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Taking used car sales from the lot to the laptop

This Midweek Mugging profiles John Post who has adapted to an increasingly competitive industry by starting his own sub-prime financing service Car Loan Ontario

After more than 30 years in the car business, 25 of those years as a business manager, John Post was ready for a change.

“I have never liked the car business,” said Post. “About five years ago I basically had enough and was ready to get out of it. I posted my resume on Linkedin and the owner of Canada Drives contacted me and asked if I wanted to try doing car leads.”

The lead business targets people with bad credit who want to buy cars. Potential customers fill out an online application and submit it to a company such as Canada Drives. Licensed salespeople buy the leads then contact the applicants to help them find a car they can afford and arrange the financing.

The salesperson must be connected to a registered dealership. Post works through Riverside Auto Sales on Elmira Road.

If all goes well, the customer gets approved to buy the car and the salesperson collects the sales commission from the dealership.

“The difference is you aren’t dealing directly with the public,” said Post. “You aren’t waiting for a customer to walk on to the lot.”

It was a new approach to a job Post had been doing for years so he decided to give it a try.

Selling cars wasn’t his first job choice. When he was a teenager he considered a career as a veterinarian and worked for eight years at a vet clinic assisting with surgeries and other related tasks. He started working with cars in the early 1980s when his father Bob Post started an undercoating business, Quick Spray Oiling.

“I kind of fell into the car sales business,” he said. “I saw an ad one day when I was working with dad and thought maybe I will try this. I never really left it after that.”

His promotion to business manager rose out of necessity.

“I was a salesman and I came in one day and the business manager was fired the night before,” said Post. “I had to jump on the phone and start looking after my own deals. That was it. I’ve been a business manager ever since. It was a forced promotion.”

He worked at a number of small dealerships over the following 25 years.

“Often I was the only one there,” he said. “I was doing everything. I was looking after the dealership and being the business manager at the same time.”

He prided himself on getting the best deals for his customers and not selling them extras they didn’t really need.

“Rust and dust is what we call it,” he said. “The more you can sell the more you got paid. That is the business manager’s job and that is why I am surprised I have survived all these years.”

His loyalty to his customers has paid off as the business becomes more predatory and competitive.

“When it first started, if you bought 100 leads you could plan on maybe selling 25 cars,” he said. “At this point now it is lucky if you sell 10 because there is so much fluff involved and so many people doing it.”

Repeat referral business is now the majority of his sales.

“If I have bought 200 leads in the last two years I would be surprised,” he said. “The next stage is finish a website so I can truly try to get my own leads and just try to do it differently. That’s what I would like to see happen. Will it work? I don’t know.”