Stephen Livesay – Baylor University
General Sales Manager
Port Lavaca Auto Group
“Dude, I didn’t go to college to be a car salesman.”
I had been out of college for 4 years, had a degree on my wall from Baylor University, but no money in my savings account to show for. All my friends were making $40-50k a year out of school, but little did I know that their pay would remain static over the next 5-10 years at Hewlett Packard, Conoco Phillips, or Lilly Pharmaceuticals. I was a communications major, I wanted to be a salesman, but everyone wanted an experienced salesman for a well paying outside sales job. Four years into my search, through 2 different jobs, I had to make a move. I had been married for 2 years, my wife and I wanted to have kids, and yet we were committed to her desire to stay home and raise them. How could I continue selling marketing goods at a rate of $3,000 to $4000 a month, keep my wife at home, and pay the bills? I could not, I was stressed, and I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. Life is so expensive. If I could only find the magical $10,000 a month job, life would be easier! On a rainy Thursday afternoon in Houston, Tx I was making the turn off of Loop 610 on to I-10, and I made a phone call to a buddy of mine in the car business, whom I bought my 2004 Taurus from. He said, “Stephen, you should come sell cars for me.” Inside I chuckled, and my next words I can still hear as clear as day. I responded, “Dude, I didn’t go to college to be a car salesman.”
The next 5 1/2 years have been a blur. I am now the General Sales Manager for three stores in Port Lavaca, TX. Selling a car is my favorite thing to do. I am a sports guy, competitive, and a family man, and the people I work with are like me. I have always been a “people person”, but I had never been able to capitalize on my skill set to make money. I built quick relationships with people, I became their friend in the car business, and I got paid! Everything we do is so tangible, including the immediate gratification of completing a sale within 3-4 hours and making $1000. The hours are long, your weekend plans will look way different, but the return on your investment of time and effort will crush any of your fellow graduates.
There is an incredible opportunity for advancement. If you can become a person who has a high closing ratio, a high gross average, and high customer satisfaction, then you’ll shoot up through the ranks. If you can be the person who just seems to always figure out how to put a deal together, and who can overcome customer objections in a way to where they still love you when it all over, then you will be put into a position to touch more customers. Our goal is to maximize the opportunity we have. Some people are better coaches than they are players. However, even though it may take a little more effort and commitment up front, we believe that you’ve got to be able to perform doing the things you are asking your players to do. The fact is that there are people in this business who can just visualize how a car deal is going to come together. We call them “deal makers”.