Let’s cut to the chase: Did David Priester always dream of working in the automotive industry?
“Absolutely not,” said David, a sales consultant at Hilton Head Buick GMC Cadillac in South Carolina. “I had no concept of working in sales…no previous desire to work in sales. Discovering this career path was a chance happening.”
So what happened to give David that chance?
“It was 1981, and I was newly married and had just moved to Beaufort, South Carolina,” he explained. “I was looking for a job doing whatever, so I applied for a job at a car dealership. I went in and talked to the guy and he said, ‘OK, we’ll let you know tomorrow.’ Well, tomorrow came and they didn’t call. Next day, I called them and they told me they had already filled the spot.”
But just because the door was shut didn’t mean a window couldn’t open. Quite quickly, we might add.
“The next day, they called me and said, ‘We have another opening,’” Davis said. “That was how I got started. I applied, and a couple of days later, I went to work.”
David is still dedicated to dealership life. Get the cake and light the candles, because he is celebrating an impressive milestone this year.
“I have customers ask me all the time, ‘How long have you been doing this?’” he said. “Well, I’ve been in the automotive industry pretty much my entire adult life. I’ll be celebrating my 40-year anniversary in the car industry this year.”
Over the past four decades, David has primarily worked at three dealerships in various capacities within sales and management. In 2018, Garber acquired the dealership at Hilton Head where David worked. He stayed on through the transition.
Now a Garber team member (with valuable dealership experience to serve as a valid point of comparison), David said he is impressed with how Garber cares about the customer.
“I’ve been a part of three organizations previously before Garber,” he said. “One thing I see with Garber more than anyone else is – and it’s a tribute to Mr. Garber and how he runs his operation – is how we always prioritize the care of the customer no matter what. Whether it’s in service or sales, we don’t do the bare minimum to make a customer happy. We do the extra steps to make sure they’re taken care of.”
He said the value placed on a customer’s needs helps him feel a stronger sense of confidence in how he does his job.
“The care Garber demonstrates for a customer as a whole has been very impressive to me,” he said. “We focus on resolving situations. It gives me a whole new level of confidence when talking to a customer and representing the company because I know that if there ever is a problem, the company will take an interest in addressing it. Garber has a concern for the customer.”
At Garber, David has a chance to help undo the negative experiences that customers may have had with other dealership locations.
“People appreciate being treated kindly and fairly and not looked down upon,” he said. “The customers that come in from time to time have had bad experiences at other dealerships, and they carry that weight with them. They have low expectations of what is going to happen at the store. You have to let them know that you’re not going to be that person. You aren’t going to be that experience they’ve had before. You will find a way to know their needs and not push them into anything. That’s what you get when you come to Garber.”
It’s not just the customers that Garber cares about. Garber team members are at the top of the priority list, as well.
The global pandemic highlighted the care and support that Garber brings to the table.
“The one thing that I was extremely pleased about recently is what Garber leadership did last year with our team members when Covid hit,” David said. “They really took care of the team. It was comforting to know that if something happened, the company was going to take care of you; they demonstrated their care for us. That was a big benefit and a big relief.”
With decades of experiences working at dealerships, David said he’s happy with where his career has taken him.
“I’m happy to be doing a good job,” he said. “At Garber, it’s a good group of people to work with. I feel understood. It’s not like years past. It’s not a constant fight between salespeople and sales managers. It’s a team effort.”
What was your first job? My first job was working on my dad’s farm. It was a very small farm in Brunson, South Carolina; we had a few animals and grew some crops, primarily soybeans and corn.
First car? A 1970 Pontiac Grand Prix. Bronze.
What are three things you can’t live without (aside from food, water, air…)? My wife and two boys. That’s it. They are the emphasis for what I do and how I do it. I’m very fortunate to have them.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you? Customers always ask me, “Where are you from?” and I’m like “Right here in South Carolina!” They can’t believe it. I guess I don’t have enough of that Southern drawl.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and who gave it to you? “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” A customer of mine told me that. People talk about luck, but it’s not really luck. It’s about hard work.