//Flagstaff Buick Sales: Podcast Episode 3

Flagstaff Buick Sales: Podcast Episode 3


Amy 00:01
Hi. It’s Amy and Shirley from Think Creative.
Shirley 00:03
Hi.
Amy 00:04
We’re here at Flagstaff Buick GMC with Tommy. He’s the floor manager here. Hi, Tommy.
Tommy 00:09
Hi.
Amy 00:10
How are you doing today?
Tommy 00:11
Fantastic.
Amy 00:12
Thank you so much for joining us. Okay. So let’s get started right at the very beginning. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in this industry.
Tommy 00:22
Originally from Roswell, New Mexico. Grew up in the white mountains. Graduated, married, three kids.
Amy 00:33
Yay.
Tommy 00:34
Yeah.
Amy 00:34
How old are they, if you don’t mind me asking?
Tommy 00:36
26, 22, and 14. And two grandbabies now.
Amy 00:42
Oh, grandbabies.
Shirley 00:43
Oh, congratulations.
Amy 00:44
How old?
Tommy 00:45
One, and one week and one day. So eight days old.
Shirley 00:48
Wow.
Amy 00:50
Eight days old. Oh, we love babies. Girl? Boys?
Tommy 00:53
Weston is a boy, obviously, and Evelyn was born November 11th, and that’s the first girl in four generations.
Amy 01:02
Oh my gosh.
Shirley 01:02
Evelyn, very pretty.
Amy 01:03
That’s your heart. She must have your heart.
Tommy 01:06
Oh, goodness gracious.
Amy 01:07
Is it different now? Is it different having kids and also a grandbaby? Having a grandbaby is probably completely different.
Tommy 01:10
Of course. And everyone tells you there is nothing like having a grandbaby.
Amy 01:16
There is nothing like it. I agree.
Tommy 01:18
And you’re like, that’s impossible [inaudible] your own. Nope, believe what I say. It’s the best.
Amy 01:24
Exactly. I agree. Well, thank you for sharing that with us. So how did you get started in this industry? What is it about cars?
Tommy 01:32
I’ve been in property management about 20 years.
Amy 01:37
Wow, okay.
Tommy 01:38
So I did conventional and then student housing, I did [inaudible] [work?], affordable housing, section eight, the full spectrum of that. And then Rich–
Shirley 01:57
Which I believe he’s the general–
Amy 01:59
Who’s Rich?
Tommy 02:00
Yeah, right. So my general manager came to me, he approached me. I don’t even think he asked me. I think he told me, “Hey, one day I need you to start selling cars.”
Amy 02:11
Where?
Shirley 02:12
Wow.
Amy 02:13
How did you guys meet? Where?
Tommy 02:15
I’ve known Rich my whole life.
Shirley 02:17
Oh, okay.
Amy 02:17
Okay.
Tommy 02:18
Yeah, we moved to Heber, Arizona.
Amy 02:23
Okay.
Tommy 02:24
A long time ago.
Amy 02:25
Right.
Tommy 02:26
Yeah. He was right there, so.
Amy 02:29
Nice.
Tommy 02:29
Since we were five and six.
Amy 02:31
Oh, since five and six. Okay.
Shirley 02:32
Yeah, that’s amazing. That’s a lifelong friendship. Yeah.
Tommy 02:35
40 years.
Amy 02:36
Oh yeah.
Shirley 02:37
So obviously he’s been in the car industry–
Tommy 02:39
Yeah. So I bought pretty much all my cars through Rich.
Shirley 02:43
Okay.
Tommy 02:44
So we’ve always had a brotherhood if you will, so.
Shirley 02:48
Yeah. Yeah. And then he was like, “I need you to sell cars.” And you were like, “Okay.”
Tommy 02:52
Yeah.
Amy 02:53
So how was it like selling your first car with him?
Tommy 02:57
It was a funny story. It took me four days. I think I was going to quit twice, the first day. I was given terrible advice from the floor salespeople at the time, and then my first sale I ended up selling two that day.
Amy 03:13
Your first sale.
Tommy 03:14
Yeah, so.
Amy 03:15
Did you have to learn any products? How did you sell your first two cars?
Tommy 03:21
They told me, “You’ll be selling yourself. In this industry you sell yourself.” And I said, “Well, I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in, like, 48 states [laughter].” I’m sure it is. I know it somewhere, it’s illegal. But I didn’t understand that, and then it’s the same thing as property management. Listen and they’ll tell you. If you listen and you know your product you’ll be fine.
Amy 03:51
What was your first two cars that you sold? Do you remember it?
