Real Stories From Life at a Dealership

People are the experience

THE BACK SEAT OF A CHEVETTE

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

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

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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 

 

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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

Trust and a Friend of my Dads

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

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

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http://www.sierramotors.net/HomePage

TRUST

 

My Dad has a friend, Lovell. I have never heard anything but good about this guy. He is a gentleman in his 60’s and has a passion for his beliefs. I have had a few opportunities to converse with Lovell, and always enjoyed the conversation.

 

Lovell came to the dealership to look around. He was going to be in the market for another car soon. One of our nicest salespeople was with him. They spent a lot of time going over what he was looking for. They looked at more than a few cars. They spent time on options and safety equipment. Then there were a couple of test drives.

 

Prior to working in a best price up front environment, I always used to say, “That I could afford to give cars away to my friends because so many people wanted to negotiate.” If anybody would just come in and ask me to take care of them, I would. If someone didn’t trust me and thought that they could out negotiate us to get a better deal, that’s when we made most of our profit. Lovell wasn’t sure what position he was going to take on this issue, but I knew; he was a friend of my Dad’s.

 

We gave Lovell the absolute best price that we could right up front. Lovell liked the car; it fit his needs and was in his price range. It was a simple cash deal. Lovell put a stop to the sale “I would buy the car right now but I forgot my checkbook”. Poker is a dish best served with a winning hand. I had to call his bluff.

 

“My Dad trust’ you, so I trust you”, I continued, “So go ahead and take the car home and when you find your check book come back in and pay for it”. This stymied Lovell. We sat there, quietly for what seemed like a long couple of minutes.

 

Lovell did what I hoped that he would do. He reached into his back pocket and opened up not one, but two checkbooks and wrote checks from each for the purchase. He drove that car for a few years until he was in an accident. He fell asleep at the wheel and went up an embankment. The car was airborne and landed on its roof. He was completely unhurt. He came in and bought another one.

 

I think what doesn’t occur to people, even good honest people like Lovell, lying to a salesperson is still lying, which when I think about it, is the only defense a customer has.

 

EP

May 26, 2009 Posted by | best price, customer, dad, eric prothro, jamestown, purchase, sierra motors | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Show Me Your Hand

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

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

 ericp

http://www.sierramotors.net/HomePage

 

Some people are larger than life. Some people have an even larger opinion of themselves. Physical size does give an advantage in a lot of situations. Not just being bigger than most people, but, to be willing to use that advantage to inflict your will on others can put you in a dominate position. Combined with a well known reputation for willingness, and adding a actual enjoyment of hurting people, will get a lot of people so see things your way.

 

Bill came into the dealership to buy his wife a car. He knew how things would go… and it better be his way. The process started very simply with Bill and his wife coming on the lot looking for a Corvette. Bill set the tone with the salesman early by telling him, “This is how this is going to work”.

 

As luck would have it their salesman was a “green pea”, with less than two months in the business. Instead of following the normal sales procedure, Bill dictated how things were going to happen. Normally the salesman drives the car off the lot, not with Bill calling the shots. He drove and then his wife drove. Somehow the salesman made it through the test drive.

 

Visibly shaken but still moving forward, the salesman followed the customers into the write-up booth. They were ready to move into what they perceived as the negotiation phase. They of course would get a deal… their way.

 

Who is your favorite person to play poker with? Can you describe them? I can. It’s the guy that I play against that shows me all of his cards up front.

 poker

The salesman had no control over the situation. A great time for a manager to get involved or to; ‘Take Over the Sale’. We are in a small office, just Bill, his wife, the salesman and I. We start to fill out the sales worksheet, bill tells his wife, “Go home and get the checkbook. By the time you get back I will have these guys just where I want them.” I knew right then that I had him.

 

We filled out the worksheet with the price that was on the window. Bill stated that there was no way he was paying that. He laughed at the worksheet. I stayed seated calm and in control. Bill stood up and acted physically threatening. I was unmoved. He pounded his fist on the table, he yelled, he demanded, but I just sat. After all he couldn’t leave his wife was in the car. We went through 20 more minutes of this behavior and believe me the salesman was sweating up a storm. I just sat waiting for the right moment. I didn’t think the salesman was going to survive what he thought was stress.

