Clay talks about dealing with lies that customers tell and why he doesn't blame them
Clay talks about dealing with lies that customers tell and why he doesn't blame them, gets snubbed on an invite to a gay pool party, sees an act of impossible salesmanship, and learns at what speed a GT40 loses front tire contact on a set drive!
3:44 On customers lying:
8:11 on Woody Richie.
8:12 on the retired GM of Rolls-Royce North America / George Walish
11:40 Jeff can't figure out how to order a new Bentley
15:10 Clay's soul is crushed- getting turned down for Woody's Gay Pride week party.
17:08 Jeff joins a Village People cover group.
17:19 Clay describes the greatest salesmean he's ever met.
22:33 How fast can a Factory Five GT40 go before losing front tire contact? And is it OK to yell at your 3 figure speeding customer on a test drive?
26:06 sometimes the reality doesn't match the fantasy.
30:00 Why was Clay shaking??
Clay Curtis - Part 2
Mon, 2/22 5:36PM • 30:38
woody, car, people, jeff, drive, customer, clay, gt, salesperson, party, shape, bentley, lie, rolls royce, factory, ford gt, shop, miles, gay, hump
Jeff Sterns 00:00
Jeff Sterns connected through cars that I'm proud to present part two of clay Curtis In this episode, you're going to hear a lot. But mainly you're going to learn about why clay was so devastated not to be invited to the gay co workers party. And at what speed does a GT 40 lose front tire contact? Enjoy, make sure to subscribe. Make sure to leave your comments below. See at the end. I mean, he had to be gay, like a straight guy could not talk about the colors and spell tire with a why.
Jeff Sterns 00:36
And, and it was just like, oh, and a bird's eye Maple with the Magnolia and the biscuit piping. Mike.
You know, I don't have my checkbook. But I'll definitely come back tomorrow. Jeff looks at him. And there's a pretty wealthy guy. Jeff looks at him and says, isn't that a wee blow? Watch? Basically, I just got it is 50 grand watch. Jeff says don't look some dead in the eye and says that'll do for the down and literally slid it off his wrist.
Jeff said Sterns connected through Guys, if they're big wigs, we'll have him on the show. And yes, we'll talk about cars and everything else. Here he is. Now, Jeff Sterns.
And I think this goes back to what we were originally talking about with our clients is you learn a lot from them, as long as you're open to receive, right, some people aren't open to receive. But I probably learned more in my life from my clients and the variation of different personalities from lotto winners to pro athletes to two pro wrestlers to you know, I mean, you name it. I mean, we came across a mall. And so you got you got exposed to so many different people. And I think beat having that experience really prepared me for what came next in my life. Because I was never knew you couldn't shock me, right? Like you are, you can't shock somebody that's been in sales for a long time that's come across a lot of people, right. Other people may get a little nervous when things start getting tight. bulletproof. Another thing you always used to say to me, people are going to be shooting bullets at you all the time. All the time clients are gonna lie, they're gonna tell you the truth that you have to be bulletproof. You have to be infallible, you can't ever let them see you see it show that advice. And I have taken that to heart and I live my life by that. It's, it's amazing in those in the period of time that we had together so many things I took away, and that I still, I still adhere to and apply today.
Jeff Sterns 02:53
Clay When did you start with us there?
Oh, let's see it was before the Continental GC first came out. There was never really an O for model, I think or maybe a few mules, the first ones around Oh, five, but I was working a year before that. So I'm thinking like, oh, three and change like January of Oh, three.
Jeff Sterns 03:11
So we're You and I together about two years?
Yeah, I think about that. You know, we were there we were we were together into the new showroom. And then and then you know, everything gets foggy. Because next thing you know, you really start grinding, you really start spinning, you have your own group of fine telling me you guys were doing such a great job in the Pre Owned market previously, that our name was starting to grow, right, like you alluded to with our Bitly guy, our representative, you know, people were talking about us and stuff.
