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AM Executive Breakfast Club: Black Farmer has a passion for business

Dealer Q&A

What’s your opinion on the automotive retail industry?

Emmanuel-Jones: “If you’re a new car customer you get treated like a god. The moment that ends, you’re treated like you’re worthless.

"Somehow, you can’t help but feel like a dealer is out to rip you off and they’re not there to look after you.

“I would try to flip that stereotype on its head and create a national figure which stands for honesty and no hassle in the automotive retail market. There’s opportunity for a dealer to own that space.

“It’s also never about the product, it’s about the relationship with the sales person. People just want a bit of tickling.”

Was it worth taking on kids from deprived inner-city backgrounds?

“I believe in tough love. A lot of these kids are shown compassion from people that are paid to be compassionate.

"What I try to teach them is the only person that can change your situation is yourself.

“A lot of people will waste the opportunity, but some will take it and fly. Don’t do it unless you’re prepared for people falling by the wayside.

“The greatest gifts you can give someone are opportunity and hope. There will always be some where you’ll instantly see a spark.”

Can there be jeopardy in car sales?

“It’s very difficult as manufacturers are setting the brand. My advice would be to develop a local relationship with your customers and become a respected member of the community and a local personality.”

You were a tricky youth, are you a tricky boss? Do you recruit people with the same personality as you?

“You need two types of people in business. Gentlemen and thugs. People like to know there’s a thug in the background that will come in and sort a problem out.

“I’m the sort of person who would have got you across the frontiers of the Wild West in a wagon in one piece, but you would hate me by the end of it.

“I get in there when there’s a problem, but as soon as it’s sorted I leave the gentlemen to sort out the touchy feely stuff. I’m not a person that cares about hurting feelings.”

What drives your will to succeed?

“Passion. Passion will get you through any hurdles that come your way. Never do anything unless you’re passionate about it.”

What’s your recruitment process?

“I don’t recruit on CVs and if someone’s university educated it actually goes against them.

Graduates generally have no common sense.

“People shouldn’t be made to feel like failures before they’ve even started and people that haven’t gone to university are often made to feel that way.

“I also give people a massive break beyond their expectations. If someone expects a position they won’t work for it.

"If someone has ambition, they’re generally so amazed that you believe in them that they will work so hard.

“I’m not really interested in people that don’t work as hard as me. I don’t want nine-to-fivers, I don’t understand their mindset.

“I also ask a lot of questions that wouldn’t be in a normal recruitment process to try and find out about someone’s personality.

"I want them to tell me about their childhood and friends.”

How do you use social media?

“I don’t do it personally. We have Facebook and Twitter, but it comes under the marketing department.

"They have to update it as least twice a day, but the content must be relevant and it needs to be showing a part of your life.

“Ask customers for their opinions and help, ask them interesting things. It’s cheap and all you have to do is be disciplined to get results.”

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