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Case 5 J&J Automotive Sales Joe Baum loves what he does. He just isn't crazy about how others see him. Joe is the owner of J&J Automotive...

J&J Automotive Sales

Case 5 J&J Automotive Sales Joe Baum loves what he does. He just isn’t crazy about how others see him. Joe is the owner of J&J Automotive Sales, a used car dealership in southwest St. Louis with about 30 cars on his lot at any time. “Used-car dealers deal with a pretty bad reputation,” says Joe. Just why, he isn’t sure. He didn’t realize there was such a stigma attached to used-car dealers until he opened his dealership in 1997. “At Christmas, when family members would ask what I was doing, I’d tell them, and they’d ask me why I’d want to do that.” Regardless of the public’s impression of used-car dealers, Joe loves his business. He enjoys being his own boss. He likes being the sole salesman on his lot. He relishes the diversity of his work—he does everything from buying the vehicles, to fixing them up to sell, to helping buyers arrange financing. And, very importantly, Joe likes the opportunity to work with customers. “There are a thousand guys out there selling cars who are better at selling than I am,” Joe says. “I’m more interested in having a relationship.” One of Joe’s strengths is that he loves cars. It’s in his blood— his father worked for a new-car dealer and frequently traded the family’s cars. Joe believes his intimate knowledge of cars makes it easier for him to sell them. “I can tell you whether the car has 75 percent of its brake pad left or if the brake pads are new, because I did it.” To build a meaningful relationship with a customer, Joe has to overcome the stereotype of a used-car salesman. He thinks this might be coming from the hard-sell techniques used by some in his business. “I don’t think it would take a customer long to be jaded if they’re out shopping for a car. That is a hard thing to overcome.” It’s frustrating to Joe when potential customers see him as just another shady salesman. Because he works hard to build a customer’s trust, it hurts him when he realizes that he’s failed. “If they [customers] question my integrity, that is the hardest thing.”
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Questions : Student answers will vary. Be sure that students cite appropriate concepts from the text. i.1. Explain how you think the stereotype of used- car dealers developed. i.2. What, if anything different, can Joe do to counter this stereotype? i.3. In what ways might this stereotype be beneficial to Joe? To potential customers? i.4. AutoNation is #93 on the 2003 Fortune 500. It has created a huge business by exploiting the public’s perception of used-car dealers. What do you think they have done to change the stereotype?
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