(Full Transcript of this interview available at the bottom of this page)
(Closed Captioning available on YouTube)
In this episode, I talk to Daniel Wuliger, a Finance Manager for a car dealership. We go over how to get started in the industry and the need for young employees to get in the game!
Aired: Jan. 22, 2018
Full Interview Transcript
Samantha- Welcome to 28 and Searching, I’m your host Samantha and today I have Daniel Wuliger with me. Thank you Daniel for coming on my show.
Daniel- You’re welcome.
Samantha- So tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you currently residing? How old are you? How long have you been in your industry? That sort of thing.
Daniel- I am in Durham North Carolina, originally from Cleveland Ohio. I am 32 years old and I have been in my industry for around 5 years now off and on.
Samantha- Okay very cool, and so what exactly is your job title and what does it mean that you do?
Daniel- I’m a business manager, actually I hold many different titles and they all mean the same thing. So business manager, finance manager, finance producer. So I do the paperwork, state and bank D.M.V. so on and so forth for a vehicle purchase. So when you come into a dealership, you buy a car, you agree to the numbers. I come out, I speak to you and then I call you in my office. We do all your paperwork, I present you a suite of products and I anticipate a sale each time and that’s what I do.
Samantha- Okay so most people in life will probably approach somebody in your position at one point?
Daniel- If they purchase a car from a dealership, yes.
Samantha- Okay and how do you get inside? That sounds—I mean that’s kind of a back office job. What kind of thing did you take to get there?
Daniel- It started off when I was a child, a passion for cars and throughout my life of just reading, studying as you would with any passion learning and I became a walking encyclopedia when it came to automobiles. And so I put that to good use along with a decent personality and a talkative nature and I went into sales. And the only thing that made sense for me was to go sell cars, despite the shady undertones of you know a used car new car salesman. I want to go out there and do it because I knew that I would be good at it. And I was. And because of the knowledge and because of the fact that people—I’m approachable. I’m a large person, I’m 6 ft. 5, I’m and 300 lbs, I’m a big guy. But I look like I’m 12, I sound like I am. So again the approachable aspect is definitely a thing I have going for me. But—So what did I have to do to get there? I started at Andy Chevrolet in Cleveland Ohio. I don’t know if you can say people’s names or not, but I was detailing cars there and I just did that just as you would any start up job. I think I was about 17 or 18 when I started and ended up moving up throughout the years. I went over to a Nissan dealership in 2009 and sold Nissans there in Rock Hill South Carolina after a big transitional move. So it— I got really my big start in sales there in terms of the automobile industry and I liked it. It was about 2 years that I spent there. It was my learning phase, it was kind of one of those sketchy dealerships that you didn’t want to be at and you didn’t want to buy a car from.
Samantha- You’re learning the ropes there.
Daniel- I learned—yeah I cut my teeth at one of those old west type dealerships, where it really was Old West. I mean people were drinking and you know it was crazy.
Samantha- Oh wow.
Daniel- Yeah. It was wild. So that actually steered me away from the auto industry for a couple of years because I just kind of had enough of it and I didn’t want to do it anymore. So I went back into restaurants, where I also have a lot of experience in terms of management, bartending, bouncing as well being a large human.
Daniel- So I did that and then a good friend of mine that I’ve now since made very close friendships, he was working at a Hendrick Dealership here in Chapel Hill where University of North Carolina is so and so forth. And he said that they didn’t play the smoke and mirrors games, they didn’t you know play any of the other games. It was just a straightforward and really great place to work. So I went up there and I gave it shot, got hired in their used car department and did that for about 2 ½ years. Almost 3 years actually, until I kind of semi-retired and went into the wholesale business on my own, going to auctions, buying cars, selling them on craigslist vice versa. Just kind of doing whatever I could to make a buck. Little semi-retirement just test the waters in the sea of my own business.
Daniel- I decided that I didn’t like it and went back to work at Hendrick. I just had a different store under a different market area and just a different type of management and that’s really where I am now, got started.
Samantha- Okay. Super cool. Okay so you’ve kind of been through this string of places right? So there’s a bunch of different type of people that you’ve worked with and for and different types of dealerships where they have different arrangements?
Samantha- Okay and so when you said that you started as a detailer, so you didn’t actually start in sales. Is that common for those types of positions to not start you know—-is the detail usually the first job that a dealership personal will get?
Daniel- No but my confidence level if you will wasn’t up to par with what it needed to be at the age of 17 to go sell cars.
Daniel- At that point I was just trying to make—-if I was making $10 an hour at that point I was happy and I believe that’s what it was. It was under the table, it was whatever it was cashed and I was able to go out and you know have fun with my friends afterward.
