|Vangorder Entertains the Tipp Seniors|
|Written by Mike Woody|
|Wednesday, 27 February 2013 00:00|
He’s known to show up about anywhere, including in a hot tub, a delivery room, even in a couple’s bedroom and say, ‘Did I hear you talking about buying a car?’
Last week, Steve Vangorder of Jeff Schmitt Chevrolet appeared at the Tipp Seniors luncheon on Thursday as the guest speaker.
A fan of his television commercials, Betty Taylor, a Tipp senior arranged for Vangorder to come visit. “Whenever I see his commercials they make me laugh. He always makes me smile,” she said.
Very flattered by the request and as a result of Taylor’s relentless efforts to secure him, Vangorder joined the seniors for lunch then spoke about his life and career. A self-described ‘military brat,’ Vangorder’s father was in the Air Force and forced to move around a lot. Vangorder spent much of his youth in Spain, but also lived in Florida, Japan, Germany, North Carolina and Idaho.
Vangorder was in Idaho for his senior year and he says that it was an adjustment from the city life he had grown accustomed to, “My high school had a rodeo team and I hadn’t seen a horse before.
At 17 years old, straight out of high school Vangorder started his first job selling cars. A friend suggested that he’d be good at it, but the charismatic figure that Vangorder has become took some time to develop. “I was terrified of the customers at first. I couldn’t afford anything on the lot so how was I going to convince anyone to buy a car?” he said.
In 1996, Vangorder moved to Dayton and began working at the Jack Huelsman Auto Mall in Fairborn. Huelsman partnered with Jeff Schmitt, who Vangorder is often confused for, and he’s now been with the company for 17 years. Vangorder has risen through the ranks from car salesman, to sales manager and is now the General Sales Manager.
The inspiration for the commercials came from Vangorder always hearing people talk about wanting to buy a car. For added entertainment value he interjects himself in such conversations at the most unexpected of places. His catch phrase, ‘Get in here,’ defines the intention of getting customers to the dealership.
Sales have been on a continuous rise the last few years and for 2012, Jeff Schmitt was named the top dealership in Dayton for the first time. “We can’t change the market, but there’s a pie of people who are to buy a new car and we just want a bigger piece of that pie,” said Vangorder.
While Vangorder enjoys working on the commercials, his greatest pleasure is watching the sales staff progress. He trains everyone in sales to have a strong desire to succeed and make the most of the opportunity given to them. “What I like about selling cars is that you are responsible for your own earnings. I don’t want to work a job where I make the same as the guy who sits next to me and does nothing. There’s no limit in sales, you just have to go out and get it,” he said.