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Diary of a car salesman

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Manager
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Diary of a car salesman [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2008, 12:36
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Hey all,

I just had to share this story with someone and I thought the GMAT Clubbers would appreciate it because it ends with a post-MBA job offer before school even starts!

My wife and I moved to NC to attend Duke in December. I was having a hard time finding an engineering job around that time, so I decided to round out my skill set with some sales experience - I became a car salesman.

A few weeks in, I became involved with a deal that I felt was completely screwed from an ethical standpoint. It involved sending someone out in a new car only to pull them out of it a week later. I won't go into details, but it made me feel like a complete slimeball!

Bottom line - I went out of my way to make it right, going WAY up the chain of command to the owner of the dealership (who is building an empire of nearly 50 dealerships in the Southeast). After justice was served to the customer, I quit. In the process, I was in contact with owner quite a bit. I told him I was going to the Duke MBA program. He told me he was so impressed that there's an MBA position waiting for me when I get out of the program! He even wants me to be a speaker at an upcoming event.

I worked in car sales for less than 30 days. Unbelievably, it ended with a post-MBA job offer! Even though it's not necessarily a position I would want, it feels good to be recognized like that for doing the right thing.
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Re: Diary of a car salesman [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2008, 19:50
nice essay material. and just good karma. well done.
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Re: Diary of a car salesman [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2008, 23:20
wow - a very nice outcome. I wish this happened more often.

kudos.
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Re: Diary of a car salesman [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2008, 09:55
+5 Kudos bdevil25!
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Re: Diary of a car salesman [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2008, 11:28
nice experience! kudos!
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Re: Diary of a car salesman [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2008, 18:51
great stuff!
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Re: Diary of a car salesman [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2008, 23:08
That is a great story. Way to not be a slimeball! :-D
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Re: Diary of a car salesman [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2008, 01:29
Ha just curious..were there any people there making serious money?
I always see those ads and wonder what the truth is..
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Re: Diary of a car salesman [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2008, 08:54
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jamesrwrightiii wrote:
Ha just curious..were there any people there making serious money?
I always see those ads and wonder what the truth is..


Well, let me put it in salary ranges for you, but first I'll say that my sales manager made $120k his first year in car sales (just a sales associate, not a manager). I didn't know his salary as a sales manager, but I do know that he said he had to earn $6k every month just to break even on his car loans and mortgage. Here's the general rule of thumb:

Sales associate: $15k-120k per year
10 cars per month = ~40-50k per year
15 cars per month = ~60-80k per year
20 cars per month = almost guaranteed >$100k per year

Sales manager: $120-150k per year
Sales managers get a chunk of everything sold, so they have to be good closers.

Finance manager (F&I): $150k-200k per year
They make a lot of money on the back end by selling insurance/warranties, Security Guard, Simoniz, etc.

General manager: $200k-500k per year
If a customer can be closed, the general manager is the person to do it. This person typically has very good relationships with lots of banks and can pull some serious strings if they've got favors to cash in on. They also obviously get a chunk of everything sold.

The person who trained me was a general manager at something equivalent to a Hyundai dealership and was pulling in $250k per year. He always said "Do you want to drive a Hyundai to the BMW dealership, or do you want to drive your BMW to the Hyundai dealership?"

Insane money available in cars sales. When I heard the figures above, I questioned why on earth I would pay $150k for an MBA to get out and earn less than that. BUT, don't underestimate the work environment. Stand outside waiting for customers for 70 hours per week, work every Saturday, hang around with fairly sheisty people, and push a new $20k car on someone with a 550 credit score earning $25,000 per year and rolling $6k negative equity from their 2005 Dodge Neon into a new 72-84 month loan, and SMILE while doing it. :cry:

25 days felt like an eternity.
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Re: Diary of a car salesman [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2008, 09:04
With all that said, I want to partially retract my negative attitude towards the whole thing.

Car salesmen have to make a living, too. We don't go out and find innocent people to prey on, they come in and tell us what they want - we just facilitate it. Now, if I were the best friend of most of these people, I'd slap them and say "what the hell are you thinking!?" but, as it is, they want a service and I'm providing it.

Also, I will say that if you're an honest person and show sincerity in what you do, people will be extremely appreciative and will always come back to you, even if the price is higher.

This was an amazing learning experience for me and I wouldn't change anything I did, but I have to vent a little bit about some of the stuff I saw while there (hence my previous posts!)
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Senior Manager
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Re: Diary of a car salesman [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2008, 09:22
Quote:
"Do you want to drive a Hyundai to the BMW dealership, or do you want to drive your BMW to the Hyundai dealership?"


I'll drive the Hyundai to the Hyundai dealership. The cars are more reliable, just as safe, and cost < 1/2 as much :-D
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Re: Diary of a car salesman [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2008, 16:39
Great post - gave me some good insight into the numbers of the car business! Kudos!

Bdevil25 wrote:
jamesrwrightiii wrote:
Ha just curious..were there any people there making serious money?
I always see those ads and wonder what the truth is..


Well, let me put it in salary ranges for you, but first I'll say that my sales manager made $120k his first year in car sales (just a sales associate, not a manager). I didn't know his salary as a sales manager, but I do know that he said he had to earn $6k every month just to break even on his car loans and mortgage. Here's the general rule of thumb:

Sales associate: $15k-120k per year
10 cars per month = ~40-50k per year
15 cars per month = ~60-80k per year
20 cars per month = almost guaranteed >$100k per year

Sales manager: $120-150k per year
Sales managers get a chunk of everything sold, so they have to be good closers.

Finance manager (F&I): $150k-200k per year
They make a lot of money on the back end by selling insurance/warranties, Security Guard, Simoniz, etc.

General manager: $200k-500k per year
If a customer can be closed, the general manager is the person to do it. This person typically has very good relationships with lots of banks and can pull some serious strings if they've got favors to cash in on. They also obviously get a chunk of everything sold.

The person who trained me was a general manager at something equivalent to a Hyundai dealership and was pulling in $250k per year. He always said "Do you want to drive a Hyundai to the BMW dealership, or do you want to drive your BMW to the Hyundai dealership?"

Insane money available in cars sales. When I heard the figures above, I questioned why on earth I would pay $150k for an MBA to get out and earn less than that. BUT, don't underestimate the work environment. Stand outside waiting for customers for 70 hours per week, work every Saturday, hang around with fairly sheisty people, and push a new $20k car on someone with a 550 credit score earning $25,000 per year and rolling $6k negative equity from their 2005 Dodge Neon into a new 72-84 month loan, and SMILE while doing it. :cry:

25 days felt like an eternity.
Re: Diary of a car salesman   [#permalink] 26 Mar 2008, 16:39
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