Jeff Sterns 03:44
Now earlier, you said hey, the bulletproof, I said the customers are gonna lie to you Don't let it get to you. And I'm not here to defend that. Because there's probably a lot more car customers listening to this than there are car dealers? Because that's the ratio of population? Of course, no. But let me clarify it. I don't. I don't backup in any way about customers lying.
Nobody does. But you have to, you have to recognize it. Right. But it's not just about them lying. I mean, it. Really that was just an example.
Jeff Sterns 04:17
But I want to explain, I think it's a good thing to explain to the world when they wonder how, you know what goes on. And you know, they're listening because they're interested in the car business. You know, my mother, your mother, whoever else is listening. A car buyer is often feeling outgunned. And it doesn't make them less of a man or less of a woman or less intelligent and they just feel like that the person that's got the high experience has advantages over the person that might do this once or twice a year or once every couple of years or every fight, you know, who knows,
is the same for them and their business.
Jeff Sterns 04:54
That's right. So when we talk about the lies, here's the extent that So it's not really judgmental. The extent of the lie that the customer tells the dealer is another dealer offered me x for my trading, trying to get you to pay that number. I'm not saying that it's I'm not making ethical statements about line in the sand, black and white a lie yes or no, I'm just saying that I can I can understand, in the name of negotiation, why somebody might say, I can buy one for this much elsewhere, I can get this much for my trade elsewhere, or be optimistic about their credit rating.
Jeff Sterns 05:40
try to get, you know, more favorable situation. So these are the lies that we talked about, and why I mean, if you're an aspiring salesperson out there, or you're a seasoned salesperson, and you just need to relearn something, we just need to not take any of that stuff personal. And we need to understand like, actually love, I mean, hug the customer, that you're with understanding that this is all coming out of some degree of fear. And I'm not trying to emasculate anybody, I'm never scared. What do you mean, but down deep, it's really just trying to get some sort of advantage. In a business situation, I'm not going to talk about the rightness or wrongness of it. So when we talk about these lies, it's not really coming from a judgmental.
That's true. And addition.
Jeff Sterns 06:28
It's just coming from what's so though, I mean, for sure, it's so and the reason that I got to teach my staff are the reason I train grasshopper here, not to take that stuff personal, is we're also people, people. The reason we go into sales is we love people. And we fall in love with you every time right? We make a relationship every time. Yes, when you'll let us when you'll let us. Yes. And we get our heart broken in little baby heartbreaks about. I was buying India and he didn't really mean that the other guy was gonna pay that much for your trade where, and or clay, you're gonna go to lunch and think about it.
You know, and you did a great job of, you know, as always of deciphering the strange words that are coming out of my mouth. So you're absolutely right. You know, I I forget that we're actually podcasting right now. And other people go listen, I honestly I'm kind of lost just in our conversation. So I apologize for all those viewers and listeners out there. If you were in any way offended, it had nothing it you know, Jeff did a great job explaining it.
Jeff Sterns 07:46
So and it's good that we're forgetting I'm forgetting to. So I mean, we're having a conversation, and I really pray that the steak that we can deliver to our
guests, we're just getting started the best
Jeff Sterns 08:00
authentic conversation. So in my notes here, you'd mentioned a little bit of the crew. You mentioned God rest his soul. Woody, Richie.
And woody Richie.
