Real Stories From Life at a Dealership

People are the experience

GIONELLI VINEYARDS

Sierra Motors        “One Low Price, Plain and Simple…ALWAYS !” 

CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275

We went to the grand opening of Gianelli’s Vineyards new tasting room. To say that we were pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. My wife and I are veterans of many wine tastings. We are far from being experts, but we know what we like.

 

Gianelli’s is located at 18263 Main St. in downtown Jamestown, Ca. We found charming people in a lovely setting. We were offered samples of a variety of wines. Things went smoothly until the Cabernet Sauvigon was served.

 07ninoSM

Do you ever wonder what perfection might taste like? It has aromas of mint and dark chocolate that are married to toasty oak flavors. Quite simply the best Cab we have had the joy to experience. The dichotomy that we experienced next caught us by surprise.

 

Lorie Gianelli poured us a glass of 2007 Nino. This is a special blend dedicated to Ron’s father, Nino. This is a blend of Grenache 60%, Petite Sirah 20%, Dolcetto 17% And Sangiovese 3% all Gianelli Vineyards Estate grown. I thought that I tasted the apogee of generations of winemaking techniques and vineyard stewardship.

 

 You need to decide on your own which is the best. I am saving a bottle of Nino for the soonest possible special occasion. I hope some friends hurry and visit us.

 

EP

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August 31, 2009 Posted by | eric prothro, gianelli vineyards, gold of the mother lode, jamestown | , , , | 1 Comment

Gold of the Mother Lode

It is exciting to see so many of you getting on board with Gold. This only works as a community. So continue to tell a friend. Please tag everything that you post with Gold of the Mother Lode. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to find us.

I also believe that we have not scratched the surface of how far this can take us as a group. There should come a time when every business that is on board has a placard in the window showing goldofthemotherlode.com. A billboard on Hwy 108 will be a logical step to follow. If the cost of the billboard is $6,000 per year, then with 100 participants the cost would only be $60.

Upon entering the area, visitors would be directed to check Gold of the Mother Lode to find everything that they might want, need or use. This is just a future idea. But the future is fast upon us.

Please spend time to improve your respective pages. Post often. Use videos. Have fun with it. Life is too short not to. See you soon.

Can you see the four circles?

4circles

August 22, 2009 Posted by | gold, lode, mother, motherlode | , , , , | Leave a comment

FAMILY VACATION

Sierra Motors        “One Low Price, Plain and Simple…ALWAYS !”

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

 ericp

http://www.sierramotors.net/HomePage

Family vacation. We all have the memories and some stand out more than others. Mom, Dad and the kids, going place and seeing things. The planning, the packing, the cost and don’t forget to take pictures. What was your best family vacation? Maybe you are planning one now. Our family is a veteran of many such trips. My wife and I have wonderful memories of our entire family being together in places like Hawaii, Mexico, the Beach, mountain ski resorts, lakes and many more. We have taken the car, overloaded the Suburban and flown. I know, of all the vacations that we have taken, one stands out for my son Ryan, Cabo San Lucas.cabo hotel

 

In the good times, trips and the car business, go hand in hand. All three kids, Russell, Ryan and Erica, join my wife Dana and myself for five days in Mexico. We stayed at an all-inclusive beachfront resort. We travel fun. It’s just a good time when we are all together on a vacation. In an amply sized suite, over looking the bay, we were all smiles. We spent time on the beach and in the water. When it came time to rent watercraft, we only used four for the five of us. I had the privilege of having my precious Daughter on for the ride with me.

 Erica & Dad SeaDoo

The hours we spent zooming around, chasing each other and seeing the entire bay, is etched in my memory. Erica was holding on tight to me. I love the sound of my Daughter laughing.

 

Fishing, eating and sightseeing are all fun, but we had a special trip to the Cabo Wabo Cantina. The restaurant at Cabo Wabo is a great place to eat. They have great dishes like Sammy’s’ Tequila Shrimp and the Waburrito. It was a lively dinner with enjoyable food. We heard live music coming from the club and after finishing dinner, we decided to see who was playing. As we walked in, there were only three dudes in the entire place. Dana quickly assessed the situation and excused herself to look at a few nearby shops. The rest of us had a seat.

