Photo by Dave Holt
Marty Hamm spent more than 18 years working in security and security contracting. Half of that time was with private firms and the other was with the State of Tennessee. He served for more than six years as an elite correctional emergency response team (CERT) officer with the state’s corrections department. When inmates tried to escape, act out, or sneak in contraband, Hamm and his team were sent to set them straight.
His job nowadays is a little less dangerous, but he’s just as passionate about it. After suffering a shoulder injury, Hamm decided to switch career paths.
He landed at Alexander Chevrolet Buick GMC in Dickson, Tenn., just over three years ago. He was hired by the dealership’s general manager, Allan Ledford, who said Hamm’s work ethic and knack for drawing in customers is unmatched throughout the dealership.
“He goes above and beyond the typical call we expect,” Ledford says. “It’s rare in today’s world.”
In Hamm’s first month on the job, he sold 16 cars — a considerably high number even for some seasoned veterans. His GM says Hamm has “a magnetism that draws people to him.” Hamm says he just likes being around people.
“People tell me all the time I can talk to anybody,” he says. “I can find something in common with a farmer or a DJ at a radio station.”
Today, Hamm averages just over 25 units per month, new and used. He reached the 30-unit mark five times last year, including a personal best of 34. (The store totals about 155 units per month among 13 salespeople.)
General Motors awarded Hamm its Mark of Excellence two years in a row. In 2015, Hamm sold 264 units and jumped to selling 319 cars in 2016. He says about 60% of his sales at this point are through repeats and referrals.
“We don’t know how he does it,” Ledford says of Hamm.
According to Ledford, not only does Hamm “continue to excel in average monthly sales” but he oversees the internet and social media functions for the dealership while “maintaining an absolute perfect CSI from all individuals he has contact with.”
Hamm spends a lot of time keeping up with customers, mainly through Facebook. After he sells someone a car, he takes a picture with them and posts it online. He says he’s on “all the social media sites”: Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram. He regularly converses with customers there too.
But the contact doesn’t end there. He tells his customers to “call or text anytime.” Hamm will set up service appointments for his clients or sometimes call just to ask, “Hey, how are you doing?” He sends thank-you notes to anyone he’s sold to, along with handwritten birthday cards and Christmas cards.
Not only does Hamm have a good rapport with his customers, he is popular among colleagues within the dealership. He always has time to help out some of the newer salespeople, Ledford says. He says that salespeople will sometimes listen in on Hamm’s conversations to pick up on ideas to emulate.
“They respect him,” Ledford says. “They’ll say, ‘I want to be like Marty.’”
Stephanie Forshee is the former senior editor of Auto Dealer Today and F&I and Showroom. She has expertise in dealership operations, sales and F&I. Email her at [email protected].