about my career. This is a good place to start.