Still at it After All These Years...
By Tommy Stokes 8/26/2018
Dallas, TX... Hard to believe I started Moving Iron 20 years ago, sitting at my desk at a dealership in South Louisiana.
For those who don't know the story behind the name or are too young to have heard the phrase Movin' Iron, every Saturday morning, we had a sales meeting that always ended with our manager asking, "What are we gonna do today?" We would answer in unison, "Move Iron" our boss was old-school from Chicago, so some of us would joke and say, "Not much iron left in them these days, boss" Jim would always reply, "Shut up, go move some iron."
So, I named the company Movingiron to Honor the meanest, craziest, most caring, loveable used car director I have ever met. Jim hated everybody, but he was a damn good car man. I would watch in amazement as he completely transformed into someone else when he was in front of a customer.
I remember getting my first business card and was very excited to see my name on the card next to certified sales professional. Jim noticed how I admired my cards and asked me to let him see them. I thought it was odd when two guys around me took off as I handed Jim my pride box. Jim looked at them and said lovely card. How much did they cost? I proudly said thirty-five dollars. He pulled out a wad of cash.
I swear that man kept ten thousand cash on him all the time. He peeled off two 20s after digging through a few hundred and handed them to me. I looked at him bewildered for a second as he was headed to the window of the 1950s building and threw my new business cards in a wet ditch below. He looked at me and said, “If I ever catch you with a business card Stokes you’re fired” I was about to tell him that Eddie (The in-house sales trainer) ordered them for me, but I remembered he hated that guy.
I said yes, sir, and went back to work. Jim had my number, and yes, you had to be that extreme with me, or I wouldn’t have got the lesson. Like the time he was penciling a deal with me, and on the second pencil, I asked why he wanted me to go back and bump the guy for more money down. Oh man, you never talk back to your manager, Jim turned red, and I thought I saw steam come out of his ears. Jim looked like a taller Danny DeVito, if that gives you an idea. That was the first time I heard a ten-key crash into a wall. If you don’t know what a ten-key is, google it.
From then on, I always said yes sir and no sir, and when Jim said jump, I would ask him how high. I was a green pea; Jim was some car god to me. There was a purpose to everything he said. The man rarely joked or smiled; I guess he saved that for the customers. He was pretty miserable most of the time because he hated working with people with no talent, he would say. Jim and I became excellent friends. He took me under his wing and installed many great closing terminologies that I still use to this day.
Now you know why Moving Iron is Moving Iron. Jim passed a few years ago, but I will never forget him and appreciate him taking the time to teach me the business. I’m not sure if he knew, but I can’t imagine not knowing he had saved my life.
I’m proud to be a professional car salesman.
Thanks to all our dealers that helped us reach our goals and dreams over the past 20 years.
Read "Old Dog New Tricks" by Tommy Stokes