Daniel- I always had a strong work ethic. Ever since what 14 I was working bagging groceries. When I was—-before that I pushed my lawn mower around the neighborhood and knocked on people’s doors at the age of like 10. so it’s earning money and being successful was always something that I wanted and that’s always something I’ve deviated throughout the years through you know different things, but it’s always kind of been on the on the burner.
Samantha- It sounds like you’ve been a sales man at heart forever.
Daniel- You have to be. I tell you what to be a car person and to do what we do and to work the hours that we work, you have to have it in your heart and you can’t—-you have to be born with it. and there’s a lot of people out there, like I work with a lot of really talented people in a really really big industry. And I learned something new every single day that I work, and it’s it was the real blessing.
Samantha- And for do you like being a finance manager more than the sales like on the lot?
Daniel- Yes and No. that’s a good question, it’s actually something I’ve been going over with myself recently too. Because as a car salesman I got to fulfill my passion and talk about cars and demo cars and that’s what made be very successful on the sales floor, because I was so passionate. Like we’re sitting here talking about cars, I mean let’s do this.
Daniel- I do this all day for fun. Now I’m selling banks. I’m selling extended service coverages, products that I also believe in, but the passion still lies with the cars. So do I wish I was selling cars I mean at some sort of aspect? I don’t know maybe, but at the same time I absolutely love the career path that I’m on, with the company that I’m with, and I love–what—I don’t know I just love being there.
Daniel- It’s weird, like you hate it but at the same time you’re like you know “I don’t want to do anything else. I don’t want to—-I want to be here. I want to be with these people. I want to do what I do and I want to work”.
Samantha- Yeah I think that’s often the common misconception of people, is that they believe that because you love your job, everything about it is perfect.
Samantha- That’s not true for anything in life. So when you’re on the finance manager side of it, do you have to have a degree or any type of training to be able to get to that type of position?
Daniel- That’s a funny and interesting story too. I tell you what—Alright I’ll tell you that story because I don’t know how much time you have and if you want to cut me off just cut me off, but I’m a talker so let’s go.
Daniel- I did not personally did not believe in the educational system quote unquote. So if you really wanted to nitpick and get into the history and the background of my education, I have to say the last grade that I actually completed was the 7th grade.
Daniel- After back and forth in terms of home schooling, different schools, different attitudes that I had towards life and the things in it led me to different places, until finally I was about 16 and I just said “I can’t do this anymore”. I dropped out, I got my GED and I went to work. So that was also restaurants. That was you know that was the dealership, detailing cars that was a couple of different kick around jobs, roofing, stuff like that. So in a lot of cases I put my size to use to go to work.
Daniel- As I did that I moved up in each industry that I worked in. so when I was in restaurants, it was I went on to be a server. I went on to be a bartender and I went on to be a manager throughout the years.
Daniel- So climbing that proverbial corporate ladder if you will has always been something that I’ve enjoyed doing, because it’s a challenge and I like to overcome and over like—so you know surpassing challenges thrown at me. So anyway so yes so education no there isn’t any. Everything that I’ve learned, everything that I do, I’ve either been taught on the job or until recently a whole bunch of journals and YouTube and stuff like that.
Samantha- Yeah so okay so would you say that in this industry with the type of positions that you’ve held it’s more important for work ethic and personality than it is for education?
Daniel- Absolutely. I see people come all—and again my words will in no way shape or form or denigrate an education. That’s amazing that you’ve got it, it’s amazing that you have it. I’d put it to use work with it, go with it, but it’s not the only way to make a good living. So the people that I work with, I’ve seen masters degrees come through the dealership and move on to other things, decide they hate it, go on to do other things. I’ve seen people from the same educational background that I am, which is the lack of and they come in and they’re just as successful. So I work with people making what $300,000, $400,000 that maybe have a GED.
Daniel- So it’s yeah. the auto industry is you know it’s a really good industry to be in. it’s very profitable, because you’re always servicing your car, you’re always buying a car, you’re always doing this, you’re always doing that and it’s one of those necessary evils.
Samantha- Yeah absolutely. So what would be—If somebody with interest in this, let’s say they hear this and they say “You know what this kind of sounds like me”, what would be a good starting point or a good starting job for them to have that would give them a feel for what it would be like?
Daniel- Get on a sales floor immediately. If you want to—-if you—it’s not so much—my job like I’m middle management. There’s nothing glamorous about what I do, my job is a grind. What I want and my career path and if anybody wants to pursue this career path, get on the sales floor, start talking to people, start selling cars, start learning the business, start where—-and learn your products, so on and so forth. But yeah if you want to move up, you go to sales manager, you go to retail operations manager, go to general manager, market area V.P. and for me personally that’s where I’d like to retire from. So my 25 to 30 year plan.
Samantha- Okay, very cool and so what type of personalities do you think really do well in the auto industry when you’re looking at sales or management?
