Yesterday, I received this letter from Phil Eisaman, Digital Marketing Manager for the Great American Spice Company. I could completely relate to his experience because I too sold cars for a brief summer right out of college. I asked Phil if I could share his story with you and he agreed. Thanks for taking a moment to write it, Mr. Eisaman. It’s no wonder American Spice continues to increase revenues year-over-year! We can’t judge a buyer by his or her cover– all should be treated with respect. ~Jean
I read your story about the leather jacket and loved it. The salesman was a good salesman because he had to be to survive. Treating everyone who walks in the store as a potential customer is huge. Having said that I have a story to share.
I was working at Fort Wayne Acura selling used cars back in 1997. Being new at it my boss always taught me to never make assumptions about customers– just treat them well. Using this method I quickly out paced all the other salesmen, selling more cars than some of the most seasoned salesmen.
One afternoon my boss gets a call from another lot manager saying there is a walker headed your way (a walker is someone that walks from dealership to dealership). This young man started at the auto mall and made his way all the way down to my lot. My coworkers said, “Go get him I am sure he is a big spender” with sarcasm in their tone.
I greeted the man on the lot with a smile and a handshake. He says “I have been to 10 lots and you are the first to talk to me.”
“How can I help you today, Tony?”
“I am looking for a car,” he said.
“Well how much are you looking to spend?”
“About $2800.00,” he replied.
Pointing to an early 90’s beat up Grand Am I said, “That one may work.”
“I will take it,” he said as he handed me $3000.00 in cash. I went to my Manager and said,
“This guy out here wants to buy that Grand Am.”
My manager says, “Phil we can not get that financed. It is too old.” Handing him the cash his eyes lit up and he said, “Phil we have $100.00 into that car. You are making a fat commission!”
The next day at the sales meeting I received great praise from management as the others were scolded. In car sales you are only paid commission and if you don’t sell anything you take a loan against your future commissions. I didn’t want to owe money for not selling. I made 3-5 thousand a month selling used cars because I treated everyone like a potential customer and treated them with respect. I only sold cars for a few months because it is still a shady business in my book.
And remember “With desperation comes innovation.” -Phil Eisaman