In March 2011, while searching for a car of his own, Paul Adkins ventured onto the lot of E-CarOne in Carrollton, Texas. A month later, that single visit turned into a job, and he hasn’t left since. Today, he’s driving a quarter of the dealership’s monthly sales output.
“It was more of just a temporary position because I had bills to pay,” Adkins explains. “The more I stayed, I liked that I wasn’t tied down to my desk looking at spreadsheets; it’s more of a diverse situation than my previous employment.”
Adkins says he had always loved cars and often thought about working in the industry. But he had zero retail experience and wasn’t looking forward to long hours and six-day work weeks. But he did need a job, and Rami Rassas, the dealership’s sales director, said Adkins was persuaded by his own customer experience and a conversation with the finance manager.
“When he bought a car from me, he liked the way we did business,” Rassas says. Adkins is now delivering 50 units per month. In total, he’s sold 1,350 vehicles and has held the title of top salesperson every month since he arrived two years ago. Rassas offers a few reasons why that is.
According to the sales director, the winner of the monthly sales award is granted a day off. It’s a reward Adkins rarely takes advantage of, Rassas says, adding that his top salesperson will come in on his day off to check up on sales in progress. And on most days, Adkins is the first staffer to come in and the last to leave.
“He’s really dedicated and follows up with leads more than anybody,” Rassas says. “He has a regimen and it works because he sticks with it.”
Adkins says there’s a good reason why he keeps close tabs on his progress. “I know what’s happening with all my deals and following up with people helps both the client and me,” Adkins says. “I’m able to find out if I’m wasting their time so I don’t end up wasting mine.”
Adkins handles an average of seven deals per day. His personal best was 11 units in a day, a company record. “In any sales job, you have to have motivation to pursue leads and follow up,” Adkins says. “Sometimes it can be stressful, but you cannot let it beat you down when you don’t sell.”
Adkins says he’ll stay with a deal even if it drags out for weeks. He finds that in many cases he has to get customers in the mindset that they are buying a used car from an independent lot, which means separating himself from the stereotype that has dogged used-car salespeople for decades.
“A lot of people come in defensive because of the stigma attached to used-car salesmen, which is why I try to be low-pressure,” he says. “I’m limited to what I can do, but I try to help as much as possible.”
Adkins says he counters customers’ preconceived notions by tailoring his process to their needs and doing his best to get them on the road within an hour. And by the number of repeat clients and referrals he works with, it’s clear his method works.
“I love repeat customers who come in and ask for me by name,” Adkins says, adding that he’s had customers return to the dealership with gifts to thank him for his assistance. “It means they enjoyed the experience enough to ask for me again. It lets me know I did a good job.”
In fact, Adkins isn’t the only salesperson employing the low-pressure approach. “It’s very relaxing and laidback,” Rassas explains. “It’s not as uptight or stuffy as other dealerships.”
Rassas, who was also featured as an Auto Dealer Monthly Sales Professional of the Month, says Adkins reminds him of himself, “only a better version.”
“Paul broke both of my records for car sales!” Rassas says. “He’s great to have on board because if I’m ever not here, he’s knows exactly what to do and he also has experience working the finance deals himself.”