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Old 02-02-2001, 04:19 AM   #1
OPEC
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Default Why I am broke

Well unfortunately I am at the point where I can no longer continue. While I am not 100 percent committed to leaving I am 100% committed to looking for other employment options. I recently calculated my hourly pay, and it was about 10$ an hour. Folks you have to work a lot of hours to make 50K a year at 10 bucks and hour. I may come back to selling Saturns in the future because other than being totally broke it is a blast. At first I thought it was my lack of ability to sell, but with one of the highest closing ratios around as well as being one of the top sales people in the store and management having me train the new folks I realize I am banging my head against the wall. Its not me that is at fault.

Anyways believe it or not, this thread was not created to talk about my personal problems, but the perception problem Saturn faces. I cannot tell you how many times I have had people give me a funny look and say "Oh...interesting" when they find out I sell Saturns. I mean they don't want to be mean but it is clear they don't like Saturns. Our serious lack of traffic since day one reinforces our belief. The big question is ... WHY? Saturns are GOOD cars! Constantly they get beaten up in auto reviews and the public just sees them as cheap crap where the salespeople are nice.

I recently got an Email from a customer who was an internet generated lead for our store. He is interested in a Ford Escort. I asked why he was looking for an Escort and if he had ever considered a used Saturn. Here is what he said.

> I am looking for an Escort specifically because it is a reliable car I can
> buy cheaply. Contours have had reliability problems over the years.
> Saturns, while reliable, just do not seem to be as good a car from a
> performance, comfort, etc. perspective. Other cars I might be interested
in
> are as follows:
>
> Honda Civic
> Toyota Corrolla
> Mazda Protege
> Mercury Tracer
> Toyota Camry
> Subaru Legacy
> Subaru Forester
> Toyota RAV4
>
> My other requirements remain the same:
>
> automatic
> cruise control
> A/C
> 4 door (prefer wagon)
> Less than 30K miles
>
> Let me know if you have anything suitable.
>
> Thanks.

I urged him to come by for a visit to check out Saturns and see how good they are. Of the cars he listed, the only two that can compete with the Saturn for reliablity, comfort, and performance in a similar price are the civic and protege.

My own perception of Saturns long ago was they were cheap transportation for old people. I think people are surprised when they find out how good Saturns actually are. I sure was.

The good news is that Saturn is aware of this problem and is taking steps to correct it.

The bad news is I can't stick around and wait.

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Old 02-02-2001, 08:40 AM   #2
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Understand your issue. My buddy, Steve "Muddy" Sophis just left Saturn of Raleigh to work for Coca Cola. The money's just not dependable when you work on commission and the extensive use of a draw will put you forever in the hole.

I'd like to sell saturns too, but could only do it with another steady income source such as a pension. Sounds ideal for retired military folk.

The negative impression of saturn has been clearly stated to me when I try to pitch them on owning one. they say things like "I wouldn't be caught dead in a Saturn!" My response is that Saturn doesn't yet make hearses.

Seriously, there's an image problem. However, the original idea IMHO was to build a reliable economy car for intelligent customers who detest haggling. That might not be everyone's cup of tea, so saturn remains a niche player.

It may change but it's difficult to revise the customer's original impression of a product or store. For example, although I hear Wal-Mart sells nice jewelry, I'm on the floor when I see the commercial where the bride wants hubby to get her wedding ring at Wal-Mart. Just seems to be a lack of class.

Opec, please stay with us even though you're on to greater glories.

May your new endevors be crowned with success.

Bob

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Old 02-02-2001, 09:36 AM   #3
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OPEC- For years I have watched a constant turnover of sales staff at my retailer. I've owned 6 Saturns and have never been able to give repeat business to a consultant because they are always gone when it is time for me to buy the next one. Funny thing is that there is always a cheerful replacement that more or less gets the job done in much the same style.
I have come to the conclusion that the corporation and the retailers basically accept and perhaps even want it this way because nither IMO has come up with an incentive structure to encourage more consultants to stay. Have you ever heard of the term "cannon fodder"? I am afraid that it describes you and a lot of other good people who really tried to make a go of it.

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Old 02-02-2001, 12:36 PM   #4
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An even uglier term for the constant new sales staff is "floor whore".

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Old 02-02-2001, 12:50 PM   #5
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OPEC, I know we got off to a rocky start (koolaid anyone?). I totally understand how you feel about not being 100% on leaving but committed to 100% on looking for something new. At the beginning of this year, I was set to find a new more fulfilling job and found one just a couple of weeks back. I took a whole lot of debates within myself, my wife, my family, and my collegues and peers if this would be a right move, especially with hearing of massive layoffs everyday in the news. Although my present job is filled with good people and relax atmosphere, I'm not advancing where I want to be and not being satisfied of my daily work. It was a very long self debate, but I accepted the new position. I was going to give my two weeks up yesterday, but the manager wasn't in because his daughter was sick. Same story today. Well, no more GM discounts for me or my family. I know I have a long road ahead, and so do you OPEC. I wish the best for you in your future career whereever it might be.

