Good news; a customer of mine put cash toward a lease today. I had just missed out on a showroom opportunity (also called ups in this business), and was disappointed about that when the receptioninst informed me that two other men were looking for a sales person. Some day I would like to host a TV show where contestants are asked to guess what type of jobs various people they see in street clothes have. We get all types at the dealership, how people are dressed rarely means anything because the woman who shows up with her Goodwill bags who looks like she hasn't bought new clothes in thirty plus years might be the person who buys a luxury car outright. We're a pretty casual place and I like that about us.
While we were working the deal the guy I was having run the numbers made a mistake so we offered this guy the deal of a lifetime on accident. I don't like that. It isn't my fault, but I still feel bad about it. During the negotiation process I felt like I might not have done the best that I could in explaining the full value of the vehicle which is another thing I learned today. Next time I will be better informed, more experienced, and less afraid that I could lose a sale. We aren't going to be in business for long if we can lease vehicles, but lose our shirts in the process. One of the guys I work with tried to pretend that he was helping me, he did tell me things I didn't know, but his motives are suspicious and I don't trust him since he steals deals and customers by putting his name on their file.
Later on in the day I worked with a younger couple who was super nice and fun. I made the mistake of letting them walk out the door without having someone look at their trade. I was scolded for it, and I deserved that. I don't mind constructive criticism. It needs to be balanced by praise and appreciation. Nobody said much of anything about the deal I potentially have coming, and I know the wisdom of not counting chickens until they have hatched, but $5,000.00 down is serious cash, and I have reason to expect that this deal will actually go through. One thing I hate about work is how people assume you know policies, procedures, and unwritten rules when there is no possible way you could know any of these things since people don't go out of their way to inform you.
After the lease deal I went to the store to buy myself a treat. I had already been planning a trip since I walked out of my place without my snacks for the day, so all I had with me was a salad which I knew was not going to cut it for a twelve hour shift. I work extremely hard at my job, and I sell the dealership as a whole. I help out service, I fill in for the receptionist, I will do things for the people in parts if necessary, I give the porters pep-talks when they need them; there isn't any task that is beneath me there. I don't have to do this, but there's not always a lot to do, and this is my way of getting exposure to different aspects of the business, and I do feel a certain responsbility to those that I work with and for since we sink or swim as a team.
There are people who don't get along, departments that have internal conflicts, some departments don't like others, and perhaps there is a good reason for that. We are all flawed and human, and I try to do the Biblical thing of taking words and actions in the kindest possible way, but I am not always as good about this as I could be. I am collaborative and cooperative, but I am also getting better at spotting the emotional vampires and energy drainers. I do my best to get along with as many people as I can, but I am not fake and pretty much ignore people I don't need to directly interact with if I know or sense that they are not going to be good for me. The nice thing is these types tend to be consistent so they are usually easier to spot.
On the whole this has been a great experience. I have had my moments, and will again, but I love the industry which is a funny thing because I would do away with cars if I could. They are terrible for the environment, costly, inefficent, dirty, etc..., but like a wayward child whose parents defend the one or two good qualities they have, I am a fan. I love to drive. I can get excited about people test driving a vehicle I've driven many times, and I count on the waves of emotion to carry me through some of the more rocky technical areas although I'm getting a bit better at knowing some of the specs which makes me happy. Nobody knows everything, and I'm not afraid to tell people that I'm not a numbers person, or the definitive word on what engine has what torque, or whatever.
I have a lot to learn, but it doesn't really scare me. It's overwhelming at times, but I remind myself that I am a newer employee, and I can see that someone like me is needed even if I don't always feel very appreciated by some. A close friend told me I seem a lot more emotionally stable than I was, and that was a huge compliment. One thing I love is that I can pretty much do what I want, and nobody really questions where I am, or what I'm doing. Either they trust me to make good use of my time, don't care, or don't have time to babysit me, I do try to keep on top of the material, but there is only so much screen time that is actually helpful. Sometimes you need to take a vehicle out and see what it can do.
When I was doing the lease deal I said I wanted to give us as much time as possible and it was nice to hear a member of management agree with that strategy. Management works very hard there. Another thing I have some mixed feelings about is the way people talk about others so openly. They will say so and so is slower, or such and such person is a bitch. I can only imagine what people are saying about me, but I am who I am and I can't pretend otherwise. I enjoy being on good terms with others, in one way they aren't pretending to be anything other than authentic which I like, but sometimes I feel like people are way to quick to point out flaws, and not appreciative of the good qualities in others.
The hours are long, but being my own person is freeing. Nobody tells me what to say or really how to say it. They trust me to work with people which is really astonishing to me, and I would not do if I was in charge. It is insane to let someone with as little experience as I have sell something as complicated as a car. I could be saying anything to these people, the sheer volume of things I do not know about the process, the industry, and the product is astonishing. I would structure things very differently if I was in charge, and I hope I don't get to a point where I feel like the new people are too much of a hassle and should be made to earn their bullshit just like the rest of us did.
It's a very strange business. Too much information can be just as bad as too little, the hours are inhumane, communication has a ways to go, the personalities there are something else, but little by little I feel as if I am forging my own path in an industry that does not have a great reputation. There are people I don't like, but I do say that I feel that everyone is honest and not out to screw anyone. We are told to be truthful and honest, some people are very nitpicky about terminology, one guy worked at another dealership and apparently can't remember our paint colors vs theirs, but people can pretty clearly see if a car is red even if he tells them that it is a competitor shade (as one such example of this). Things could be and have been a lot worse.
For now I am happy that I have the freedom and flexibility I do at work. I would like to be paid more and have a better schedule, but I signed up for this. I have a lot more on my mind, but I need to get to bed so I can get some sleep, wake up, and do this all over again tomorrow although thankfully I am only working from 9 - 6 which seems heavenly at the moment. I'm really glad I have learned how to eat well, and am fairly disciplined because this business can be a killer. I see so many burned out and stressed out people, it's not good and it's not right, but I can only worry about, manage, and control myself. Just for today, I am very proud of myself, and not just for the sale because he was ready to buy. I'm proud of who I am on the inside, that's what really counts.
All my best,
P.S. I am excited about the sale. It was very surreal and I still can't believe that I really came up with a vehicle that would work for them since it wasn't what they originally wanted. I'm new to this and able to give myself some grace as I learn, heal, and grow. I had one guy who told me I did a good job on selling a vehicle that we have had sitting there for a while. Hybrids can be a tough sell, fortunately my customer was well educated, and didn't really need me to sell them on the brand, or the advantages of a hybrid, and I am grateful to my boss for showing me what he has since we think similarly in some key areas, and knowing what might work for someone that they don't actually think they want is a defininte advantage here. That guy was thrilled with his lease, go me!