 

Don’t judge me when I tell you what my son Ryan and I did. He asked and I agreed to have our first shot of tequila together. Russ and Erica stayed at the table as Ryan and I went to the shooter bar. The only way to properly abide with Sammy is simple; three double shot glasses apiece. One each of Blanco, Reposada and Anejo. Yes that totals six shots each. The bartender served the sliced lime and with a simple toast to Father and Son, here we go. The 3 tequilasbartender took a great picture of us half way thru.

 

After a minute to breath, it was off to see if we could make it back to the table. Being the observant fellows that we are, we instantly noticed things had changed. A dance floor that was totally empty mere moments ago was now filled with women. Not just your run of the mill pretty women, I mean smoking hot women. It looked like a beer commercial gone bad. There were about forty women, ages 19 to 25 out on the dance floor. Not a single guy. My Daughter says, “They just walked in”.

 

 My 17-year-old son is Ryan surveys the room and says a simple “Dad”. I pulled out a fifty-dollar bill and handed it to him in case he had to buy a drink. He strolled very confidently for a young man of seventeen. (Read Tequila) The crowd of women just swallowed him up. Within seconds he was dancing with a group of them. Being the good son that he is, Ryan grabs a couple of beauties and sends them to our table. As two of them take me by the arms, they tell me that I have to dance with them. After an almost unnoticeable moment of hesitation, out I go. My son and I were on the Dance floor at Cabo Wabo with 40 gorgeous women. I knew better and cut out after just one song. I did ask before the dance ended. “Who are you girls”?

 chargers_cheerleader_medium

My dance partner told me that they were the San Diego Chargers Cheerleaders, who are billed as America’s most beautiful Cheerleaders. She said that they are not supposed to identify them self’s as such, because they were here unofficially. They had done a favor for the Team’s owner and he had sent them all on a paid vacation.

 

Dana walked back in just as I was getting back to the table. “What’s going on?” she queried. “I just danced with those two over there” I quickly responded, pointing to the floor. “You should have waited until I was here,” said my wife dryly. “I wouldn’t have had the opportunity” was out of my mouth before I thought.

 

The most amazing looking blonde cheerleader is arm and arm with my son, on the way to the shooter bar. By the time they are done with their shots, the mood on the floor had changed. It was time to go to the next bar. A group of girls grabs my son and off they go out the door, to the next club. My wife and I figure that they will make to the door and our son will get his Id checked. No such luck. It is an outside club. The girls are now taking turns pole dancing for Ryan. After a lot of screaming and photoflashes they move again. They are off to the world famous El Squid Row.

 squid roe

How fast they turn. The guy at the door asks my son for Id. As soon as the girls realize they are partying with a seventeen year old, So long Charlie. Such a look of dejection. Like a puppy who doesn’t get taken for a walk. We all get into a taxi and head back to the resort.

 

Ryan tells me that he took a lot of pictures. He then ask’ me “Can we come back here next year”?

 

EP

July 2, 2009 Posted by | cabo wabo, eric prothro, family, sierra motors, vacation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Validation Thru Public Affirmation

Sierra Motors        “One Low Price, Plain and Simple…ALWAYS !”

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

 ericp

http://www.sierramotors.net/HomePage

Life throws you hardballs at a speed of which mere mortals cannot even swing at. God grants you opportunities through loss to walk toward his light in this unjust world.

I don’t have the knowledge of why this happens…I only have the feelings that have resulted. I have decided to share with the help of the written word my life’s experience.

This blog is the result of of over 30 years of moments locked in my head about my life in the automotive business. Sometimes these tidbits will leave a smile, sometimes will make you think, and sometimes will open up your memories of your own life.

The reason you get an emotional response to my stories is simple. I write the truth from my heart of the human experience and that connects us all together. By connecting with you I am connecting you with me. With connection comes the hope of understanding…and this I need.    

