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A Story Of What I've Learned
Cindy Reynolds
CEO at Reynolds Leadership Group
I Challenge You To Let
Them Change Your's!
Imagine being a young woman graduating from a major university, choosing to
skip the corporate world, and going to work at an automobile dealership in
Imagine being a young woman in a male dominated industry which is also one of
the least desirable industries overall to work in America
Imagine transforming a single company into an enjoyable place to purchase a
vehicle and so much so that people from all over the US would actually do it
How did that happen, you ask?
We will get there. For now, let me share a condensed version of this
phenomenal story since it’s my story
I purposely chose not to enter corporate America because as a young woman in
the 1980’s, I knew I had what it takes to rise to the top. However, I knew at that
time I did not possess the patience it would take in the corporate world for that
to happen very quickly.
Instead, I joined a friend who at that time was the youngest automobile dealer
in Oklahoma at the age of 28. He was progressive in his thinking and a good
businessperson I saw it as an opportunity to continue my education. If I liked it
I would stay and if I didn’t, I would take what I learned and move on to
something else. I was there for over 11 years.
The reason this story is relevant and significant today is that women are
still trying to break through the glass ceiling and the automobile industry is
still trying to figure out how to sell vehicles at one price, online and in a
manner that the customer has an enjoyable experience and shares it with
others. So, I was ahead of my time, yet now is the time for me to share my
Two months after joining the dealership team, I was promoted to a
management position. For the first few years I watched from a corner office
the “traditional” way of selling vehicles. I objectively watched how
everyone involved, the customer, the salesperson, and sales management
went at this disgusting game of buying and selling and how none of them
were overly comfortable with it.
The customer acted as if some dreadful disease could be contracted at the
dealership, the salespeople acted as if they were nothing more than a
dysfunctional puppet of management, and the sales manager carried a gun
in briefcase (you get the picture).
I felt as if I entered some secret car mob type life yet I was drawn to
something even if I couldn’t put my finger on it. The saving grace for me was
probably that I was allowed by the owner to do my job as I saw fit and from
who I am a person.
It’s the only way I survived during those first few years, and I performed to
expectations and I was compensated above average. Being friends with the
owner and his wife being a former college classmate and my best friend
certainly had its advantages for me.
When the opportunity presented itself for me to move into sales
management, I took it. I had used the previous years to quietly observe “car
business as usual”. Now, I was ready to transform a process the customer
hated into something they could enjoy and share with others. The timing
was perfect. My first change came in the type of people we hired as
salespeople. I begin to look for people who had either been in a
management position or self-employed. I was looking for people that would
be more interested in guiding an intelligent sales process, and be
empowered to close their own deals and eliminate all the “back and forth”
that customers did not like. I was successful in doing this. The difference
was significant. The impact was showing in our higher customer satisfaction
ratings and the increase in referrals from our customers talking about their
After several months, the owner approached me one day and shared that
he had lost faith in Chrysler ever turning things around as a manufacturer
and what would I think if we started selling all of our vehicles online and at
one price. This included all the Chrysler and Honda products. I thought
about it and in my head I could see it working. So, we started down that
We had a website before Wal-Mart! We sold at one price before Carmax!
We sold vehicles all over the US, including Hawaii and Alaska!
· We did what we said we would do
· We treated people fairly
· We always did a lttle more than what was expected
It. Was. That. Simple.
Every day. Every customer. Every transaction.
Imagine talking to a salesperson over the phone, trusting them enough to
give them a non-refundable deposit over the phone, driving from Alaska to
pick up your new Dodge pickup at invoice, walking into the dealership in a
small town in Oklahoma, waiting for the “other shoe to drop” and the
normal car “gimmicks to commence” and it not happening, and actually
enjoying the delivery experience so much that you can’t help but share
about the experience of a car dealer who actually did right by you!
It. Was. That. Simple.
They shared the story of people who could be trusted, people who sold at
one price and after arriving at the dealership nothing changed, the
experience actually was better than you could have ever expected.
My drive was about creating something that in my heart I knew I wanted
everyone to purchase their vehicle from us because I knew we were going
to do right by them. As a result, we created more jobs dealership wide,
more taxes paid to our community, expanded service and body shop hours
(6 am-9 pm, M-Sat),a fleet of courtesy cars, and a significant increase and
profits and paychecks
However, there was one issueUltimately, the owner and I were on
different pages. He was driven by making lots of money. I was driven by
creating a process that turned into significant profits. He actually towards
the end of my tenure wanted me to go back to the “car business as usual”
way of selling. He never understood what was being created, how much
less stressful it was for everyone involved, and how valuable I was as the
creator and orchestrator.
A few years later, he admitted to me that nothing was the same after I left,
and no one understood how I had done it.
It. Was. That. Simple.
...all you desire is for me to help you makes
lots of $$$ and fix whatever needs to be fixed
so this can happen, I’M NOT YOUR PERSON!
CONVERSATIONWITHYOU,IF desire to inspire your team to be good
people, who are good at what they do, and
will do right by others, I’M YOUR PERSON!
© 2016 Troy
© 2016 Reynolds Leadership Group. All Rights Reserved.
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