Thursday, 14 March 2013

Love is all around but there's no sign of it in the Motor Trade



“Love is all around” was first released by The Troggs in 1967, but was re released and sung by Wet Wet Wet as the soundtrack to the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral. I didn’t think the record was that fantastic, but Hugh Grant was the star of the film and when he turned up at the premiere with his girlfriend Liz Hurley, she was wearing her LBD or little black dress in "Babe Talk" it consisted of little more than two pieces of cloth that were held together by safety pins. Both the Film and the Record were subjected to the kind of spin and global publicity that money alone could just not buy, well that is at least not until a year later when Hugh (lets give him the benefit of the doubt here) bumped into Divine Brown in Los Angeles. Some guys like going out with scantily clad women, I'm by no means a prude but I think there's a time and a place for that, and the only arm candy I'd be seen out in Public with is a Nice Solid Gold Swiss Cronograph, if Liz was my girlfriend I would have made her go back and put a very long jumper over that LBD!

No publicity is bad publicity, but poor old Hugh looks like he doesn't agree in this picture taken by the Police for his Lewd Behaviour rap sheet. What on earth was he thinking of? he was an instantly recognisable celebrity driving a White BMW Convertible and cruising Sunset Boulevard looking for a prostitute ( allegedly )

Apparently she wanted $100 to go to a hotel and even though he's multi millionaire he only had $60 dollars in his pocket so she agreed to do it in his car. Hugh proved himself to be an excellent negotiator and obtained a 40% discount, he must have been in a hurry and made the schoolboy error of leaving his ignition switched on. The cops only investigated the car because they thought the driver was in trouble and was tapping out S.O.S in morse code using his brake lights.

Even though he was caught in the act I think he could still have got away with it. If I was him I would have told the Cops I was playing Richard Gere's part in the new Pretty Woman 2 movie and we were auditioning for someone to replace Julia Roberts. That would have been a completely believable excuse except for the Pretty Woman bit.

Its not like he really did have a new film coming out or he needed to get back in the limelight, he'd never left it, it was just the opposite. I'm sure he would have been hoping that an LA Vice charge sheet was like a Big Lottery Win and he could tick the "No Publicity" box. The News Papers smelled blood and they hounded him and Liz to death. He was publicly humiliated, and Liz who was the love of his life and one of the most beautiful women in the World dumped him. On the bright side his career went from strength to strength.


Hugh Grant seems like a nice bloke to me, usually I think he drives an Aston Martin, but a friend of mine thought he spotted him a few weeks ago in the nearby village of Longton, he was driving a Ferrari which he was probably testing or picking up from one of the best supercar dealers in Great Britain www.williamloughran.co.uk . It would seem that his taste in cars is great, but in his Women it fluctuates.


I'm not making excuses for him but for every beautiful Women, there's at least one guy that got fed up of her" even so, FFS Hugh !!!!



Devine Brown sold her story to the newspaper's and became a Millionaire overnight. In my opinion It's really Hugh's fault that people who want to get famous for being famous, or for that matter sleeping with someone whose famous, now have a way of getting on the front cover of today's tabloids and tomorrows Fish and Chip wrapper. It would seem you don’t have to look beautiful, glamorous or absolutely fantastic like Liz did, you just have to be a "10 Pint slapper" who can coax a tipsy public figure to stray off the straight and narrow, then go running to Max Clifford and make a fortune.

If you're an X something or other teetering on the edge of becoming a "Has Been or a "Who Was That" and you need to get yourself back in the Public eye before they forget, there's a tried and tested formula. All you have to do is develop a case of “knicker amnesia”, send an anonymous "tip off" to the Paparazzi giving away the location of the Glitzy nightclub you're on your way to, like a baby giraffe trying to stand up for the first time you get out of the lowest sports car you can, in front of the waiting pack of photographer's then act all surprised and indignant when one of them sticks his telephoto lens up your micro skirt. However I digress I suppose its not totally Hugh's fault but I do blame him and Marti Pellow for giving me an idea which put me on a work treadmill that I couldn't get off!

Love is all around had been at No 1 in the charts for 14 Weeks so it came as a bit of a surprise to the Record Industry and the majority of his fans when the lead singer of the group Marti Pellow announced that he was “Fed Up Of Hearing It On The Radio” and he was going to withdraw the record from sale. I wasn’t surprised, I thought that "Creating your own Shortage" was a cunning and devious plan, but that was because I was in the Car Job, it occurred to me being that sneaky if Marti ever got tired of making a fortune from re releasing other people’s records, he could always make a living in the Motor Trade.

He never had any intention of withdrawing the record from sale, but he had been given the chart statistics and realised he wasn’t going to stay at No 1 for the 15th consecutive week. It wasn't just Marti who was getting fed up of hearing it on the radio, we all were, and he decided his flagging record sales needed a shot in the arm so he created a “Panic Buying” situation, Gullible British Joe Public likes nothing better than an opportunity to panic buy, they rushed to HMV in their thousands stopping only to fill their petrol tanks on the way just in case the Tanker drivers went on strike while they were at the shops. 

Marti had done it, the record climbed to the top of the charts for the 15th week in a row.

Now I will give Marti his due, he could certainly belt out a tune, but he was no Rocket Scientist,  I figured if he could generate sales in the record industry like that, I could do it in the Motor Trade, I would adapt his soppy “Love is All Around” technique and use it to get the company I worked for out of “Dire Straits” and earn me some  “Money For Nothing” while I was at it.