Jeff Sterns 08:12
Yes, sir. So I'd like to explain Woody
and then I have a great story for Woody. So explain why. All right. And so one of the most humiliating experiences
Jeff Sterns 08:22
of my life I want to do what he honor you know, I really wish he was if he was I'd have him on this podcast so fast that
he would be the best, the most colorful. Oh,
Jeff Sterns 08:32
and impersonate him because I can't pronounce the words that way. Like he was American and did not have an English accent, but he made sure to put the English like he's you know, he'd say Allah minium, right instead of aluminum with no accent, or with a Y tire with a why he did it because that was proper. And I mean, he lived on a wooden yacht, and his father was a surgeon. I mean, he was really like this aristocrat, but Woody, he owned a shop called proper motorcars in downtown St. Petersburg. And our number one competition to our mechanical shop at the dealership. Was this local well established, highly active in the Rolls Royce club, highly active like St. Pete Yacht Club, owner of proper motorcars that did repairs and I'd say some maybe some restoration type stuff and we'd here you know, proper motorcars we'll do it for the so we were kind of tired and I mean, that's really a compliment to him because we're a large facility large dealership, probably have a fixed and variable overhead bill of nearly a million dollars a month. And this little shop with the little the guy with the little glasses was giving us a run for our money. So eventually, Woody decided he wasn't having fun anymore or health reasons. Whatever he decided to close in, by the end, we were friendly. I mean, he would hand carry customers into order cars and that sort of thing. And of course, they wouldn't order a thing without him choosing the wood, the hide the hood color, which by the way, when I don't be impressed when I say hello, because the very first Bentley as your convertible 350 $360,000 car that I sat down and ordered with a customer named Ed, when we were on the order form that we used to do on paper, checkboxes
Jeff Sterns 10:36
what kind of wood or termed metal or embroidered, whatever in the head, right, whatever, we would check off boxes and write it in from our samples and fax it into England. That's how it was originally when Vickers owned rolls and Bentley before they sold to VW and BMW. And I'm very excited clay I have George Walsh, ex General Manager of Rolls Royce. On a future episode, we'll interview in about 10 days, and he was when BMW bought Rolls Royce, he was employee number one, and built the team and worked with the designer. And I mean that I'm very and he was also founder of St. Michael's concore. Up in Maryland. So I'm very excited to have George but that was a whole when the when the production car companies bought rolls and Bentley in up the production and make them better.
A giant cash infusion.
Jeff Sterns 11:34
Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. But prior to that, I mean, we were faxing in these orders. So I'm reading the order form. And it's a convertible. And it says hood color. And I looked at the customer and I'm like
you're doing a two tone.
Jeff Sterns 11:52
Would you want a different color hood on your car? He's like, no, I says, I guess in England that must be popular. And I actually called the factory and got a very cute sounding English accent. You know, girl at the factory. I don't know what she looks like, but very pleasant to talk to these people get a great personality. And she says, well, the hood would either be this cloth, this cloth, this cloth or this cloth. And you'd probably want to match the carpet. And I'm like a cloth hood. And it took me five more minutes for her to help me understand that meant the convertible top. And I'm supposed to be the guy you know, I'm the director of operations. So Woody, Woody would come in and hand carriers customers. I can think of names I can imagine them and he'd lay out the hot up in the big conference table with the wooden antique table. He'd lay out the hide next to the wood next to the carpet next to the piping next to the concave or convex.
It overlay primary and secondary,
Jeff Sterns 13:06
the paint chip that's curved so you can see the light on it, you know painted piece of metal. I mean, it was a beautiful kid. We had it in this Birdseye Maple briefcase that weighed probably 125 pounds, you can kill somebody with it, you could barely move it room to room. So woody was gayer than hell. I know that this is a family podcast. So I'm not making any judgment at all about his crimes against God and nature. But
even though we loved him, like I
Jeff Sterns 13:36
couldn't love a guy more
love. You can't love somebody feeling that way. You know, so
Jeff Sterns 13:41
loved him to death flamboyant. I mean, he had to be gay, like a straight guy could not talk about the colors and spell tire with a why.
Jeff Sterns 13:54
And, and it was just like, oh, and a bird's eye Maple with the Magnolia and the biscuit piping. Mike. So love the guy. So he goes, he closes his shop.
