I've been absolutely slammed for the past week, so forgive me for not posting something in a while.
I've gotten some things done, though. I sold a handful of cars on Monday, a young couple's first family vehicle on Thursday, and my first Hummer on Friday. Mixed in with all of those wins were a handful of failures, zero-credit scores and time wasters. So I'm taking time to breathe and squeeze out a post before something else happens.
On that note, something else DID happen. I got busy just as I sat down to write this post. Something else always happens. Well, when you work 50+ hours a week and have no time to yourself, that's kind of what happens. :)
My Hummer deal almost didn't go down. I have a middle-aged couple that have bought their last 3 cars from me. On Tuesday I got a call from the wife, who said that she saw a Hummer H3 that we had sitting in our back lot awaiting inspection for a lease return. She wanted to find out if we could get her one. No problem. Easy specs; Black, Sunroof, assist steps, automatic transmission.
We buy vehicles all the time, so it really wasn't a big deal for us to get one. We found one that she liked, won the auction and purchased it for her. It arrived the next day. I went back to the detail area to check it out; we have to make sure there isn't any damage. It was a beautiful unit. The paint was almost flawless, the interior was spotless, and it had no extra miles on it. I opened the door and looked inside.
5-speed manual. Oh God.
I walked briskly back up to the showroom and checked the auction sheets for the H3, hoping against all odds that some kind of mistake was made and I didn't just have the Dealer Principal purchase a manual Hummer H3. Thoughts of a 90-day inventory turn and sales spiff to get rid of the car danced through my head, managers begging us to unload the truck on some Internet buyer for a $500 loser deal. I wasn't at these meetings, of course, because I had been fired for having the powers that be waste money on a Hummer nobody wanted. Gulp.
The auction sheets were no help. They clearly indicated that the H3 was a manual. Time to panic. I tucked my tail between my legs and sidled up to the Dealer Principal.
"That Hummer is a manual." I told him.
"You're kidding." he replied, shaking his head and smiling his "we all just screwed up" smile. "I thought that H3s were all automatics"
"So did I"
"Have you told the General Sales Manager?" he asked, lowering his voice. The Dealer Principal and General Sales Manager are best friends, and the General Sales Manager wouldn't hesitate to freak on the Dealer Principal (the highest ranking officer in the dealership) if he had wasted thousands of dollars on a car no one wanted.
"No not yet."
"Go tell him. I'll come with you."
We walked into the General Sales Manager's office. The Dealer Principal spoke first.
"Joseph has something to tell you." he said, backing away.
"You know that Hummer we bought?" I said, unable to hold back a nervous chuckle.
"Yes..."came his cautious reply.
"It's a manual."
"You're s***ing me."
"Did you tell your customer?"
"Call her. She might take it anyway."
I hadn't thought about that. I had sold this couple 3 cars, and the wife grew up on a farm and learned to drive on a tractor. Driving a manual might not be a problem for her.
Maybe I could save my job.
"Hey!" he yelled at me as I was walking to my desk. "You owe me one!" I knew what that meant. It meant that he was going to let me slide on this major screw-up, and absolutely skewer me the next time I so much as talked to a customer with my hands in my pockets.
I called my customer and told her that her H3 had arrived. She was at the dealership in 15 minutes flat. She saw the manual transmission.
"Hmm. I thought it was going to be an automatic." she said, looking at me with seeking, questioning eyes.
"Well, I kind of goofed." I said, rather sheepishly. "I didn't know that H3s came with manual transmissions. Can you drive it?"
"Of course I can. I used to drive manuals all the time."
Every so often in the car business, there is a singular moment when you know the Car Gods have smiled upon you, and you feel a laser-like ray of sunshine hit you directly in the right shoulder. With my right shoulder glowing, I asked her if she wanted to take a test drive.
One test drive, a little number juggling, and one husband approval later, she was driving away in her shiny black Hummer H3 with a 5-speed manual transmission. I let out the biggest sigh of relief that I had ever released in 3 1/2 years of working at the dealership.
I walked past the General Sales Manager. "I owe you nothing!" I exclaimed, with a massive smile on my face.
Next time, I'll look more closely at the auction sheets, though.