An American Dream – Word of Mouth

Amerrican Dream - Word of Mouth

Episode 9:

(Forgot where we left off? Re-read Episode 8)

The lot was full of people on Wednesday evening—despite the winter chill. Normally, Bob would have cut the lot hours or closed altogether midweek the way he’d done last year, but business was better than it had ever been. Better than when he’d first opened. He placed the heaters he’d pulled from storage strategically around the lot next to the models he wanted to spotlight. Huddles of people in scarves and hats laughed and sipped cider as they shopped. It felt like the holidays, and Bob’s spirits were merry.

“Can you show me this RV?” a man asked Allan. He held up his phone. On the screen was a picture from the email they’d sent out at the beginning of the month.

Allan’s face scrunched with regret. “We actually sold that one last week, but—” he motioned for the man to follow him over to the south end of the lot. “I have another one just like it, same features and everything, just in a different color.”

To his left, Tony was nodding in agreement as a woman gestured to the bullet points on a printout of a different RV from the same email.

Bob couldn’t see him, but he knew Marcus was around back taking photos of a pre-owned RV they’d just traded in exchange for a newer model, to send to their account coordinator at Email Broadcast for next month’s message. The kid had done well earning that extra “Marketing Manager” line on his business card. He’d even put a down payment on a truck—but only for the winter months, he was quick to assure them all. Marcus was sticking to his story that he actually enjoyed riding the bicycle.

“We’ll take it,” declared the couple Bob was helping.

He grinned. They were going to make great memories traveling the country with their family, just as he and Angie had done when their kids were still little. “That’s great! Let’s go inside where it’s a little warmer and get you sorted out so you can drive this baby home.”

The couple smiled at each other like he was some kind of celebrity. “We read the nicest review on Google about you,” the woman answered. “Did you really help that couple with cancer get financing even though her medical bills had messed up their credit?”

“Anybody would have found a way to help those two. They were such nice people.”

“Well,” the man told him, “that’s what brought us in here. Our credit’s pretty decent, but we figured someone who would do that for them was someone we wanted to support with our business.”

Moments like this one had become commonplace. It wasn’t just that the lot was full of people. Customers were leaving reviews, which were bringing in even more customers. His team’s great service was becoming legendary, while the RV Superstore was getting mostly negative reviews for their aggressive sales style.

Bob finished up with the couple, recommended a few good places for family vacations, and wished them happy travels. As he was dropping their completed financing forms into the tray, he realized it was just one of many. He picked up the stack. One, two, three…four. Four sales on a Wednesday night where you couldn’t even feel your fingertips in the cold air.

Bob didn’t much care whether Meredith worked it out with whomever she was dating on Grey’s Anatomy the way Angie did, but those four financing forms brought a tear of joy to his eye. He realized he wanted to share that joy.

When the night was over and the guys came inside to warm up their faces and grab their stuff, Bob asked for their attention. “I’m not much for ceremony, so here it is. We went way past the sales goal for the month, so you’re all getting a hefty team bonus on your next check—in addition to your usual commissions.”

All three guys cheered, fist-bumping and patting each other on the back.

“And Tony, despite a rocky start, you actually collected the highest number of new email addresses this month, so I’m adding a little something extra just for you.”

Allan and Marcus oooh’d and ahh’d while Tony blushed. “I didn’t know there was a bonus for that. I was just trying not to let everybody down.”

“You can all expect a lot more bonuses in the future if this keeps up,” Bob told them. “And we’re going to make sure it keeps up.”

The guys formed a circle, put their hands in, and did the ridiculous Robbie’s RVs cheer Marcus had made up. One of these days Bob was going to record it and send it to their Email Broadcast account coordinator. He bet some of their customers would get a kick out of it.

“All right, get out of here. Good job, you guys.”

On his way home, Bob stopped for flowers for Angie. There weren’t a lot of options, what with the season, but he figured you could never go wrong with roses. As he was getting back into the truck, he tried to remember the last time he’d brought flowers home for no reason. His mind was blank. That was going to change. A lot of things were going to change, now that the business wasn’t in trouble anymore. He’d make sure of it.

When he pulled up to the house, his neighbor Tim was outside putting SnoMelt on the concrete path in front of his door. Bob waved to be neighborly and, before he knew it, Tim was walking over to Bob’s driveway. “Hey, Bob! Got a minute?”

Shit. Not that Bob was still holding a grudge. Success had a way of making it easy to forgive little slights, especially when they’d been unintentional. And come to think of it, Bob hadn’t had to maneuver around the Winnebago sticking out of Tim’s driveway in quite some time.

“I’ve got a few minutes,” he said. “What happened to your RV? Did you sell it?”

Tim’s mouth tightened with distaste. “No, I put it in storage. But that’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about. It’s just way too big for our needs. I saw in one of your emails that you take trade-ins. What would you give me for it?”

Bob grinned, mentally crossing out the four sales for the day and changing it to five. “Why don’t you come on inside? Angie will make us some coffee and we can talk.”

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