*In this slow economy some people have been unemployed for months, saying they can’t find a job to pay the bills. But they were hiring sales people at the car dealership offering base pay plus commissions. Even though she had limited sales experience, she learned that – whether it’s teens vending encyclopedias or Jehovah’s Witnesses pushing pamphlets – if you talk to enough people somebody’s bound to buy what you’re selling. So she took the job, because it’s all a numbers game.
If ever there was a doubt that it’s a man’s world, just visit a car dealership. Salesmen pass gas in crowded offices and then laugh about it; they make crude remarks about women and to each other. They dip snuff and spit whenever they get the urge. So be careful where you sit. Of all the things they do, most of all they underestimate women.
Her first day on the job they ignored her, barely even spoke. On her second day she sold a $20,000 vehicle and they took notice. Judging from their dumbfounded looks they expected her to be just another pretty face. But when they realized she was the real deal, that’s when they started to play hard ball. For thirty days they gave her old leads that already had been worked, and when she still managed to get customers to show up for test drives the salesmen tried to claim the customers for themselves. They steered her customers to vehicles nobody else wanted to buy just to make bigger commissions for themselves. And they required larger downpayments from her customers forcing them to walk away and go elsewhere. Managers wouldn’t enforce their own company policies, giving her no place to turn for support. And that created a hostile work environment. So on the thirty-first day she wrote a letter to the CEO; if he didn’t fix the problems she would find someone to fix it for him.
Within 24-hours the change was evident; co-workers were helpful, management was supportive and everyone had to follow company rules. It was a step in the right direction, but the first step of many. She had sold more than ten cars her first thirty days in the car business working in an unfriendly environment. Imagine how many cars she could sell if she started to like the place.
Although she never would like it enough to think about being there long-term, she had learned to have inner-peace despite whatever chaos was brewing around her. Afterall, it’s not always about the here and now. Sometimes today’s fight is about tomorrow’s victory.
Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Send questions, comments or requests for speaking engagements to Steffanie at [email protected]. And see the video version of her journal at youtube.com/steffanierivers.