I do. I miss
Jeff Sterns 14:08
him. And I go to our owner. And I said I want to hire Woody. And he says, Well, what can he do? Can he be a service manager could be a service writer, could he run the shop? And he's do our owners doing the smart thing that a businessman should do. He's thinking about return on investment. And I'm like, Boss, I don't care if he ever sells a set of tires or ever helps someone pick something there for that, although I'm sure he will. First of all, he's got a following, you know, unreal. So that shop that we used to fight against, we're gonna get that customer base. But I said, boss, it's like having Joe Lewis walking around the casino at Caesar's Palace half punch drunk. Who cares people We'll come in and see him. You know, I
was a young, virile male when I first started,
Jeff Sterns 15:07
and you needed a ride one time.
And, and Woody was very well known for his annual party during Pride Week. And it was like the biggest gay part like anyone who's anyone would go to it, right. I really wanted to go to the party. I love Woody. I want I liked parties. I wanted to go to the party. So at that time, you know, I played sports in college. But I was so burnt out with it that after I left, I quit working out and everything just I wanted to just chill. So I wasn't, you know, in very good shape or anything like that. And so, and I was still in my 20s. I think it was my late 20s. And I was like, Woody, I really want to go to your party. What he's like, you're not nearly good enough shape to come to my pool party. And I was like, I was so offended. I'm like, Are you kidding me? So and he was serious. And I was like this bullshit. So I worked out like a madman for the next year. I went nuts. Got back into shape. I happen to turn 30 that year. Check. Go back to woody next year party. Sorry. I'm like, wait, ah, yeah. Like, I'm like, I'm in shape. I'm ready to go. And he goes, didn't you just turn 30? I'm like, Uh huh. And he's like, you're too old for my party. And I was so I was so just just offended. Like, I couldn't believe it. I all I wanted from that point on, all I wanted to do is go to Woody's party and I would never be young enough or in shape enough to be able to do it. So that's my that's my word. Is that one of
Jeff Sterns 16:47
I don't think I don't think you were offended. I think I think you were destroyed.
I was destroyed. I was I was so like, it makes me want to go work out now. Like anytime I need motivation. Like, I just think about what are you denying my my entry to this party and inside? I'm gonna go work out like crazy. So did you ever see that?
Jeff Sterns 17:08
Did you ever see that photo of when I played the Indian at a Christmas party in the village people?
Yes. Yes. Okay. It was on the wall in the war room.
Jeff Sterns 17:23
I was in unbelievable lean shape.
Or you're a bodybuilder for a time?
Jeff Sterns 17:30
Well, yeah, for two months. But the reason was that our owner Secretary saw me at a company picnic playing volleyball. And she said to me, you know, you look a lot chubbier out of your suit than in it. And I was destroyed. So
you know, that's not his ego and hubris.
Jeff Sterns 17:52
So I was already lifting I mean, I wasn't like a bodybuilder I was already lifting but I'm in my early 30s. So it's not that hard to look good when you're lifting. But the the trick there is I went on a body builder bodybuilding contest diet.
You went insane. By the way, when you did that diet,
Jeff Sterns 18:12
I did go insane. I mean, eating, eating the the four ounces of meat every hour, and
you would be in your office with your head on the desk. I'm so hungry.
Jeff Sterns 18:24
Oh my god. Okay. I didn't know you were, I didn't know. Okay. But it's so crazy. Because you look big. Because you're so lean in every vein popping out and whatever. But I gained seven pounds The day after that. Because it was a lot of water weight. A lot of water loss, too.
Were you getting in shape for what? It is?
Jeff Sterns 18:46
No, I'm just telling you that I can identify I someone saying
Jeff Sterns 18:56
Yeah, I can completely empathize. So I'm very sorry that you weren't you were thin but you weren't gay thin.