Along life’s path, some of us pick up some very special friends.  Barry Kluger is one of mine, for we have experienced the same type of loss. Barry Kluger is Managing Partner of Kluger Media Group and was Senior Vice President of VH1 and Viacom. A piece of advice from a friend like Barry is worth its weight in gold. Barry suggested that I submit some of my short stories to be published.  Amazingly enough this Sage was right! I am now published.

There is no more validation than the public affirmation of one’s faith. MY BLOG with the help of a jolly old elf, Jim Greenleaf, who begin in auto sales the same day I did, at my side. {and is this day is my Finance Manager right here at Sierra Motors in Jamestown, Ca.,}

In 1983 we started on a quest to conquer and take over the sales floor of our home town GM Dealership in Southern California, it was a time when the Industry was experiencing the biggest down fall in sales and production. As you might remember, here’s one of the best examples of the creative genius of GM; the Chevy “CITATION”, chevrolet-citation-2doesn’t that sound like your getting a ticket?

 

 

 Sorry …I digress.  Where was I… oh yeah … I’m now published and not only published but I’m the lead story in this number one insiders Automotive publications in the Country.

GetAttachment

 

 

Auto Dealership Monthly goes out to every auto dealership in the country. The asked for a humorous story, on page 5. Now is the validation or what?

 

 

 

 

 

A even bigger affirmation for me is when a friend, family member, a peer or even just a reader is so moved by a story to leave a comment. Wow! It makes it all so worth it.

Here now are some of those comments:

Patricia Mansel

Eric, Great story. Sorry I don’t remember the trip. You did a great job with it and we look forward to any more stories you want to share. Love, Aunt Patricia

  KANSAS TO CALIFORNIA
3 #
J & K

Eric, I can see how easy it would be to get hooked on hocky. I realy enjoyed the game we went to about three years ago. A good story. now lets go fishing. jp

J & K
1
AT THE STANLEY CUP
1 #
aunt bonita

enjoyed reliving our trip to ca. painted desert is still beautiful!!!! thank you, you did a great job.
love, auntie bon

aunt bonita
1
KANSAS TO CALIFORNIA
3 #
Kim Moser Johnson

Eric, what a beautiful story – I knew Mike from grade school, actually from church. Terrific family and great friend. Glad to hear he’s “down south” with me – I’ll try and look him up. Thank you for these stories, Goose! Much love to your family, Kim

Kim Moser Johnson
1
RUNNING, READING AND NEIGHBORS
4 #
J & K

Eric
Great story and we remember those days well, why do you think we moved? The wind is still there, so we hear. J&K

J & K
1
SEARS FOR ENTERTAINMENT
1 #
Brenda Robinson

Hello Eric,
That was quite an interesting story about our arrival into
the neighborhood. Yes one should not be judged by the color of one’s skin.
Mike, my cousin,lives in Temecula with his wife and 3 kids. He is a criminal defense lawyer for San Diego County.
Best wishes to you and your family,
Brenda

Brenda Robinson
1
RUNNING, READING AND NEIGHBORS
4 #
centerforrespitecare

Greg is pretty amazing. I wonder if he could get a break on being a bit late on Wednesdays from an understanding boss? And if not, maybe Greg’s calling is in the nonprofit sector, or somewhere other than where he is now

centerforrespitecare

http://centerforrespitecare.wordpress.com

1
LATE FOR WORK
2 #
J & K

We do need more souls out working like Greg and his familly so that others may have life. What a blessing to have worked with and known someone like Greg. J&K

J & K
1
LATE FOR WORK
2 #
J & K

Hi ya son, this turned out to be a story to remember and you did a great job telling it. Think of how many people came out to Calif. on Route 66. Anyway, keep up the great work, we are proud of you. Dad and Kay

J & K
1
KANSAS TO CALIFORNIA
3 #
ericprothro
sierramotors.net
efpro@msn.com
209.78.161.37

Thank you and yes I met Brenda in the sixties at Mikes home. Where is Mike?