Daniel- Anyone that you can master. So it might sound weird but any personality—–as a salesman you’re a chameleon. So you and you have to do it quickly too, because one minute I’m talking to somebody about a Corvette and that’s $100,000 car and this guy’s you know an executive vice president somewhere. And then the next he wants someone to talk to him this way and he wants to talk to somebody about certain things. and then you go and talk to somebody else who’s a family guy, he’s buying a truck for him and his family, he’s a blue collar worker like me and I got to get in there and I got to talk to him on the same level of course but in that different way. So you have to you have to be able to shape shift your personality to each client that you have immediately and effectively.
Daniel- So there’s also times where I’m sorry you know when you think that…
Samantha- No go for it.
Daniel- Okay you have what—you get about 30 seconds into a conversation and all of a sudden you realize you have to bounce back to a different personality. I mean it’s definitely a different stressful position. And when you do it in the position that I’m doing now you only have maybe 5 minutes to get someone to warm up to you before you start trying to sell them something. On the sales floor you have 3 or 4 hours because of by the time you’re done with it you’ve effectively made them your best friends and they love you. So I have all of a sudden I come in and I’m the guy who’s making the payment go up.
Samantha- Yeah. Yeah. That’s got to be the harder part right, cause you’re the one with the final numbers.
Samantha- Okay. And so what’s the one personality trait that you think you possess that makes you succeed in your position?
Daniel- Being able to talk to anybody and everybody about anything.
Daniel- I love people that’s just what it is. Like when I—So I actually recently got engaged and when we first started dating we drove up to Baltimore Maryland with her good friend Becky. And what so I was walking out of the gas station I’d already made a friend inside and Becky looks to Taylor and says “He’ll make a friend anywhere”. And that’s pretty much what it is. Some guy would stand a line I started talking to him and before you knew it I mean I think I his name was Carl or something. I was you know was good.
Samantha- Okay. So on the flipside of that, if somebody is shy or maybe they’re introverted or maybe they’re not capable of holding—like maybe seeing physical or verbal cues, would this not be the type of position for them?
Daniel- Yes you’re absolutely right about that and not saying that they couldn’t be successful because I’ve like I said I’ve seen all types of types be successful. It just would be a very uncomfortable position for them and they wouldn’t enjoy it. so it’s not that they couldn’t be good at it, it’s just that that type of personality, you have to be outgoing, you have to be talkative, you have to smile no matter what because people are going to treat you differently. People are going to give you all sorts of different types of objections and you have to smile at them and you have to overcome them immediately. And if you deviate in any way shape or form from your process that you’ve been trained, you can really feel the deal into a spiral and just kill it.
Daniel- So yeah and that will happen personality wise.
Samantha- So what’s the worst possible personality trait that if somebody has they should just stay away from this industry altogether?
Daniel- Laziness and a lack of work ethic.
Samantha- Okay. Okay.
Daniel- If you’re not willing to work you’re not going to make a paycheck and if you don’t have a good work ethic then you’re not going to make a paycheck. You have to work and you have to bust your tail, otherwise you will not make a paycheck and you will starve.
Samantha- And what’s so what’s a piece of or a part of your personality that struggled with where you are, whether either you’ve had to transform the job or transform yourself to be able to be successful?
Daniel- I have a dark side and its laziness and I have to really overcome it. And I’m serious it’s yeah it’s I can just sit there and do nothing very easily and unfortunately that has transferred not recently thankfully but unfortunately in the past it has transferred into work where I just sat there and did nothing. And if you’re going to sit there and do nothing why even show up to work? So that’s something that I’ve been able to overcome, but it’s definitely something I have to continuously keep in check.
Samantha- Okay. And so since you’re at management level, you’re a finance manager or business manager, is there a ladder up or a lateral move? I know you talked about some of your 30 year plans. So what would be the steps if somebody is looking to move up from being a manager in the auto industry?
Daniel- So again the numbers are going to speak for themselves. So if you want to move up you have to be the most obvious choice as we call it within our department. So you’re the obvious choice, when there’s a position that opens up well duh Daniel Wuliger is going to be the one to fill it because who else is going to do it besides him. That’s your being the obvious choice, because you can close, you can do this, you can keep your paperwork tight, you can keep everything straight. So moving upward like I said you go into at least in our market area I know it’s structured differently within the different market areas which there’s many many. We have a 101 dealerships I believe it is.
Daniel- And 4 NASCAR teams.
Samantha- Oh wow!
Daniel- So it’s a very large yeah it’s a large order. Its Rick Hendrick , you know Jimmy Johnson, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon.
Daniel- And then the new guys they’ve got it, those all—– we all work for the same guy.
Samantha- Oh okay.
