Carlsbad Around the Clock: 9:00 a.m.

James Bajis, used car sales manager with Carlsbad Chevrolet, is ready for another busy workday.

First things first. James Bajis would like to dispel any myths out there about car salesmen.

Bajis, the used car sales manager with Carlsbad Chevrolet, declared that all the sales people he’s ever worked with are playing by the rules. “I know there are stereotypes,” he noted, “but in the seven years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never seen any salesperson ever lie. What I have seen are breakdowns in communication or miscommunication.”

He proclaimed a different stereotype about car salesmen and women to be true, however: sales people really have to be assertive. “If you are not selling, then you are not eating,” Bajis observed. “You absolutely have to be a people person.”

As a manager, Bajis arrives at Carlsbad Chevrolet at 8 a.m., but everyone is usually on call by 8:30 or 9 a.m. to attend the morning meeting. Then it is time to hit the floor.

Mornings are usually pretty slow, Bajis admitted, but members of the sales team are advised to use this time to call their customers. “We really stay pretty busy making calls to sold costumers and contacting unsold customers to see if they have any questions,” he shared. “Are they still in the market and is there something we can do?”

The service department stays busy throughout the day, and customers often come over to the sales side to look around as well.

Afternoons and evenings are busy, and the sales team spends time meeting with both walk-ins and scheduled appointments. A single car sale takes an average of maybe 3½ to 4 hours, though the variance is very high. That process includes the initial sales process, a test drive and the financial and credit discussion.

“Last night, we were here until 10:30 or 11 p.m. because it was the last day of the month sale,” Bajis added. Carlsbad Chevrolet sold six cars that day. The average is around four cars per day. Bajis estimated that Carlsbad’s big dealerships, combined, sell about 275 cars over a single month.

Test driving remains an important part of the process. You have to be 18 to test drive, and even then, the members of the sales crew will use judgment before allowing someone a chance behind the wheel. “We may not let an 18-year-old kid drive a $75,000 Corvette,” Bajis assured. “We try really hard to pre-qualify customers and land everyone a vehicle they can afford.”

Bajis said when he is test driving with customers, he likes to let them drive around town for a bit and then has them take the vehicle out on the highway. Test drives don’t cause a new car to become a used car. It’s considered new until it is registered, regardless of the mileage. And, yes, there are a few people who show up from time to time and test drive vehicles with no real intent of making a purchase.

Another misconception is that the whole thing is a trip to the bartering table. Sales people often don’t really have too much negotiating leeway, especially in the case of new cars. And the markup is often surprisingly low, he noted. There’s a little more leeway when it comes to selling used cars.

Bajis praised the sales team and the high level service of Carlsbad Chevrolet and the rest of the Krumland Auto Group.

He’s a 2008 graduate of Carlsbad High School who played golf and baseball. He began working in the automotive industry a year later. “Honestly, it’s the money,” he concluded. “You have the opportunity to make as much as you want if you work hard for it.”

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