CAREERS FOR0UR BOYS
OR HOW TO BECOME A GARAGE PROPRIETOR By NEVIL LLOYD
Despite the strenut.us efforts made by our Minister of Transport on behalf of the railways, gone are the days when our sons, when asked what they would be when they grew up, answered, ” I want to be an engine driver, Daddy.”
Nowadays, the younger generation have more sense, and would rather be a master glass blower, a retired sanitary inspector, or a father of ten, so that they can write to the papers about matters of which they know nothing.
If, however, you have a son who can take your car to pieces, put it together again, and still have several pieces over, the obvious career for the lad is that of a garage proprietor. Should he then be able to sell back to you the surplus pieces he is definitely cut out to be the proprietor of several garages.
This noble profession is by no means an easy one. A good deal of training being necessary before even your son is able to look a customer in the eye and tell him the car he is about to sell him Is a ” good clean job,” knowing full well that the chassis frame is cracked, and the oil consumption is a 100 miles to the gallon.
However, here are a few hints to fathers who intend to put their sons into the motor trade. First of all buy a garage. This, of course, is a very necessary step. Care should be taken to see that this garage has a good office with a door having a frosted glass top half on which should be written :—Private. No Admittance Except on Business. Behind this your son is then able to read the latest novel without fear of disturbance.
This ()Mese should be well furnished. Panelled walls, a thick pile carpet, two armchairs out of which no client should be able to escape without signing an order form, and an office desk so large that it reminds you of the wide open spaces, where men are men and only garage proprietors wear braces. A touch of humour may be added by hanging up a notice saying :—My, Time Means Money. This is not very subtle, but your clients will laugh at anything.
A lot of importance should be attached to this office, as it is a very necessary part of the curious pastime of “standing things in.” I will explain this, when you have taken a car in part exchange for a new one, the one you are left with ” stands you in ” at a certain figure. You then place this car in your showroom, asking a price three times in excess of what you expect to receive for it. A client then offers you twice as much as you thought you’d get. You then go into your office to see what it ” stands you in at ” the customer won’t agree to that figure, so you rush back and try again. The idea being that every time you go back to your office it stands you in at .25 less, until an agreement is reached, or you give the car away.
The garage itself is of secondary importance. It should be well fitted up with hoists, pulleys, lathes and vices. The good proprietor usually supplies his own vices, that of writing unsolicited testimonials to himself being quite one of the worst. A number of notices about the place go down well, the most popular being : No Smoking, and a chart showing how to apply artificial respiration to a dead mechanic (with diagrams). The garage side of the business may be safely left to the works manager, who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty, and will even work until six o’clock in the evening. Sometimes. This leaves the
proprietor free to sign letters, walk round to the local, attend cocktail parties in honour of new models and attend to the sales side. Providing a few necessary points are strictly observed, and a little strategy is used the rest is easy. The first essential in selling a car is to have the customer, or ” prospect ” as the victim is called, shown into the waiting room. This is a room just large enough to swing a cat in, but not large enough in which to swing a deal. It is furnished with a chair and a table on which is a bound volume of unsolicited testi monials. On the walls are portraits of satisfied customers with one foot on the running board of their new car (and the
other in the grave, but they don’t know that) shaking hands with the garage proprietor, who is grinning like an ape, and no wonder.
After a wait of ten minutes during which the proprietor is able to finish his chapter in his book, the ” prospect ” should be ushered in. The proprietor should then clear his throat (if his throat wants clearing) and start his sales talk. He should first of all produce a pack of cards and lay these on the table, all fifty-six of them. (N.B. The conscientious salesman always has five aces cf spades.) This placing of cards on the table makes the client think he’s dealing with an honest man. I said think. He should then speak to him as man to man, a big compliment in these clays.
This should be followed by a lot of frank speaking, straight from the shoulder, and if possible right to the heart by informing the customer that, entirely between you and him, you happen to be losing on the deal. This is a very good point.
Finally, hammer home your advantage by saying you have nothing up your sleeve whatsoever, and proving it by showing him a photograph of yourself in a bathing costume. By following this procedure strictly,
the average garage proprietor should, even if he is his father’s son, go far. In fact, one garage proprietor I used to know, v.ho had a business in West Hartlepool went so far that he eventually reached Dartmoor. That, of course, was going a bit too far. Besides seven years is too long to be away from business.