Tommy 03:53
I do. It was a 2014 Ford F150. It was [lifted?]. And my second one, I want to say, it was a Chevy Impala.
Amy 04:02
Wow.
Shirley 04:02
All right.
Amy 04:02
Of course, you’re always going to have to– you always remember your first car deal.
Tommy 04:06
Yeah.
Amy 04:07
Nice. Okay.
Tommy 04:08
And then there’s my story I want to share real quick, Rich calls me up like two weeks ago, two or three weeks ago. He goes, “I have somebody coming in. I need you to take care of them.” I said, “Absolutely, boss. I gotcha.” He’s like, “They’re VIP. ” He goes, “They are my very first sale when I got into the industry in ’94.” I said, “You’ve got to be kidding.” I mean, for one I was honored. I was absolutely honored.
Shirley 04:31
Yeah. Definitely. Yeah.
Tommy 04:32
So they came in. I talked to them.
Amy 04:35
Where? Here at Flagstaff Buick GMC?
Tommy 04:36
Yes. Yeah, like three weeks ago. Yeah. So they have always purchased from Rich from day one. So–
Shirley 04:42
That’s incredible.
Amy 04:42
So it seems like he’s probably a good manager, a good person in the car industry, and for somebody to– for him to sell his first car deal and then they actually found him here at Flagstaff Buick GMC.
Tommy 04:56
Yeah, they buy every two years from him.
Shirley 04:58
Every two years.
Amy 04:58
Every two years.
Shirley 04:59
Wow, that’s incredible. Yeah.
Tommy 05:01
[The mom?], yeah. So they came and we sold them a truck and I mean it was raining that day. And people are looking like, “Why is he washing this car in the rain?’ Helped him [inaudible] the detail [inaudible].
Amy 05:15
Correct.
Tommy 05:16
I pulled inside the bay, service bay. And I detailed it and I Armor Alled it.
Amy 05:21
You detailed it yourself?
Tommy 05:23
Mm-hmm.
Amy 05:24
Well, good for you.
Shirley 05:24
Nice.
Amy 05:25
Wow.
Shirley 05:25
Yeah.
Tommy 05:25
So I brought it through from financing through the hallway back there. I actually just got the picture. It was great. So I took a picture with Rich and them and yeah. It was really cool.
Amy 05:37
It was a memorable moment for you to assist with this first car deal.
Tommy 05:40
Roma and yeah.
Amy 05:41
And then maybe hopefully one of– another salesman or whatnot that you can assist with that. That’s memorable for sure.
Shirley 05:49
Yeah. That’s a great story.
Tommy 05:51
Isn’t that neat?
Shirley 05:52
Yeah. I love that.
Tommy 05:53
Yeah. I was blown away.
Shirley 05:54
Yeah. That tells us a little bit about what Flagstaff Buick GMC is about and the people that work here, so that’s incredible. So let’s say I’m a customer. I’m coming in and I want to buy a car. First of all, why should I consider one of the vehicles you have there? What’s great about them?
Tommy 06:10
The selection.
Shirley 06:11
Selection.
Tommy 06:12
We have a great selection. GMC Dealer puts out a great product. They just do. They stand behind it. They back it. And then it starts from the bottom up. I mean, from your sales consultant, your sales professional to your F&I. Our service department retains a ton of customers. They’re phenomenal. They really are. [Martin?] and everybody.
Amy 06:34
Now do– go ahead. Sorry.
Tommy 06:35
No. Go ahead.
Amy 06:36
Now, do you only sell Buick GMC? Is that what you have here at this store, or?
Tommy 06:43
No. No.
Amy 06:44
No. Okay.
Tommy 06:44
We have pre-owned vehicles as well, and then we can pull from our other dealerships as well. Mercedes-Benz and Lake Powell Ford.
Shirley 06:54
Okay. Great.
Amy 06:56
So you can sell other vehicles.
Tommy 06:57
Pre-owned. Yeah. Obviously, the new would be delivered there so. Yeah.
Amy 07:01
Right. Excellent.
Tommy 07:03
We’ve got a great selection and great communication. There’s never any kind of reservations for us to switch out a vehicle with Mercedes or vice versa so it’s always great. No butting heads or nothing, just fluff, yeah.
Amy 07:17
So Flagstaff Buick GMC also has a sister store. You said Mercedes and also Lake Powell. Correct?
Tommy 07:24
Yes.
Shirley 07:25
Okay. And these stores that are part of Martin automotive group?
Tommy 07:30
Yes, ma’am. And Mercedes-Benz of Flagstaff will be officially grand opening this Friday.
Shirley 07:37
Exciting.
