Week two of “Stories from the New Guy” features a great interview I had with one of our sales and leasing consultants Freeda Floyd. Freeda is a long time veteran of the car business, but isn’t what she has always done. She has found ways to bring her skills from previous jobs over in to the dealership to help create a positive experience for each and every customer she comes in contact with. Without further ado, here is the discussion I had with Freeda.
Zach Bello: How long have you been in the car business?
Freeda Floyd: Since November of 1996.
ZB: And have you always been in the car business?
FF: I started working for Proctor and Gamble in 1966 as a project manager and worked there until 1992. After that my husband Art and I started a business together which lasted 5 years. Art had been in the car business for a long time and recommended I get in to car sales. I began my career in car sales in 1996 and then came up to work for Lebanon Ford with Art in 2007.
ZB: How long have you been working with your husband?
FF: We had laundromats and dry cleaners together for about 5 years in the early 90’s and then we both came to Lebanon Ford in 2007. Art has been in the car business for the better part of 42 years.
ZB: So what is your favorite part about your job?
FF: Helping customers. Seriously. I like helping them find the right vehicle and problem solving. When I was at P&G I was a project manager and really really enjoyed that aspect of my job because it’s putting together a game plan for an issue and getting it solved. And you do that in the car business as well. Someone comes in and they have a need and you help them to solve it. Some people come in and they have wants and some people come in that have needs, so you really have to be able to differentiate between the two and help the customer find the right vehicle for them.
ZB: Now on a more personal note, what kind of things do you like to do in your free time?
FF: I like to play golf but haven’t really had a lot of time to play this summer. My grandson is a musician so I enjoy going out and watching him play. My granddaughter is also a tremendous softball player and has been selected to play in the Euro Cup in January of 2012, so she’ll be traveling to the Netherlands to play in that to represent the United States.
ZB: Wow, that’s quite an achievement. So what kind of music does your grandson play?
FF: Like an indie rock type band. He’s 20 and on I think his third band. He played with a band when he was 16, played a show opening for a band at Bogart’s (for those not from Cincinnati, Bogart’s is a venue that hosts tons of national acts, not just anyone gets to play there.) and then the band broke up when the singer left. Then found another band shortly after, that one didn’t work out and now he is with his current band and they are pretty serious about it. It’s not the music that I usually listen to, but it’s growing on me.
ZB: Ah ok. Why is that?
FF: You know, the music they play is a lot different then what I’ve always listened to. You know, Free Bird was on the radio in here awhile ago and Dick (a fellow sales consultant at Lebanon Ford) was yelling “Turn that off!” and I said “You can’t turn off Free Bird!” It’s just the differences in music tastes.
ZB: I gotcha I gotcha. So if you could travel to anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
FF: I would probably go back to Hawaii because that is the most perfect place that I have ever been to in my life. Temperature-wise, weather-wise, beauty-wise. Golf courses are beautiful, the water, just everything. There’s nothing wrong with Hawaii.
ZB: I’ve actually never been there before.
FF: Oh my gosh…
ZB: I have to go?
FF: Oh gosh yes, you gotta go.
ZB: When did you go to Hawaii?
FF: We went for our 25th wedding anniversary, and that was a long time ago. In 3 more years that will be 25 years since we’ve been because we’ve had our 47th.
ZB: Wow that’s a long time, congratulations.
FF: Well thank you. One day at a time!
ZB: So what do you think separates Lebanon Ford from other car dealers?
FF: The people. And the attitude of the people and the attitude of the owner. It’s family friendly and is not high pressure. We’re here to help customers buy cars, not to sell them cars.
ZB: That’s a great quote. Ok so last question, if you could learn to do anything, what would it be and why?
FF: It would be to be a great handicapper.
ZB: A what? (I had never heard of the term handicapper)
FF: Like in horse racing. Picking winning horses. Growing up in Kentucky I love horses and horse racing. That would be my other hobby next to golf, well before golf actually. It’s just the beauty of horses and their competitive nature. We used to own standard-bred horses so I’ve always been around them.
And that right there would conclude my second “Stories from the New Guy” interview. Unlike last week where I had known Charlie prior to working for Lebanon Ford, I walked in to this interview knowing nothing about Freeda. I learned a lot about her that I otherwise probably would have never known. Things like her world traveling, softball playing granddaughter or her the business she used to run with her husband Art. This whole interview thing isn’t so bad after all.