West Palm Beach, Florida, United States
I was born to be in the car business. My family had been in the business for 46 years. I knew for sure it was the right fit for me, too, when I realized at an early age I could sell things. I sold my first car when I was 17 and went on to build a successful 30-year career helping people with their automotive needs. I retired in 2012 and love passing along my knowledge to the next generation.
Over the years we ran as many as five franchises at one time. The business included the selling, financing, insuring and servicing of new and used cars, as well as offering motorcycle sales at some of the franchises. We employed 25 to 75 people.
My area of specialization was the sales department. I was involved in the financing of new and used vehicles dealing with customer credit and loan approvals working with many financial institutions. Inventory management was also a large part of my job as well as the wholesale end of the business which consisted of liquidating trade-ins.
Here’s just a bit of what we can cover in our PivotPlanet session(s):
• Understanding the profitability picture – what is realistic.
• How to build and retain clients.
• The importance of networking.
• How to gain and use product knowledge effectively and the importance of training.
• The value in knowing your competition.
My biggest enjoyment during my career has been dealing with people. Every customer is different with different needs and wants. Every day presents new and interesting challenges.
Buying a car is the second most important purchase most people make. Consequently, selling a car requires a lot of patience and the ability to relate to perspective buyers and ask the right questions. You can’t come across as an inquisitor. Instead, you need to engage in a meaningful and helpful conversation. You have probably five minutes to gain a customer’s trust and interest.
It is important to understand all aspects of the business - the “front” room – i.e. sales; the “back” room – i.e. service; the roles of the manufacturer and banks; warranty guidelines, etc. Both product knowledge and “people” knowledge are keys to gaining and retaining customers. Just because you like cars, doesn’t guarantee success. You need to be realistic in your expectations and understand financial rewards do not happen overnight. It is also important to balance your job with your family life and make time for both.
Owning and managing a car dealership is a demanding job requiring evening and weekend work. However, it is worth it when you are able to make someone happy and watch them drive off in their new car hoping they will tell others about the great experience they had working with you and your dealership. I am proud of all the great employees who contributed to my success over the years.