I started to compile a letter which I sent out to the whole of our data base, it took me a couple of weeks as I first had to learn about “Mail Merge”. In order to stand a chance of working, the letters could not be generic they would have to look personal, make the customer feel like they had been singled out for the offer and were valued and special. They could not not be addressed to “The Car Buyer” or “To Whom It May Concern”.

Our new Sales Manager's had thrown in the towel after 3 months, and my boss had interviewed and was just about to appoint someone who I knew previously and couldn't stand. I knew I wouldn't be able to work for him so I handed my notice in. They didn't want to lose me (or my contacts) so they offered me the Managers Job if I agreed to stay and commit my future to them for at least the next 12 months. I had been hitting my targets, and making a comfortable living with no hassles just selling cars but my choice was either leave and say goodbye to all my hard work and prospecting, or to accept the Poison Chalice a better company car and a huge pay rise, which amounted to the Sales Managers job.

To demonstrate my dilema If you were given the choice of having World Peace or Bill Gates Fortune, how many Lamborghini's would you buy?

I took the promotion but was already beginning to regret it, I was under extreme pressure from day one. The truth was that I was working with a team of misfits (but good lads) and I was sat looking at a compound full of brand new cars that weren’t selling. I cannot lie to save my life but in order for my "Shortage" to sound plausible I had to bend the truth a little, erm and the laws of time.

Nearly every week a guy would come in the showroom, he never bought a car but would bring in his class of about 10  people who were his students of positive thinking, they varied in age and ethnicity, their goal was to make enough money to buy a new luxury car. At first I thought he was a chancer, but I started to learn a few tricks from him, he didn't sell the sausage, he sold the "sizzle" .

He brought them in to see the car of their dreams, to touch the gleaming paintwork, to sit behind the wheel, to caress the plush leather upholstery, to inhale the new car smell. He told them to close their eyes, imagine signing the documents and taking delivery of their new vehicle, if they did as he said he promised that the Laws of attraction would bring them their just rewards. Buzzing with positive vibes the students would all help themselves to a selection of our brochures, toddle off home to pin the pictures on their mood boards (Scrap Book, today it would be Pinterest)  and plan how they would achieve their goals in their chosen career.

Oddly enough I never saw him bring in any Car Salesmen, but I will try anything once, especially if I'm desperate and there's even the slightest chance that it may work. I took a leaf out of the positive thinkers book. I imagined our compound was completely empty, then I checked the time on my Imaginary Solid Gold Rolex which any Salesman would kill for, and proceeded to write the letter as if I was from the future, my plan had already succeeded, and we were really short of stock. Poor excuse for lying I know, but nobody got swindled or ripped off, they just got a new car.

Marti’s stock shortage ploy can only be used once every few years or it becomes as believable as a Politicians Promise, and unless they're talking about butterfly's  DFS Sofa’s Weekly ” Once In A Lifetime” Interest Free Credit Offer is a tad misleading too! 

Strangely for me I never kept a copy of my letter, perhaps I thought at the time it was best to destroy the evidence, so I am reproducing it from memory. The letter works best when it is hand written, but I needed to sell a lot of cars quickly so all my "personal" letters were spat out by our useless dot matrix printer ! 

(  ------ Full Name --------  )
( ------ Address Line 1 ---- )
( ------ Address Line 2 ---- )
( --------- Town --------- )
( ------- Postcode -----  )
( ------ Today's Date -- )


Dear  (--- Merge Customers Christian Name --- )

As one of our most valued customers I am writing to inform you that due to a record breaking year for our New Car sales department, and only a marginal increase in next year’s allocation of vehicles from the Manufacturer, we envisage a severe shortage of stock, or at best a restricted choice of vehicles to offer you.

It is our aim to look after the needs of our existing customers before others so If you are contemplating changing your (-- Merge Make and Model of Customers Car -- ) in the near future it is vitally important that we make an appointment to discuss your needs as soon as possible.

Yours

Barrie

What can I say, Marti’s not just a pretty face, his plan worked like a charm and we had virtually sold out of stock within a few weeks of the letters being delivered. I had to ring my Zone Manager and ask for more stock which he gladly gave me, he diverted cars from other dealers who were in the same position I had been.

We blitzed our Targets and I was handsomely rewarded, however Marti’s plan had unforeseen consequences, as we had done so well, we didn’t get a marginal increase in New Car supply from the Manufacturers, we got a massive increase, and also a massive increase in our next year’s New Car Sales Target. In the Motor Trade If you don't hit your targets, you don't get your commission, but more importantly for the Dealership the Manufacturers don't pay them their volume bonus (an extra percentage on the cars they've sold), a lot of garages only survive on the volume bonus payment. I had “Munsonned myself big time.

Instead of implementing a strategy to maintain growth and profitability that would be sustainable over a period of time,  I had used my quick fix “Magic Bullet” and promptly shot myself in the foot ! It did give me a breathing space but we had to work extremely hard to keep up the momentum. I had made a rod for my own back, and In future nothing less than exceeding targets was going to satisfy my bosses.

By the end of the year I had won the "Best Sales Managers Award" and just before I went on stage to collect it, I'm ashamed to say that I checked the time on the "Real" Gold Rolex that I had bought with my yearly bonus, and made sure the sleave of my suit was far enough up my arm so that everyone in the audience could see the diamond bezel glinting in the spotlights.

There's a lot to said for that "Positive Thinking, and Law of Attraction Malarkey" :-)



Barrie Crampton

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