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Recently my good Friend Kirk Manzo, a great sales and F&I trainer sent me these pictures. These are from a 2005 article in Dealer Magazine or someplace like that, I honestly don’t remember where this article ran. Apparently Kirk was training in a dealership in Florida and the dealer had this Poem blown up an posted on the walls of the dealership. I am honored and flattered that anyone would do that with something I wrote and thought it might be something to share here. See below, I always love the feedback on things like this so please comment. Thanks:


  • The American car salesman is both hated and revered.
  • He is the last of a rare breed – the ultimate maverick.
  • He walks with confidence and takes offense at direction.
  • He cannot be left on his own, yet his spirit will not be dominated.
  • He is free enterprise personified.
  • The American automobile salesman laughs in the face of affirmative action. He is one of the few workers in society who is paid exactly what he is worth.
  • While the average person views an hourly wage as security, he disdains it as unnecessary limit on his ability to produce.
  • He hears negative responses every day, but has never learned the meaning of defeat.
  • He believes free enterprise was created with him in mind.
  • He has the instinct of the hunter, coupled with great compassion and kindness. He speaks eloquently and detects the most innocent untruth from his customers.
  • He would never bow his knee to any king or queen, but has the uncanny ability to treat his customers like royalty.
  • He is uniquely talented, endowed with savvy that cannot be taught in a classroom.
  • His spirit is what America was built on.
  • He is a loner who has difficulty walking in step with others, yet he gravitates towards those who are like him.
  • He is intensely competitive, nevertheless quick to give a helping hand to a struggling brother.
  • He is a dealer’s biggest liability, yet he is that same merchant’s greatest asset.
  • Some elements of society would like to eliminate him, but have found him to be indestructible.
  • Without his personality, his smile, his spirit, there would be a giant void in America.

This is what I hope every dealer thinks of when they think of the professional automotive salesperson and while it is very true that it takes a very special individual to be an automotive salesperson I think that many of us in the business have come to believe that our salespeople are just born with the ability to sell cars…not true.

In my 20 years in the automotive business I have seen many salespeople with the sprit described above and with out the proper tools and training go by the way side, I shutter to think of all the potentially great car salespeople in business today that will never be because of that lack of training & tools. I see dealerships every day spend thousands on advertising to drive traffic to their store only to have the customers ran off by an untrained salesperson and with no record of the customers visit at all, this is a tragedy and one that will stop soon.

As of September we are on pace to sell 16.2 million units this year down well over 1 million from last year, I think the 16.2 million is too high and would not be surprised to see that number fall below 16 million. No matter what the number is, bottom line there are and will continue to be fewer customers, those customers will be more educated have more name plate choices and will demand that you give them a higher level of service. All of this equates to a higher caliber of salesperson as a necessity not a luxury. The training & tools you give your salespeople to provide higher levels of service to your customers has to be on the very top of your priority list.

As one of the smartest dealers I ever worked for put it “Good habits are created in bad times and bad habits are created in good times” and the good news is for those dealers who weather these bad times you will have a better sales staff, higher profits and you will no longer be a slave to the market as you will have put the processes and tools in place to get the job done. That is where this starts with processes, we as an industry are going to have to look at our processes and not just those processes that happen when a salesperson is with a customer but more importantly what they are doing for the 5 hours a day when they are not with a customer. Here is where the proper tools come in, using the wonders of technology you can help your salespeople manage their day like never before, with great processes ordinary people produce incredible results but these processes don’t just happen they are built through diligence and hard work, they do not come from a software but they can be managed by software, you as a dealer can and will do these things, you will train your sales staff and you will be better off for it. It is going to be hard but as we say in this business “if it was easy everybody would do it”.

What it comes down to my fellow car people is that we are in a long over due coarse correction, it’s a good thing and will eliminate the imposters from our industry, but if you hold on to the last 6 years hoping it will come back it will eliminate you too. It is time to change the way we think and understand that good training and good tools will attract better people and will create some of the greatest car salespeople ever…l truly believe that and you need to too.

Tags: Automotive, Retail, SEM, SEO, Sales, marketing, media, social, web

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Replies to This ADM Discussion

hi larry like my good friend let him rest in peace said jackie b cooper the automobile car salesperson is the most important person in the entire industry so true so true
Wow... Mr. Jackie B. Cooper... Brings back fond memories from when I was 24 years old (1981) and Jackie Cooper was training me on all the processes of selling cars on the showroom floor. I was in such awe of this man who seemed like he could sell a car to anyone who walked into the dealership. When I went to his workshops several times over the years that followed, he inspired me to be proud of being a Car Salesman and gave me the attitude, confidence and word tracks to earn a great income and get promoted. When I was a sales manager, I paid for all my sales team "keepers" to attend the Jackie B. Cooper Sales Workshops, and every time he came to Southern California we sold more cars than usual for several weeks after the workshop... Having experienced Jackie B. Cooper working in our dealership, in person, and walking out with me to greet customers, working deals with me and showing me how to close those deals while I sat jammed into the small office next to the big man himself (I was skinny in those days) was one of the best memories I have from my 28 year career in the car business.