ericprothro

http://www.sierramotors.net

1
RUNNING, READING AND NEIGHBORS
4 #
Dee Robinson

Bless your heart. That was an absolutely beautiful story, Eric. Thank you so much for sharing that. Much love, from my family to yours. P.S. You do know that Michael and Brenda are cousins, right? (small world)

Dee Robinson
1
RUNNING, READING AND NEIGHBORS
4 #
Anonymous

So Eric I remember a Trip we took in the Ranchero to a Beach Boys concert. You, Charlene Jordan, me and Don Boyer. I remember waking up in the back just in time to wake you up while driving off the side of the road. Crazy stuff. As I recall it was a long hot day at Angel’s Stadium. Fun times. Pa

1
PINSTRIPING
1 #
Anonymous

Yes those were the good old days!!!! Who knew we had espionage training while selling vehicles for a living.
Long live Linda .

Your friend,
Rick

1
THE GLASS IN THE OFFICE
1 #
Rick Abercrombie

Eric,

I forgot about Mike, that was great remembering him .

Your Bud,

Rick

Rick Abercrombie
1
INDEPENDENT LIVING
1 #
Carla Leopardo

GREAT story Eric! I think it may be a myth though! No teenager would do such a thing. Would they?

Carla Leopardo
1
REWARD FOR JULIE
1 #
Uncle Bill and Aunt Pat

Eric.

Jim and Betty were able to pull up web site,they really enjoyed the story…
Betty said it really touched Jim..

Keep up the good work..

P.S. We’re leaving for Reno Tuesday..

Uncle Bill and Aunt Pat.
1
Chicken Kid
1 #
Pamela Watson Gwin commented on your post
     
   

“Based on what I read you seem to be doing this in fine style. Keep up the good work. God is with you.”

 

 
Uncle Bill and Aunt Pat.

Eric I love this ..
Keep up the good “WORD’S ” and good Writting….

Love Aunt Pat.

P.S/ I will be checking in..

Uncle Bill and Aunt Pat.
1
The Legacy of Jack
1 #
Uncle Bill and Aunt Pat.

We both enjoyed your ride…
Our prayers our with you, and Mike..

With our love..

Aunt Pat.& Uncle Bill

Uncle Bill and Aunt Pat.
1
FIVE DEER TRAIL
1 #
ericprothro

Laugh, please laugh

 

Leah Alexander

Thanks, Eric. You’re da bomb!

 
Leah Alexander
 
HAPPY WE MOVED HERE
4 #
Carla Leopardo

Congratulations on your move Eric. It sounds like you have exactly the right frame of mind to stay in business and thrive, and in such an amazing place. I think you made the right move and I hope you will be happy there for a really long time! Cheers and good luck! Carla Leopardo

 
Carla Leopardo
HAPPY WE MOVED HERE
4 #

   
Here also are some comments from my peeps on Facebook    http://www.facebook.com/home.php  

Craig P. Earl sent you a message on Facebook…

That will be interesting. It will be fun to hear what you have to say.
I had asked my question about the articles because they are all very professionally done, and I was thinking that maybe you were grabbing them from some publications. It’s obvious that you’ve developed a talent that I was unaware of. Keep up the good work.

Pamela made a comment about your link:

“You are a good friend Eric Prothro.”

Alene Cates sent you a message on Facebook…‏

“Debbie read me the story on the dealership, we tryed to figure out who it was, think we did.”

DeeDee Hanson made a comment about your link…‏

“Love that! I learned how to drive in that parking lot…”

Cynthia Shook-Hart made a comment about your link…‏

“I loved this one. Actually made me miss “home”. Yep, silly me, still missing Lancaster.”

Wayne Evan Foss made a comment about your link…

“Eric, the greasy guy with no shirt, he’s still here, in fact, I think he cloned himself many times.”

