IT DID BEGIN AT FORD BUT WE GO BACK FURTHER THAN THAT!
Hi I'm Paul Montagu.. ( Monty)
Car Helpers came to me as some what of an epiphany. I am quite Spiritual so it makes sense in my world. Coupled with the fact I was fast becoming unemployable as I became terrible at taking orders I thought let's give it a whirl.....
Hop in the De Lorean and we shall venture back in time a bit to where it all started.
It all began for me at the Ford Main Dealer in Gloucester, which at the time I worked there was called Lex (the class of 94)! But more about that later..
Having worked for some of the best Car Dealerships and Specialists in Gloucester and beyond, Car Sales has been a passion of mine for many years. I have had some of the best times of my life and met some of the best charactors in this trade. They should in all honesty be on the stage they are so funny, they have a real magic, and magnetism with people. You need that chemistry to do well, and the killer instinct to know when to close that deal of course!.
I was born in Liverpool and my love for vehicles developed from my uncle owning a car garage. It was a Mobil petrol station - a big workshop, and sales area. I used to love being sat behind the cashier's desk helping push the buttons on the till and generally getting in the way. The familiar smell of petrol now seems to catapult me back to my fondest childhood memories.
My Cousin was also a motor trader and I loved to watch him doing deals. He used to store his cars at my uncle's garage, much to my delight. I still remember being there one evening and being in awe of the what was before me. There was a ford Sierra XR4i (just wow I thought!), a Toyota Celica Supra and a Renault 25 V6 Turbo. I'm sure there were a few ford Fiesta's and Escort's too, but these three sporty cars had me transfixed! Of course I sat in all of them and pretended to drive them, with so much excitement! I remember it like it was yesterday. Strangely enough my Son Theo does the very same now, It was heavenly for me as a boy and he enjoys it just a much!. My future and passion was shaped there I'm sure and it encouraged me in later life to persue a career in the motor trade.
As a Family to Gloucester when I was eleven for my late Father's new Headteacher position at St Peter's High School. I have now lived here for the past 30 odd years, and am now settled with my own family.
Inevitably I began selling cars in Gloucester at the age of eighteen (I am now in my forties!), much to my late Father's disappointment! A place at University to study Hotel Management was the preferred route. I can still hear him now in his best Scouse accent, "You wha?? You wanna sell cars?!". Seeing as my father was a Headteacher I'm sure it looked as if my schooling had been in vain!... My Northern Family were delighted with my choice and took great delight telling my Dad so. I was the "Black Sheep"......
Initially, I started working with Lex Group at their Ford dealership as touched on above in New car sales. I remember thinking why would they pay me for this? I should be paying them... I loved it!I would even work days off!!... I was like a kid in a sweet shop.
It was however a baptism of fire in those days and you either sank or swam. I am still to this day very grateful to Larry Duffy and Alan Noble for the opportunity and having the faith in me. Also Paul Wood who took me under his wing in his Oval office.
There was very little real training, but that also added to the thrill! and the sleepless nights!. You could either succeed or fail. It really brought me out of myself.
It was tough to get my head around the in the beginning. I still remember Paul having the chat with me two months in "You gotta pick your figures up Son" . There was a three month trial or you are shown the door approach in those days. I remember the first month I did (2) the Second (5 )and the Third (16) with the help of some Motability deals. (15) of them! .... (!Joke!).Happily I made it through probation!.
THERE IS AN ART TO SELLING AND ITS A GIFT IT'S A SEAMLESS PROCESS WHEN DONE RIGHT!!....I met some real Masters at it. These guys were my idols..!. I had a real thirst to learn off them. Plus they hopped in a flash car when the day had finnished! There was an amazing buzz connected to it all! it was like a drug!.A natural high!.
If you didn't drink you would learn to....Didn't smoke you would have plenty of time to practice... And if you were married or had a girl friend temptation wouldn't be far away....Words passed to me from another salesman that I still remember to this day!.......
I went on to to work for various Local and National Prestige and Volume Car Supermarkets/ Dealerships. From Sales to Business Management (A flash name for Finance) and Sales Management. My favourite Brand has to be Lexus. They were (and are still) awesome!
By the age of thirty I had hit my goal of running a large dealership selling new and used vehicles. With a 12 person sales team it was a great experience. Like the old cliche of either work going great or your home life, rarely the two in unison. My personal life went rapidly South. This made me start to reevaluate life and my direction. A question of having to as I lost that job!...In hindsight I had become too image focussed anyway so a good thing!.
A few employers followed, until my passion for working for Dealers began to dwindle. I think I had worked in them all anyway. Seriously though something in me had changed. To add to this the trade was changing, and the fun was going. The charactors were dissapearing and with them the freedom of dealing....It was hardly surpising these places were starting to be run by accountants. This is no disrespect to accountants we have one in the Family but sales and accountancy are totally different things.
