A life in the shift of: Glyn Lewis, sales executive at BMW, Park Lane
Saturday 03 February 1996
"I get up at 6.30am. On a good day my journey into work takes an hour. I have a quick bowl of muesli and get dressed. I like to think I look clean-cut and smart. I've got a couple of Boss suits, the rest are from M&S. A lot of motor trade people wear swanky baggy suits and fake Rolex watches. I mean, what kind of impression does that create? I'm not just an ambassador for the salesroom, but an ambassador for BMW. Park Lane is BMW's flagship showroom, so I want to present just the right image. BMW drivers are successful and classy. Buying a BMW means you've arrived.
"I grab a potato and a can of tuna fish - there's a kitchen at work with a microwave; get into my BMW 328 Coupe and set off. It's very fast, it's beautiful and it's positive to drive. Driving through dreary south London suburbia in a pounds 34,000 car is a bit of a contrast. But it's amazing the reaction a nice car gets. People look at the car, look at me and put their thumbs up a if to say 'Wow! You are lucky'. That's a buzz.
"I get to work at 8.15am and the day starts with a sales meeting at 8.40am. I get a basic salary and then commission on top. My target is 120 cars a year; I normally sell between 120 and 140. I sold more in the Eighties. It was mad. People had money to burn. Customers would come in, see a car and buy it on the spot. The showroom used to open late on Saturday night to catch the Arabs coming out of the casinos. Lately, we've had a lot of Malaysians buying cars for their children who are studying here. Big expensive cars with extras like you would not believe: leather seats, air conditioning, CD players.There's a lot of Russian business around, too.
"Doors open at 9am. A lot of showroom traffic is people just looking, but anyone who comes in gets the BMW experience. We'll have a nice bit of Vivaldi playing or Classic FM. A friendly face at the desk says hello. Coffee is offered. The customer can walk around, feel the cars, touch them, sit inside them and when ready we will go and talk to him. No one is dismissed because of the way they look. We ignored one person once because he looked so scruffy and he turned out to be a very famous photographer.
"Lunch is normally on the run. Very occasionally on a test drive, you'll get a completely incompetent driver. How can the car sing to the customer if he's crunching the gears? The other thing that really hurts is the perception of my job, you know 'car salesman' - bit dodgy, bit stupid. We are intelligent professionals and deserve respect.
"The showroom closes at 6pm, but we work for as long as it takes. My fantasy is to win the lottery, go into work and sell myself a car. But I'm happy. I earn a very good living, in the best location and with the best product. What more could I want?"
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