December 1, 2020

Salesman

It shouldn’t be surprising that America’s champion car salesman saw the pandemic as an opportunity.



a man wearing a suit and tie standing next to a car


© Courtesy of Ali Reda


It didn’t look like one. With much of the nation in lockdown, millions suddenly jobless, car dealerships ordered shut, and sales plunging, the industry was not rife with optimism. But Ali Reda sees things differently. He sells Chevrolets and Cadillacs at the Les Stanford dealership in Dearborn, Mich., and in 2017, he sold more vehicles than anyone in America had ever sold in a year: 1,530 new ones and 52 used ones. He broke a record that had stood for 44 years. The way he did it, and the reason he saw opportunity in the pandemic, is rich with lessons for anyone in a business that got slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reda, 47, has attained a status that virtually all salespeople aspire to. “I don’t really sell to anybody that doesn’t know of me,” he says. Everybody is a previous customer or has been referred by one.

Since everyone who calls already wants to buy a car from him, he isn’t exactly a salesman anymore. “If it’s a new customer, they tell me what [vehicle] they’re in. If it’s a repeat customer, I already know,” he says. He knows or finds out “who they are, where they are, where they’re coming from, and, more importantly, where they’re going in life. Are they getting married or having a child? Changing jobs? Are they driving more? Or less?”

When he has that information, customers tend to ask what he thinks they should do. He tells them, and they tend to do it. “I’ve really adopted an adviser-type role rather than the salesman role,” he says.

That’s a nirvana that most salespeople never reach, and Reda knows why. “It’s what you’re doing outside of the dealership more so than in the dealership,” he says, using the terminology of his business to make a point that applies broadly. “What I mean by that is earning that trust through your community. The reason why most salespeople fail at it is because they give up prematurely. It takes years and years to develop that type of relationship with the entire community.”



a man wearing a suit and tie sitting in a car


© Provided by Fortune


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Now we’re getting to why the pandemic looked like an opportunity to Reda. He has been involved for “years and years” with local nonprofits that promote health, education, employment, nutrition, and more in the Dearborn area. To him, COVID-19 was “a great entry point to enter into a community with the right cause,” he says. “And because everybody is involved in it, you actually get more recognition a lot faster than you normally would.”

When PPE was in critically short supply early in the pandemic, his connections enabled him to buy “a couple of thousand

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Fox News host Laura Ingraham appeared to get slightly annoyed with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Tuesday night after he once again hawked his campaign website on the cable news network, telling him it was “enough” and that his act was “like a used car salesman after a while.”

During the run-up to Graham’s high-profile race against Democratic candidate Jaime Harrison, the senator became somewhat infamous for appearing daily on Fox News opinion programs and begging viewers to donate to his campaign. The Trump-boosting lawmaker openly complained that Democrats from around the country were flooding Harrison’s campaign with cash and he needed to catch up.

Even though Graham has since defeated his Democratic rival, he’s continued to use his campaign to raise additional cash. Besides pledging $500,000 to President Donald Trump’s legal efforts to contest the results of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, Graham has also begun to fundraise for the two Senate runoff races in Georgia.

And so Fox viewers have been subjected to further entreaties for campaign cash.

During his appearance on Ingraham’s primetime show on Tuesday evening, the Fox host seemed to reach the end of her tolerance when Graham repeatedly promoted his campaign site.

Discussing the upcoming Georgia races, which will decide which party controls the Senate, Graham called on viewers to go to “LindseyGraham.com and I will tell you how to help Sens. [David] Perdue and [Kelly] Loeffler,” adding that Ingraham’s audience “helped raise millions of dollars” for his recent campaign.

Ingraham asked if there was any other way for conservatives to help the Republican candidates. Graham took that as an invitation to hype his website once again.

“All right, enough with the LindseyGraham.com, but we get the point,” the Fox star interjected as Graham laughed nervously. “We get the point. This is like a used car salesman after a while.”

Graham, undeterred, made sure to get in one more mention of his campaign site at the very end of the interview.

“OK, you got it in again,” Ingraham exclaimed with a chuckle. “OK, he got it in again.”

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