David Pierce, 38
General manager, Hendrick Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat of Concord
The commission-based pay structure didn’t deter David Pierce from getting into auto retailing. It attracted him to it.
Pierce got a taste of the commission format while working at Circuit City, the now-defunct electronics chain. When he lost his job there, he made the jump to the car business and applied his skills there. Pierce started off on the sales floor at Honda of Concord in North Carolina for Hendrick Automotive in 2003, making a smooth transition from pitching electronics to autos.
Pierce said he’s a quiet person but has an aptitude for sales and earning commissions.
“It was a lot of the same principles as far as product knowledge and taking care of people,” Pierce said. “People, I think they buy from somebody that they can trust and feel comfortable doing business with. It was a lot of the same principles from other sales arenas.”
Pierce spent more than a decade selling Hondas before moving on to run a new Kia store that Hendrick opened in July 2014. Pierce said the store was forecast to lose $350,000 in its first full year of operation but turned a profit of $789,000 in 2015.
In December 2015, he became general manager of Hendrick Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat of Concord, which has doubled its profitability during his tenure. In the year before he arrived, the store netted a $2.3 million profit. In 2019, that number hit $5.3 million.
After the coronavirus reached the U.S., Pierce had to adapt how he worked. Initially, Pierce found himself doing everything he could to keep the business running.
“The few customers that were coming in the doors, I was out there talking to customers, taking cars to clean up, getting them gas — whatever we needed,” Pierce said. “We could only have 10 employees on the front end of the store, so we ran it with just managers, no salespeople or anything.”
April was a trying time, but Pierce said May ended up being the second-best month in the history of the store. June was another strong month. The store has been doing what it can to cater to customer needs.
“If they want to wear a mask, we give them a mask. We’ll wear a mask with them,” Pierce said. “We kind of adapt to make the customer feel comfortable. [If] they want to do most of the process online, now we’ve offered going in and picking up service vehicles from customers’ houses. Just really adapting to make the customer feel comfortable.”
— Vince Bond Jr.