Amy 07:38
Oh. Okay.
Shirley 07:39
That’s exciting.
Tommy 07:40
Yes.
Shirley 07:41
So will you be attending that?
Tommy 07:42
I will be [laughter].
Shirley 07:43
All right.
Tommy 07:44
I will be.
Shirley 07:44
That’s great. So if I’m coming in to buy a car, what can I expect? What’s the process going to be like?
Tommy 07:51
You’re coming in. You’ll be greeted. You’ll see a ton of movement energy most of the time [laughter].
Amy 08:01
You said earlier a selection of cars and then so when you arrive to the showroom floor, is there a salesman to help guide, assist with the car?
Tommy 08:11
Absolutely. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So they’ll come in, you’ll get greeted by one of our sales professionals, and it’s no pressure. That’s another thing I learned. I mean, our customers, they need a friend, and in this day and age customers are going to know more about that product than–
Amy 08:34
Most.
Tommy 08:34
–a majority of the salesmen out there, yeah. They are. They’re going to research at least 15 times before pulling the trigger.
Amy 08:39
Correct. So most of the time they probably know what type of car selection they want to choose. Do they have the opportunity to go maybe test drive the vehicles to envision if that vehicle is right for them?
Tommy 08:48
Absolutely. Exactly. All-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, packages. Do they want the leather or they want– they’re not into the bells and whistles.
Amy 08:58
And then you would probably assist them with their experience with the vehicle and experience on how you can assist them maybe investing in that purchase, correct?
Tommy 09:11
Exactly. Yeah, they want to know what you know. They want to know everything about that vehicle. And you better know everything about that vehicle [laughter].
Amy 09:19
So at Flagstaff Buick GMC, do you have to take some type of product testing?
Tommy 09:26
Yes. All the time. We’re always being updated on our certifications.
Amy 09:33
Your certifications. So all the time you have to do your certifications on learning about the product of the vehicle, trim level.
Tommy 09:39
And it’s GM. It’s just not GMC Buick, it’s Cadillac, Chevy, Buick, and GMC. So it’s all four.
Amy 09:47
Okay. Wow.
Shirley 09:48
Wow.
Tommy 09:49
I know.
Amy 09:50
That’s intense.
Tommy 09:51
It is [laughter]. I just got done finishing 86 tests.
Shirley 09:55
Wow.
Amy 09:55
86 tests for the year? For the month?
Tommy 09:58
Last two weeks.
Amy 09:59
The last two weeks?
Tommy 10:01
Yes.
Amy 10:01
Oh, Wow.
Shirley 10:01
Wow.
Amy 10:02
Do you have to do that– how often do you have to take the testing? Maybe once a year?
Tommy 10:09
No. It’s quarterly.
Amy 10:11
Quarterly. Okay.
Tommy 10:12
Yeah. On top of briefings and seminars, they’ll have live seminars and stuff like that, so.
Amy 10:17
Training.
Tommy 10:18
Yes.
Amy 10:19
So you guys are at Flagstaff–
Tommy 10:19
And then we have– yes, we have our sales reps also come in and– once a month and we’ll pick a– well, they’ll have a selected model that they’re going to butterfly and do a product–
Amy 10:30
Which is more of like a walk-around on the vehicle–
Tommy 10:31
It really is, yeah.
Amy 10:32
–and show you how to– new features of the vehicle and educate you guys on that.
Tommy 10:37
Yes. Yeah. They’re wonderful. They are great.
Amy 10:41
Nice, so you guys are fully trained at Flagstaff Buick GMC.
Tommy 10:45
Yes, ma’am.
Shirley 10:46
Okay. You’re going to be able to help with that vehicle decision and purchase.
Tommy 10:49
Yes.
Shirley 10:50
So what makes you, Tommy, stand out from the other sales professionals here [laughter]?
Amy 10:59
Is that your face?
Tommy 11:01
No, I’m sorry [laughter].
Amy 11:01
You tell us.
Tommy 11:04
It’s the tattoos [laughter].
Amy 11:07
Okay. So yes, so if you can–
Tommy 11:09
It would be the years of experience of customer service. I’ve always been detailed about that.
Amy 11:16
What does customer service mean to you?
Tommy 11:19
The customer’s needs first.
Amy 11:21
Okay. Whatever they need, you’re just there to assist them. Is that pretty much it?
Tommy 11:27
Yeah.
Amy 11:28
Okay.
Shirley 11:28
Okay. Great.
Amy 11:29
That’s a lot. That’s a huge task to take on.