RE: ZR-1

That is a very cool and memorable sale!!!  You have quite a few great ones that I have heard…    Not to brag, but my two most memorable car sales day includes a 5-1/2 car sale sunday(non-tent sale, 2 appt’s, 1-2 car fresh up sale) and a two new corvette(nassau blue & silver) sale thursday at $18k over MSRP…  We were only paid 20% at that time w/%5 extra for over 12 cars in a month.  I don’t remember the exact voucher amount, the pack was only $2500 then, but the total voucher(s) was over $5k, I think Bill Penn was not happy…  Not long after and after leaving the floor a flat was paid for vette sales irrespective of profit(not good for motivation). 
Hope things are going well for you and yours, I still would like to visit in the not-so-distant future.  Really enjoy your writings and info, stay in touch…
Your Friend, Associate, & Biking partner Always,
Mitch

Michelle Prothro made a comment about your link on her Wall…‏

“Wow it is really cool to read about our family. I never really met any of my Papa Lloyds side of the family, I dont think anyways?well besides Corky and Jimmy. Have you written any others?”

Re: In the Forum‏

Excellent. Dave Atkins.

Pamela Watson Gwin made a comment about your link…‏

“Very thought provoking. Greg is a hero to so many. Thank you for sharing. Your reward will be in heaven Greg as well as on every face of the people you serve.”

July 1, 2009 Posted by | automotive, barry kluger, blogs, chevy, eric prothro, friends, gm, sierra motors | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

PINSTRIPING

Sierra Motors        “One Low Price, Plain and Simple…ALWAYS !”

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

 ericp

http://www.sierramotors.net/HomePage

 

PINSTRIPING

 

Like most kids in high school, I had car. Mine was a 1971 Ford Ranchero. The Ranchero was based on a station wagon chassis. It had the front end of a sporty car and the utility of a pick up bed.

 

Early 70’s cars came with some of the most potent V-8 motors. The 351 cubic inch “Cleveland” motor was in mine. It was mated to a C-6 automatic transmission. Good acceleration, high top speed and very dependable. We added headers and a Holley carburetor to increase the performance.

 71 ranchero

One of my favorite features was the bench seat. There is nothing like driving around with your best girl sitting next to you. A good-looking ride, all shined up with a babe sitting as close as possible. Talk about being on top of the world. I wish that I still had one…I mean the Ranchero.

 

Riding in the back of a pickup used to be legal. My Ranchero was packed with people many a time for various road trips, especially to Zuma Beach. Put a little air in the High Jacker rear shocks and it would handle the load. I would drive down Malibu Canyon with Don and Chris… brothers Larry and Rodney…Floyd and George, two in the front and five in the back. With Peter Frampton, or, Elton John playing on the 8-track. We were going to the beach to look at girls. The 70’s were a great decade at least what I can recall..

Ranchero 71

 

We took a lot of pride in our cars back in those days. I washed and waxed my Ranchero hundreds of times. I knew that is was special. It was more than just a set of wheels, because I had custom pinstripes. To a car buff, what makes a good paint job stand out is flair. Pin striping is usually two different colors, one to set off the body color and one to make it stand out, almost a 3-D effect. Freehand pinstriping is the most difficult, but it permits almost unrestricted creativity.

 

My Ranchero was pinstriped by a master my friend Gary. Gary had a body shop in town that did paint and body work. But custom car fans knew it was home to one of the premier pin strip artist. It transformed my paint job into a work of art. I got to watch him do some of the Ranchero and I was in awe of the lines and designs he would create.

 pinstripe

I really enjoyed those days. I have many great memories in the Ranchero. My whole life was in front of me. I had the freedom to go anywhere in my Ranchero. That is still part of the draw of being in car sales, being able to connect to people on what really makes them happy about driving. Finding the little things that really make a difference.

 

At our store, Sierra Motors, in Jamestown CA. we don’t pay our sales people on price or profit. We pay on one simple detail; customer satisfaction. If you aren’t satisfied we shouldn’t be doing it. I want you to be as satisfied as I was with Gary’s pin stripes.

 

EP

June 8, 2009 Posted by | 1971 ranchero, best deal, classic, eric prothro, jamestown, pinstripe | , , , , , | 3 Comments

YOU GOT ME AGAIN

Sierra Motors        “One Low Price, Plain and Simple…ALWAYS !”