So before we continue, and I'm going to turn your podcast back over to you, but I do want to share a story. This is one of those things I mentioned before that is not a it is it? I did not disclose to you. But I surely have to share it with with your audience because it's truly I still tell this story at every opportunity. And there's never been someone that wasn't more impressed. So for all you in the audience, you know, I was mentored by Mr. Sterns here, and automobile sales and just sales in life in general. Anytime I've been in sales the rest of my life in the financial industry and planes and, you know, real estate everything right. You know, when you're when you're around salespeople, other salespeople Yeah, inevitably, you always get asked, who's the greatest salesperson you've ever known? Right? Right. And so I say, well, Jeff Sterns, And they're like, Well, why, you know, there comes the next question why, and the why everyone in this group will understand when I'm finished with this statement. It was a Friday night. People typically don't work too hard on Fridays in the car business, especially the exotic business. And Jeff had one of his, you know, rather difficult clients and, and he was vacillating on whether or not to purchase a pretty expensive car. Jeff hung in there, he hung in there like I've never seen before he was he couldn't, he couldn't be beaten. Like he just hung in there. So finally the guy agrees and I was there because I wasn't allowed to leave until the doors closed. But so he finally gets the deal done. And the guy tries one more little sidestep. And he said what you know, cuz obviously, in the car business, you know, if you're going to take this car, we need a non refundable deposit, right? Oh, you know, I don't have my checkbook. But I'll definitely come back tomorrow. And Jeff looks at him. And this is a pretty wealthy guy. Jeff looks at him and says, isn't that a real blow? Watch? Exactly. I just got it is 50 grand watch me. Jeff says don't look some dead in the eye and says, that'll do for the down and literally slid it off his wrists and put it in the top drawer of his table. And let put them on a dealer plate and let them go. There's nobody else that can take a $50,000 walks off with somebody at eight o'clock on a Friday night. Nobody.
Jeff Sterns 21:42
The I don't know if it's sad or interesting that I actually forgot that story.
Do you remember it now that I recall it?
Jeff Sterns 21:50
Yeah. But now I feel like the old person that I forget more than I remember now. You are. That's right. I I was watching Jerry Seinfeld. On the cars and coffee and comedians and some guy I forget which one I think ck says I'm getting old. And Jerry says no. You are old.
It's true. We're all though.
Jeff Sterns 22:15
You know, you've had a lot of experiences in life when you took a guy's 50 g watch off of them. Who was him hauling on a car deal? And you forgot?
Yeah. Yeah. You know what, I never forgot that. I still tell that story all the time. And it's a it's a hit at any party.
Jeff Sterns 22:33
So I remember. And I think you were new in the factory five fiberglass gt four Gt 40. The doors that close into the roof, cut your head off,
they'll scalp you if you don't duck when you shut the door. Yeah.
Jeff Sterns 22:54
you know, can I go test drive this guy. Now, the audience should probably understand this in the general car business. We always want you to go for a test drive. We always want you to go for a test drive. There's a couple of reasons. I mean, the first real reason is we want you to love it. So you'll want it and buy it. The other reason is, is we want to get anything out of the way that might be in the way of a deal. And if the seat doesn't fit you or the armrest hit you funny or you don't like a smell or you don't like the acceleration, we don't need to go through a couple hours of talking money. If you don't like it, that's the production car business in the exotic car business opposite. If they want to drive we don't want them to drive
subject to the drive being as described.
Jeff Sterns 23:43
But people that come in asking for a drive if we were selling anything else, Cadillac Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota, it doesn't matter. If someone came in and said I want to test drive that car we'd get up, jump up getting licensed play, get the keys and get you behind the wheel ASAP. Statistically speaking, even if we weren't sure how serious you are or how able you are or any of that it doesn't matter. The more people you get to drive, the more people are going to want it the more people you'll get an offer from okay. In exotic cars, when they ask you to drive. We know we don't have a buyer because the typical buyer of that car you can't talk them into it.
Jeff Sterns 24:21
no I don't need to drive I really don't need to. These people are putting play tell me how many miles a year on these in how many of these are in the garage.
I'd be shocked at 5000 5000 a year
Jeff Sterns 24:35
and one year is not. I mean, let's face it 5000 a year could be high because clay if you are looking at a 20 year old so let's talk about a 2000 r&r with 100,000 miles that's a no value car.
That's it. That's a no no sale green. It's a no sale car.
