I’ve had the good fortune of being an avid auto parts dealer for more than 30 years.
I’ve sold millions of vehicles, but it was my experience in auto parts that truly made me a car enthusiast.
I first bought my first vehicle in 1965 when I was 17.
My father, who had owned cars and was a car salesman for years, drove my father’s 1963 Oldsmobile to work.
We lived in a three-bedroom home in the city and had two cars: a 1959 Ford Explorer and a 1957 Cadillac Escalade.
I grew up on a farm, where my mother was a farmhand and my father was a homemaker.
I had no interest in buying a car, but I loved the idea of owning one.
That’s how I learned about the automobile, and I was hooked.
I eventually sold my first car, a 1965 Ford Explorer, and began working for General Motors.
When I left for college, I joined a small car dealership that had been established in 1965.
I made a few sales and worked at the dealership as a salesman.
That lasted about six years, until I left the business and moved to Detroit.
It was there that I learned that auto parts were really important to the American consumer.
I worked for the auto parts department for almost 20 years, and by the time I left GM, it was the most important place I had ever worked.
I knew from the first day that the automotive industry was changing rapidly, and so did everyone who was involved.
After my time with GM, I was a consultant for a new automotive consulting firm called Autotron, and in 1984, I took a job at GE.
It would be seven years before I would ever have a job in auto assembly, but that was because I was doing the work.
The job I had at GE wasn’t glamorous, and it wasn’t for everyone, but the experience of working there really changed my life.
I would like to share with you what I learned along the way.
One of the biggest mistakes I learned from my work at GE was to never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
I would have a customer say to me, “I’m going to come back to GE in five years, I’m going back to a Cadillac Escort,” and that would be the end of it.
That would never happen.
You have to take it on faith.
If you can’t do that, you have no business.
If your salesperson doesn’t know you from your experience, they are not going to believe you.
That was the worst lesson I learned at GE, because I would get calls from people who were just like me.
They had the same story, but they had a different experience.
So I would tell them I was from Detroit, and they would say, “That’s a lie.”
But they weren’t lying.
That is the most powerful marketing tool you can use.
I learned over the years that people really are loyal.
They trust the people who they work with, and those people are loyal to the end.
I have worked with more than 200 people over the last 20 years.
When you’re in a situation where you’re making a difference in the lives of millions of people, that’s when the word- of-mouth magic starts.
The best way to get a word-up is to put out an advertisement.
When people have never seen your product, you want them to know it exists, and you want to reach as many people as possible.
We have been able to do that by going to hundreds of people who have never bought a car.
We would get a letter from them and we would send them a free set of wheels or a set of tires.
If they bought a used car and they had never owned a car before, we would go out to the nearest dealer and tell them we were going to get them a used Chevy.
I don’t know how many people that we’ve gotten a free letter from.
We’ve had some success in that regard.
I remember one time I went to a dealership that I didn’t know was in Detroit and told them we would be giving them a set with a special price tag of $7,000.
They were all so happy to hear that I said, “Great!
They’re all excited.
They don’t even know we’re here!”
It turned out that the car had been a special order for one of our suppliers and had been sitting in the parking lot for a couple weeks.
We drove it to a place on the street where they had an appointment and they got the customer to pay.
They gave me a coupon and gave me the set.
I was really excited to be a part of it and take advantage of the opportunity.
One of the most valuable lessons I learned in my time at GE is that if you can make people believe you are doing something good for the industry, you will.
I’m really proud of