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

 ericp

http://www.sierramotors.net/HomePage

YOU GOT ME AGAIN

 

Over the loud speaker I hear the floor manager page me: wonderful, I have a customer asking for me. It is a young lady named Nancy. It is her second visit to the lot, but this time there is a guy with her. As I’m greeting Nancy the guy interjects “I’m her brother”. Nancy gives an odd reaction. Nancy came back to see a used Camaro. While we’re going over it, her “brother’ is offering a lot of objections.

 

The plan seems clear divide and conquer, besides who is this guy? Nancy is ready for a test drive, perfect. I got in the Camaro and locked the doors. I pulled it up to Nancy and put her in her driver’s seat. Her “brother” was trying to get in the other side but it was locked. I went around to the passenger door and used the key to open it and squeezed in front of the brother and quickly closed the door. I told Nancy “let’s go” and she went.

 

As we left the first thing she said is “that’s not my brother, he’s a salesman from another dealership”. She went on to explain that when she told him that she was coming to see me to look at a car that he insisted on going, so that he could make sure she got a good deal. She told me that she couldn’t get rid of him. “No problem” I assured Nancy.

 

We finished the test drive and went in a separate entrance. Nancy and I went directly into a finance office and finalized the deal. The Finance Manager came in and signed all of the documents with her. All the while her “brother” was running around the dealership looking for a way to disrupt the sale, but to no avail.

 

As she was taking delivery and leaving the dealership, I told her not to worry about the other salesman (her brother) and that I would take care of him. She smiled, thanked me and left. Her “Brother” watched as she pulled away. I walked up to him and was going to ask if he needed a ride. “You got me again” was all I heard.

 

I wondered what he meant, until he said “I was the guy across the street that you came and took your customer from last year”. I thought hard for a second, “What in the…Oh yeah… That guy.” I remember having a customer asking for me. It was Julio and I was about 20 minutes from arriving at work. “Tell Julio I’ll be there in 15!” off I ran to work. When I arrived I saw Julio’s car that I had sold him last time parked out front, but no Julio.

 

A New Nissan pulls up behind Julio’s car. It’s Julio on a test drive with a salesperson from Nissan. I watch as they pull into the dealership across the street. Only one thing strikes me as a course of action. I walk into the dealership across the street and directly up to Julio. “Hi Julio, just want to let you know I am ready when you are”. “I’ll be there in a minute”, Julio replies with a smile.

 

The salesman instantly turned bright red, sort of stomped his feet and blurted out, “thanks a lot! “ So I walked back to my dealership and waited. Julio came back over and we had another completely satisfied customer in no time.

 

A year later and I had never thought about the other salesman again. Who’d of known? Even after both encounters, I couldn’t bring myself to apologize. He called somebody to pick him up.

EP

June 3, 2009 Posted by | camaro, eric prothro, jamestown, sierra motors, test drive | , , , , | 1 Comment

THE BACK SEAT OF A CHEVETTE

Sierra Motors        “One Low Price, Plain and Simple…ALWAYS !”

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

 ericp

http://www.sierramotors.net/HomePage

THE BACK SEAT OF A CHEVETTE

 

I looked out my office window at Sierra Motors to spy a tow truck with a Chevy Chevette chained too its back. It seemed to be a rite of passage with all the changes coming to GM in the next couple of months this old dog just couldn’t take it anymore. It was at peace with the fact that all that rattling metal would probably make its way into about five new hybrids saving mankind from global warming. (LOL)

 

 

When I started selling cars, in 1983, we had real jewels like the Chevrolet Citation, Celebrity and Chevette. Believe me when I say that GM was already lost in the 1980’s. The best new car models they could produce would be the Lumina, Corsica and Beretta.

 chevrolet-chevette-7

The test drive in a Chevette was an experience. You had to be a contortionist because the driver’s seat did not sit square. It wasn’t exactly facing the front. The steering wheel came at you from an angle and it was off center. So much so that your right hand would be about two inches closer to your body than your left. For the driver it all came together with the hump in the floor from the transmission, remember the Chevette was still rear wheel drive. So all of the pedals were offset to the left. So your driving position was crooked, with your upper torso twisted to the right and your legs twisted to the left and your arms at two different lengths, in other words, a chiropractors dream.

