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My Million Dollar Mistake


Some years ago, after a good run as a dealer, I was offered a premium price for my import store.

Hadn’t really thought about selling … but the offer got my interest.

Because I hesitated a little, the buyer offered me an even better price.

After discussing it with my family the offer was too good to pass up … we decided to sell.

What could be easier … a dealer-to-dealer transaction … he had the cash?

I went and talked to a dealer friend who had sold his dealership recently.

Between the two of us, we figured out we could do this and save a broker fee.

We wrote up the names and numbers and made a deal. That was December.

Was thinking about all the fun I was going to have by not being tied down to the store.

I enjoyed the car business … but as a businessman I was ready to take a few chips off the table…lock in my financial future for my family and catch up on a few things I had put off.

Then the nightmare began …

in February, the factory turned the buyer down.

So … just go back and run the store … maybe even find someone else to buy.

Not so …

He sued the factory, and …

The factory didn’t treat me the same after that. Warranty audits. Sales audits. If red 4 door sedans stopped selling nationwide. I got em.

The turn down hit the news … employees quit … customers went to the competition … not what I had in mind just a few weeks before!

And it didn’t go away quickly, the deal was tied up in the courts … when I thought it couldn’t get any worse … it did … again and again and again! 

Yes, I saved a few bucks doing the deal without a broker and it cost me a MILLION DOLLARS ($2,600,000 in today’s dollars) when we got it sold.

But it wasn’t just about the money … it took years to resolve the issue because of a poorly prepared sale.

 Buyer appealed the turn-down to the:

  • State Automotive Commission … He Lost.
  • County Court … He Lost.
  • State Court … He Lost.
  • State Supreme Court…He Lost.

Every time he appealed, the stories started up again … it went on and on.

Well, it finally did come to an end 9 years later.

Years of aggravation, lawyers, depositions, appeals, he said/I said, newspaper, television and all the other inconveniences I choose to call learning experiences.

For Sale By Owner … Showed me 3 facts:

  1. Most dealer-to-dealer sales do not close …for lots of reasons.
  2. When it comes time to sell your biggest asset, you need experience … not a friend or fellow dealer. Experience that will keep you out of the problems and get you the return you earned. 
  3. Most sellers underestimate the options they have when it’s time to sell. They underestimate their assets, they underestimate buyers’ wants and needs and they underestimate the personal advice they will need to successfully conclude a sale.

One dealer last year said he’d like to sell but after Covid his sales were down and he thought nobody would be interested in his store. We explain the past and sell the future. We sold his store for more than he expected! Never think that your conclusion about the marketability of your dealership is accurate.

Now it’s … 295+ transfers and 30 years later, we’ve helped dealers get to where they want to go … over the bumps and away from the potholes.

Let us help you … because we know how tough it will be for you if you don’t get the right kind of help.

The next move is yours …

Call me directly at 270-316-5516 there is a 95% chance I’ll answer.

Let’s get started understanding what you want and you will get straight answers to make the informed decisions needed.


PS. If you only take one thought away from what you’ve read here … don’t go it alone!