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Old 02-02-2001, 12:36 PM   #6
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BTDT! (Been There Done That)
I left my location 2 years after it opened. I was one of the first 15 people hired of all the employees. Leaving Saturn was the hardest Job I have ever had to quit and I don't think another job will compare to the fun I had working there. Now when I stop by, I just look at the concrete where my name is and think "Boy, those were the days.."
Can't you move to another area in your retailer? For example, the Parts Counter or Marketing? I know that some larger retailers have people that just do marketing for them. You know, taking care of the car in the mall, setting up the new Newspaper articles, building "Eye Candy" for the showroom floor and keeping an eye on the over all traffic situation..

I'm sorry to see you go and hope that whatever you find, it's as fun and educating as your time at Saturn was.
Hey, Look at this way, at least you got a free trip to spring hill... You did go didnt you?

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Old 02-02-2001, 03:13 PM   #7
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Selling in a delaership is not an easy job as you have discovered. The idea of another function in the dealership might something to consider. I would think that since you have been in sales that F&I or service writing might a couple of options that you could consider.

Depending upon physical condition and your inclination, being a tech is not a bad thing. (This is where ssicarman, sattech and others will hopefully weigh in). Having turned wrenches myself, I can do it, but I enjoy doing it on my terms and decided that doing it day in and day out was not something that I enjoyed. I still work on cars as a hobby. We keep a couple of Triumphs around as toys, I had been crewing on a GT4 car until recently and am engaged in building another car that will be legal for both SCCA E-Prod and Vintage racing. Now it is more like therapy that doesn't go down on your permanent record.

As for parts, parts is a funny section. The way you make money in parts (or at least it was this way when I was growing up around a dealership) is through long term relationships with outside repair shops and to be paid, at least partially/mostly, on a commission.

Body shops, repair shops and such like consistency in their suppliers and this is usually only built up over time by dealing with folks. They want a track record with someone. Very early on for lack of a better term, I "inherited" a couple of shop accounts when one guy retired from doing British car parts. This guy thought that i did a good job and that I would be able to keep "his shops" happy. By word of mouth as other's retired, moved, or got out of the business for whatever reasons, I was able to pick up others. When I changed dealerships and often even car lines, these shops went with me for the most part. In turn, when I got out of the business, I had someone that I had been training and had been my back up with these accounts. They were now his and still are to this day. So as I say, parts is a bit different.

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Old 02-02-2001, 05:13 PM   #8
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I was downsized a few years ago and used the event to change careers. Went to work in a bike shop (my 2nd hobby), less stress, less hassle, and less money or so I thought. I was right about the money wrong about the stress and hassle though most of that came from the wife. I was slowing dying, had to go back into the technology field, all of my friends then said, ďSo now you have a real jobĒ. Obviously my friends hadnít worked retail. So know something about the position youíre in and unfortunately happiness doesnít pay the grocer. I moved on and havenít looked back and found out Iím still happy.

I have one brother that refuses to look at Saturnís just because he canít haggle over the price; he buys Nissans and pays too much anyway.

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Old 02-02-2001, 09:40 PM   #9
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Default Why I #m broke

OPEC

I h#ve found th#t it helps to ch#nge jobs every few ye#rs (even within s#me employer). Helps keep you from getting into # rut. Do you h#ve # good rel#tionship with your m#n#gement? If so then think #bout t#lking to them #bout your frustr#tions #nd problems. Hopefully something c#n be worked out. H#ving worked in the computer field since the e#rly 1980s I re#lize th#t const#nt turnover does not help #ny org#niz#tion, so m#ybe your ret#iler will be willing to give you # ch#nce to #dv#nce. #nother option would be to check other S#turn ret#ilers (if #ny) in your #re#. In Philly I know # number of people who h#ve successfully switched from one p#rticul#r ret#iler to #nother (due, I believe, to problems #t the first one).

Good luck, wh#tever you decide! Your S#turn experience should m#ke you # highly desir#ble employee elsewhere (sort of like h#ving IBM on your resume in my field).

Jim

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Old 02-03-2001, 06:43 AM   #10
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OPEC, I also can empathize with your position. I tried switching careers to sales in the early 90s and went to work for Circuit City, since electronics is a hobby of mine. Little did I know, to make money, you're really pushing those extended warranties (much like car sales, eh?). I did OK, considering I was green, but ended up getting fired unjustly (long story).

Then, went back into accounting, since I had to think about putting money away for retirement. I was at that job for 6 yrs., but found myself working 60-70 hr. weeks with no O/T. After I discovered that my boss would not back me up in getting a coworker of mine to put in a good 8 hr. day, I threw in the towel.

I've now been on a sabbatical for a while, blowing my non-retirement savings, but having a great time. Change can be a good thing, and I'm hoping to find work which I will look forward to going to, as well as make a decent living. I feel that success can be made as long as you love your career (although commission sales can be an exception).

I have a friend in Saturn sales, and he was also on top. Yet despite his talent, he had to switch dealerships to arrest the fall. There's definitely something wrong with the commission structure if you're a good closer, but have a hard time making a living! I agree with others here that you should look into the possibility of changing positions first, after all, who likes interviewing? If that won't work (it didn't work for my friend), good luck to both of us pounding the pavement <img src="http://64.77.2.166/cgi-bin/UltraBoard/Images/icons/thumbup.gif" border="0">

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