Jeff Sterns 25:02
With 5000 miles a year, but if you were selling, like my own Honda, and they said, hey, it's a 2000 with 100,000, you'd be like, That's nothing. In the exotics. There's too many around with 1000 or 2000. I mean, is it fair to say that a 20 year old Bentley or 20 year old Ferrari, even with 20,000 miles, they're out there, but there's still plenty with a lot less? Yeah. So I think, yeah, I mean, there's 5000 mile 20 year olds out there all over the place in that, okay,
we have a customer's wife who would never drive her car, was it? over 2500 miles, there'll be
Jeff Sterns 25:43
a story after story. Yeah, when people come in wanting to test drive, it's like, uh, let's kind of see what he does for a living. Let's get a look at his watch. Let's get a look at his shoes. And if they won't drive, you kill yourself to get them to drive. Because if they, I mean, if someone doesn't want to drive for 30 they're capable.
But sometimes the reality never matches the fantasy. True. That was, that was another of yours.
Jeff Sterns 26:12
Right? And what that means is the dream of acquiring or the dream of looking at it in the garage. Once they live it, and experience it. It's, you know, the excitement thinking about it was a lot better. I used to talk about jet riding jet skis. Everybody wants a jet ski till you go rent one for an hour, and you return it in 32 minutes, because your back hurts.
Or the torque is already out in our notch t that it like literally breaks the glass and you're
Jeff Sterns 26:48
right, so the Ford GT, the Ford GT that had a tubular, lightweight frame. And I'm assuming probably a five liter rate motor. I don't know if it was fuel injected or not. But this was a factory five. So this would be like when you see the Cobra replicas out there. There's a few companies known factory five super form, and it was a few, of course, Carroll Shelby did some continuation cars with this ESX then, but so this was like a very good for gt replica. And you come in asking, Can I test drive? And like because we'd all get, you know, have a board meeting about someone wants to test drive. We sold so many through shipping and phone and fax and they will drive? Yeah, that someone wants to drive. It was like what do we do? How do we act? So you came back? A little sweaty from that one?
I did. You know, we he wanted to drive it across the Courtney Campbell bridge back across the Tampa Bay.
Jeff Sterns 27:57
Okay, so for the listener in Montana, you know, we're not all local here. Clay. So this is a Causeway, which means a land bridge. I don't know how long it is, but it's probably 10 miles, I don't know, from our county, miles or five miles, okay. From Clearwater side, our county, Pinellas County to Tampa direction,
it's all over water and you have a hump in the middle, right? That that, that you still have shipping lanes that can get under. So we get across and he's being okay. And of course, I'm sending shotgun. You know, he's driving, but he no one drives alone. So he comes to you makes a turn around, he's coming back across the bridge, and you really start standing on it. Now we've been used to that all the time, right that we have a lot of clients that are trained race drivers, you know, we have ones that are very experienced, this guy was not either of those. So those old Ford GT, the GT 40s, especially the replica ones, they didn't really have a lot of downforce, and so isn't the number like 135 140 when you if you don't have to add force, your car starts to lift, right? The nose does. So we come over the hump and we're coming down the backside of the hump. He's doing a 140 with me in the car. And he's doing this with the steering wheel. And it's not turning it off. The nose is up off the ground. And all the only contact point was your rear wheels. I turned them and told them to slow down now. You'll never drive a car here again. And when we get back you should be lucky I don't call the cops. And he did and he got it. But you know, that was a really scary like that was one of those things where if we had blown a tire if we had threw a rod, any of those things, we'd be dead. Like he was thoroughly irresponsible with not only his life but mine.
Jeff Sterns 30:00
really got explained to the listener that you came into the building like shaking. I was I mean I could tell like you know we've all been scared for one reason or another whether we think we're gonna get held up or the car robbed or a car understeering where it was like guys heading towards a curb you know we've we've all been there but you were like to be taken seriously like you we would we would screw with each other non stop. I wasn't about to screw with you at that point.
This has been Jeff Sterns connected through cars.