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Well The Old car Biz is Alive and Well

Ryan Thompson

Sr. Refresher
Apr 22, 2009
First Name
Hey Ralph,

I really appreciate the time you are taking to compose this DealerRefresh version of "Dear Diary". I'm also one of those ex-vendor guys in the dealership now. One thing most of us dealers really suck at is onboarding and training. Keep them coming... PLEASE!
Jan 25, 2012
First Name
Dear Diary,

Monday was another eye opening day. I was on the noon to 8pm shift.

F&I Manager who did the paperwork on my Used Car delivery last week came to me and explained that "I don't work well on expediting a deal. I work at my own pace and if you continue to check and see where I am on inputting the deal, I will purposley slow down." Really.

A customer I failed to let you know about on on the pervious entry called me in the afternoon. He had come in on Saturday with his partner. He was looking t two models, one like the 2015 he's currently driving and the new, & hot model we are taking orders for and selling @ MSRP.

I showed him both, He dazzled me with his knowledge of the product. He knew all the different colors (by OEM's name) and trim levels. He rattled off the different packages and options available. His partner told me at the outset the he wasn't driving/riding in any vehicle on Saturday. I asked the GM to speak with them and she gave a lot of good information.

To my surprise, he called me on Monday. Seems the the OEM has a lease calculator on their site, so he built the "hot" model and ran a lease figure. He then looked at the closest stock unit in the other model, called and asked for a lease figure to compare the difference in payment between the two. I explained that the figure he got online is probably a ways from reality, and he seemed to understand that.

I printed a worksheet on the stock number he gave. Took it to the GM, as the NCM had disappeared (again). GM started yelling at me. Asked where the deal folder was (oops, I forgot that one needs to go to the NCM's office and pull it). She continued her rant: It seems that Cook County -- Chicago-- has a double tax on leases. Use tax is 9.5%, They also have a mechanical equipment tax that includes motor vehicles for another 9%). She was mad that I didn't know that and "explained' that most folks don't lease in Chicago due to that. I wonder how I would have known that. :rolleyes: She continued to tell me how busy she is as they're closing the month and didn't have time for this.

I asked her for a figure just on the in stock model. She then ask for the equipment on the "hot" one. I again explained that he has the figure he needed on that and he understood that they are not totally accurate. He just wants to know the difference in payment to help with his decision of which to get. She calmed down and gave me lease figures with and without tax.

Called the customer and explained the lease and tax issues. We discussed the fact that he likes to have a new vehicle every 2-3 years and that even with the tax it may be the right thing for him. (I think he's correct). He also told me his partner is out of town on business, so he's getting all of his research together for when the partner returns.

The clincher is that while I was on the phone with him, the very very busy GM came to some of the comfy leather chairs in the showroom, plopped herself down and started a BS session with a couple of salespeople. That lasted 20 minutes.

There were zero new customers in on Monday, but I'm not surprised, as it was September 31. I'm still eagerly awaiting the off-lease list that was requested last Monday. Also asked for any orphaned owners.


It's truly been an interesting adventure.

p.s. I took the BDC Manager job I mentioned last week at a high-line competitor today. I know one of their sales managers who is very good. The store is still behind the times, but really trying to catch up. Received a very fair pay plan. Have 6 direct reports. Asked the GM if I could shop their two closest competitors to begin my tenure there, and he welcomed it. Also asked me to shop his store. BDC handles only email/lead forms. Sales calls and chats go to the floor. We shall change that soon. It may be an opportunity for another thread, but we shall see.

So, this is my final installment here. I made sure I turned all of my customers in the CRM to other's and explained what their status is. Emailed the UCM who I told last night that I was leaving with all that information.

Cleaned out my desk, packed my briefcase and looked for the NCM who was joking with the 2 F&I Managers in their office, so no good-bye to them.

So thank you Dear Diary, for listening to me. It's been a real eye opener.

And no, I didn't let the door hit me in the a$% on the way out.


Sr. Refresher
Apr 20, 2009
First Name
Congrats on the new role Ralph. I hope that your diary entries continue with far less "excitement." I can't help thinking about the recent churn studies in light of your story. This kind of anecdotal evidence really gives color to those cold stats. Best to you in your journey!
Reactions: Ralph Ebersole


Jun 20, 2018
First Name
Ralph, being new to this business 6 months ago I found your diary entries very informative (and some familiar)! Good luck in your new role and keep the stories coming!
Reactions: Ralph Ebersole

Stan Sher

Getting Refreshed
Jul 13, 2009
First Name
Since I can't find a position in the vendor world, I decided to go back to my roots and sell cars. Dealerships in my area (Chicago North Suburbs) are stuck in the 80's. Maybe 70's. They want experienced salespeople, which is fine. I love the biz.

Started yesterday..Was given a desk, and log-in to email and CRM. Training: Take the CRM tutorial; Drive some cars. Have to ask how to use the phone. Store gets about 3-4 Internet leads a day from corporate BDC. Had to ask for access to the key board.

With all that's happening out there, it sure seems that this is still the norm in the industry. Digital retailing? "What's that?" Subscription service? "duh."

Quite interesting.
Wow. Sounds about right. Keep us posted. I would love to see more of what you are experiencing. It makes for great content to share.
Jan 25, 2012
First Name
Ah, the saga continues. The vehicle I sold and a $2900 gross, according to the UCM the day I sold it. The deal was delivered with a CU check in hand. Also there was a $1k/month salary. Commissions are paid on the 15th. Not a surprise that there is no direct deposit showing. Calls and emails to the Volvo Dealership have gone unanswered. This store will feel the pain.

The new employeer has it's flaws, however the strengths outweigh their weaknesses. Good people. My BDC answers email leads only. No phone no chat. They work very well together and cover for one another on days off. During business hours, the leads are answered in less than 10 minutes. Salespeople are not putting notes into the leads as they are passed to them. Causing quite a problem when my team follows-up with the consumer and they tell us they bought yesterday. :egads:

Wonder if anyone can answer a couple of questions. The current process is for 104 days from when the lead comes in-9 in the first 14 days. After 30 there's 4 more hands on prescribed contacts. Not an auto email, but send and if not opened -- call. Any comments?

Also, how many new leads should each of my reps be able to handle each month. The CRM does a good job of parking out duplicates. i would appreciate any feedback folks would give, as I think I'm overstaffed.

More on the Volvo store as I have it.