The year was 1989 and I found myself that summer selling new and used cars at Ron Tonkin Dodge.

I didn’t know it at the time, but as I pause and reflect, I learned a lot during those few months on the lot. Now of course, everyone has a certain frozen perception in mind when they think of the car salesman. And, up until recently, the whole idea of actually walking onto a car lot made one just as excited as they find themselves the night before getting a root canal.

Who wants to put themselves through all of that only to get hammered once they reel you into the building to talk numbers? Thankfully, with the rise of the internet, car dealers are realizing people hate to haggle and are seeking to change the frozen perceptions of the sales lot experience.

Selling cars for me ended up being more about breaking the frozen perceptions of car salesmen than it was about the cars.

If you could break through and earn the trust, you had a really good shot at making the sale. In this, one must realize that from before the customers walked on the lot, they were already braced for your arrival. In this, as you made the long walk across the lot towards them, you were already posturing to break the perceptions. In many cases, all you had was just a few minutes before you determined whether you needed to walk back inside and flip the customer to a different salesman.

Selling cars taught me how to break frozen perceptions as soon as possible. Otherwise, you didn’t get paid.

It was a game to see how fast you could get to gaining any semblance of trust.

And who wants to work for free anyways?

Put yourself in the place of a car salesman. If you had 3 minutes to break down the stereotype and earn the trust of the customer, what would you do?