Daniel- Amazing man. Amazing guy. Anyway so moving up in my market area you have sales manager from where I go to next and then you’ll have retail operations manager, which means that you oversee the variable side which is all of sales, guest services, B.B.C. so on and so forth. And then you’ll get into general manager where you run your own store. So when I say store that is the one I work at is Hendrick G.M. Southpoint, so we’re General Motors which means Cadillac, Buick, G.M.C. and Chevrolet. So we do service and so on. So the general manager will oversee that entire dealership.
Daniel- Once you do that you get into market area vice president and that is where you have well my market. VP has 16 stores. So you run and manage all the general managers, all of their issues, you run that store and all of that’s issues and you just you have a hands on. And that’s where I want to be because I really believe I could do a good job doing that.
Samantha- Sure and it sounds like there’s a lot of opportunity. Like you if you’re somebody that’s a go getter, somebody who wants to move up the ladder, there is that possibility for you to work toward something.
Samantha- Okay, very cool. And so what’s the market like for jobs in the auto industry? Is there are a lot of jobs available? Is it really competitive to get in to become a salesperson or a manager? Is that open or how is that looking? At least from where you’re at.
Daniel- To get into a sales floor, as long as you can get in and convince somebody that you can sell some cars, you can get in and you start selling cars. there are stores that will be more selective, so you’ll have a higher end stores where you’ll have to absolutely have experience, like Cadillac they don’t really want some new guy to come in and start talking about a hundred thousand dollar S.U.V.
Daniel- You know you can come in and you can cut your teeth on a mid-grade level, a very nice product and you can what—- you can get the training that you need. So in terms competitiveness to get into my position, consider this, there are 60 maybe salespeople within my dealership and there’s 4 finance managers.
Daniel- And the finance managers are only getting promoted or transferred to another store once every year or so. So it took me—I mean I pulled into that dealership getting that job, getting hired back at Hendrick with the explicit expectation of management in my head. And it took me almost two years to do it, excuse me a year to do it.
Samantha- Okay. And so what would be some of the drawbacks to your career choice?
Daniel- The hours, it’s on an average day if it’s bell to bell. So that’s eight o’clock in the morning I’ll get there and then I leave if it’s slow at the end of the night, no one is in the dealership, eight o’clock. If there’s people there which I’d say about 3 times out of 5 there is, you’re leaving at about ten or eleven.
Samantha- OK. So it’s very—is it—do you guys at least have stable scheduled hours or is there a lot of switching between, you know whether you get what days off?
Daniel- No I have a monthly schedule that’s given to me probably two or three days before the new month starts. I live my life month by month, 31 days, 28 days, 20 you know however many days. That’s month to month. That is what the life is. So before my month ends I have a new schedule knowing exactly what days off. It’s a pretty steady if you want to I can’t believe I’m going back to Thursdays but that’s because we have a change in personnel. So actually we have an opportunity opened within our dealership for a new finance manager, but I believe that position is being examined as we speak.
Samantha- Okay very cool. So what it is—is it also very commission based? I mean in a lot a sales positions our commissioned instead of you know good hourly pay. Is that is that kind of out structure where you’re at as well?
Daniel- On the sales floor here if you’re an entry level sales person yeah you’re not going to get much of a weekly check or biweekly check. I think it’s like $400 or $500, it’s not a lot. So you get three checks, so you get 2 biweekly and then you get a commission check and that usually comes around the 10th or 11th of every month and that’s from your previous month. So that’s how you get that’s your big check. That’s why you really have to hustle because if that check isn’t anything you’ve taken home $1,000 for that month. And I don’t know anybody who can successfully live on $1,000, raise a family on $1,000 a month. You know I know it’s got to be very difficult.
Samantha- Sure and that I mean that would be a positive and a drawback, it’s like you get what you put in kind of thing. So if you’re not good at it, it’s probably not somewhere you want to stay.
Daniel- No which is why you have a high turnover rate in my business too. Because people come in with the expectation of “Okay I’m going to sell cars. I’m going to be able to afford the big fancy new car that I work at and I’m going to you know selling cars blah blah blah”. And they get in and they see how much work is actually associated with being successful in the industry that they give up and quit and go do something else.
Samantha- Yeah and so what has been your worst day so far?
Daniel- Can I have two?
Daniel- Okay so the first one was that’s a Chapel Hill store when I was doing the pre-owned. And pre-owned cars I was strictly doing, I didn’t sell in the new cars. New cars you don’t have service issue, pre-owned cars you have someone who will be driving a car for two or three weeks, maybe has 50,000 miles on it. And something happens where maybe the brakes are not what we thought they checked out to be or something like that. Not saying it happens a lot but it’s a pretty old car you never will know it happened.