 

I looked out and saw a nice couple looking at one of the last new Chevettes. After a short presentation and very little investigation we went for a test drive. I’m in the back seat, the Chevette routine starts. I place my left foot on a rattle. I place my right hand on a wind noise. Something else is making noise so I put my right foot on it and finally my left hand is keeping the rear window from whistling. All I can think about is how bad this test drive is going.

 

We pull back into the dealership I start to apologize…but I don’t. I follow my training and in an upbeat tone I ask “well how did you like it?” To my amazement they started saying things like, “nice ride” and “good acceleration” and “nice and quiet”. Standing in disbelief all I could do was ask, “What did you drive here in?”

 

They pointed to a 1963 VW bug. 1963-VW-Bug-Drivers-FrontIt was one of the old 32 horsepower, air-cooled engines. It had a rear quarter window missing. They then went on to describe how in there 15 years of marriage, that they had always aspired to get their first new car and this was it. To be able to finally afford a car with a new car warranty (12 months, 12,000 miles back then) was the fulfillment of years of working and saving together.

 

I realized then and there that my paradigms were of no importance. If I was going to be a success in this business I had better learn from the potential customer early and ‘LISTEN’  to what their values and needs were. To find a customers needs and wants could only be done by taking the time to actually listen to them, before trying to sell anything.

 

A lesson that I learned in the back seat of a Chevette…. and that’s the only thing you could do in the backseat of a Chevette.

 

EP 

 

May 31, 2009 Posted by | best price, celebrity, chevette, chevy citation, gm, lumina, sierra motors | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

INDEPENDENT LIVING

Sierra Motors        “One Low Price, Plain and Simple…ALWAYS !”

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

 ericp

http://www.sierramotors.net/HomePage

INDEPENDENT LIVING

 

One of the worst things about Auto Malls is the disconnection from the community. It is no longer a neighborhood business. In  a Mall you don’t get the chance to have regular visitors from the residents and local business’ and the lessons learned from them. Employees can no longer walk to work or drive in less than five minutes.  Not much of the neighborhood evening, walk off the dinner crowd, either.

 

We had an Independent Living Center in the neighborhood behind the dealership. The four or five Men that lived there had varying degrees of disability. But compared to some of the “normal” customers that we had to work with, they were good folks and a lot easier to deal with.

 

Mike was a regular from the Center and was a favorite of most of the salesmen. Although Mike had a grey beard and was balding, he had the natural joy of a child. Every morning he would walk through the lot on the way to the bus stop. It was impossible to greet him with anything but a smile. He knew each of us by name. Every day after work he would stop and ask questions. He would ask if we liked a certain car and if he could have a brochure. I think he had more brochures than we did. He would ask if we were selling anything. He would ask each salesman “How are you”?

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Mike was a part of the dealership. He was happy everyday that he had a place to live. He was happy everyday that he had a place to work. As a matter of fact he was good at being happy. Most of all I think, he was happy to have friends. Being part of Mike’s life is one of benefits of a neighborhood job.

 

Sometimes Mike would wander into the middle of a sale and some customers would get annoyed. I have seen more than one customer told to leave if they where rude to Mike and the guys. If anybody was ever mean to one of the guys, none of the salesmen would stand for it. It was better to loose a possible sale than to let anybody talk down our friends.

 

A simpler, purer heart I have not met. Mike never meant any disrespect. If he did realize that he was interrupting, he would simply say a heartfelt “Sorry”. Maybe that is part of what is wrong with the large dealerships and being in an Auto Mall, the “Mikes” are missing.

 

This is also the reason I really enjoy Sierra Motors in Jamestown, we have the best friends any local full service dealership would want.

 

EP

May 30, 2009 Posted by | best price, eric prothro, hometown, Independent Living Center, sierra motors | , , , , | 2 Comments

SARGE

Sierra Motors        “One Low Price, Plain and Simple…ALWAYS !”