Tommy 11:32
Yeah. Well and you got to deal with– I mean, you genuinely want to do it. You can’t, “Yeah let me get this for you.” That’s not going to fly.
Amy 11:40
So it sounds like it comes from the heart.
Tommy 11:42
Yeah, it has to be. They’ll know. And so I’ve always lived by is people don’t know– what is it? People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.
Shirley 11:54
Yeah, that’s true.
Tommy 11:55
I mean, it’s the truth, yeah. So.
Amy 11:57
And is that something that Rich, your general sales manager here, is that where he’s been embedded in you? Is that what he tries to make sure that his whole entire sales staff, his team?
Tommy 12:11
Yes. We have sales meetings every Friday. He is the master motivator. He’s a man of many words, a man of many hats. He’s the best boss ever.
Shirley 12:27
And having met Rich, I can totally see that, that he would be great at motivating his team and. Yeah.
Tommy 12:33
Personal, professional.
Shirley 12:36
And it sounds like he comes from the heart which is good. You don’t really see that in the dealership world. You really don’t see that.
Amy 12:42
Yeah. So speaking of that, a lot of people do have a kind of a negative perception of the car dealership in general. So how do you deal with that, and what are you doing to kind of change that perception?
Tommy 12:58
I thrive on that [laughter]. I do. It fuels me because I was that customer. I was the one coming in with the folded arms and a down payment, I’m not putting a down payment. You guys are all there. You’re splitting the money and the profits. And until you really understand the process and how it works, it’s cut and dry. This company and this team is built on integrity. I mean, we’re transparent. We’re upfront, and it’s from our leader. It’s from Rich down. So get in or yeah.
Amy 13:41
Nice.
Shirley 13:42
So Flagstaff Buick GMC is a trustworthy place. You guys are all in it together to help the customer.
Amy 13:46
Transparent. That’s what it sounds like. You guys are here to help.
Tommy 13:49
We work late and I mean everyone stays around. It’s great.
Amy 13:54
It sounds like you guys have a good team for sure.
Tommy 13:56
We do. We do.
Amy 13:57
And it probably resonates to your guys’s customer. You guys care about each other. You guys care about your customers.
Tommy 14:02
Yeah. Because I mean once they drive off, that’s not the end. We’re following up with them making sure they’re satisfied.
Amy 14:09
They’re satisfied, safe. And then Mr. Rich or you, he had his very first customer come back just two weeks ago. And I’m sure he’s been in the industry for a very long time.
Tommy 14:19
About 26 years. Yeah.
Amy 14:20
26 years for him?
Tommy 14:21
Yeah. I can assure you he probably does 12 deals a month himself, but he’ll designate to–
Amy 14:31
Right. Right. You’re a sales rep, the sales rep for sure.
Tommy 14:33
Yeah. Absolutely.
Amy 14:36
That’s awesome. So what about your job do you think that people would be surprised to learn? Like somebody from the outside that doesn’t really know a lot about the industry or about how a car dealership works. What might surprise them to learn?
Tommy 14:48
How many hands are on deck. It’s crazy [laughter]. It really is. It’s from the sales to the F&I to the service. I know it’s separate entities and divisions. I mean we have the service department, the body shop, sales, F&I, detail.
Amy 15:16
It sounds like all the departments put together to be there for your customers.
Tommy 15:19
Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. And it runs smooth and the customers know it.
Amy 15:25
Excellent. All right, well it’s–
Tommy 15:26
We know it. Yeah.
Amy 15:27
Yeah [laughter].
Tommy 15:28
For sure.
Amy 15:29
I think your customers do know that. You can tell when something’s together and when it’s not [laughter] from the outside even. Yeah.
Shirley 15:33
Right. And that you can resonate from the employees that they’re happy to be here. They want to be here. And it resonates for the personality. The customers can sense it.
Amy 15:44
Yeah.
Tommy 15:44
From the curb appeal to the OCD of the lines we have out there [laughter]. It’s what we do.
Shirley 15:51
Right. That’s Awesome.
Amy 15:53
All right. So thank you very much for your time and for sharing about your experiences. Let’s wrap things up with just a final question. You’ve talked about it a lot already, but I’m just going to give you this one last chance to make your pitch. Why should we come to Flagstaff Buick GMC to buy our vehicle?
Tommy 16:08
Customer service oriented. That’s it. It’s always going to be about the customer. Always.
Amy 16:15
We love it. Thank you so much for your time, Tommy.
Shirley 16:15
Sounds like Tommy’s [inaudible]. Thank you.
Tommy 16:16
Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you.

By |2019-01-11T23:29:00+00:00November 30th, 2018|podcast|0 Comments

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