Daniel- So seeing that we recently sold it to him we’re kind of obligated to fix it. There was one day where I had three people sitting in my waiting area at work very very upset at me. Three different people with three different vehicle issues.
Samantha- Oh no.
Daniel- I went and I greeted every single one of them. I told them I’d get their cars fixed, they didn’t want to hear me. It was just very terrible and I went and I hid in the mechanics bay for a couple hours.
Samantha- Yeah that’s not fun at all.
Samantha- And you were the sales person at that point?
Samantha- Oh man.
Daniel- Yeah I was like I sold a lot of cars there you know, it was there was months where sold even 6-9 but they were all slow months. I mean the biggest month I had there was like 21 cars.
Samantha- Oh wow.
Daniel- And for that type for our store that was good numbers. I mean it depends upon you go to Toyota store you got people selling 40 cars a month. You go to know Kia stores or Fiat stores you have people sell a maximum of 5 to 10.
Daniel- So it just depends it’s all relative. So another bad day was actually at the store that I’m at now. I was on the Chevy side and did a great job building rapport and selling the truck and it was for a Silverado which is the big trucks that we sell. Was on the Chevy side and we even pop the—we popped the hood and he looked at it cause he wanted a V8. It comes in a V6 alright. And I promised him it was a V8 because I looked at it, he looked at it. I’m a car guy so naturally I was cocky about looking at it. I looked at it again and said “That’s a V8” and I went on a roll about, I just rolled on. And he was a guy about my age but he had his parents there and they were just kind of their shopping with him. I think it was around the holidays, so he what–he was there with them for however that the story goes.
Daniel- Anyway he got out of finance and it was a good deal like you know we made some decent money. It was a happy customer. It was a really good time and I had another customer coming in and I like the time worked out perfectly to where I would have still two cars consecutively back to back, which would have made for a fantastic Saturday. But instead as he’s coming out of Finance the father pops the hood, looks the motor and said “Hey there’s like 3cylinders on each side”, because you could tell from the exhaust manifold that there was only three cylinders.
Samantha- Oh no.
Daniel- And I said “No there’s 4”. And he sat there and he counted, he said “Nope there’s 3”. And so we needed a V8 and that sent definitely deal into a spiral. So as it would go naturally I lost that deal and then I had to give my other customer away to someone else as I handled and try to put out the fire with that deal. I had to give that other deal to someone else and I only ended up with half a car deal as opposed to 2 full ones.
Samantha- Oh no. That’s be hard because you have to feel like you have to make it right and at the same time you’re watching your money walk away right?
Daniel- Yes exactly.
Samantha- Oh that’s horrible.
Daniel- And you put in all the work and all the time and all the effort one to sell the car, the other to get the people there and to get them going. And I mean it was emotionally draining that day.
Samantha- Oh I bet. Did it happen like the beginning of the day or the end of the day?
Daniel- The whole day. It was my entire day.
Samantha- Oh no.
Daniel- Yeah like I think from like in the morning time because you what you do is you have your sales meeting to amp you up on Saturday mornings. Do a little bit of training and then you go and hit the B.D.C. which is the business development center. You call and you confirm your appointments, you call and try to make new appointments, you get leads from your B.D.C. manager which in our case is Paul. And what not that you would know Paul. I say it like you know it him. He’s Paul, he’s a good guy, now anyway he is. So you trying to develop more business, but then around noon and inevitably gets busy and you start cranking. And I had two appointments and they were lined up back to back. And like I said I was a very meticulous and I still am about my time and about what my organization of paperwork and all and all of that. So that’s a big thing for me. So I had that all meticulously mapped out and it failed miserably.
Samantha- That’s rough. And so if we look at the happier end of it, what would you say is your best day or best days?
Daniel- Oh gosh I got a lot of those. I mean with the right attitude every day is your best day.
Samantha- That’s true.
Daniel- So best days in the crate in the car business, let’s see. Again at the other dealership the pre-owned dealership in Chapel Hill, I again I lined up appointments perfectly and sold three cars in one day. And that was beautiful and I made good money on each of them and I ended up getting like a nice little what it’s called a hat trick like you wouldn’t soccer or football depending on where you are in the world. If you already know then I apologize, but you scored three get a hat trick. So that’s what we called it. It was a hat trick and I got a hat trick that day and made a bunch of money and it was a good day. So that it was a good day and then I you know other ones where you just you—Okay so just a broad generalization of what a good day is because there’s been many many many like this.