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

 ericp

http://www.sierramotors.net/HomePage

SARGE

 

“Who is the old guy that hangs out around here?” I asked. “That’s Sarge, He’s the eyes and ears of the owner, watch it”, was the common reply. I was new in the car business, but, a guy who watches and tells didn’t seem right to me. I didn’t know anything about the guy except that he was old, short and I didn’t trust him. So I made a point of making my position known to him.

 

I was in a small used car office when Sarge walked in. I don’t even remember what I said to him other than something to piss him off. Apparently this time it did. No sooner did the words leave my lips than Sarge jumped over the desk and put me up against the wall. He grabbed my necktie and spun it around as to restrict my airway. This old, short, retired Sergeant was in the middle of calling me a “smart ass” when I calmly asked him to let me go. I learned that strength is better displayed through endurance then fighting back.

 

Over the next 20 years I learned a lot more from Sarge. He was a non-commissioned pilot in WWII. He flew supplies to Patton. He dropped Para-troopers into battle. Sarge landed in North Africa and was captured by Rommel. He was a Prisoner of War. Marching through the snow going into Germany he escaped. His description of hiding in French sewers has forever affected any possible positive thoughts of the French and the smell of their food. Sarge talked about getting smuggled across the English Channel in a fishing boat. He said that he spent three weeks drinking before reporting back to duty.

 

When describing the flack burst that left him peppered with shrapnel, shredded the cockpit of his Bomber and killed his co-pilot, He said “After a couple of minutes you realize that what you feel, running warm down your leg, must not be piss”. Bleeding, he landed that plane.

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Sarges told me with tears in his eyes, that he would much rather tell me of the women that he knew and the alcohol he drank, instead of the friends that he lost.

 

It was a privilege to have learned respect from my friend. I still can’t believe that he jumped over that desk. But I know I’m better for it. Thanks you old goat, for allowing me to learn self worth in a common moment, in a small used car office.

 

EP

May 29, 2009 Posted by | b-25, jamestown, sarge, sierra motors, used car office | , , , , | Leave a comment

PILLOW BACK SEATS

Sierra Motors        “One Low Price, Plain and Simple…ALWAYS !”

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

 ericp

http://www.sierramotors.net/HomePage

PILLOW BACK SEATS

 

As with a lot of people, some of the activities that I participated in during my youth were less than respectful endeavors. It was during my first year in car sales and after one of “those” nights in 1984, that I showed up to work more than a little hung over.

 

July in the Mojave Desert is hot, dry, dusty and windy. I had been out almost all night and came to work in less than stellar condition. This was not all that unusual for me at the time. It was in the middle of the day and about 107 degrees in the shade. I was dehydrated from last night’s alcohol consumption. I don’t think I slept at all, as a matter of fact it was, “AN ALL NIGHTER”. But here I am in a dress shirt, slacks and a tie …”Ready to dance’.

 

In comes a nice older Gentleman. He is driving an older Caprice. He wants to look at a new Caprice Classic Brougham. You remember the really cool one that had the quarter vinyl roofs… Hood ornaments and white wall tires of course they were standard. This one had these really nice pillow back seats and the ride was so smooth. Don’t forget the wire wheel covers. It reminded me of the one they drove to do the circumcision, on Saturday Night Live.

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The Gentleman says that he would like to take it on the freeway. That sounded great to me. We had had the A/C on for a little while and it was so nice and cool inside. Those pillow-back seats must have been really comfortable. We got on the freeway and headed north, I fell asleep.

 

It’s hard to judge how much time passes when you’re asleep. But when I opened my eyes I soon realized that we were almost to Mojave. I suggested that we turn around now. We did and went back to the dealership. He liked the Brougham, so he traded his Caprice in and bought it.

 I just wonder how far he would have driven if I had stayed asleep for a while longer? Sometimes I think back and wonder if I was first to wake up.

EP

May 27, 2009 Posted by | all nighter, Caprice Classic Brougham, eric prothro, jamestown, sierra motors, test drive | , , , , , | 2 Comments