David Kim became a 30-car guy by building an impressive base of repeats and referrals among Korean-Americans.
June 2016, Auto Dealer Today - Feature
Photo by Lenny Ramos
David Kim sold 408 vehicles for DCH Paramus (N.J.) Honda in 2015. That’s an average of more than one per day for every day on the calendar, and he is ahead of schedule for 2016, having delivered 119 units in the first quarter.
Kim finished among the Top 100 Honda salespeople in the U.S. for the third year in a row and is a member of the OEM’s Gold Master elite based on his CSI scores and volume of units sold. He says he doesn’t spend too much time away from the dealership and has been known to come into the store on his days off.
“He has complete control of his business and performs at the highest level possible on a daily basis,” says his general manager, Bobby Kibbler. “I am proud to work with David. He is the definition of consistency and professionalism.”
Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Kim moved to the States in 2007 when his wife landed a job in New York City. He worked as a car salesman for two other New Jersey dealerships before landing at Paramus, which employs 40 sales professionals and moved 8,500 new and used units last year.
His managers say he’s an incredible salesman and is working hard to improve his English-language skills through daily interactions with customers and coworkers. Meanwhile, he is using his heritage to his advantage by reaching out to New Jersey’s Korean-American community. He says it’s a significant customer base, and he must be right, since he mainly works off repeat and referral business.
Kim sees every sale as a potential referral for the future. “Every year, I increase my sales by around 30 cars. Almost all of them come from referrals. That’s the easy part.” He adds that he tries to treat his customers more like family than clients. “I’m very honest and I study the product to make sure I can answer any question they have. I make sure I ask the right questions to know their needs and most importantly is that I don’t make the customer feel like they just bought a car and that’s it. I make sure I help them with service, maintenance, and any issues with the car.”
Worth noting is that Kim does all of his work on his own. “I don’t have an assistant,” he says. He does everything “from contacting previous and future customers, test drives, vehicle delivery, and all paperwork.” When he’s not in front of a customer, he says, “you have to be on the phone.” Kim makes about 60 to 70 calls per day. “Follow up, follow up, follow up” is his advice.
Kim has developed a reputation among his colleagues and clients as a hardworking and dedicated employee, but all those sales come at a price. Kim admits the hours are hectic and, to some extent, he is working nearly every day, bell to bell.
“It’s hard to sit down and have lunch at times,” he admits. When it comes to vacation, he says, “I really don’t take any. Maybe a few days a year.” On the flip side, he appreciates that “every day is different. I get to meet so many different and interesting people. I love that.”