It was early in 1986, and being pretty new in town, and not
having a stellar work history, I needed to get a job quickly.
I applied as a car salesman, even though I had no experience
doing this. They took me on anyway.
I worked for a Toyota dealer, and our job was to hang around
'The Point'...a small concrete walkway where customers would
first arrive when heading towards the new car lot.
The job was commission-only, and with several of us salesmen
working at the same time, we would take turns approaching
My job was not so much selling, negotiating, or closing as it
was just getting the customer interested enough to go inside,
sit down with a closer, and talk about it. I was the one who
got to take them out on test drives, demonstrate the car, and
find out what their interest level was.
Once I got them to go inside the dealership and talk with a
manager, my part was done...and that was fine with me. I had
done enough sales so far to know that I really wasn't in the
mood to try to talk them into a sale or discuss pricing.
Once the deal was closed, I did get my little commission for
getting things started, I think it was about seventy-five
dollars to me if it turned into a sale. That wasn't really too
bad of a deal, I was able to get a few turns done per week,
the people I worked with were all pretty cool, and I didn't
have to do any hard labor for a change.
I did find out a few things about car dealerships, though.
Amazingly, I learned that they really don't make that much
profit on a new car...whatever they have on the sticker is
what you are going to pay, even with that sticker price, the
profit they make on the car after buying it from the factory
is only a few hundred dollars. That's not a lot of profit when
you are talking about a price tag of 20-40 thousand dollars.
They don't go inside the dealership and start haggling about
the price of the car...what they are discussing is financing.
As you probably know if you have ever bought a car from a
dealer, they are going to make their money on interest, length
of loan, and whatever kind of 'extras' and maintenance
contracts they can load onto the deal.
If I had stuck with the dealer, I could have eventually become
one of these pro 'closers' and made the real money...but I had
no desire to do that, nor did I agree with the morality of it.
So when one of my past buyers offered me a job with his
company as a Real Estate Appraiser, I accepted the offer. It
was normal daytime work, weekends off, and since I had a little
bit of real estate knowledge, I figured this would help me.
After I quit the car salesman job, I found out that this person
had only just started his company, and was still building it up.
He wasn't really in a position to pay anything as yet.
(I guess I should have discussed all this before I jumped in,
but the guy was pretty persuasive with what he promised me).
But it all worked out in the end, because there was a liquor
distribution company I had been trying to get into for some
time, and one day, out of the blue, I finally got a call from
So near the end of 1986, at the age of 30, I secured what was
going to be for me one of the best jobs I have ever had!
Peace be with you.