Stories from the New Guy: Charlie Watson

So here we go. This kicks off the first interview in the “Stories from the New Guy” series. This week I made the journey across the lot (heh, get it?) to the used car building to talk to the one, the only, Charlie Watson. Charlie is a pre-owned sales consultant and has been doing so for the past several years. Now, without ruining any of the content from the actual interview, check out what he had to say:

Zach Bello: So tell me, how long have you been around the car business?

Charlie Watson: Well, I’ve been around the car business for 21 years, since I was born.

ZB: So your mother gave birth to you in the car dealership?

CW: I was born in the dealership, right here.

ZB: That’s interesting…

CW: Ok maybe not in the dealership, but I’ve been around the business for a long time. I’ve been working at Lebanon Ford since 2006. I started here as a lot tech and did that until 2008, and then started selling cars after that, starting in new car sales, then to internet sales, then finally here to pre owned sales.

ZB: So how many years is that? Sorry I have trouble counting…

CW: (counts on fingers) 5.

ZB: That’s a long time. What is your favorite part about your job?

CW: Meeting new people and being around cars all day. It’s rewarding to be able to help people get not only what they need, but what they want. You sell to a bunch of people and about 90% are buying cars because they have to drive, but when you come across people that actually love cars, that’s my favorite part.

ZB: So do you see yourself in the car business for awhile or do you have aspirations to do other things?

CW: I see myself in the car business forever. I love it. Maybe not always in sales, but in one way or another I always want to be in the car business. I have plans in the future to eventually run my own dealership. I’m finishing up my senior year at Lee University to get my business degree, but I definitely see myself in the car business forever after that.

ZB: So the dreaded question that we all get on the first day of school… Tell me something interesting about yourself.

CW: Well, I’m a part time sales person and go to school full time, I love cars and I buy a new Mustang every single  year.

ZB: You buy a new Mustang every single year?

CW: Yep.

ZB: For how long now?

CW: This will be my 4th year in a row.

ZB: 4th year in a row… Why do you do that?

CW: Because I love Mustangs, I think they are awesome. I always get drawn to the new ones when they come out. A lot of people actually do the same thing. There are several customers that I deal with who also do the same thing.

ZB: Interesting. So, I know that your cousin Niko is also a sales consultant here at Lebanon Ford, what is it like working with a family member?

CW: Well we have a lot of family here, and there is actually a lot of different families that have several family members working here, so really it’s just the overall family atmosphere that we have here. It’s good in some ways, but you also have to be careful about bringing family issues with you to the work place and keeping those in check while you are at work, but we usually get along pretty well, it’s a lot of fun.

ZB: Is there a sense of competition between you guys around the dealership?

CW: Oh yeah, I mean there is competition among everyone, not just the people you are related to but naturally just there is fun competition between everyone here, but especially us since we are related and all.

ZB: Then tell me, why should someone come and talk to you rather than your cousin Niko?

CW: Oh wow, well I guess it depends on the car. If you are looking for any type of performance car I’m a lot more in to the performance world. It’s something that I love aside from work, it’s something I’m really involved with, but we’re both equal, we’ll both take care of anyone and we’ll both give the same great service to anyone, but I’m just more of the performance car guy.

ZB: You’re such a nice guy, I’m sure Niko would appreciate hearing all of that.

(Side note, Charlie has come to me on several occasions stating that his 2011 5.0 Mustang could beat my 2008 Mitsubishi Evolution in a race, we obviously have conflicting views on this)

ZB: How certain are you that your Mustang could beat my Evo in a drag race?

CW: As long as there are no turns, I’m 100% certain I would win.

ZB: That’s a pretty bold statement there Charlie…

CW: The Evo is one the best performing vehicles in the world, in it’s own realm. It has unbelievable handling, but in a straight line, it’s just not going to do it.

ZB: I think you’re completely biased..

CW: I’m going to show you, don’t worry.

ZB: What do you think separates Lebanon Ford from other dealerships?

CW: For one, I think we have a lot more of a fun atmosphere. It’s not all about price here, you can go out to any dealership and get the same price, but around here the average person is about 30 years old whereas in other dealerships you might find an older atmosphere where the sales people are just tired and bored and just isn’t as laid back as it is here. We just like to have fun here and that’s not something you’ll find in most other dealerships.

ZB: One last question for you that really doesn’t mean anything but I wanted to ask anyway. If you could be any color t-shirt, what color would you be and why?

CW: Any color t-shirt? Well I’ve never really put a lot of thought in to that..

ZB: And that’s probably a good thing…

CW: I guess I’d be a black t-shirt, I wear my black Lebanon Ford polo every day to work, I’m really just all there and very collected and not too loud, but still confident.

ZB: Well Charlie, that concludes this very first interview, thanks for taking the time to answer these crazy questions.

I’d say my first interview was a success. I must admit though, Charlie is one of the few people at the dealership that I actually knew before I started working here. However, I still learned a lot about Charlie that I didn’t know before.

Check back next week for the next installment of “Stories from the New Guy”.


About Jeff Cryder Jr.