My name is Steve Mills. I'm a new car salesman with Taylor
Lexus Toyota. I do strictly new Toyota and I've being doing
this for just slightly over a year. I have a love of cars and
I like the automotive industry so I thought, well, what the
heck, I'll give it a shot. I mean, I enjoy selling and I like
working with people, so I thought there's no better place to
do it other than here. So, I gave it a shot and was hired and
the rest is history.
[Typical Work Day:]
My honest average day starts out at 8:30 am
in the morning with a cigarette, a cup of coffee
and the Leader Post. I start making some phone
calls from customers that I've talked to earlier
in the week, last week, and people that I'm
working with to hopefully close the deal. And
that sort of continues on throughout the day
whenever you've got time.
There are more slow [times]. There are lots
of slow times where you really don't have that
much to do but there's a lot of work out on
the lot to be done (like moving cars around),
and there's always customers around too. And
then there's the work when someone walks into
the show room and says, "I want to buy
a car." Then there's the hour and a half
or two-hour long process that it basically
requires in order for someone to be thoroughly
informed about a vehicle before they buy it.
You have to do a full product presentation,
demonstration, drive, consultation, find out
if this is the exact car that they want and
just sort of go from there.
[Personal Characteristics & Attitudes:]
You have to have a very strong work ethic.
You have to be prepared to put in long hours.
You have to be personable. This job is not
a forty-hour a week job. It's more along the
lines of fifty to sixty. Days off are a luxury
but the earning potential is phenomenal. But
you have to be prepared to put the work in
to do it.
[Education & Training:]
I actually went to university at the University
of Saskatchewan for a year and I decided that
the university route wasn't something I was
prepared to take at that time. I started as
a part-time sales person at a Radio Shack store,
in Saskatoon actually, and I worked my way
up. By the time I left I was the Assistant
Manager of the store and I'd never sold anything
in my life. I guess having some previous sales
experience and maybe having a degree of some
sort (an Arts Degree or something like that)
would definitely be a bonus, but the big trick
to it all is you have to show the Manager that
you're aggressive. And if that means coming
back and bothering him eight times a day, then
you do it.
The basic knack to this job is that when you
come in you have to be able to talk to people.
You can't be afraid. You can't run and hide
in a corner when someone comes into the show
room. You have to have a natural knack for
selling. If you don't have the natural knack
then they'll show you what it is and hopefully
you'll develop it over time. You have to be
personable I guess is what I'm trying to get
at (saying it the long way like a typical salesman
does); but you have to be personable and be
able to have a good attitude about it and it
all falls together.
There's none of the guys in checkered suits
running around any more with cigars hanging
out of their mouths saying, "So, you want
to buy this baby? It's a pretty snappy little
automobile." You know, there's none of
that any more. It's a lot more professional.
Today's buyers are a lot more informed than
they were fifteen, twenty, even ten years ago.
A lot of the times a customer will walk into
the showroom knowing more about the car than
you do. So, you have to be very informed and
you have to be sure that you know what you're
talking about - your own product as well as
the competition's. There's nothing worse than
an uninformed salesman. There's nothing worse
than standing there, looking at someone who
doesn't know what they're showing you. So,
there' s a lot of research that goes into that.
You have to adapt to each customer. There
are not two people in this world that are alike
and you have to adapt to the way that they
want to be treated - perceptive is a good word.
You have to have a very good instinct of what
your customer wants, what he needs, when he's
going to buy a car. You know what you have
to do in any situation is you have to take
control as a salesperson, but the trick to
it all is letting the customer think that he's
got the control and you have to be very subtle.
But you still have to have leadership qualities
in order to do this.
And if you want to succeed, if you want to
go any further than a salesman, you have to
have leadership qualities and strong sales
numbers. And if you want to get into management
or in eventually owning your own dealership,
that's the way you have to do it.
[Attitude & Positive
It takes a certain breed of people to do this
and you have to have a good attitude. You have
to have a positive outlook on life. If you
have a bad attitude, it's immediately passed
on to your customers and that's the quickest
way to scare someone off. And there're times
when you don't feel like it and that's a good
time to take a day off.
[Most Satisfying Aspect:]
It's fun. It's fun to be able to come to work
and know that I can make $500 or $1000 a day
if I want to. It's fun with the guys I work
with. I wouldn't say I love the job but I love
what I'm doing. Does that make sense? I love
the fact that I'm working in the automotive
industry because it's sort of a dream that
I've always had and this is a lot of fun. But
there are other areas I want to pursue too,
but you've got to start somewhere and this
is a good place to start.