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It was not the position that I had expected to find myself in. Explaining to an 11 year old what was going to happen to his beloved station wagon. It was a prototypical sale, one where everybody leaves happy. I thought.
The family comes in on a Saturday, looking to replace their aging station wagon. You remember the ones with the fake wood sides and the backwards facing, not to mention car sickness inducing, rear seats.
A family of four still needs some room, but the late 70’s model wagon with a mid-six figure odometer, has seen better days.
The sale was almost nondescript in that everything went just as it should. It is amazing though, how much you can find out about people and the bond between man and machine. We had the right vehicle in stock, interest rates were good, trade value was better and the payment was just right. They took delivery and went home happy or so I thought.
Monday and I am at my desk. I look up to see Mom, as she walks into the showroom with her 11 year old son. She points me out to the lad and here he comes. I greeted him with a smile, but he looks very serious for an 11 year old. He inquired, “what’s going to happen to our car?”
This is the family who had told me how much their son loved “The Wagon”. He had his own space in the back that he loved to be in when they traveled. When the next child was born he did not feel displaced because he had his own special place in the wagon that was his alone. He grew up there, safe and secure. I was feeling tremendous pressure all of the sudden.
I looked him straight in the eye and told him that the wagon was going to be gotten ready to be sold to another family. To another family with a little boy who needed his own place to be safe in the wagon. The 11 year old stood very straight and said “thank you”. He then turned and walked back to his mother and they left.
His mom called me a couple of hours later. She explained how upset the boy was because “the wagon” that he had traveled in, slept in & grown up in was not just gone, but more importantly he did not know where his friend was going. She told me that her son wanted to come back to the dealership and ask me. She agreed and brought him down unannounced. She thanked me and said that I was amazing because her son would be honored to share his special place with the next little boy to grow up in, “the wagon”.
I just smiled …for days.
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Nothing Fancy… Just a Simple Thumb
Once in a lifetime an idea comes along that is so original, so simplistic, yet works so perfectly, that it defies all previous conceptions of what it take to do a job successfully. Bob’s thumb auto appraisal is such a stroke of genius that is almost stupefying.
There was always a stereotype of the quisessential artist, painting something in the distance. What the artist invariably does is to hold up his thumb to derive some sort of scale of the piece he is conceiving. So to see an artist gazing at a subject with his thumb held high is considered an action taken to ensure the best possible results in the ensuing masterpiece. Bob was a trade- in artist.
When a customer would, during the course of a sale, make inflated statements about the value of their trade-in, Bob would stay calm and listen. Usually after the second or third time of the customer stating how valuable their trade-in is, Bob would simply say “let’s take a look”.
At that point Bob would ask the client to point out their trade-in. Bob would move to a point where he and the client would have a good view of the trade, never standing too close as to actually be able to see any small flaws. Bob would then raise his thumb up with his best artistic flair and ask “how much were you thinking?” never taking his gaze away from his thumb on the trade-in.
From the outlandish numbers that were being bantered about before viewing (ex: $20,000) would come a reply like “$18,000’. Bob still gazing at the trade and his thumb would calmly question “that much”? The next reply would be a sheepish “$16,000” as if they were questioning the master. You wouldn’t question Rembrandt, would you? Bob would tell them that we will take a closer look at it later and continue on to make the sale.
If momentum is important then Bob owned all of it. The pure scale of economy is breathtaking, $4,000 for seven words.
Nothing fancy… just a simple thumb.
Sierra Motors “One Low Price, Plain and Simple…ALWAYS !”
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We’re Still Here!
As the new General Manager of Sierra Motors, I thought it would be good to meet my neighbors. So I did. As I went into different establishments in Jamestown I was greeted in an unexpected way. People seemed surprised that we were still here. Furthermore it seemed inspirational to other business’ that we not just laying down and dying. We are out to tell people that we are still going to be here. At Sierra Motors we are going to continue to offer “one low price, plain & simple…always”. As well as a complete service department to repair most all makes and models. Our tire sale prices are surprising people. The Sierra Motors Body Shop will return your vehicle to you in better condition than you thought possible.
So the only place we are going is to take care of you, our local longtime customers. We’ve been here for you and we will be here in the future. So come on down and see Mike, Frank, Bill & Rick in sales. See John, Kevin & Glenn in service. See Chuck or Homer in parts. Don’t forget Randy in the body shop. Tell them Eric sent you.
All of the local people are in this together. Sometimes when things draw us together, we make it through them better. See you at the Dealership!
Here are some of the local Businesses I visted today…
The Nation Hotel , Mother Lode Coffee Shop, Charley’s Books & Galleria, The Emporium, Judies,Roto Rooter… right here on main street in Jamestown.
Toll Free 800.571.0275