Del Smith | Lujack's Used Car Center, Davenport

Hi, my name is Del Smith. This is my 20th year in the business: started in 1998. I am the senior salesman here in Lujack's used car department. Started off in Chevrolet sales, continued on with Honda sales, and still here selling used cars. Before I got into car sales I worked in the factory with Kraft Company. I was a team leader there.

Did start my own business for just under a year, I was in the Marine Corps. Friend of mine was in the business and he just said "hey, look, once you try sales, man, sounds like you're good with people; why don't you try that?" My initial reaction was "well,what do I have to lose? He said I could be there for three months, they had three-month draw and (laughs) here I am going to my 20th year, so it must've been the right call for me.

As a consumer looking to buy a car first of all you need to find something that's going to fit your family or suit your situation. Sure price and everything is important, but if that (car) doesn't do what you need it to do, you know, it doesn't really matter what the price is: you need it to function in whatever way you need it to do whether it's a truck to haul, whether it's a SUV, or a large third-row vehicle to fit your family, you need to fit your situation. I think being honest and open with customers, they're going to automatically come back. I could tell you on one hand how many times I've had someone get mad at me over a car that they bought, so I know for sure that listening to your customers, trying to figure out their situation, being empathetic rather than sympathetic, they understand that and they appreciate that when you respect them whether they have good credit, whether they have bad credit, you're just not judging, you're trying to find something that will fit their situation.

My interests outside of work is very busy with the church. I'm a deacon at my church: I teach Sunday School and I'm a Sunday School superintendent at my church, so I'm very busy with that and I have three young kids that I adopted so I'm very busy with their activities: with school, sports, and all those things so no time for me but plenty of time with the kids. I couldn't tell you how many sales I've had just from people that attend my church and they tell their families and things like that so it's, you know, being connected with the church family, really, I've been blessed.

My favorite aspect (of the job) is that no two days are the same. Everyday I come to work and there's something different; it's not like when I worked down at Kraft and I knew what was coming down that conveyor belt: the same packages, but with this, everyone's situation is different, everyone's needs are different, and people are different so that's what makes it so interesting: there's never a dull moment, you're always busy, you're always trying to overcome a situation.

I have a customer that I've sold probably eight vehicles to. To start off it didn't seem like I was going to be able to sell her anything because she was really upset one day in the showroom: she wasn't my customer at the time but my goal is that I try to help so I could see that she was really upset and I could hear that she was upset so I went over and just tried to comfort her and figure out, you know, let her vent about her situation. Once she told me what her situation was which she wanted to trade in a car, I was able to not only secure that sale by just talking to her and calming her down, I was able to do another six or seven sales over the next two or three years to her and her family.