Saturday, April 16, 2011

What happens when 3 car guys go on a road trip

The General Manager (Marshall), the Sales Manager (Bill), and myself all went to Seattle for a Management Training Seminar. What happens when you send 3 car guys out of town on a trip. Well, they search out other cool dealerships to get ideas and sometimes convince the salespeople to screw around a little.

Our first stop was Seattle Auto Auction to pick up a few cars for the dealership. First of all, I have to thank my owner Eric for the fun opportunity to do this. I got a real appreciation for the effort Eric puts forth as our auction buyer. We only bought 4 cars at a smaller auction. Eric usually buys 3-4 times that amount at much larger auctions. Bill strapped on his big boy boots and bought his first two cars at auction and did a great job. Marshall and I seemed to try to buy every single car that they wanted too much money for and in the end, we would walk away. Cars at auction were selling for what we sell them for at our dealership. Bottom line: cars are getting more expensive, not less.

After the auction we were hungry so we drove to Bellevue as it was our next destination on the schedule. Once in Bellevue we hit Google Places on the Droid and the name "Dixie's BBQ" pulled up. Marshall and I immediately knew where we were going to go. Bill on the other hand, was wasting away in the back seat and wanted to go anywhere he could. As Bill was kicking and screaming all the way there, we followed the navigation in Marshall's phone. When it said we were close, Marshall pointed to an old auto shop and said "there it is" in his joking manner. We kept driving. Turns out, that's where it was.

It was our maiden voyage to Dixie's so we were commanded by the owner to meet "The Man". The man is an evil concoction of hot sauce wrought from the blood of Satan himself, and a pinch of salt. The owner dipped 3 toothpicks in the sauce and gave us each a taste. This put Marshall in to a tailspin of ramblings about some Huskies football game and Bill collapsed in pain.

Then it was off to Park Place Motors in Bellevue. They have a large online presence and quite a collection of collector cars. The cars were pretty cool, especially the 59 300SL Roadster and 59 300SL Gullwing and the Spyker C8 Laviolette. It was cool to see a Spyker up close and their collection is very cool.

After that we went across the street to the Land Rover / Jaguar dealership where we convinced a salesperson to take a new LR4 on the test track. Land Rover is the brand that you NEED to own when the zombie apocolypse happens. It's science. We also convinced him to take our Range Rover HSE that we drove to the seminar on the test track.

All in all, it was a great time for learning about other stores and what we can do to stay ahead of the curve.

After that we went back in to Seattle to search for dinner. Bill threw the idea out of taking a ferry to Bainbridge Island. We obliged and off we went in search of dinner. We hopped the ferry for a quick trip to across the water from Seattle. We landed at a pub that served some really great fish and chips. We hung out a little while and went to the store on our way back to the ferry. Upon leaving, we were informed that the ferry left in 2 minutes. All I can say is that Marshall drove and the Cop didn't follow us on to the ferry.

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