I first met Martez on February 1, 2008, when he came into our dealership to explore the possibility of purchasing a brand new, fully loaded Murano, which has an MSRP of around $40,000.At that point in time, he had between $2000 and $3000 to put down, an average income, and a spotty credit history (due to the fact that his identity had been stolen by a close relative). Needless to say, he wasn’t successful in purchasing his dream vehicle, but he never gave up hope.
For most people that match his age and ethnic background, the dream car would remain simply that, only a dream. In his case, though, I knew (without a shadow of a doubt) that he would eventually succeed.
Martez was born into a middle class African-American family in Florida in the summer of 1988. He and his family moved to the Chicago area when he was a teenager because they wanted “a more challenging” school system. Since simply SURVIVING in some of the Chicago Public Schools is a challenge, they definitely made an appropriate choice about where to put down roots.
Martez never received a traditional high school diploma (he graduated from the Continental Academy in Coral Gables, Florida at the age of 16), and when he first came into the dealership, he was a 19 year old unmarried father of twins. It’s not a stretch to say that the odds were stacked against him. Although he attended Harold Washington College for about 18 months, he is NOT a college graduate.
What sets apart Martez from his peer group, as well as most other people, are an intense desire to success, a level of maturity far beyond people his age, a deep and resonant voice that evokes comparison with James Earl Jones, an above average level of intelligence, and a calm and forgiving temperament.
Due to the above qualities, he started his first job as a salesman for Pitney Bowes when he was only 14 years old, and in a short period of time, he was making more money than his father. At the age of 17, he was appointed a regional sales manager for a direct marketing company, but internal politics forced him out of his position before he could start work. Disillusioned, he gave his notice, and sought employment elsewhere. At the age of 18, he went through a series of rigorous interviews for a national internet marketing company, where he is currently employed as a sales manager with a staff of 11 people - a pretty heady achievement for someone who won’t be 22 years old until the summer.
Whenever he gets a chance, he reads books.
When he was 14 or 15, he read “The Success Principles”, by Jack Canfield. He’s read numerous other motivational books since that time (including “Think and Grow Rich“}, and he’s a regular subscriber to the newsletters of both Napoleon Hill and Norman Vincent Peale.
From time to time over the last couple of years, we’ve taken a few more steps towards helping him get his dream vehicle, but so far have come up short.
Recently, however, he discovered a connection at Ford Motor Credit Corporation that could help him out, and he was able to purchase a shiny red 2010 Ford Mustang. It’s not his dream car, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Like many people, he’s suffered some setbacks on his march through life. When he was 16, his best friend was killed. His friends grief-stricken parents GAVE Martez their son’s pristine 1967 Camaro, which subsequently was impounded by the Miami Police Department.
To top it off, he and his fiancé recently had a “parting of ways”, and a significant portion of the deposit on their wedding simply disappeared.
Martez is living proof that patience, and persistence, eventually produce benefits.
Another one of my customers, whom I’ll call Paul, first wandered in to the showroom in the summer of 2005. Although we’ve had frequent contact since our initial meeting, it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I finally sold him a car, nearly 5 years after our initial contact.
At some point in time, Martez will eventually acquire his “dream car”, even though that may turn out to be 5 or 6 years from now.
I’ve long been a believer in the fact that all of us can learn from anyone. Even though I’m older than Martez (as a matter of fact, I’m a LOT older than Martez) he’s still the kind of person that all of us can learn from.
All it takes is a little patience.