Motor Trader Diaries: Part 1
Corporate Developer and Co-Founder of Plan Insurance Brokers, Scott Georgiades tells tales from his younger days spent moon lighting between selling part time motor trade insurance policies during the day and car dealing in his evenings.
Those around me probably think I have only ever been a motor trade insurance specialist, but they have no idea… on the quiet, I was also once a part time car salesman.
This is the story of an ambitious young man devoted to a family insurance business. Who experienced a brief roller coaster ride into the world of second hand car sales.
What got you into part time car trading?
If you met me back then you would probably agree that I had the makings of a successful part time motor trader. Charisma, confidence and a small splash of modesty for good measure!
It was the early nineties. A time of deep dark recession. Uncontrollable rises in unemployment, failing government policy and a downward spiralling property market were all over the news.
So it seemed like a great time to embark on another new business venture! Nothing can deter the folly of youth.
In my defence, I had a wedding to fund and needed to supplement my income. I’d set up Plan Insurance (then called Peter Scott Insurance) in 1989 with my father. Rightly with all the economic turmoil, he had a tight grip on the finances.
In the office each day I was arranging highly competitive traders insurance policies each day. I’ve always been into cars. I thought, “It’s a no-brainer.”
You can see an image below of me at the time. Young, confident and slightly round.
Comically Norwich Union’s picture framing skills painted me as the Lowest UK Rat
Aviva (back then they were still Norwich Union) ran an article on me. I’d been top sales man for a product they were looking to promote. I’m stood proud as punch outside my Croydon office.
I was blissfully unaware that their framing would crop of the letter “e” from the sign in my window.
Hence the running joke among my work friends when introducing me to anyone became, “Meet Scott The LOWEST UK RAT in motor insurance.” Not something I was keen to promote!
Why did you think you had what it takes to be a successful part time motor trader?
I always maintain that sales skills are not unique to a chosen few. They lurk in all of us. From children that negotiate with parents. To teachers who encourage students to engage and politicians that promote idealistic vision.
I came to the conclusion long ago that the fundamental elements of good sales are being passionate about your service and product. If you ensure you do that, you will meet the wants and needs of the consumers.
How did you expect your insurance colleagues to compare to the car dealers you’d meet whilst trading?
Over the years my colleagues selling part time motor trade insurance haven’t all been shy field mice. And I’ve definitely met my fair share of out going Arthur Dailey motor trader types.
But for every unscrupulous character out there I always encountered countless thoughtful, honest, passionate part time motor trade insurance clients.
All professional sales people depend on successful sales. At the same time they won’t compromise their integrity or business reputation for the sake of closing a deal.
Did any of your insurance clients give useful tips?
One useful bit of advice I received whilst arranging part time motor trade insurance policies was to always carry a packet of mints. Nobody will buy anything from a salesman with bad breath.
I know you’re about to ask what I’d had for lunch that day. But I was speaking to the chap on the phone.
Read more: A motor trader guide: reviewing Mike Brewer
So, we know you were successful at selling insurance policies – but what about the motor vehicles sales venture?
I’d been selling my entire adult life. So I thought I had the complete tool chest of skills; integrity, determination, focus and a natural ability to communicate.
These are all transferable to any career involving sales, right?
My big plan was to simply apply them in a different setting. Pretty soon I’d be earning some additional cash. Anyway that was the Plan! Over the years I’d learnt a lot.
All good sales people need to be continually increasing their knowledge. In order to find out more about my journey from motor trade insurance sales man into the painful world of part time motor trading you are going to have to keep following this blog.
Learn from my successes and failures in the hard knock real world.
In part two I tell all about my first vehicle purchase as a motor trade wheeler dealer.