True Grit

I wrote this article back in 2012, but it’s such a great story that it’s worth repeating. I wonder where this person is and what they are doing today? I can’t put the name of the dealer group in the article, but if you recognize the story and know this person, please reach out and share with me.

I’m often asked what it takes to be successful? No doubt there’s a long list, but in my opinion if you don’t have “true grit,” then you don’t have much of a chance. You have to have a mindset to grind things out when the going gets tough and it will no doubt get tough along the way.

I came across an example of “True Grit” last week that I want to share with you. I was speaking to a group of managers and owners of a large auto dealer group out of Orlando, Fl.

They own 20 dealership around the country with 4 located in China.

One of the managers in the meeting is from their Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge Dealership in San Antonio, TX. As he tells the story he had just gotten out of the Navy about 5 years ago and needed a job. He was a member of the Seabees, which you may know is an engineering unit often building bridges, etc. for the military.

With a new wife and fresh out of the Navy he need a job and went to a construction site to put in an application.
When he arrived it had started to rain and most of the workers had left the site and he was told he could wait around to see if the rain let up and/or come back on another day. He had just driven 40 miles for the interview and was standing their kind of dumfounded as to what to do next.

It so happens that he was actually standing on the lot next to the site which was a new car dealership. A sales manager walked out and apologize to him for someone not having waited on him. He quickly explained he was not there to buy a car but had come for a job interview which had fallen through.

The manager began to chat with him and quickly found common ground as he too was a military veteran. He said “since you need a job, we will hire you to sell cars. Show up tomorrow morning with a coat and tie on and for the next two weeks we will put you through our training program.

At the end of each day when the training is done I will give you $50 cash for the time you are spending in class.”
He drives the 40 miles back home and tells his wife he got a job. She’s very excited until he tells her he’s gong to be selling cars. She starts to laugh at him and says you’ve got to be kidding me. He tells her he’s not and that he needs ties and shirts to wear to work. She tells him they have no money. The only clothes he owns are boots from the military and T-shirts and jeans.

So, in the middle of the night they head out and raid a Goodwill drop off box. In the middle of the night he’s inside the box with a flashlight pulling clothes out, handing them to her, weeding through them to try and find two outfits.

And now the rest is history. 5 years later he’s a very successful sales manager making $250,000 a year. Talk about “True Grit.” How many people do you know who would go to such extremes to take a job in an industry they know nothing about?Here’s the moral to the story:

There’s a lot of room at the top for those who are willing to do what it takes to be successful. It takes hard work, determination, a little luck and a lot of “True Grit” along the way…
That’s all I’m gonna say, 
Tommy Gibbs.