Daniel- When you have somebody who comes in and they have their hat in their hand and they have nothing and they can’t like their friend drove them in, they drove in a car that shouldn’t have started and I don’t know how it did. Like if that wheel should have fallen off a hundred thousand miles ago but it didn’t. So you’re able to put them in a good car and a lot of times you know G.M. offer some really good incentive, so you’re able cereal to do it for a good price and you make it like everything aligns. And they’re just like ecstatic and happy and like praising God and you know like just really getting into it and having a good time. and it’s like when you’re able to help somebody and really truly help them that’s a that’s an amazing feeling and you don’t get to always feel that way in my business because a lot of times people will leave angry at you because you did raise their budget or you did you know did something wrong. And so to have the times where somebody is like truly grateful and thankful and they send a letter to your G.M. and that gets read at the luncheon. And then there’s this I mean it’s a wonder wall just all this amazing things that could happen with a happy customer.
Samantha- Yeah. oh yeah and I mean I’m sure of that there’s been a lot of people that even though you know in your line are both happy and sad and angry customers.
Samantha- There’s a lot of people that have had that car that was so exciting to get when you got it. And I’m sure that’s just as exciting for you when somebody finds that. And so when we’re looking at that, those good days. What would you say are the benefits or the reasons why people would want to be in this business?
Daniel- Gosh why you’d want to be in the car business?
Daniel- The paychecks.
Daniel- OK that’s really—-I mean and again if you have a passion for cars, because I’ve driven some really cool cars that I could never—-well not never afford– but couldn’t have afforded at the time that I drove them.
Daniel- So I’ve been able to do that. That’s been a cool benefit, but it’s the paychecks. I mean you’re not doing this because you like the hours, you’re not doing this because it’s easy and smooth work. It because you put the grind in and out comes a nice little paycheck and you’re just you’re happy. And not that money is everything cause it really isn’t. Please don’t mistake me for being greedy, it’s just I grew up without money and you know my parents did a great job raising us. My parents did a great job providing, I never went hungry, always had clothes. I mean I had everything that I needed. But there wasn’t like a whole bunch of excess money
Daniel- And it wasn’t like there—-I heard we can’t afford it a lot and that was that I don’t maybe now sounding definitely like a punk but it was just upside. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to do that to myself and I didn’t want to my family. I want to ultimately buy a 100 to 200 acres valley in Colorado Rockies. So that’s what I want and that’s not going to come with smiles, that’s got to come with money.
Samantha- Yeah. that’s true yeah and honestly it’s also one of those things that in the it sounds like in the your career what you put in you get back, and so you’re getting you’re getting paid to do your work and you’re seeing that increase with how much you’re putting into it. Which I would assume also feels that you know when you get that money it’s like a sense of accomplishment almost.
Daniel- Oh yeah you definitely see your hard work getting paid off. So yeah and it’s immediate return too. I mean it’s a month but there’s also there’s a lot of bonuses. So if you sell a car that’s an aged unit. So if it’s a new car and it’s like 365 days or older which you’ll have, you’ll have 400 day old unit stuff like that. If you can sell that, that’s like $400 cash spiff.
Daniel- So they’ll just hand you $400 cash, then of course tax you on your next paycheck but—What—-So like there’s a lot of motivation and again it’s all monetary.
Daniel- And that’s how you get it—-I mean how do you get a salesman to do anything? You pay him, that it.
Samantha- That’s why its commission right. That’s how they figured it out.
Daniel- Exactly. Now little do people know that a good salesman is also an incredible customer service and you have to be I mean obviously good people a good salesman knows that. But yeah I mean customer service is absolutely crucial.
Samantha- And would you say that working for a larger dealership is better than the smaller dealership?
Samantha- Okay and does because if its incentive based right, its monetary incentive. Is it I mean does not depend on what type of dealership you’re working with?
Daniel- Yeah. I mean it also depends upon what type of—what market area here. And so I mean the guy who runs our market area he holds quarterly meetings where the beginning of each quarter we go in and we sit down in this beautiful country club’s ball room and we have an eight hour presentation of different business ideas. We go over our numbers and then there’s a massive massive rewards that are handed out to the top performers from in the last quarter. And I mean rewards in the $5,000 to $10,000 range, $5,000 watchers. So again you’ve got sales guys who are hungry for success and that is a very good incentive for them.
Samantha- Yeah. And so that in your experience have you found that the better the incentive the better the employee?
Daniel- No I don’t know if I can say that, but because you get the wrong people coming out here doing the wrong things to get it. and so that’s why there are so many rules and regulations in terms of my job now is because you have people that are sitting there trying to take advantage of good people. And they can you know they could be doing it for the wrong money, the wrong reasons, because you don’t want dirty money. You don’t want bad money. You want honest and hard earned money and what so yeah those are bad people and I wouldn’t want them to work with me.
Daniel- So yeah my business definitely brings out not the best people in the world. But it also brings us are like us as really strong and really talented and really great people.
Samantha- And do you think that’s common to have maybe an unsavory work environment at times?
Daniel- Depends on the culture.
