This week has marked the end of my first six months in the automotive industry. It’s crazy to think that only just over six months ago I was a savage college kid who didn’t want to grow up, and that last night I ate a salad for dinner and went to bed while the clock still said “PM.” I have already learned a lot, both professionally and personally and I thought my post today would highlight six things I have learned in six months as an automotive professional.
Spoiler alert: I didn’t become a boring, super lame adult.
Lesson 1: “If you are in the car business, you are in the coffee business.”
I have never been much of a bean-guy, but one day, after I was just starting to accept the fact that I didn’t get to sleep until noon every day, the trainer at our dealership asked me if I drank coffee. After I replied with a solid no he just laughed and said “you will be, if you’re in the car business, you’re in the coffee business.” Low and behold I find myself drinking a cup of coffee as I type this very blog post. Long hours and a normal, adult sleeping schedule leave much to be desired in the being-awake category. Long story short, I wish I would have discovered this magical beverage years ago.
Lesson 2: Buying furniture is actually really fun.
Not to brag, but big boy jobs come with big boy paychecks. One thing I loved to hate when I was in school was the 1970s era wooden/red cushioned couch that was one of the center pieces of our living room. It sat 3, maybe 5 and served its purpose well. However, I was always yearning for a better place to sit. The first thing I did when I moved into my house was visit local furniture stores and purchase a red leather and suede sectional sofa. It is the best part of my house and I have wondered how I had lived so long without it. Even the buying process was lounge-city, meaning I was lounging on a couch as I signed the paperwork…I wish we could that in the dealership.
Lesson 3: A lot of people really, really, really hate buying cars.
This was a hard thing for a lifetime car guy like myself to understand. I would buy a car every week if I could, but it seems like the vast majority of people who go car shopping really don’t enjoy it. This is probably because of what so many people have either heard or experienced about car shopping. Too many people have images of getting totally ripped off by some slimy sales person and their managers. Luckily I have the pleasure of changing this perception as I work at one of the most reputable and respected car dealerships in the business. Bill Marsh has built their dealership around customer service, respect, and fair deals for all…and it shows. This actually leads me to my next lesson, which is:
Lesson 4: Overcoming sales objections is actually really fun.
With a Marketing degree that was sales focused, I had plenty of practice handling objections, but nothing could come close to how enjoyable it is to meet a person who thinks that you’re a terrible person trying to rip them off, and proving to them that you really aren’t that bad of a guy. You just love cars, and want to help them find their next one.
You don’t want to talk to me? Great. You’re just looking? Awesome, what for? Boats maybe? I have cars here that I can show you. I’m not a terrible person, I’m in fact, actually kind of a nice guy who can explain to you what Ecoboost means.
Lesson 5: If you don’t at least consider leasing, you are shooting yourself in the foot.
Like car buying in general, so many people have a terrible perception of leasing. So many customer feel like they pay for something for three years and have nothing at the end. This is only partially true, at the end of your lease, if you don’t buy it out you don’t have a car. The other thing you don’t have is negative equity in a car loan on a three year old car that is starting to enter the most unreliable portion of its lifecycle. With leasing all you are doing is paying for just the portion of a car that you are actually going to use, at the end of your term you can choose to buy the car or turn it in and get a brand new model with better equipment and returning lease deals that will lower your payment for your next term. The other common misconception is found when someone says, “I drive too much to lease.” Leases can actually be set up to allow for as many miles as you would ever need. The best part is that after three years you turn in a car with a ton of miles and get a new one, not worrying about trade in value. You would never have unexpected repairs and you always have a warrantied car.
Lesson 6: Selling cars is a totally rewarding experience.
Cars as the second largest purchase in the average person’s life. Lots of time and though is put into picking out the car you will be spending lots of time in for the next 2-10 years. When you can help someone get something they can be proud of, at a price they can afford, you made a huge positive impact on someone’s life. A perfect example is a guest I leased a car to calling me to tell me how much they love it and how many people they have already showed it to. It is also literally rewarding as it pays my bills #adulting.
Just to be clear, I haven’t lost my classic karaoke skills, I still exploit obscure words in an irreverent fashion, and my shorts still don’t come close to touching my knees (some things will just never change). The old saying that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life is extremely accurate. Over the last six months I have started a new chapter in my life and couldn’t be happier, plus it doesn’t hurt to have to look at the 2016 Mustang next to my desk all day rather than a sea of cubicles.