I am saddened to learn that Jackie B. Cooper is no longer among the living and regardless of how long ago he passed away, finding out about today has put me in mourning over the death of a car salesman... And, WHAT a car salesman, Jackie Copper was!!!
No question Jackie was one of the best. He did a lot for this industry and I was sad to see him go. Even more shocking that Automotive News, nor any other publication carried any press of his death or life when it happend. This and many other principals Jackie taught are still true in the business today and will be in the future.

Thanks to all
i remember jackie b cooper as well trained me too i also remember how much more pleasant it was then basic skills and touchy feely service sold cars then it was so much fun no frustration at all
larry my name is Craig Lockerd,own a company called Automax Sales Training.....recruiting and initial training of inexperienced people for dealers has been our primary business for 12 years......we are involved in many other aspects of the business as well.I saw your this blog posted by Marla Benson who we have partnered with along with a few other top companies and I wondered if you dont mind if we could post this.naming you as author of course on a newer site we just developed for our "green pea's" coming out of training....the site address is unreal nobody owned that name but if you can check it out and would love to have you become amember and post this in the "expert blog " area if that's ok with you......thanks in far as jackie b...."cant close what you cant control".....and "if it can be done we can doit,if it can be done" him a lot and came to my store once....
Hey Guys its great to know people today still remember papa, you all should check out some of the training material available at his website!
Having worked the Country by Plane, Train, and Automobile selling "Coop" Sales and Management workshops, video, and audio not to mention having "1 to 1" conversations that I will never forget, I think posting Jacks poem he ended every workshop with might be fitting here. No one in history has done more for the pride of the "car salesmen" than Jackie. I say "Salesmen" with no disrespect to women out there, it is just "what is was" back then, not now and I respect and understand that. Anyway, here is the poem, enjoy folks! PS- That car fit in your garage?

The Challenge
by Dr. Heartsill Wilson

Blessed is the man, indeed,
Who in this life can find;
A purpose that can fill his days,
And goals to fill his mind!

The world is filled with little men
Content with where they are;
Not knowing joys success can bring,
No will to go that far!

Yet, in this world there is a need,
For men to lead the rest
To rise above the "average" life,
By giving of their best!

Would you be one, who dares to try,
When challenged by the task;
To rise to heights you've never seen,
Or is that too much to ask?

This is your day--a world to win
Great purpose to achieve;
Accept the challenge of your goals
And in yourself, believe!

You will be proud of what you've done,
When at the close of day;
You look back on your battles won,
Content, you came this way!
Amen... while this business is certainly changing for the best there will always be a need for the professional car salesman / woman.

One of the few businesses left where no one gets to tell you what you're worth except you. Thanks for this comment Todd; it's been a while since I heard that.
I was that sales manager. Kirk got that from me while he was training our dealership for Jim Zeigler. I was upset because I used that in many sales meetings and during a recent move I lost it and could not find it anywhere. So glad to find it on the internet and find out I had something to do with it. If you don't feel excited and agree with everything in that don't belong in the business.

Andrew Fisher
Director of Used Car Operations
Wesley Chapel Toyota
Wesley Chapel Florida
While I appreciate all the "tools" that have been developed for our industry and our consumer and our dealers, I appreciate the power of a well trained sales associate much more. Just like a fighter can have a $30 million jet at your fingertips, but you have to have the skill to maneuver and execute its power to be an "Ace." Long live Jackie B. Cooper and his legacy. Nothing has changed there. We're still in the people business.

Jason Manning
No doubt we are in the people business Jason and always will be. However how we interact and commuicate with those people is changing rapidly. We have to change with it.

A Fighter Ace in an F-18 has to have different skills than the Ace in the P-40.

You gotta upgrade your skills across the board and bring your "A" Game.
So true Larry, but isn't it amazing how you can thwart a war with one single human being, using people skills, diplomacy and negotiations? You can't spit that out of a computer...and nobody loves technology more than I do. A well trained sales associate is tough to replace. Any dealer would put Jackie on their line today if they could...even Carmax would.


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