My First Month at a Dealership

My name is Seth Eller.  I started working at Court Street Ford on June 20th.  It has now been a month and 8 days.  A lot has been learned.  I would like to give a brief testimonial to what I have observed.

  1.  The stigma of dealerships is not true of all.
    I always thought that dealerships were simply out to get your money.  I thought they would be pushy and every salesman would only be trying to get to the next sale.  I have never even been to a dealership apart from Court Street Ford, but I have heard many horror stories of other dealerships. My brother recently went through the car buying process and found it unpleasant for many reasons.  But here, I haven’t seen the deception and assertive behavior that I expected to be present. Everyone is obviously trying to make a living, but that doesn’t seem to be the driving force behind most of the salespeople I work with.  I talk to them often about why they do what they do, and again and again I see an attitude of responsibility for other people.  I heard a sales manager actually tell a guy that he would check out a vehicle that was going to be bought from another dealership, merely because he wanted to help the man out by making sure he wasn’t getting gypped.  There is a relationship built between car buyers and car sellers that is more like mutual friends trying to reach a goal together, rather than a competition to see who can get the better deal out of the purchase.
  2.   Money made on cars isn’t the main focus
    When I saw how much we owned a particular vehicle for, and how much we sold it for, it wasn’t quite what I expected.  I’ll give a quick example from looking online right now.  We are selling a 2015 Fusion SE for $14,991.  Online it ranges with dealerships and private sellers anywhere from $14,397 to $24,527.  That’s because a number of factors can go into the price of a vehicle like mileage, technology, whether or not the previous owner was a smoker, etc.  I thought dealerships charged a premium for the name but I don’t really see that happening.  I watch our sales team try and find the right car for people, and then give them a deal that fits their financial needs.  I don’t know what other dealers do, but it seems every time I bring a prospective customer to the attention of a sales manager, they are willing to meet the person where they are at and help them accordingly.
  3. The view from the other side is revealing
    It’s interesting that sports players always thank the fans.  They say it wouldn’t be possible without the faithful followers.  It’s interesting to me because it’s not true.  Fans make playing a sport more fun at times, but without fans, the athletes could still play.  The talent level doesn’t decrease without fans.  The competition doesn’t decrease.  Fans aren’t helping out the athletes by coaching or mentoring.  The fans simply observe.  They add nothing except money. But maybe it is true because isn’t that everything?  Without the money, the athletes have no reason to play day in and day out.  Let’s compare this to the car buying process.  The fans would be car buyers.  The athletes would be salespeople.  What happens when the fans don’t care to watch an athlete anymore?  They stop watching.  Then there goes the money.  What happens when a car buyer doesn’t care about the service they are getting?  They leave.  The complete control of any and every sale is not actually in the dealership’s hands, it is in the hands of the people.  So when someone comes here, there is no performance by the salespeople.  There is no lie.  It’s not worth it.  People can tell when someone is pretending and doesn’t really care.  The only actions done at Court Street Ford are attempts to help people in the car buying process.  Customers who give dealerships a chance tend to find that they enjoy the car buying experience here.  There is no underlying tension on behalf of the staff.  Usually the tension, if it is there, exists on behalf of the customer as a result of their fear of dealerships.  This fear doesn’t need to happen here.
  4. Tangible Examples
    So besides conversations that I have had with people, I will give a real life example.  Mr.  Chiero (Court Street Ford Owner) gave me multiple examples of what he has done for customers, but instead of telling those I’ll tell you what I saw my first week working at the dealership.  At the risk of giving too much information, I’ll spare most of the details.  One day I went to the restroom and found Jeff Chiero cleaning.  The owner of Court Street Ford.  Cleaning the bathroom stall.  I asked him about it and he said, “I wouldn’t ask anyone to do what I’m not willing to do.”  My experience thus far has been a positive one.  Between buying a car here myself, and getting to know the sales team personally, I am truly thankful thus far for everything I have learned and seen.
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