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Business 101 Reflection/Interview

Griffin M. Armstrong

Michigan State University


Business 101 Reflection/Interview

The person I decided to interview is a family friend named Damien Henning who lives in

Alanson, Michigan. He is the general manger at a local business called Ranch RV Sales, Inc. The

interview method we decided to do was by phone call since we agreed that would be the most

efficient. I called him using the number (231) 548-5443 which is the same number to call the

business. He doesnt have a work email and didnt want to disclose his personal email.

What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face?

My biggest challenge would be to make sure that my overall sales projections match my

actual sales. As well as that my overall costs are lower in order for me to make a profit in the

end. Costs influence my profitability.

What type of training did you do in order to take on this job?

On the job training because I hadn't run an RV sales and service business in my life. My

skill sets grew in order to meet the business needs. I graduated college with a business adminis-

tration degree which gave me the book knowledge I would need, but other than that it has all

been on the job training. Some people would call on the job training the school of hard knocks.

How large of a role does teamwork play in this work environment?

Teamwork is premier. We look at ourselves as a team in both sales and service. We are a

small dealership with only six employees, some even working just part-time. We've always

looked as service being a function of sales and sales being a function of service. Being so small

we've always utilized the service department when delivering a vehicle to a customer. We look at

them as being part of the sales team because the presentation to the customer plays a large part in

the satisfaction to the customer. Sales on its own is just part of the process. Services is not de-

tached from sales services is a part of sales.

What kind of leader would you describe yourself as?

Leader by example. Theres nothing I would ask people to do that I wouldnt do myself.

Id refer to myself as a minute manager. This means I dont let the employees do all the work

solely by themselves, but at the same time I dont tyrannical run the business. I will help them

out with when they make mistakes and I will offer some guidance but nothing overbearing.

What attributes does someone need to have in order to be really successful in this posi-


Focus. Ready to give it your all. You have to start the day ready to hit the ball. Being such

a small business we are all cross trained. This works the same way for me that it does for my

other employees. My success, as well as people in the other positions, has to do with the fact that

I am able to do any part of the business if we are shorthanded one day or I need to step in to fix

something. For myself I am able to manage people, work on the RVs in services, and to work

with customers in any aspect. With being this well rounded I know exactly how this business

runs as well as how to deal with any possible obstacle on the spot.

What does a typical day look like?

I come in and look at what has not been accomplished from the day before. Make sure

that everyone is on task to complete those tasks. For me I look at service and sales projections to

make sure they are all in line. Since this is a seasonal business, in February for example I do two

percent of the business where as in June, July, and August I do 13 percent of the business. My

role changes from a lot of snow plowing in the winter to just parts, sales, and services during the

summer. Winter is a lot more mundane compared to the summer.

Are you happy doing what you are doing?

Yes I am and I have been in this business for almost all of my life. I started this business

with my parents in 1971. Since 1978 I have been a full-time employee up to this very date. Im

very satisfied with the job.

How do you keep up to date on your target market?

We use a company called Statistical Surveys to see what is selling as well as the census in

order to know the average income in the surrounding areas. This has helped us with the changing

market. When the business first started we had lot of high end RVs because of the higher paying

jobs in the area people had the discretionary income to buy one. This changed when the 2008

recession hit. Now we sell more mid line trailers since they are more affordable to buy. We

moved from selling more of the higher end trailers to the lower end trailers in order to adapt to

the changing market.

When do you stop pursuing a client?

When they stop lying to you. We typically run through about five to eight calls depending

on the amount of interest they have. You really stop at the amount that you feel you have become

a nuisance.

Whats your approach to handling customer objections?

There are a lot of different ways of overcoming objections. First you have to identify the

objection. Once you identify the specific objection you can overcome it. Listening to the cus-

tomer is extremely important. Sometimes in the sales process you have to listen to the customer

and let them lead the way. They will lead you through the sale. You have to be able to recognize

the different types of customers there are. Two types are intuitive and analytical customers. Each

will have different objections based on this. The intuitive customer is going to work more by feel

and the analytical customer is going to be more technical.

This interview was very helpful in understanding how a sales business runs and the skills

I need to develop in order to take on a similar role in marketing management/sales. My dream

job is to some day work in sales. Some of the main things I learned was when to stop pursuing a

customer and how to handle customer objections. With pursuing a customer you persist until you

feel as though they have lost interest and you have become a bother to them. With handling cus-

tomer objections you have to first identify the objection as well as figure out what type of cus-

tomer they are. I was surprised to hear that sometimes you just have to solely listen to the cus-

tomer to let them lead the way through the sales process. Overall, the interview answers were

very helpful and informational in understanding what my job will be like when Im older. Even

though I am not going into the RV sales business, this was still a good interview to do since the

person I interviewed has a vast amount of knowledge with sales that can be used as general in-

formation for any job that is similar.