 

Bill’s wife finally came back. She walked into the office with a smiling from ear to ear because she was getting a Corvette. Chevrolet-Corvette-C6-026-330055

With a big smile she said “Ok Honey, how much do I write the check for”? Bill’s giant ego left him no choice. He had already told his wife that he would have us where he wanted by now. So Bill put on his best “I won again smugness” for his wife and pointed to the number on the worksheet. It was the same number that had been there from the start, before all of the pounding, stomping and threatening. 

 

I knew that whatever number was on the table when his wife got back they would pay. Bill said so. He wasn’t going to loose face with his wife. Easiest negotiation I can remember outside of one price selling.

 

EP

May 14, 2009 Posted by | best price, chevy, corvette, eric prothro, poker, sierra motors | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Legacy of Jack

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

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

 ericp

http://www.sierramotors.net/HomePage

The Legacy of Jack

 Who is the most important co-worker that you have ever worked with? Most of us have worked with a lot of people, hundreds at least, maybe, over a thousand. Some of them have been very memorable, some you would like to forget. But who has actually affected your job and life? Let me tell you about Jack.

 In 1983, when I broke into the car business, the top dog in the store was Jack. He sold the most. He was there the longest. He took care of all of the Owners’ personal customers. He had a customer following that seemed like an endless supply of buyers. When we went through training, Jack trained us on the delivery process. He was a master of going over the new car in a methodical, yet comforting delivery that would ensure repeat business.

 Jack openly stated that one of his best skills was that of a bus driver. Not the public transportation kind, but the “If you don’t do things my way you will get run over by the bus named Jack” kind. He was even complete with sound effects. Whenever someone was about to be or had just been run over by the bus, Jack would come out to wherever was the biggest group of people and simulate the sound of a bus going through the gears and then running over something with a “thump, thump” sound. He would do the bus braking, putting it in reverse and backing over the victim again. Then he’d pull forward again to run over the poor schmuck a third time. All with the “thump, thump”. He smiled and loved to make a public display of all who opposed him or maybe talked to one of “HIS” customers.

 My Uncle Corky was in the dealership looking to order a new Corvette. He was working with Jack and realized that I worked there. So he told Jack that he would really like to buy from me if possible. Jack amazingly said no problem. He got me involved and walked me through the process of making my first factory order. Everything was finished, we took the deposit and said good-bye to my Uncle. My first week on the job and I already had a Corvette order. Jack was very polite and accommodating.

84bronze1

 Jack then pulled me aside and explained to me that the Corvette order would take at least a couple of months and in no uncertain terms that I would no longer be there and he would get the sale anyway. Then he walked away. I realized that this business might be a little tougher than I had anticipated, but I was no quitter. Let’s dance.

 It was about a month later when things came to a boil. Saturday lunch had just arrived for the sales department. The store used to buy lunch for the sales department on Saturdays. Jack went to get his. When he opened it up somebody had taken a bite out of his sandwich. Jack was out raged,” Nobody touches my lunch.” Jack started literally screaming that whoever did this was going to be fired. He was making an unbelievable scene over a free lunch. The store manager came to see what all the yelling was about, he ran into raving maniac Jack. The manager asked Jack to quiet down and explain to him what had happened.

 Just being questioned at all sent Jack into a complete frenzy. Then the threats started. Fire whoever did this or you all will be gone. Then he came up with his best idea yet, fix this immediately or I will quit and go over to your competitor and take all of my business with me and put the whole dealership out of business. Jack was really proud of himself. “That’s it…I quit” yelled Jack. He assumed that when the owners found out what had happened that they would beg him to come back. He thought that this brilliant move would totally solidify his already lofty position. I guess they didn’t feel the same way.

 The first thing that I noticed when I came to work Monday morning was that the dealership wasn’t closed. It was business as usual. A customer came in and asked for Jack. Someone else took care of them and sold the car. It actually got better without Jack. It became what was best for the store not Jack. When my uncle’s Corvette came in I was the one still working there and delivered it to him. The first of six Corvettes he bought from us.  Jack didn’t fair well at the other dealership. Most of the customers didn’t follow him. He only stayed in the business a little longer. I heard that he became a prison guard.

 I have always remembered what my Mom would call “getting too big for your britches”. Nobody should think that they are the business. It can and will survive without me or anyone else. I’m better off as a servant of all of those that work with me, to help them prosper. To get the customer what they want & need.

