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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Something I Learned

Daniel Matta 1995

Something I Learned.

A Good Salesman

I was twenty years old when I started working at the car lot. I was going to become a salesman. This seemed perfect for me at the time, using my mouth more than my hands. I could sell ice to an Eskimo said a friend once. I would say that I was just a good communicator. I liked the competition; I also liked the rush. This seemed perfectly normal at the time, this is what everyone else did, manipulate the customers or scam them in to buying a car. Some salesman had kids and needed to pay bills or that’s what they said. I believed them at the time. I felt some sympathy for them. After all they were my friends’ right? Everything was lovely as we would say or copasetic when things were going in our favor. It seemed as if we all felt like we were on top of the world after manipulating someone in to purchasing a car. The owners loved it and so did we. The owners would give us bonus checks for a job well done. It all seemed harmless, selling a couple of cars here and there.
I was number one on the “board”; I was the one usually selling the most. It felt good, being the youngest salesman and all. It seemed like I was gaining some respect with the higher level owners. I was getting VIP treatment; at least I thought I was. I was becoming a real salesman. That’s what the owners said when they introduced me to there partners, “Would you like to meet a real salesman? “They said this jokingly. At the time I thought nothing of it. So I laughed as well. Things were going good and I was getting better at being number one. I got a desk in the front of the office, and I was always introduced first if a customer needed to speak with a salesman even if I was busy. I started getting use to living like I thought I wanted to live.
This was a way of life I had never experienced before. A way of life I soon realized I wanted no part of. This way of living was going against everything I was taught at home. I was using peoples trust and manipulating their minds with bogus information. I was becoming a selfish, crook, thief, con-artist, and a liar. If this was what a good salesman was, I wanted out. I couldn’t do it anymore, you know, the looking in to their eyes and robbing them with a smile. The set ups that we practiced in the back office so many times that it was starting to become second nature. All these things I learned were ways to hurt people and take what they have worked so many years for from them in a minute or two. Well they have just trained the perfect solider for their business. If I owned a car lot, I was the perfect rookie/puppet for the job. The blind young kid who was one day going to see but was being blind folded as long as I would let myself. I was just a number to the owners a young “rook” that was open for the taking. I was the one being manipulated. I was the one who was getting taken advantage of also. I didn’t know I was hurting people or giving people a lot of financial problems. I was just on the frontlines. It was then when I realized the big picture. This would soon change my life.
When I started to look around at to what was really going on, is when I was not welcome anymore. I had to make an appointment to talk to the owners. I couldn’t be late anymore. I was not being invited to lunch anymore for some reason. It seemed as if I was being pushed out because I was starting to learn to much or I had to much information on how things were going. It was time for me to go and I didn’t even know it yet. The owners started interviewing other salesman, it seemed as if I couldn’t sell anymore knowing what I was really doing, making people see something that is not even there and will never be. And if you got mad and wanted your money back, SORRY you have signed a receipt that says no refund. The people probably would have noticed it but I had my hand over it, I was covering it on purpose. I was shown this tactic by one of the owners. In stead of telling the people exactly what’s going on, they scammed them then acted like it was the customers fault for not reading the agreement. The owner probably forgot we were rushing the customers to sign and they were so happy for nothing they signed in a rush. This was starting to bother me. People started coming back and ask me why I didn’t tell them all these things. They were mad at me, no wonder why the owners would never want to see any of the customers. They put me to do there dirty work.
One Sunday afternoon, would change things forever. This was a big day for me, not financially, but personally. A man with his young son walked in and asked me to see a Cadillac. He said he wanted the one we had parked in the front. He had been looking at it for months, he said. Right away I new that car was not running properly. The owners put it in the front only because it moves, they don’t care if the person brings the car back. They sign a non refundable receipt remember. Well I was not going to have this nice man who just got out of church get in financial stress or hurt him in a way only he knows. So I decided to tell him that the car wasn’t working right and I suggest he look at another one. He said that he appreciates the honesty but he really likes it. He wanted to drive the car for himself. So I did. Driving the car did nothing but make him want it more even though that noise that was so loud to me seemed as if nothing to him. I informed him that the car probably won’t last to long. He said “I know about used cars”. I said “ok, why don’t you come back tomorrow because we don’t sell cars on Sunday we just take appointments.” We do take deposits but I didn’t want to tell him. Sure enough he asks me. He was determined to leave a thousand dollars as a deposit to let me know he means business. What he didn’t know is that It didn’t matter to me if he bought the car or not. Well he left the deposit and went home. I was off Monday; he came in and took the car, when I came to work on Tuesday he pulled in with a taxi. He was saying his car broke down, yelling at me. This man left himself open for destruction and didn’t listen when I warned him clearly about the car. He wanted his money back; no one would talk to him anymore. The owners went in to hiding, I was left to fend for myself. I couldn’t take it anymore and I quit. I had left the place that I wanted to be at. Something’s may seem clear when they are really distorted. Be careful when buying and signing things. Take your time and don’t rush. Read everything you sign, and ask questions. These are just some pointers that can make or break you.
As for me, I will not to lie to people. I will not to hide things from people, I rather just tell them straight out. If they make the wrong decision then at least I warned them. I will never want to manipulate people for the wrong reasons. I will never take advantage of people. I will not rush in to anything without some kind of history first. I will not use the kind hearted. That in it self should be a crime. What I learned here is that I never want to be a bad person. I want to give instead of take. I want to make a change for the better. I want to keep the good, good. I want to become someone useful. This experience has taught me what I want to do and be in life, GOOD. -I wrote this in College in 1995- Daniel Matta.


  1. Hi Danny,
    I am very impressed with your story about the lessons you learned as a car salesman. This is a great story and should be shared with everyone!! I know I feel awful everytime I enter a dealership to buy a car because I know I'm going to be stabbed.
    Most important is the life lesson you learned and are applying it to you Real Estate career. I feel just the same way you do, and I refuse to knowingly hurt anyone to my advantange. My mom taught me that sometimes you win more by losing, and I've found that to be the truth. I strongly believe that God's ways are the best ways, and thus I try to follow the Golden Rule: 'Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you'. It works!!!
    may God bless you in your career, especially in these crazy times, and may He prosper you in all that you do.
    Maria Elena Martinez, Westward Realty