Daniel- I mean this is 2017 you’re not going to get away with anything anymore you know.
Daniel- Not that you would want to again I mean if you’re doing things ethically you’re not going to worry about repercussions that will affect you negatively. So excuse me. If you—-I believe I lost my train of thought and I do apologize.
Samantha- It’s okay. Do you think that people’s perception of what car salesman are, do you think that affects you on any level with whether you decided for this? Did you struggle with doing this as a career because of those perceptions or did it not bother you?
Daniel- Is it did I struggle to make this my career or did I just struggle within my career?
Samantha- Did you struggle to decide to make it your career? Like at any point did you question being in car sales because of people’s perceptions?
Daniel- I mean I guess so. It was definitely a thought you have to think of it, because if you if you go into it ignorant then you know that’s going to be a rude awakening because it’s apparent that people’s perception of a car salesman every time I deal with somebody. Because it’s you have to really just get used to not being trusted because you’re not trusted. The people do not trust me. The people I work with trust me because I’m a trustworthy and honorable guy.
Daniel- I have “for honor” tattooed on me.
Daniel- Yeah I just you know—-it’s you know it’s a battle that you have to overcome but you overcome it and you do it with a smile and it’s not just my father always told me “Actions speak louder than words”. I could tell you something I’m going to do all day long, but if I don’t do it then it’s just empty promises and then two words. And I can’t do that otherwise and I look like your typical sales guy and people hate me.
Samantha- Sure and so do you think you have to almost have thick skin to be able to be successful?
Daniel- 100% you have to you have to, because it’s not just what you’re getting from the customers, it’s what you’re getting from the higher ups, because when your numbers aren’t right they’re going to want to know why. And you don’t feed them a lie, you don’t give them the same B.S. you tell them what’s up and then you fix it. But within the culture that we have at our dealership that’s a very valuable asset to have, which is being able to fix the problem instead of just cutting it. So if you’re having a tough time if you’re something——there’s a man I work with his name is John Green. He’s an incredible person, he was a retail operations manager at our store and he went down Alabama for a family issue. But when he told me one time I was having a bad month on the sales floor and he told me “A bad day is make a bad week, a bad week doesn’t make a bad month, a bad month doesn’t make a bad year, and a bad year doesn’t make a bad career”. So just you’re going to have them. You’re going to have bad months and you’re going to have bad times and you’ve got to have the thick skin to get through them.
Samantha- Yeah absolutely and so do you think it’s important to change the perception that people have about becoming a car salesman so that they kid of can understand that it is a professional honorable career choice?
Daniel- Absolutely we need more talented people. There’s not enough people that get into this business that are truly and exceptionally talented. And not that I am by any means you know I just like to talk to people and I’m good at it. But I mean you’ve got this—there’s a whole generation of people that are no longer running this industry, who are soon to be running the industry. so you have a lot of people that are in their retirement stage of their career and again just as the shift goes up there’s a lot of room for expansion and growth right now within the entire auto industry. It’s not just me ,I mean think of the people who have been doing this for it last 30 or 40 years. And if you go to any G.M. or you know Ford or any type of board meeting, it’s filled with people who might be retiring soon.
Daniel- Not that I’ve ever been to any of the board meetings but.
Samantha- And so how did your life change when you either found that you love to this career or when you made the decision to make this your career because you loved it?
Daniel- How did my life change?
Daniel- Worked more, played less, had more money. You can pay bills. You can do things, you can start to travel, you can take up golf, you can you know do stuff. So I mean when I was waiting tables I was waiting tables just to earn rent money, but with a successful sales career you’re making payments on all sorts of other things. Like I drive two cars, I you know I have a 2016 S.S. Camaro Convertible. It’s a very fast sports car, it has no roof and it’s amazing. And I also have a nice luxury S.U.V. It’s a very old but it’s lovely. I wouldn’t be able to do that unless I had a good high paying job. And sales in the auto industry has given me that.
Samantha- Sure and what was the moment that made you decide to move up and continue in this career path?
Daniel- You know it’s funny because I declined the position that I’m in now at the other store because I wanted to go try something else and I didn’t think that I wanted the position. And I guess some soul searching on a beach happened and I realized that I needed to get back and that the guidance and direction of a strong sales team. So I guess October 2 years ago is what changed me into saying I need to go back to work. And so that’s what I did.
Samantha- Okay. And is there anything—I know you’ve told us you know your big dream plan, like where you’re going and how you’re moving up. Is there currently any short term extension plans you’re kind of looking at that you’re moving towards currently? Any training or anything you’re kind of doing?