 Most importantly…Don’t be a “Jack”…

 

EP

May 11, 2009 Posted by | 1984 corvette, Chevrolet, customer satisfaction, dealerships, eric prothro, jamestown, motherlode, sierra motors | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Buyers Bill of Rights

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

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

 ericp

http://www.sierramotors.net/HomePage

 

Yes we are different. Most people say the most unpleasant part of getting a new vehicle is the price negotiation. That’s why we are so successful; we’ve already done that for you. Compare our six rights to how you have been treated elsewhere.

 

“Sierra Motors’ Buyers Bill of Rights”

…changing the way you purchase your next vehicle.

 

  1. Receive our best price upfront in writing on every vehicle everyday.
  2.  Receive assistance from non-commissioned sales consultants who are paid based on your complete satisfaction…not how much you spend.
  3. Enjoy a relaxed shopping experience. You do not have to commit to purchase a vehicle, in order to see how much it cost.
  4. Receive the cash value for your trade…whether you buy ours or not.
  5. Receive affordable finance solutions for today and your future.
  6. You can’t buy the wrong vehicle: industry leading seven days or 500 mile (no question asked) full refund policy.

 

     Go to Sierramotors.net or call 800.571.0271

    

     See you soon,

 

     Eric

 

 

April 29, 2009 Posted by | best price, buyers rights, customer satisfaction, eric prothro, sierra motors | , , , , | Leave a comment

GM set to Reveal Viability Plan Details Today

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

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

 ericp

EP SIERRA MOTORS JAMESTOWN CA- Here’s the latest news from Detroit:

BY TIM HIGGINS • FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER • April 27, 2009

General Motors Corp. plans to announce details of its revised viability plan early this morning.
The troubled Detroit automaker is expected to formally launch a debt-to-equity exchange with unsecured bondholders early this week, presumably today, as part of its efforts to restructure nearly $28 billion in debt and to satisfy the White House’s demands for a healthy balance sheet.

GM faces a June 1 deadline to improve its restructuring plan and impress President Barack Obama or face bankruptcy. Obama’s auto task force had ruled that GM’s previous viability plan failed to go far enough in fixing the company, which is staying afloat on $15.4 billion in government loans. The company has lost about $70 billion over the past two years and has asked for as much as $14.6 billion in additional U.S. government loans.

GM Chief Executive Fritz Henderson has said the business plan could include additional job cuts and further plant closings. Many think the company’s Pontiac division will be axed.

 

April 27, 2009 Posted by | auto, best price, eric prothro, gm, jamestown, motherlode, pontiac, tires | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sierra Motors Radio Spots

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

 

 CALL TODAY  @800.571.0275 

 ericp

EP SIERRA MOTORS JAMESTOWN CA-  Here are 2 :30 spots currently playing on the local radio stations around the Mother Lode.

SIERRA Motors Are Yor Tires Tired? radio :30

 Are your tires tired?

 Cause Tires get tired?

Wouldn’t you get tired if you were on the road all day?

Why I’m getting tired JUST thinking about it.

Sierra Motors sells tires for less that never get tired.

ALL OUR TIRES ARE FILLED WITH NITROGEN THAT’S LIKE ADILALYN. AND THEY COME WITH SIERRA MOTOR’S FREE TIRELESS TIRE PROTEACTION PLAN, THAT’S RIGHT 24/7 WE DON’T GET TIRED WORKING FOR YOU.

THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO KEEP YOUR TIRES TIRE LESS AND THAT’S  BOY’S AT  SIERRA MOTORS HOME OF THE TIRE LESS TIRE. 984.5272 OR TOLL FREE @800.571.0271.

 

SIERRA Motors Body Shop radio :30

 

Whether it’s the first scratch, or, your last fender bender {we hear car crash} Sierra Motors Body Shop will turn your jalopy back into a jewel.

 Our color match specialist, our environmentally safe spray booth and our lifetime warranty adds up to your complete satisfaction.

 Remember for repaint, replacement, restoration or just plain repair; bring your ride to the guys at Sierra Motors call now 984-5272 or toll free @800.571.0271

 

 

April 25, 2009 Posted by | auto, best price, body shop, chevy, gm, gmc, jamestown, motherlode, sierra motors, tires, trucks | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment