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Life of a Car Salesman

Updated on February 2, 2012

The Grind

I have been in the car business for 11 years and during time that I have experienced a lot. When I first got into the business in 2001 the automobile industry was flourishing and experiencing high times. I was skeptical about getting into the car business but I needed a job at the time. I thought that my time in the business was going to be brief. I viewed it as a stepping stone as I was making my pilgrimage to corporate America. I was a college graduate and felt like the car business was beneath me. I had gone to college for 4 years and spent a lot of time and money in obtaining my degree. After two months of working and learning the business, I had my first big month and I became more interested in making sales a career. I was not a 100% sold on the car business but I thought perhaps this could work. Things began to get better and better and I began to see the amount of money that the top producers were making in the industry. The money was very good back in those days. Just as I began to get comfortable the tragedy of 911 hit and the nation went into mourning as we witnessed one of the most horrific terrorist attacks in this country.The certainty of what I wanted to do and what our country was going to do was brought into questioning. Slowly things began to get back to normal and my brief stint in the car business had progressed to almost a year. Towards the end of my first year my sales career began to blossom just like a butterfly being hatched from a cocoon. I began to walk with a different swagger and just like an heroin addict I was hooked. Very few people plan on getting into the car business, it is usually by accident. The allure of fast money and at that time the lifestyle becomes intoxicating. I had a very nice run up until 2008 until the market collapsed and things were forever changed. The reckless lifestyle of salesmen, managers, and dealers participating in excessive spending and lifestyle has been replaced with the daily grind. Car business 2012 operates at a much slower pace. The internet has changed the industry for good. The home runs ,which is a term used to describe large commissions, are not as prevalent. Computer generated leads and website drives traffic now which translates into a lot of base hits, but not the grand slams that we had grown accustom to getting frequently.The car business has taken the Billy Beane approach and now we play "Money Ball". Just like in the movie " Money Ball" where Billy Beane used a systematic formula to generate draft prospects is how the car business operates now in this computer age. The information is displayed on website for customers and computer leads aid in securing potential prospects. The art of selling a car is diminishing and has been replaced with order takers. Now a days you have to work twice as hard to make a comfortable living. Your on base percentage is higher but it is lot harder to hit the doubles and triples for profit. I will have to say that business operates at a much smoother pace and it is not as confrontational. The grind of being a salesmen has always been a challenging feat but it is a grind that all salesmen love. You go from hero to zero every month and never know the what next day is going to bring you.


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