Daniel- There’s something called the Epy and then there’s called the Chairman’s Cup and those are award systems that you can get on as a finance manager. And the chairman’s club is you go down to the yearly meeting down in Charlotte North Carolina and you sit in a big banquet hall with Mr. Hendrick which always an honor to be with him and hear his wisdom. But you sit there with a whole bunch of other people too and you just have this amazing meeting and you get honored, given a big beautiful ring, a plaque, a big check. And it’s just I mean it’s an amazing honor to have a Epy or a Chairman’s Cup, because of course again the monetary reward but just to know that your numbers were that solid for that long and consistently. That heavy that you won that award. So I mean I that’s what I’m looking for right now. that’s my 2 or 3 year goal because I’m still in—-I mean I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for about a year now and there’s a huge learning curve coming from a sales floor to finance. So by no way shape or form do I speak as though I know everything about my position that I’m in, but I you know I’ve been doing this for long enough I feel like I can talk about it. So yes that’s what I want to do before I get into sales manager, because I would like to run a team and I would like to lead a group of people into a sales success. But I want an Epy first. I want that ring on my finger because that’s a championship.
Daniel- That’s for me that’s my Super Bowl at least for now, because there’s so many different awards and there’s so many different like goals that I can get and I could reach and I can have. And it’s really exciting because it really keeps you motivated and excited about what you do despite how hard it is and how much you might hate it. It really keeps you motivated and like going and again reward a salesman and he’s going to do whatever you needs.
Samantha- Yeah absolutely. So we’ve kind of gone through what it means to be a finance business manager in a car dealership. I just have a few more questions for you. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Daniel- A salesman.
Samantha- You wanted to be as a child?
Daniel- When I was in 5th grade I went to business day or whatever the hell it was at Roxborough Elementary School in Cleveland Heights Ohio and I dressed up in a suit and tie with a briefcase because I wanted to be a salesman.
Samantha- That’s amazing.
Samantha- I’m sorry but I totally got a flashback of a Michael Scott moment from The Office where you know that kid with the suit and everything, that’s what I picture when you say that.
Daniel- That’s it.
Samantha- That’s pretty awesome.
Daniel- I’m living the dream every day.
Samantha- You’re living the dream. What would you say is the best piece of advice you’ve received about business?
Daniel- Man. I don’t know it’s not that I haven’t received any is that I received so much. Cause I’ve worked for some incredible people and I’ve learned some and amazing things from them. I guess most recently it was—-I don’t know I don’t know how to answer that question I’m sorry.
Samantha- That’s okay.
Daniel- Yeah it’s tough to narrow it down because like I said I’ve gotten so much. The whole be you speech, just be who you are because you have it in you. I mean that’s the real motivational stuff. I mean they’re your numbers if you don’t like them change them. And that was pretty big, because I’m sitting there—you can sit there and blame anybody else for your numbers, but they’re not going to change them for you. If you want your numbers changed go in there and change them. And as trivial as that may sound, that’s probably the hardest thing that you can overcome, because it’s so easy to fall into a victim shit. Like a victimhood whatever cause you become a victim.
Daniel- There’s a lack of education right there for you if I knew that. But what—so anyway it’s so easy to become a victim in my industry and expect other people to correct your wrongs and to make you successful for you. So yeah you have to really not do that. So that was a tough one to get. And then again the bad day doesn’t make a bad week and a bad week doesn’t make a bad month. That was big.
Daniel- I really appreciated him saying that, so I guess I learned a lot from him and my current general manager Larry he’s a really motivational guy too.
Samantha- Okay and so if somebody was looking at going into this career path, what would be a new thing that I thought you would give them to encourage them to do it?
Daniel- So to encourage them to do it just work hard. You know have a have a hungry mentality and have a good attitude every single day. If you can have those three things, that you can have a good attitude and really want it and be willing to work for it, you will absolutely crush it and you’ll be phenomenal. I tell all these new guys that come in. And it’s like you know it’s funny I’m 32 I never thought I would look at somebody who is 21 and 22 and think “Gosh you’re so young”, because when I was that age I was like you know and I own the world. But you get these guys that come in and you know they have—they’re just killing it with talent and potential and you just see it and sometimes they don’t and that’s pretty frustrating. But telling them that they really do have it in them and they really can be successful. I mean that’s because you really can do it. If you’re if you’re willing to take the step into being a salesman I mean that’s the first step, because here’s the thing, if you’re selling yourself as something every single day. you’re selling to yourself or somebody else something every single day and if you’re going to sit here and tell me that you’re not a salesman and you can’t sell cars or you can’t sell things then you’re selling me on why you can’t sell something. So you’re always selling. Everybody selling always all the time. I do not turn it off, it does not happen and maybe does anybody else ever, you sell.
Samantha- Sure ok alright that’s pretty good advice. So thank you for coming on my show today.
Daniel- You’re welcome thank you for having me and letting me just talk because again that’s what I love to do.
Samantha- Yeah absolutely.