The Planter Story

Over the 25 years I was in the car business, I've worked with a few good salespeople. I was just thinking about this one salesman on my staff when I was a young sales manager. His name was Dennis. He was hilarious and bold and good. He had such a way to make people laugh and feel more at ease, while at the same time, giving them some less than exciting news. I heard a lot of it because my office door was just a few feet away from his. My favorite is the planter story.

Dennis would have this couple--typically and older couple trading in an older car that didn't have much market value left in it. He would set them down in his office and go get an appraisal on their car. When he came back, he would walk into his office just laughing and he would tell them, "folks, I think the best thing we can do with your trade-in is to turn it upside down and make a planter out of it." I know full well that if I tried saying that, those customers would be out of there in 5 seconds flat, but not with Dennis. It was his laugh, his light-hearted attitude about it, I don't know what, but they would soon start laughing themselves and pretty soon he was delivering the new car to them and they were all having a great time.

It's funny even today to me. I can still hear his voice, his demeanor. I can hear the initial shock in the customers reaction, then I hear them all laughing. It was magical. Talk about taking a lemon and making lemonade! When Dennis was in a good mood which was a good part of the time, he was just hard to beat. He just had a way of lifting my spirits with those silly lines. Thanks Dennis!

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