There were that many bits of paper to fill out just to sell a car you became like an administrator...I'm sure a few trees dissapeared at these place to feed the photocopier. Paperwork is laborious at the best of times but this was another level. If it annoyed me to much I would just rip it up and throw it in the bin, a bit of OCD about having a clear desk.. I Prefered the old back of the fag packet and a hand shake my word is my bond approach, followed by a lift to the cash point promptly for the deposit.
I was tired and bored of taking orders from people I didnt respect. All ideas were great if they thought of them. I couldn't hide my lack of enthusiasm. I know I could be hard work to as I had my own ideas but the politics would rival the House of Commons. I still remember an " MD" of a Prestige Dealership saying "We don't do personal problems" about a member of staff being absent for personal reasons...I couldn't believe what I was hearing. My "Tosser"alarm buzzed loudly in my head.... I had had my own battles with mental health in my life and was sensitive to peoples well being. I was worth more than this crap. I had been raised with strong values and how you should treat and respect others, however much I would rebel against them. I have my late Father to thank for this empathy, he was great at relating to others and had a real gift.
I started to get more and more disheartened and angry by the lack of ethics and integrity. These grand titles some people had certainly didnt make them great leaders of people!.
I was a charactor ! still am and need to be happy and having fun, I felt like a caged animal in those "Gin Palaces" of showrooms. What type im not sure!. Things that would have just gone over my head in younger days now didn't. I actually felt and got depressed with it all. It was a bubble of superficial nonsense fuelled by greed and shallowness.
I didnt want to be trapped here anymore. My soul was under nourished, I felt empty and there was no bloody way I was turning into a corporate YES man to boost some clowns ego. My "Scouse" relatives and ancestors would have been disgusted at me for that! and rightly so!. I didnt fancy being haunted!.
It's only right here to say there are great dealers and people around both locally and nationally, who pride themselves on how they look after their staff.Any business has to make money to survive that's a given. Car Sales can be un fairly labelled by outdated stigmas for this. This is not saying you don't have to be on your guard always but I never want to paint the wrong picture. There is good and bad everywhere and in every walk of life. BUT for me as you can probably tell this Corporate "Mega Ship" had sailed!.
How would I replace that magical "Buzz" I got when selling though?....And feel like I was genuinley helping people not lining peoples pockets......I needed to feel that!...I really enjoyed getting to know people not just selling them things!...I liked the feeling of helping people out with life it made me feel good. God only knows I had tried enough of it to know.
I started buying and selling cars for myself, and around my new family life I took a job driving for Driver Hire In Gloucester delivering things all over the country. You have a lot of time to think starting off at 4 am and heading to Carlisle limited to 56 MPH!.. I NEEDED time to think. How better than seeing the country, sometimes with out a radio!.
I remember sitting in a car park waiting for a bathroom centre to open, looking at the Humber Bridge in Hull thinking,,,I would never have seen this If I hadn't have been doing this!.How lucky am I?!.
I was gaining an appreciation for things I hadn't appreciated before. Or maybe I had been so emersed in the rat race overlooked. This work was minimum wage but it wasn't about the money. If you had told that to the younger me I would have blamed extensive drug use for such a daft comment!
I loved the freedom! It was like being self employed. I felt something on a deeper Spiritual level a real appreciation of life. Driver Hire Gloucester were great to me aswell just the tonic... I felt energised again.
Neil and Billy thank you. If you want to see the country and earn a few quid give them a call!. 01452 525255
It was from here I had the time to reflect and get creative.....
I started to think, 'wouldn't it be of great help to people who needed it, if I could use my knowledge of best sales practices to guide them, so that they don't feel on their own and vulnerable or uncertain anymore? and throw a bit of life experience in the mix. Whether that be in a private or a dealership environment, there must be lots of people in this position and many others that need my help and are in need of someone they can turn to who they trust.' In a digital age now more than ever you will never replace people and a personal service. Hence.... "Better Call Paul"
Car Helpers was born. Fitting nicely around Family life now being married to Jo with a Son Theo and having a Dog Wilson (Mr Chen) that likes his walks.I have been blessed to have had had the opportunity to spend more time with them, and see Theo grow up. Yes I do the School runs!!...No I avoid cooking tea if possible!!.
Within The Deal Maker Nationwide, I also own Little White Van Man, a local transportation and removal service working to collect and deliver your items locally throughout Gloucestershire and The Negoti8ors, a purchasing and sales negotiation service.
I am so grateful for all I have experienced so far. If I hadnt gone through all this I wouldnt be me and where I am now! As a dear Friend of mine says "Monty we are all just passing through in this life!"... He is so right!,
As human beings we are very quick to ask what the other person has? Where they work? and measure by all that stuff!....BUT how many of us ask if they are Happy?. That's the important one. .... Trust Me!.
I very much look forward to meeting you.
Bestwishes and God Bless