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From the Trenches - We WERE the Sultans of Swing


For all of us who remember the sales floor before the Internet, we remember when we were King.  We knew more about selling cars and had more information than any customer.  We manipulated the customer like a piece of clay.  We made huge commissions off of customers that had no idea what they should be paying for a car.  Dream of forever.

Those days are long ago and far away.  Today, the customer is king and we must prove our professionalism like never before.  We must know our product and know our competitors.  We must deal with transparency.  Customers often have as much or more information than we do.

This brings our successors to the forefront.  Those who understand today's customers because they are one and the same.  Steps to the sale; they're changing whether we like it or not.  Don't feel threatened. 

Accept change and become part of it.  Opportunities abound.  If you could learn to take advantage of the opportunities of the past, you can learn again... if you want to.  Strive, once again, to be the best.



Written by
 Tom Gorham

Editor, From The Trenches

Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community

Views: 388

Tags: digital, management, marketing, media, of, reputation, sales, social, sultans, swing


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Comment by Tom Gorham on May 24, 2012 at 6:08pm

Stephen, he can play the honky tonk like anything, when he gets up under the lights to do his thing!

Comment by Stephen Jackson on May 24, 2012 at 6:38am

Guitar George really does know all the chords.

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 24, 2012 at 6:31am

Criss, it sounds like you've been very busy.  Isn't it wonderful when everyone joins together for a common goal?  Great things happen!  I loved your ideas about photos in another article you recently wrote. Working on implementing that.

I also like what you're doing concerning the porter to service BDC.  We recently transfered a woman salesperson from sales to service writer (at her request).  She was a good salesperson, and I hated to lose her on the floor, but she's a phenomenal service writer.  The customers love her and she's very happy and productive.  We can all keep learning new moves if we just get off our duff and dance!   Thank you!

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 21, 2012 at 6:44pm

We did it. Some with nothing but a high school education to six-figure incomes.  This is the industry of opportunity.  The opportunities are still there.  Just figure it out.  Charisma, character, ambition still factor in.  Add a little trust and sincerity and communication and you're there.

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 20, 2012 at 3:04pm

From Automotive News on LinkedIn:

Tom In my role with Market Source I'm in the position to teach and learn to accept change! The men and women of today's industry can't see past the " this is the way we always did it " and since our customer base has changed WE need to change just to keep up! But everyone has the fear factor of change in them , change my process , change my pay plan , change my steps to the sale , etc whoa what's out there buddy with all this change! Well guess what's out there a whole new frontier of sales waiting for you! That's my story and I'm sticking to it! Thanks for allowing me to share Posted by Ron Harris

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 20, 2012 at 3:03pm

From DealerElite on LinkedIn: 

The internet the information highway and everybody has it. Remember when we all thought what a great way to capture new customers and advertise for next to nothing. Little did we know that everything about our business would be out there available to the same people we were trying to keep in the dark and maintain our grosses. Well you can sit on your ass and complain about how unfair or you can use it to show how transparent and helpful your dealership is. Just remember the only thing you have control over is how you perceive it. Posted by Fred Coleman

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 20, 2012 at 2:53pm

I should have learned to play the guitar; I should have learned to play the drums. Instead, I learned to play SEM; I learned to play SEO. We've got move these Chevy Sonics...

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 20, 2012 at 2:12pm

Wow Ralph, is that Eric Clapton I see on stage with Dire Straits?  Classic!  If this post does nothing else, it definitely entertains.  And it shows, we were the Sultans of Swing.  I want to think we still are! As an industry, we can lead the way.

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 20, 2012 at 12:03pm

Have always loved Dire Straits songs, and "I Want MY MTV" is truly a classic.  Selling major appliances can be a lot like selling cars.  I did it for a while a hundred years ago and we were allowed to negotiate (a little bit).

I was listening to "Sultans of Swing" before I wrote this post.  It made me think of some friends who are no longer in the industry.  Back in the day, we felt like the Sultans of Swing.  But they couldn't move forward as the industry changed...

Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 20, 2012 at 11:50am

This topic reminds me of yet another Dire Straits song... "Money For Nothing" or as some of us remember it "I Want My MTV", with the immortal track "...We got to move these refrigerators..." which always made me think of selling cars.  Here's a great live performance clip of this song by Dire Straits:


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