There are so may people who helped me over the years. But, I'll go with the two who changed my life in the auto industry. The first was pure accident. I bought my first new truck in 1978. Less than a month after buying, I returned to the dealer to purchase a new antenna becasue the one on the truck was snapped off by a low hanging branch. The sales manager remembered me and offered me a job. I had never thought about selling cars in my life. But, when he told me I got a car to drive, I was in.
It wasn't until about 4 years later that I met the one person who changed everything I thought about this business. His name was Bruce, and he was the GM at a Ford store I had just started working for. From day one, he took me under his wing. Everything he did or told me to do came with an explanation. He took me to the auctions and taught me to buy cars. I learned how to T/O deals, conduct sales meetings, and even forecast sales.
His lessons in servant leadership taugh me to treat everyone as if they were to be my replacement and train them accordingly. That's the number one reason I've been training sales people now since 1996.
My dear friend Bob!!!
I jump at the opportunity to participate in your share "Who is your GURU"
It's always an honor to give credit to those who so freely contributed to ones success. My very first inspiration, motivator, trainer, and leader by example was a Superstar named Keith Jacklich.
My interview process with Keith had nothing to do with my background, or what I could do for him - it was him selling on what he would do for me.
Back in the day there was a publication called Automotive Superstar!!! Keith proudly pulled out the magazine and showed me his awards, accomplishments and articles on his ability to create success for others. He then proceeded to show me his past W2's and his current year to date pay check stub. Mind you that up until this time the most money I ever made in my life was about $18,000.00 in one year. His monthly earnings doubled my best earnings for a year, to put it simply I was SOLD...
Upon going to work for this man, he had one rule and that was to do what he taught by example. He explained that he accepts mistakes and great efforts, but once I was taught he wouldn't accept anything less from me than to do it the right way. He taught me simple things like paying attention even when things appeared to be slow - the dealership didn't need to be busy for me to be busy, it only takes one.
Keith ran circles around the rest of the staff in the dealership, he knew it drove the others crazy and thrived on it. The store was a stage for competition, and to be #1 meant everything to everyone. As I witnessed this man out close, out desk and out train the rest; I was inspired to say the least to follow in his path. The environment was truly a jungle and survival of the best.
It amazes me how when some get good at the game, they want to take the credit and forget to give it...
Truly a great topic my friend, and forever grateful I am to my very first GURU and all of those who have followed, and GURU's like you who are of current...
Thanks for the friendship and classiness my brother!~
What a great discussion topic Bob.
My first Guru and Mentor was a gentleman named Eric Whitman. It was my 1st job as a car salesman. I was on my 3rd sales team and about to get launched. Eric either needed to fill a spot or saw something in me. Either way, I was fortunate. He worked hard training me. Finally it all started clicking. It’s like before I was watching a football game but all I could see were the pretty white lines and numbers on the field. Now I was seeing the whole game and was able to understand what was actually happening on the field. Eric not only assisted me in sales but in life as well. He taught me valuable lessons about planning goals, attitude, and attitude (yeah he had to do that on more than one occasion). I have been truly blessed to be around so many successful people in my life. I am learning and growing everyday in business, as a father, and as a husband. Even though we are both out of the dealership sales side of the business, I still check in with Eric from time to time. And of course he is doing awesome. The company he’s work for since he got out of the biz just bought the Detroit Pistons. Thanks for allowing me a forum to pay tribute to my first Mentor.